All in the Mind

This Wednesday I did something I’ve never done before. I started something new. I told myself I would go to bed after writing down three things that I am grateful for, and then in the morning I will get up and get some exercise, and that is precisely what I did. After my work out I listened to a short podcast on mindfulness where the presenter talked about setting a daily intention in the morning when your mind is at its clearest.

I am aiming to build some new mental habits which include thinking about what I am grateful for before I go to bed, complete some meditation/mindfulness throughout the day and to start setting a positive intention for the day in the morning. I feel like doing more but I think if I try and do way too much I won’t actually get anything done.

So for now I am going to focus on two things: making my gratitude journal, and also setting my daily intention in the morning. I wonder how these new habits will change me.


32 years old



The beginning of the year always brings with it a new energy and time to reflect and realign my goals – and it always coincides with my birthday – well sort off.

In 2018, my main focus was my business. Learning how to be a good boss, managing my business finances and balancing client care with the needs of my business. While all of these things are still important to me now, I want to use 2019 to focus on self care.

This, perhaps, may sound selfish and counter intuitive to good business practice, yet I have always been of the belief, that by caring for yourself, you are also caring for others.  So what will self care look like for me in 2019?

  1. Decluttering – Anyone who saw my post in 2017 on how I decluttered my closet will know that I am a huge advocate for Minimalism. This year, my focus will be on decluttering other environments. Some of the things I want to declutter significantly are:

    My Office: 
    After running my business for a year I feel a lot clearer about what I want to do with the space in my office and I feel more comfortable about throwing out some resources that a year ago I wouldn’t have dared to.My Schedule: In order to have more time to grow my business I will need to take some time off work from client care so that I can start building other aspects of the business. I have lots of ideas, that, to be properly executed need time and research.My Makeup and Bath Products: I use these every single day and they are part of my daily routine. I would like to feel more polished at work, but I am unhappy with my current selection of beauty products. I’m hoping to do some research and build a collection of make up and beauty products that I truly love and will use on a daily basis.
  2. Setting Clear Goals – Like most girls, many of my past New Year’s Resolutions have been to “Lose Weight”. While I am not skinny I am generally in a healthy weight range. Having a fitness goal has eluded me mainly because I’m not really sure what a fitness goal is or how to set one. This year my fitness goal is to start pole again and be able to do an “Inverted V” straight from the ground. It looks like this:



    As well as setting clear fitness goals, I want to be setting clearer financial goals as well. Some of the things I am doing for this are:- Reviewing my regular business and personal expenses ensuring that they are the right choices for me.
    – Reviewing my financial products; e.g. savings accounts, credit cards, insurances
    – Setting up clear savings targets for what I am saving for
  3. Becoming more mindful
    For me this means:
    Eating Slower and with fewer distractions
    – It’s so hard to eat without doing something else! My goal this year is to eat my meals without looking at my phone and to chew my food slower.
    Practising gratitude – I find myself constantly comparing my life to others especially on social media, I know I have a beautiful life, even though it is not always photographable.Purchasing mindfully – I’ve gotten rid of so much junk this year already and to be honest it has been really difficult to find environmentally friendly ways to get rid of the things I don’t need anymore that I am making sure that when I do purchase something I really, really, really want it.
  4. Not worrying about being perfect
    While decluttering at my parents house last month, I found a whole bunch of artwork that Jess and I had intended to send to “Saturday Disney” when we were kids. We never sent it, always striving to make it perfect, but perfect never came. I’m going to be braver about sharing my progress when trying new things, instead of waiting until things are perfect before sharing 🙂

Fear of Meditating

Being afraid of sitting down and being alone with your thoughts for about 10-15 minutes a day has to be the very definition of an irrational fear. Yet, I feel it. There have been so many occasions this year where I have thought “Gee, I should meditate” and instead have decided to play Candy Crush, watch YouTube or scroll through Facebook, Insta and Pinterest, all the while thinking “people are on social media way too much these days.” (Yes, I am aware of the hypocrisy).

It’s prompted me to ask the question to myself; What’s the problem? Why have I chosen not to meditate? despite the fact that I know there are large bodies of scientific evidence about the health benefits of meditating, why does the thought of being alone with my thoughts seem off putting?

