Challenging our takeaway culture

Saving $ and the Environment

I was once waiting for a colleague to pick me up at a location opposite a well known drive through coffee business. During the 15 minute wait I was astonished to see the volume of traffic that snaked through the carpark into the drive-through lane and back out onto the street. The cars numbered in the dozens in this short timeframe. The sight actually left me feeling a sense of despair. It made me wonder about the lives of people who don’t have time for a cuppa before leaving the house. And if there wasn’t time to make a coffee it’s unlikely they Continue reading    

I’m on the list of 20 mature Aussie bloggers worth following!

I was so suprised and delighted to recently receive an email from Janet from Middle-Aged Mama. Janet named me amongst the 20 best Aussie bloggers for mature women! This was so unexpected! You can read Janet’s full list on YS People here.

There are certainly lots of ‘mummy bloggers’ out there. So it was good to read Janet’s article and see her highlight some bloggers who are at a different stage in their life.

Mature though I may be (and some may dispute this!), I hope to also have appeal to people of all ages who are wanting to live a little more simply and thoughtfully. So please do share my blog with your friends – young, ‘mature’ and everything in between!

5 Tips to reduce your grocery bill

Last week on the blog I challenged you to think about the work-earn-spend-waste-repeat cycle that characterises the lives of so many of us these days. Whilst I would not describe myself as particularly frugal, I try to make thoughtful purchases and not waste money. Spending less money means I don’t have to work as much in order to support a consumer lifestyle. It also means I don’t accumulate a lot of ‘stuff’. The weekly shop is a good place to begin decreasing overall expenditure. Here are 5 tips you can try in order to reduce your grocery bill. Continue reading    

Make your own cleaning products

There is money to be saved at the checkout if you make your own cleaning products. Here are some recipes to try.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

1.5 litres water

1 bar of laundry soap, grated

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup borax

Put water and grated soap in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until dissolved completely. Add the washing soda and borax. Stir until thickened and remove from heat. Pour mixture into a bucket and fill with hot water from the tap. Stir to combine. Using a funnel, pour the mixture into plastic containers. This recipe makes 9 – 10 litres. Use 1/2 – 1 cup per load.

 

 

 

 

Cleaning Paste

Mix together 1/2 cup of home made liquid laundry detergent and 1/2 cup bicarbonate of soda.

Shower Cleaner

I find the vinegar in this cleaner quite pungent. Be sure to keep the bathroom well ventilated when you are using it.

1 cup white vinegar

1 Tbs cornflour

2 Tbs dishwashing liquid

Combine vinegar and cornflour and gently heat, whisking. Allow to cool a bit, add dishwash liquid and mix well. Pour into a spray bottle. Spray over tiles and wipe off with a soft cloth and water.

 

Breaking the work-earn-spend-waste-repeat cycle

In my quest to live a slower and more thoughtful lifestyle, I find myself thinking and talking a lot about the work-earn-spend-waste-repeat cycle. It’s all too easy to get caught in this cycle. Ok, I’ll come right out and say it. I think that many of us are way too focused on earning money. Some of us aspire to live the sort of consumption-focused lifestyle that we believe will bring happiness. Others are already living it, and need to work to maintain it. This comes at a considerable cost to the individual’s wellbeing. But the other impact is an environmental one. This impact can be seen everywhere. Discarded coffee cups from the morning’s Continue reading    

“Are you okay?”, and other important questions

In thinking about this post, a number of other potential titles crossed my mind. Amongst them, “A simple guide to relating” and “The (almost) lost art of conversation”. I’ve been feeling quite disgruntled with the superficial level of chatter in some social gatherings. The conversation goes here and there. Discussions started get interrupted and derailed, going off in different directions. At the end of it I am left wondering what of substance has actually been said. Continue reading    

Is ‘work/life balance’ a myth?

The beginning of a new year is the time when people traditionally take pause, reflect on the past year, and resolve to make some positive changes. ‘A better work/life balance’ is something we hear lots of people expressing a desire for. Many people say that they feel out of balance. They feel that ‘work’ dominates, robbing them of time and energy for ‘life’.

I see 2 problems with the ‘work/life balance’ concept. The first is the actual language used. It infers that our lives can be categorised into 2 parts, ‘work’ and ‘life’. But we don’t have a ‘work’ and a ‘life’. We have just one life. And our paid employment, assigned the broad term ‘work’, is just one part of the portfolio of activities that integrate to make up our life as a whole. The second problem is the Continue reading    

Simplifying Christmas: A disclosure…..

This is the last in my season of posts on the topic of simplifying Christmas. I hope that you have been influenced to think differently about gift giving, gathering, and menus, particularly if these have been a source of stress for you.

Today, I’m making a disclosure that some will already know about. I have SAS – Supermarket Avoidance Syndrome – especially during the holiday season. I was going to call it SCAS – Shopping Centre Avoidance Syndrome. But saying ‘I have SAS’ sounds more appealing than saying ‘I have SCAS’! Unlike most syndromes, I won’t say I ‘suffer’ from SAS, because there is absolutely no suffering involved in Continue reading    

Simplifying Christmas: 5 lovely home made gifts

For me, part of simplifying Christmas is avoiding the shops! It is so nice, during the holiday season and at any other time, to give and receive something that has been home made rather than store-bought. Here are my top 5 home made gifts, for the host, teacher, or to put together in a gift basket for a friend. They can all be made weeks ahead of time. Just make sure to hide the sweet things somewhere so that they don’t disappear before you need them!

1. White Christmas Crackles. The addition of pistachios and cranberries adds Christmas colour to this popular sweet.

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2. Russian Caramels. These are super sweet and very popular in my household! Continue reading    

Russian Caramels

Russian Caramels

Russian Caramels are quite easy to make, provided you don’t get distracted! The mixture does need to be stirred constantly. Even stepping away from the saucepan for a few seconds will lead to it burning on the bottom.

Ingredients:

60g butter

2 Tbl golden syrup

1 cup white sugar

395g can condensed milk

2 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

Prepare a square or rectangular cake tin with baking paper. Spray or smear saucepan with cooking oil, and add butter, golden syrup, sugar and condensed milk. Stir constantly over medium heat as it comes to the boil, using a wooden spoon. Turn the heat down to low and keep the mixture bubbling away whilst stirring constantly for about 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken and come away from the bottom. Remove from heat, and add vanilla. Pour into prepared tin and leave at room temperature to cool. Cut into squares and refrigerate.

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