3 weeks in

I’m 3 weeks into this ‘new’ life. I finished up work at the end of September & commenced my year ‘off’.

It’s been an adjustment & I would suggest it will continue to be so. The first week was all a bit odd & at times I actually felt quite anxious. The anxiety was so frustrating & I was really giving myself a hard time about it. Then I had a little ‘ah ha’ moment.

I’ve been working in a corporate environment with a boss & somewhat clear expectations day-in & day-out for over a decade now. So I would think it will take me more than a few days to ‘unlearn’ some habits & form some new ones. So I need to just chill the f’ out & let this change happen, embrace it & it will all fall into place.

As I expected, by week two I was sick with a head cold & then to top it off I got gastro (passed on from the husband via his nephew urgh). So week two was a little more stressful, as I still had deadlines for my contract work & I was still very much in recovery mode.

Now we’re heading towards the end of week three & oh my gosh, I really feel like I’m starting to hit my stride & it is a wonderful feeling.

My balance between contract work, gym & relaxing has been so good & I am super keen to keep that on track.

I think I’ll break my thoughts into those 3 categories to explain more:

Earning an income

I am really focusing on taking on & saying yes to as much work as possible at the moment & I will continue to do this until the end of the year. I have a weekly ‘earnings’ target through to the end of the year & it is very achievable with working about 4 days a week. The reason behind doing all the work now is very sound & this additional ramping up of work will allow me to take all of January off if needed. In the line of work I do, January is very quiet & it is likely there will not be any work for me, so I want to simply enjoy that whole month. One thing I know about me is, if I want to enjoy that month off, then I need to know I’ve earned the money already & it’s there & I can just go & relax.

I’m doing a full monthly budget at the start of each month & making sure that budget fits in with the funds I’ve earned in the previous month. That way I’m not chasing my tail & worrying about what I ‘need’ to earn to meet the budget. I think this will work well for us, but let me give it a few more months to really see.

At the moment my weekly schedule looks something like this:

Monday – Full day of work

Tuesday – Half day of work

Wednesday – Full day of work

Thursday – Half day of work

Friday – Half day of work

Saturday & Sunday – I’ll usually work one of these days

So it’s about 4 full days of work per week & often 1 day of that is preparing work for the following week to ensure I’m as prepared as possible. It’s a good system currently.

Health & Wellbeing

I feel like I’m slowly getting into a good space with my health & wellbeing & in particular making the right decisions around the best way for me to get my weight back down & still retain my sanity.

With that said, I think I’m about to enter into a crazy 6 weeks that may challenge my sanity at times. My gym is running a 6 week challenge, starting this Saturday & I am super excited to be a part of it. It will definitely be a real push for me & will encompass my eating, moving & provide me with a good deal of support that I haven’t sought out in the past.

It is going to be tough but I have big goals so I may as well get stuck into them with a big challenge!

Relaxation

Weeks 1 & 2 were just hopeless when it came to relaxation & self care – it simply didn’t happen. Week 3 has been much much better.

Matt & I have managed a breakfast date & half a day of leisurely shopping & I have carved out some reading time & a couple of sleep in’s which has been just what the body needed after last weeks sickness.

I still have a fair amount of work to do in this space but it will just take time to find my groove & let’s be honest, you don’t want to work too hard at relaxing haha.

Until next time,

Cal

 

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Here we are a year later

Gosh 12 months just zooms by doesn’t it?!

It’s been interesting, well, interesting to me I suppose haha. We had a sad loss early in the year & a lot of last year was taken up with preparing for that. It isn’t my story to tell so I will leave it at that. Work for me has been quite an experience & I have found myself fighting harder than ever to maintain that elusive work-life balance. To be blunt, I havent found it & Im entirely tired of trying.

My anxiety has made far more appearances in the last 6 months than I would have liked & I’ve had to employ all the tricks in my ‘deal with it’ bag just to get through some days & weeks. Luckily I am surrounded by an amazing team who supports me & I am also proactive about management myself.

Late last year I joined a local gym & this had been one of the very best things I’ve done. I have lost a lot of weight, got so fit & signed up for challenges I never thought I would. The good news is I still have a long way to go on this fitness journey so I’m sure to keep this space updated about that.