Here are the reasons it’s not:

  1. I don’t know how to meditate
    In 2016, I did a health retreat at Golden Door in Hunter Valley where I met a meditation teacher who gave me an hour masterclass on meditation. During that time, I learned lots of breathing techniques. During the class I meditated for about 17minutes and I felt great afterwards. After learning to meditate, I was able to keep up the practice daily for about a month before I fell off the wagon. I have meditated sporadically since and haven’t really been able to maintain a routine.
  2. I don’t have time
    I have time. If I have time to screw up my mental health with social media and candy crush, I definitely have time to meditate.

As I write these; It’s getting me thinking about what it is – which is good and why I started writing this in the first place.

  1. Meditation requires mindfulness. 
    Meditation requires you to stay awake. It is taking time out and being aware of your surroundings and living in the present moment. It’s about being aware of your thoughts and not judging them. It’s really hard! Candy crush is easier because its a form of escape, it allows me to get away from the present moment, it’s also a lot less work.
  2. My environment isn’t set up for daily meditation
    I don’t have a designated meditation spot. I also don’t have a designated meditation time. I’m constantly on the go. One thing I have realised is that I tend to over plan. I have a full-time job; I’m exhausted when I get home from work and weekends are just me recharging my batteries. As I get older I’m starting to understand the limits of my energy far more. I have to reduce my responsibilities.

By reading “Sapiens” I’m growing in my understanding that humans were not meant to spend their lives working and working without rest. Being busy always sounds like it’s an achievement when the reality is having a break also has a lot of additional benefits.

August Budget Challenge

For those of you who know me well, you know that every Tuesday fortnight is budget night. I’ve been budgeting my money since I turned 25 and I love budgeting. It is one of the most empowering habits I have and it is a skill that serves me well as a small business owner.

I haven’t always been a successful budgeter and even now, I still go over budget once in a while (I do have a safety net though – but I don’t like to use it often.) Usually, I spend 80% of my pay packet on living expenses with the other 20% going straight into savings – Mostly, I am successful and don’t spend the money I have earmarked as savings. This month I’ve decided to challenge myself even more and only spend 50% of my usual pay packet. I’m actually quite nervous about this, but I’m excited because I think there will be lots to learn.

That being said years of budgeting have taught me many valuable lessons that I think will help me out in this challenge.

Lesson 1: Know my day to day living expenses

Budgeting became a lot easier after I learned to log and track my expenses. I use the app “TrackMYSpend” which is an app developed by the Australian Government – so it’s a little buggy – but I love it. It allows me to see where I spend my money the most.

This simple task is a lot harder to complete than you think, not because you need to remember to “write down” what you spend – you can fix that by keeping receipts on everything you spend and logging it later – but because of the emotions that come with keeping track of your money. It was hard at first because I couldn’t help but judge myself as I put what I’ve spent into the app – especially when I ended up going over budget, which was often.

That being said, even though this is a hard thing to do there are so many benefits – but that’s a blog for another day

Lesson 2: Make sure I don’t feel deprived.

Usually, the word “budget” is associated with self deprivation. For me, budgeting means making better choices about how and where I spend my money.

For my challenge to be successful; I know I can’t cut out some of the things I love doing and having – like having a meal out with friends. I have to make sure that I account for social occasions too such as birthdays. This is where Lesson 1 comes in handy. Knowing how and why I spend my money means that I can identify areas in my spending that can be cut. This means becoming more creative with how I spend my money. Here are some of my bigger categories of expenses that I’ve noticed over the last few pay cycles ands some of my ideas to reduce my spending:

