Creating your own economic stimulus package

Create your own economic stimulus package, conscious consumer, minimalism, intentional living

As the biggest challenge the world has faced in my lifetime played out, my role was to stay home. With no medical expertise and no link to the food supply chain beyond end consumer, I was officially “non-essential”. While hard- working and clever people around the world heroically used all their energy to combat coronavirus, I sat home and did nothing. Immensely grateful, and not unused to free-riding, I felt useless.

Now the medical emergency is subsiding (at least here in New Zealand), attention is turning to the economic crisis left in its wake. Coronavirus exposed not only the fragility of human health, but the fragility of global consumer capitalism. While combating the virus was the domain of the essential few, resuscitating the economy is something we will all be called upon to do.

I expect the call to be loud and relentless, casting wanton consumerism as an act of pure heroism. Remember what it was like during the Global Financial Crisis? It’ll have nothing on this. And primed by boredom and survivors’ guilt, we’ll be more ready to respond to the call than ever before. 

But before you start dutifully clicking “add to cart” at every opportunity, take a breath. Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of advertisers and their plans for your money. Make a plan of your own.

Continue reading “Creating your own economic stimulus package”

Why “do I use it?” is the wrong question to focus on when decluttering

Decluttering tips - why "do I use it?" is the wrong question to ask

You’ve probably seen the meme: “Turn all your clothes hangers backwards. Whenever you wear something, turn the hanger the right way. In six months/a year, donate every piece of clothing still hanging on a backwards hanger”.

I know you’ve probably seen this because my mum told me about it. My test for viral is if my mum knows about it. Anyhow, she was very enthusiastic about giving this a try. I didn’t want to rain on her parade, but I don’t think it’s very good decluttering advice.

This meme is a simple and catchy application of the “do I use it?” approach to decluttering. There are two reasons why I think focusing solely on “do I use it?” isn’t helpful.

Continue reading “Why “do I use it?” is the wrong question to focus on when decluttering”

Resources to help you make the most of your pandemic pantry

Store cupboard recipes to make the most of your pantry. 
#pandemic #coronavirus #COVID-19 #stayathome

Life in lockdown – it’s been just over a week and we’re starting to fall into a bit of a routine. I’m finding it helpful to focus on all the things I can do, rather than the things I can’t. We’re very fortunate that our daily lives are relatively untouched. We’re not essential workers, we work mostly from home anyway, we still have work and our cosy little house in the sun. The beach is still right there and we can still go for a walk. 

One thing that has changed, I can’t just nip to the shops and it’s a bit of a lottery as to what’s left when you get there (although I hear that’s calmed down). I’m trying to avoid going to the supermarket and that means making good use of what I’ve got in my pantry. It’s a bit like a month-long MasterChef mystery box challenge. 

I’ve always been good at working with whatever’s in the cupboard, but it isn’t so much fun when I HAVE to do it. It took me a while to adapt to the new normal, but I’ve found my groove and I’m quite enjoying it. Finding some inspiration online definitely helped. Here’s a roundup of resources that I’ve found useful and you might too. 

Continue reading “Resources to help you make the most of your pandemic pantry”

Tips for working from home

I’m writing this shortly after the Prime Minister of New Zealand asked all New Zealanders to work from home if they can in order to slow the spread of Covid-19, echoing moves around the world. In the midst of this big, scary pandemic, and all the changes that come with it, I hope that sharing my experience can make one change a little bit easier. 

Tips for working from home
Not my desk! Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Working from home can take some adjustment. I’ve mostly worked from home for the last three years, and my husband for over 10 years. It’s our preferred way of working. I’ve pulled together our advice on making working from home work well.

Continue reading “Tips for working from home”

Adventure – my word for the year for 2020

Adventure - my guiding word for 2020

To celebrate the end of the school year, we went out for dinner as a family. This isn’t something we’ve done before. We’ve consumed food in cafes, pubs and restaurants at dinner time, but in the context of desperately trying to survive a social engagement with a rapidly expiring child. Chips and pizza were often involved.

This was different – it was an occasion. We all put on nice-ish clothes and headed to a local Indian restaurant I’d heard good things about. Excited, but with the odd tinge of apprehension we walked into the restaurant. Hopes were high for a fun night – and it was. It was new and different and lots of fun. 

Reflecting on the evening, it was evident that our family is in a new season of life. 

That family outing was the inspiration for my word for 2020 – ADVENTURE. 

Continue reading “Adventure – my word for the year for 2020”

Everyday ways to help your future self

Everyday ways to help your future self - simple living

Do you keep biscuits (cookies for North American readers) in the house? I like to have them as a treat when kids come to play, but I don’t normally keep them in the house. Rather than saving the biscuits for guests, we (and by “we” I mean my husband and his 6-year-old accomplice) invariably end up eating them right after we buy them.