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Before Miss Muddy 2016

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After Miss Muddy 2016

I have so many ideas for this little blog space & it has frustrated me so much to go through each weekend without sewing, cooking & creating so that I could post here. I still post on Instagram, but it isnt the same as here.

So I guess what Im trying to say is, I’m back, it’s been a crazy year BUT I’m dedicated to get back here & post more. So dedicated that I’ve given my job notice that I will be finishing up on the 30th September & taking a 12 month leave of absence.

Say what?!?!

Yep, if the last year has taught me anything, it’s taught me that life is precious; you only get one go at it; the people in your life ‘make it’ & it won’t slow down unless I actively take steps to slow it down.

I’m fortunate to be surrounded by good people, people I adore & people who deserve so much more of me & more of the ‘present’ me; which is the very best version of me. My parents are well, I want to spend time with them when they are well & we can all travel together & make some great memories.

More than anything MacroBoy & I want to spend time with each other, making our home more productive, working out what we need to live; not just from a monetary perspective but from a health & wellbeing perspective. I’ll still be doing some paid work (we still have a mortgage to pay & you know, we need to eat haha) but it will be much less than what I’m earning now & that is ok as it also comes with a whole less stress & part of what we want to find out is what we really ‘need’ to earn to feel comfortable.

Ok I’ve rambled on sufficiently, so lets pop in some pictures of what we’ve been up to these past 12 months (the fun stuff). Hopefully more of the same fun, plus plenty more will be coming up here.

Just need to get through 11 more weeks of work……..

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8 years of marriage & 13 years together this year

Organisation – The KonMari Method – Clothes, Shoes, Bags – The 1st Phase

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Mum, what have you done?!?!

One thing I put on my ‘goals’ list this year was to read more & in keeping with being more aware of our spending (due to the whole ‘one income household’ issue) I decided to sign up to our local library & borrow as much as I can rather than buy books on Kindle.

One of my other goals was to further declutter our home & lives in 2015. Specifically I said I wanted to get rid of 365 items & I think at last count, this was around the 190 mark. Let’s just say, over this past weekend, I completed smashed this goal for the entire year.

So where am I going with all of this? Well, let me explain. One of the books I’ve borrowed recently was ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by famed Japanese organising consultant Marie Kondo. I was curious about it, as it had flitted across my radar a couple of times this year so I put my name on the hold list (with 50 other people mind you) and lo & behold, I had my hot little hands on a copy eventually.

I won’t give a book review here, but I will say, I enjoyed it. I think you have to enjoy the book through the lense of a small understanding of the Japanese people & perhaps some of their ‘quirkiness’ & understand they work with extremely small living spaces in a lot of instances & that they are in my humble opinion quite a consumer driven society (ahhh, aren’t we all living in one of those).

Needless to say, I was inspired after reading the book & set out to tackle the first set of categories, which is clothes. KonMari breaks this down into the following categories:

Tops, Bottoms, Clothes to be hung (suits, coats etc), Socks, Underwear, Bags, Accessories, Clothes for Specific Events (swimming, uniforms etc) & finally, Shoes.

So that is exactly what I did & in the spirit of sharing & potential public shaming of myself, here is a few before photos.

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What I find particularly alarming (which I shouldn’t have, because KonMari does highlight in the book that you will be surprised by what you own) was just the sheer amount of clothing items I have (had). Especially as I have really focused on culling my clothes, shoes etc pretty consistently over the last 2 years.

So what are the key things I took out of this?

  1. Kon Marie is right when she recommends you ‘lay all your possessions in the category out’ to see what you are really dealing with. Take a moment to think ‘oh shit, why did I start this’ & then get into it.
  2. That you do go by category (i.e. tops, bottoms, etc) rather than just haphazardly with whatever you pick up.
  3. Designate a space for every item you own. You can’t expect to keep your possessions tidy if every single one doesn’t have a home. I’ve never thought about it before, but this really clicked with me.
  4. This really only took me half a day to do – Once you start, it is easier than you think & it is scarily satisfying.

Here are the after shots – I would suggest I still have too many clothes compared to some & others out there will wonder how I will cope with so few items of clothing. Each to their own I guess.