  • Gym/fitness – I’ve recently finished a 3 month run of TiffXO – I really like this program and I think it’s a nice one to stick to if it suits your lifestyle. The program costs approx $39 a month – which isn’t much but I also pay for a fitness passport and studio sessions at a local pilates place (which I’ve paid for in bulk because it’s cheaper). I’ve downloaded some TiffXO work-outs and recipes for my budget challenge.
  • Beauty and Cosmetics – Instead of spending my money on someone giving me a manicure or a massage – which admittedly I don’t do a lot but I know if I’m on a tight budget that I’m gonna want – I’m gonna start fishing out some of those bath products that I haven’t used and schedule in some me time.
  • Drinks – Gosh, I could spend $60 a fortnight on drinks. Chai Lattes and Kombucha have been my recent weakness. For Chai Latte’s I’m thinking I might get a box of special blend chai from T2 to keep at the office. The Kombucha – I know I like for two reasons the first is it’s probiotic features (which I’m going to replace with a daily apple cider vinegar tonic each morning – as I have a crap load of ACV at home) and the second is it’s fizzy sensation – which I will replace with mint and soda water.
  • Bought Lunches – This is a huge expense for me – which can be managed by doing more meal prep; I’m also going to try and challenge myself to work with what I have in the pantry and fridge to help reduce the grocery bill – I’ve also decided that I will only eat out if I have someone with me. Recently, I’ve increasingly begun to eat out alone which has blown my budget more than I’d like to admit.
  • Books, Music and Movies – This year I’m participating in the Popsugar Reading Challenge. In August I’ve decided to not buy books and to focus my attention on the books I already own but haven’t read. I’ve also registered for a free trial with “kindle unlimited” so I have some other choices, also I have a library card.

Lesson 3: Set a Time Limit

I think mentally this helps when looking to complete any kind of budget challenge. I’d love it if I could always save 50% of my pay packet every month but I know that’s not going to work out in the long run. That being said, a lot of the good habits I have now developed came because I set myself small financial challenges. My financial goals have changed their focus from “saving $X” to learning to develop better habits with money.

So there you have it, my plan of attack for my August Budget Challenge!

Wish Me Luck!

Two Arrows

On Good Friday my whole family agreed to stay completely offline for the whole day. It’s actually easier than one would think it would be. It is after all, only one day.

I decided to use the day to relax and read one of the books I have recently read called “The Book of Joy”. If you follow my instagram and facebook account you’ll find that I thoroughly enjoyed the read. It was recommended to me by my little sister and my friend Eric.

The book discusses how to be joyful and how to tackle things that are difficult and how important it is that we respond mindfully to our circumstances rather than just reacting. To help the reader understand what is meant by this, the Dalai Lama related a tale of a man hit by an arrow. He discussed that no doubt, the man will feel that pain, but he can choose how to respond. If the man gave into his fears, these would cause him more pain, it would be like he was hit by a second arrow – of his own making.

It got me thinking – how often do I hit myself with that second arrow after I’ve been hit by the first? More importantly, what is my role in creating my own suffering? And how do I respond to my stress triggers in a more positive way – so to avoid hitting myself with the second arrow. One thing I found, that worked, was just going through the 8 pillars of joy – and weirdly – or perhaps not so weirdly – i found myself – happier. I think perhaps the first thing one should do to stop themselves from reacting badly is to identify what it is that stresses you out. Here are my 5 common stress triggers.

Stress Trigger #1: Something unexpected comes up on my to do list/ and unexpected change in routine

Stress Trigger #2: Fatigue

Stress Trigger #3: Overwhelm – Too much to do.

Stress Trigger #4:  Disagreements with others

Stress Trigger #5: Clutter

My Last 5 Purchases

As you can see on my home page, I am participating in a minimalism challenge. One of the challenges is to evaluate the last 5 items I have purchased – I suppose the idea is to be more thoughtful about how often and what I buy. I assumed that by last 5 purchases, the challenge didn’t literally mean the very last 5 – which were petrol, nachos, a scoop of ice-cream, sushi and two fifths of the fee for an escape room activity. I took this to mean bigger items – less consumable items – that were bought using my personal account. Here they are:

24/02/2018 – T2 – Sweet Dreams Tea

No regrets buying this tea. It is literally the only tea at home which has no caffeine, so there’s no guilt drinking it at night.

27/02/2018 – Skull Candy Headphones and a Headphone Jack

I am FOREVER losing my headphones. I’m glad I have them and I am doing my best to look after them. It’s gotten more expensive to buy headphones for my iPhone because of the unique headphone jack. Also I feel like I could be getting more out of my headphones if I got my act together to actually create more playlists.

02/03/2018 – Kindle – Book of Joy

I bought this because I finished my last book “A Spoonful of Murder” by Robin Stevens. I’m not reading this very quickly but I’m generally enjoying it and loving the quotes.

