Author Archives:

Your Best Year Yet (and a Giveaway)

Your Best Year Yet >> An amazing little book by Kelly Exeter
We all have a story to tell.

Some stories are more interesting than others, some are darker, some are funnier, but all of them are worthy.

Sometimes we like to fool ourselves in thinking our stories are completely unique. Our struggles are new. Our downfalls, our weaknesses or our trials have never before been felt to this degree.

I’ve often felt like this, but the reality is it’s not true.

So many of the struggles we have are common. The circumstances, the names and the locations may differ, but the battles are shared amongst many. And that’s what I was struck with last weekend when I opened Kelly Exeter’s wonderful new book, Your Best Year Yet – 7 simple ways to shift your thinking and take charge of your life.

“Meanwhile, I was trying to be a good mum to my little baby, a good wife to my husband, a good friend, sibling, daughter, person – you know the drill…

“Life felt completely out of control and before long my mental and physical health started to deteriorate.”

That was me. That story right there is mine.

Turns out it was also Kelly’s. It may also have been yours, or perhaps it still is.

My point is, you aren’t alone in your struggles just as I wasn’t in mine (even if it felt like it). I only wish I had Kelly’s words to fall back on in the days where I struggled to get through to bed time without losing my mind.

“The only person who should get to write the story of your life is you. So start shaping a narrative around the person you want to be, not the person other people think you are.”

At its heart, this book is about rethinking your life and how you are choosing to live it. It’s not about simplifying as such, but it provides very simple, very do-able guidelines for rethinking habits, happiness, decision-making and time management. I found myself nodding along excitedly more than once while reading, and, I’m not going to lie, there might have been a fistpump or two.

Blueprint to your best year yet

Kelly and I really jive on this stuff, and I believe you’ll get a lot out of Your Best Year Yet. Which brings me to the exciting news - I have 5 copies of this wonderful book to give away! 

Simply leave a comment below and you’ll go into the draw to win a copy of Your Best Year Yet. This competition is open to everyone, just be sure to include your email address when leaving your comment.

(Entries close Monday 4th August 11:59pm AEST, and I will email the winners within 24 hours).

Good luck!

Keep Moving

Keep Moving

Yesterday afternoon in Sydney we experienced a gorgeous sunset.

Like, a ‘social media and radio and news bulletins lit up with hundreds of photos’ kind of gorgeous. Everywhere I turned, people were taking a moment out of their afternoons, right around the busy peak hour, just before dinner time, to celebrate a natural beauty.

It was a brief shared moment across a city of more than 4 million people. A city that often feels as though it’s losing its heart. Hundreds of thousands of us all stood together (apart) and enjoyed something just for the sake of beauty. It just felt a bit…special.

But then I started seeing other #sunset comments on social media:

“Geez, we get it. There’s a beautiful sunset. So what?”

“So glad to see my feed filled with #sunset photos. Not.”

Come on.

Are we so self-absorbed that we get annoyed at a beautiful sunset? Or even at people who aren’t us enjoying said sunset? I mean… Really? Are we that fond of feeling pissed off that we take aim at a particularly pretty end to a Monday?

I have to say, I’m seeing this more and more online. People engaging in negative behaviours that are not only completely unnecessary, but unhelpful and often detrimental to their own happiness (not to mention that of others).

Rather than skimming over something we don’t care about, or ignoring a status update that we disagree with, we are engaging and getting indignant and becoming easily offended, all because someone else has the audacity to think differently to us.

Here’s an idea: just keep moving.

Keep scrolling. Unfollow if you must. By all means, roll your eyes and sigh in the privacy of your own home.  But honestly, when it’s trivial stuff, just move on.

Part of slowing down and living a more contented life is stopping to pay attention to those easy-to-miss moments of beauty, but another part is knowing when to opt out of the crap. Knowing when to keep moving, when to steer clear of drama, when to ignore negativity or even just dissenting opinions. Particularly when there’s nothing you will say that will make one shred of difference.

There are absolutely battles worth fighting, but an over-shared sunset ain’t one. Nor is an inspirational quote, a movie trailer or a braggadocious (it’s a word – truly) selfie. Just keep moving.

 

 

The Slow Kitchen: Easy Baked Chicken Breast and Vegetables

Let’s say it’s Thursday night. You’re feeling a little worn out, you’re short on time and food-related creativity but you’re not ready to call for pizza. You still want to prepare a healthy, nutrient-packed dinner that everyone will love but, ugh, can’t someone else do it?

That’s where this super easy baked chicken breast and vege dish comes in. Just like other recipes in The Slow Kitchen series, this weeknight dinner is simple, easy, healthy and full of real ingredients. Enjoy!

Easy Baked Chicken Breast and Veges

Easy Baked Chicken Breast and Vegetables

(Serves 4, Ready in 45min)

You’ll need:

  • 2 whole chicken breasts
  • 1 sweet potato – skin on, roughly chopped
  • 1 zucchini – roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms – sliced
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • 2-3 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tin red kidney beans – rinsed and drained
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • brown rice

Simply:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 220C/420F and put the brown rice on to cook.
  2. Chop the sweet potato, zucchini and mushrooms and spread over the base of a non-stick baking tray (a deep one with a lid is perfect, otherwise use a castiron pan. A regular baking tray or casserole dish is also fine – just make sure you can cover it well with aluminium foil).
  3. Lay the chicken breasts over the top of the vegetables and rub with garlic, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil.
  4. Top the vegetables with the beans and then the tin of tomatoes. Drizzle this with a little extra olive oil.