Instead, I keep the ingredients for biscuits ready to go and whip up a batch before someone comes over. Except, that’s just another thing to do, is useless for impromptu guests and we end up eating all the leftovers. At least, that was the scenario until I discovered slice-and bake-biscuits . Problem solved. Every so often, I make a big batch of dough that sits in the freezer, ready to slice and bake when needed. No dashing about before friends arrive, no eating too many biscuits.

This is very much at the trivial end of the spectrum of world problems, and finding a solution is hardly world changing. But I thought it was worth sharing as there are a lot of trivialities in everyday life and when added up they’re not inconsequential. Freeing yourself from little everyday annoyances and dilemmas can make a big difference.

Continue reading “Everyday ways to help your future self”

How to simplify getting dinner on the table

How to simplify getting dinner on the table - four tips to take the drama out of cooking for your family

At school, I was a diligent student – a “brain strain” as my brother liked to call me – but the only subject I ever came top of the class in was home economics.

I’m no gourmet, but cooking is fun for me, a creative outlet and a way to relax. Or at least it was. Parenthood kind of ruined that.

These days, cooking is mostly a utilitarian activity. Preparing dinner is a precarious mission to get something palatable and vaguely nutritious on the table before someone has a meltdown (usually me).

Cooking dinner for kids may not be a walk in the park, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare either. Here are four things I do to make it easier.

Continue reading “How to simplify getting dinner on the table”

For me, right now: January 2019

 

For me, right now: January 2019 - what I've been doing, reading, listening to, making and thinking about #slow living
Living here, we’re not desperate to get away for a holiday

School is back and all of a sudden, it’s stifling hot – it must be the end of January. I’ve had a very chilled-out month, enjoying the school holidays and opportunity to forgo my usual routines.

Introducing Holly and Lenny - two recent additions to our family #slowliving
Introducing Holly and Lenny – they’ve already grown so much since this picture

After Christmas, we welcomed two new members to our family: Lenny (he’s black and white) and Holly (she’s the tabby). We’re enjoying getting to know them and watching them get up to all sorts of mischief. It’s like having a toddler in the house again.

The summer holidays were one epic staycation. We took advantage of the beach being only a stroll away. The wee guy went on a little holiday of this own to my parent’s farm. Mr More Time and I had three nights at home by ourselves. It was quite a shock to the system.

The only big “it’s easier without the wee guy” task we embarked on was clothes shopping. It confirmed that wandering around the shops is not a pastime I miss, not that I was ever a great shopper.

Continue reading “For me, right now: January 2019”

Nine ways to feel less busy in 2019

img_0412

Imagine you could repeat 2018 – carry the same responsibilities, meet the same commitments, achieve just as much (maybe more), but feel less busy. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Plenty of doing, but no more feeling rushed or overwhelmed. No more feeling like a little mouse on a wheel, legs frantically moving but not getting anywhere. Well, I think you can. In fact, I know you can, because I’ve done it.

Roll back the clock four years and my life was a frantic mess. On the outside, I was the poster-girl for work-life balance – superstar in the office for three days a week and supermum at home with a toddler for the rest. On the inside, I felt like I was being chased across a tight-rope. Eventually, I fell off.

Following the fall, I scaled my life right back. I got myself into a pretty good place. With time, I found the courage to give things a go again. Fiercely protective of my newfound peace and calm, but equally determined to make a bigger contribution to the world, I went about adding things back into my life.

In 2018, I ramped things up. I tripled my working hours, throwing myself into challenging projects. While exciting, it was also terrifying – amplified by the fact I was back working at the scene of the fall, around the same people and on the same projects.

But this time, it was different. In the intervening years, I developed a set of strategies to help me feel less busy and, under pressure, they held up well. They got me through and I’m looking forward to doing it all again this year. Here are nine strategies to make you feel less busy too.

Continue reading “Nine ways to feel less busy in 2019”

For me, right now: November 2018

For new, right now: November 2018 - What I've been doing, reading, listening to, making and thinking about
It’s the season for everything to happen at once – even rainbows

Wow, we’ve reached the end of November. I can’t say this is my favourite time of the year. As we move into December, everything happens at once, plus I do a lot more shopping than usual.

A year or two ago, we simplified our household finances. We now have two joint bank accounts – one for day-to-day transactions and one for savings. We have debit cards hooked up to the transaction account. It works well, but theee’s one downside to this simple set-up that comes into focus at this time of year – it’s hard to buy a present and keep it a surprise, especially if you buy online!

Continue reading “For me, right now: November 2018”