09/03/2018 – Cute food shaped pencil erasers from Daiso

This technically should’ve been a business expense, but it was so cheap that I decided to buy it from my personal account. I think the kids enjoy the novelty of playing with it. I bought it because one of the kids broke one that I got from Hong Kong last year. Sadly, another kid broke it again – ALREADY! I’m not buying another one.

24/03/2018 – Tiff XO Membership

Basically bought this because I finished listening to the “Crappy to Happy” Podcast and I liked Tiff’s philosophy to weight loss. Haven’t really used any of the stuff I have access to yet (as I don’t have access to much), but I will try as I’ve spent money on it already.

Anyway that’s it. Another challenge done and dusted. I don’t think I regret any of these purchases, I feel like they all add something positive to my life. I’m wondering if this might be a useful exercise to complete with my business hat on.

March Towards Balance: Week 3 – Imperfections

It’s 6.40pm on Thursday night. I’ve just missed my boxing class because I’ve had to attend to urgent business at work. I’m annoyed because I lost my perfect streak of attending boxing classes… not only that – I’m not happy with the quality of my stretch sessions this week (there was more than one!) and I wasn’t able to take public transport once this week (It was raining for most of the week). Still, there I was, standing at the front door to my work parking lot staring dismally at the “Productive: Habit Tracker” app on my phone and swiping left to say “skip”.

My first thought was “Did I not choose doable goals?”. I wondered how, with the few goals I placed onto the app I could still have an imperfect week. The goals I chose were meant to be completely doable, bad week or not.

But before I could go down the blame train and tell myself how fail I was. My colleague said something to the effect of “You know, you don’t always have to be perfect.”

My mind paused, and all of a sudden stopped itself from descending down the “I suck so much” pattern. Suddenly, it was a learning opportunity – all week I’ve been listening to a podcast called “Crappy to Happy” and one of the things that really resonated with me was their topic of “Perfectionism”  – Particularly –  How stupid it is to expect perfection from ones self; and how often we let it derail good progress.

So this was not a perfect week.

I didn’t leave work EXACTLY on time everyday – but to be fair; I’ve left earlier than usual.

I didn’t always eat the lunch I brought from home. But this week I actually had PACKED lunch from home to toss aside! I was prepared!

I had a chocolate biscuit – it was HUGE! – ate a couple of Ferrero’s – not in ONE go; but I still went to the gym twice this week and also ate my healthy snacks of baby cucumber and yellow tomatoes first.

I was rushed and forgot my keys – and still found time to meditate and stretch.

So what if it wasn’t perfect!

The important thing is to keep trying. Cause an imperfect week of trying is clearly better than an imperfect week where I’m NOT trying!


Learn to Relax

So this March, I have decided to complete a set of habits daily in order to ensure that I am able to achieve work-life balance, and essentially avoid burn out. My cornerstone habit being leaving work at 6pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and at 6.30pm on Thursday afternoons.

These last two weeks I have done exactly that, left work at exactly 6pm regardless of how much stuff I had left to do, gone home and started to attend to home things. One thing I’ve realised after doing this is how much time I actually have when I get home. I get home at 7, cook, eat, wash the dishes and am usually all done by 9pm at which time I’m wondering… hmm… what do I do now? I check the work bank account – which is still the same number as it was just before I left work at 5pm, I take out my  kindle and do some reading, even look at some ideas for a holiday in July, one time I decided to do some stretching.

It’s was nice – then the weekend came. Jeremy was tired and preparing to work the night-shift so I was given some much coveted alone time. I finished with my chores by 10.30am and began to feel the urge to do so me work-work; which I am proud to say, I did not give into. Determined, I started thinking about all the LIFE STUFF I could do, which became quite the overwhelming experience. The diatribe in my head pretty much went:

Do I go shopping? What do I shop for? Should I be doing something else? reading a book maybe? What should I read? Should I read one of those self improvement books or is that not relaxing enough? Should I meal-plan? Are there any meal planning apps? Which one should I get? What time is it? Do I have time to spend time on this? Should I ask a friend to come shopping with me?

Needless to say, I exhausted myself thinking. I found myself sitting on the couch for at least an hour paralysed by the never ending choices of what I could do with my free time as well as pondering the irony of having so much free time and so many ideas of what to do yet, choosing to do none. In the end, I left the house to go shopping.