Easy Baked Chicken Breast and Veges

5. Cover the dish and put in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until the chicken is steamed all the way through. (It should be deliciously tender.)
6. Give the entire contents of the baking tray a good mix, add in the baby spinach and pop back in the oven for another few minutes.
7. Serve over rice, topped with more basil, chilli sauce or the topping of your choice.

Variations/Additions:

Meat-Free?: Leave out the chicken and add in some more veges. You could also up the protein content with some pre-soaked red lentils. (If this is the case, you may want to add a cup of vegetable stock to the mix too, as the lentils will soak up a lot of moisture.)

More Vegetables: This recipe will work with virtually any vegetables you have on hand. Pumpkin, squash, kale, potatoes, carrots – they all cook up beautifully in the tomato base. Just note that you may need to add more crushed tomatoes or a cup of vegetable stock if you up the vege content by a lot.

Vegan: Cut out the chicken, obviously, and you’re good to go.

Gluten-Free: This is a gluten-free dish, happy days!

 

Tiny Beauties

#tinybeauties

It’s easy to see that the world is full of beauty when we stand on the ocean shore or gaze at the mountain peaks. It’s easy to recognise the wonders of life when we hear the cry of a newborn or see tears in the eyes of the groom as the bride walks towards him.

But when we’re in the trenches of the daily grind? When we’re elbow-deep in laundry? Driving to work? Doing the groceries? Ferrying our kids to and from sports practice or dance class? In those times we often miss the beauty.

I’ve been in a funk lately, and while part of that is the bi-annual rut I find myself in around mid-winter and mid-summer, it’s also tied up in the fact that I feel empty. I’ve stopped my regular practice of gratitude and I’m failing to pay attention to the plentiful good that’s around.

So I want to start something new. Something that might help me realise that, actually, beauty is almost everywhere. We just need to look for it a little harder sometimes.

#tinybeauties

I want to document the tiny beauties that we so often walk by, never noticing. I want to stop, even just once a day, and pay attention to the little miracles.

The dew on the front lawn. The graffiti in the alley. The flower about to bloom. The way my son reaches up to hold my hand when crossing the road. The seedling pushing up through the dirt. The glittering shine of the road after a downpour.

#tinybeauties

These things may or may not be natural. They may or may not be traditionally beautiful. They may or may not be tied to a story. But they are worth noticing.

When I spend time every day noticing these little joys, I feel fuller. My downs don’t feel so low. I’m more easily able to see everything I have to be grateful for.

So I’m going to be posting my #tinybeauties to Instagram, and I’d love for you to join in by posting yours too. (You can follow me here.)

I don’t have any plans for these posts, other than to share these tiny beauties with whoever is open to seeing them. There’s no grand plan or product idea here. Just a need to see more of the beauty the world has to offer, beyond mountains and beaches.

#tinybeauties

#tinybeauties

 

Enough

What is enough?

I’ve been struggling with the idea of enough. (Am I enough? Do I do enough?) And rather than rehash my thoughts on this same idea, I wanted to resurrect an old post where I ask, “What is enough?”

Interestingly, it was first published almost exactly a year ago. Turns out that my natural seasonal rhythm lends itself to quieter, introspective winters!

——

As a parent, friend, sister, daughter and wife I struggle with the notion of enough.

Do I play with the kids enough?
Am I healthy enough?
Do I call my sisters enough?
Have I been a good enough friend?
Is it enough to be content?
Am I trying hard enough?
Am I attractive enough?
Do I give enough?
Do I care enough?

Enough – not too little, not too much. Just… enough.

After struggling with the idea for a very long time – never feeling good enough, never satisfied, never entirely content – I’ve started to frame the idea of ‘enough’ in a different way. And can I tell you, it’s helping me find some much-needed perspective.

Much like the idea of tilting – where we willingly throw things off-balance and tilt in the direction life requires – I wondered if we could view the idea of ‘enough’ as a long-term notion, rather than something we need to achieve every day?

I think we can. And I think we should.

But what does that look like in real life?

Do I play with the kids enough?” Maybe not today, but sometimes clothes need to be washed, emails returned, toilets cleaned and phonecalls made. On the other hand, do I feel good in my gut when I ask if I’ve played with them enough over the past six months? Yes.

Am I trying hard enough?” Some days, I phone it in. And on those days, I am lacking. But, again, over the past 6 months? 2 years? 10 years? Yes, I try hard enough.

There are peaks and troughs, mountains and valleys for everything in life. Sometimes we feel that we are enough, other times we are filled with doubt. I think that’s simply being human. But reframing the idea this way has shown me that enough really IS enough.

But what about when it isn’t enough?

When you ask yourself the question, “Am I doing enough over time?” and the answer is silence. Or worse, when the answer is a pang.

What do you do then?

When that pang reverberates in my gut I know I need to pull up and listen. I know I need to make a change, or ask a different question.

Do I call my best friend enough?” PANG. No. Pay attention and make a change.

Have we made enough time to unplug on the weekends?” PANG. No. What can we do differently?

Am I present enough when I do play with the kids?” PANG. No. How can I change my approach?

My aim, in turning the idea of enough upside down, is to be mindful and intentional about what I’m choosing to do. Instead of being carried away by panic and regret and frustration at not being enough every day.

Essentially that means if I haven’t played with the kids enough, there’d better be a good reason. If I haven’t called my best friend enough, again, show me a good reason.

It’s a matter of listening to your instincts, your gut, and that little voice inside your head that when given a longer view of things suddenly becomes quite wise.

“Relax. You’ve done enough over time. That counts,” it says.

I think it’s time to listen.

 

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...