When I got home and put away the shopping (I chose to buy only groceries). I felt the temptation to pick up work again so I sat down and painted my nails purple then sat on the couch next to Jeremy and stared at the ceiling until it was time for dinner; after which thankfully, Jeremy decided to put on a movie and stop me from having to think too hard about what else I could do before going to bed.

It’s only just occurred to me, now that I am making time for non-work stuff, how few ideas I have about what to do with all that time I’m setting aside (and it’s not even that much!). I’ve noticed how averse I am to planning holidays; I’ve noticed that I judge rest and relaxation as “trivial” and “wasteful”; that I often think to myself, “if you have time; you should be working”. I think that is why I started this blog. Because it’s kinda like work in a way.

That being said, I’m glad that I’ve resisted the urge to do work. It’s made me more mindful about my thoughts about work and rest. I’m learning that its ok to relax and I’m also learning that there are different ways to relax too!


Falling in Love – with clothes I already own

I hate clothes shopping. When ever I go out to do it I don’t ever know what I’m looking for and I don’t understand fashion. I have a closet full of clothes yet still manage to wear the same outfits again and again and again with minimal variation.

I’ve tried to solve this problem before, looked at style blogs that tell you how to wear the same thing different ways, I’ve even considered hiring a stylist. I’ve gotten some marginally good advice like creating a Pinterest board of clothes I like  (Turns out; I like the way the Duchess of Cambridge dresses). Generally, the take home advice from all these sources was – if I want to make my current stuff look different I actually need to BUY MORE STUFF.

Which I wasn’t going to do… not just because I hate clothes shopping, but also because it seems a rather expensive solution to a really small problem.

Then, around February this year I was listening to a podcast called ‘The Functioning Minimalist’. Sara (the creator) discussed the idea of curating a wardrobe which was made up entirely of things you love to wear. These clothes would all match each other and can be worn in many variations. She called it a capsule wardrobe.

The main appeal of this idea for me, was that it suggested that I look at the clothes I already own. It’s first step? Clear the wardrobe and all my drawers of all pieces of clothing and put them on the bed.


Step 2 was to put back ONLY the clothes I know I LOVE wearing.

As well as doing this, I took this time to get organised – I sorted out clothes into ‘definitely keep’, ‘maybe keep’, ‘to sell’ and ‘to donate’. I put away my sleeping clothes and gym clothes in different places and separated my winter/summer clothes (I’ve never really done that before since I don’t have a lot of clothes the things that get tossed into storage are mostly just coats and knits while summer stuff stays out all year ’round).

Now, with everything put away, and short list of all the winter appropriate clothes sitting in my wardrobe; I had finally gotten to  the fun part – trying on my clothes.


I tried them on in different variations and tossed aside ones that  didn’t seem to flatter or have any versatility. I played around with colours even ones that I thought might not go together – with some surprising results. I mixed and matched and styled myself! This was an amazing breakthrough for me as I have never been able to do that before!

In the end I was left with my cupboard looking like this…


When I counted, I had 35 pieces of clothing for my winter wardrobe – not including under garments or shoes… (2 coats, 10 scarves, 6 shirts, 2 skirts, 8 pants, 4 sweaters, 1 blazer, 2 pairs of gloves) . It’s not perfect, and yet I’ve never felt happier about my wardrobe than I do now!

This was such a worthwhile exercise. I learned about my personal style by looking at the clothes I already own AND LIKE. (Japanese scarves make my outfits look a little fancier). I have an idea of what kinds of clothes I need to buy (I’m looking forward to shopping for a casual winter jacket) and most importantly, I feel like I have a brand new wardrobe filled with endless permutations of outfits I’d like to wear. The best part? I didn’t spend a single cent to get it!

How NOT to Clean Your Kitchen

I enjoy having control over my environment. There is something incredibly satisfying about keeping things neat and tidy and ordered.

This being said, I’m NOT neatest or tidiest person. But I think there are many reasons to strive to be so. One of those reasons being that neat and tidy environments are usually nice places to work.

My kitchen is probably the most under utilised rooms in my house precisely because it lacks a sense of order.  I think if it was a bit more ordered, I’d use it more and I’d save myself a lot of money.

So, with this in mind, last Saturday I completed a food audit – much to the amusement of my room mate –

So here’s my step by misstep guide on how I cleaned my Kitchen Read more