IMG_0068The sleepwear drawer

IMG_0065 The Workout Wear Drawer (who knew I was so drawn to black, blue & white for exercising haha)IMG_0078 The Lounge Wear Drawer (a.k.a. the I wanna be a bum drawer)IMG_0076 The Knits & Jeans DrawerIMG_0075 The Socks & Stockings DrawerIMG_0069 The Tank Top Drawer


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And finally, the WIR – So much space & everything has a home – Officially in love

I will save you any pictures of the underwear drawer, but I will say that is also significantly smaller than it was. With only stuff I love, nothing with broken hooks, dodgy underwires etc. What a revelation!

And here is the bed, that was hiding under all those clothes, just for pure proof purposes that I didn’t just pack some drawers & leave it all on the bed. I ended up getting rid of 7 bags of clothes, shoes, handbags, etc. Five of those will be donated with the remaining two to be thrown away.

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Next weekend is books. This will be super tough as I do become very attached to those bound bits of paper with ink all over them, but I feel that KonMari has provided some very sound rationale for me to reduce my book stocks significantly, so I will come back with another post shortly.

Taking Stock – July 2015

Worst blogger ever haha. I have so much to write about – just no time to sit and do it.

Making: A crochet blanket for a little human due later this year. Oh & more pencil cases, they seem to be popular with people at work. This is my latest one.

PencilCaseCooking: Amazing home-made sausage rolls. Comfort food at its best. This laksa was pretty kick-arse too.

LaksaDrinking: Shiraz, mainly from the Barossa or McLaren Vale
Reading: Better Than Before – By Gretchen Rubin. All about forming habits & mastering them – So many notes being taken haha.
Wanting: To de-clutter the house even further. Bit by bit, little by little.
Looking: Forward to our next camping adventure which will be free camping in October, but in the mean time, I still have memories of our long weekend in Halls Gap – Stayed at the best caravan park ever

HallsGapPlaying: Lots of Angus & Julia Stone (perfect for slow Sunday’s).
Deciding: What glasses to purchase…I chose these Alex Perry specs.

SpecsWishing: We had more land to follow our dreams now. All good things come to those who wait is the motto
Enjoying: Fresh juice every morning. Fave combo so far is orange, carrot, lemon, ginger, apple & celery.
Wondering: If Spotlight will have dinosaur print fabric for a special sewing project.
Loving: Orange is the new black – Slowly getting into it anyways. It’s the perfect thing for cold winter nights. Or mornings, like this one a few weeks ago.

FrostPondering: Why people think it’s a good idea to leave everything till the last minute.
Buying: Not much – I am officially on a clothes, shoes & makeup fast until Spring haha.
Marveling: At the invention of the Hibermate (http://www.hibermate.com/) hahaha
Cringing: At every single thing that comes out of ours Prime Ministers (& most of his party) mouth.
Needing: More time to read. Who knew that my relax time would be so stressful, never enough time to read haha.

Questioning: Why I only have 24 hours in my day, with sleep, work & travel, I’m not sure where I am supposed to fit crafting, working out, relaxing & READING!
Smelling: Tea-tree oil in our humidifier…hopefully that helps keep the germs away.
Wearing: My new Converse sneakers in Poolside & loving myself sick in them.
Following: Lots of Beauty YouTuber’s. Now that my skin is clearing, I’m a bit more interested.
Thinking: Always…It never stops…But mostly about where to go next year with the caravan.
Admiring: MacroBoy’s sense of self & his ability to do the right thing, even when he doesn’t have to.
Sorting: My makeup collection – Strangely satisfying.
Bookmarking: YouTube videos with makeup tips.
Coveting: Clear skin. Getting there!

No Make UpGiggling: At Carl Barron on Netflix. Has to be one of the funniest men alive.
Feeling: Pretty darn good, but ready to tackle the next 5kg I need to get rid of. First habit to form after I finish ‘Better Than Before’ is to get back to walking – It needs to happen.
Snacking: On home-made fresh cashew butter. So amazing & better than anything you can get off a supermarket shelf.
Helping: The economy when I consider how much I’ve spent on skin-care just before this spending freeze lol.
Hearing: Megan Trainor – Just discovered – I know – Living under a rock hahaha.

Regular programming will resume shortly….

Future Dreaming….

MacroBoy & I went on our first ‘big’ trip in the caravan just after Easter.

We visited the beautiful town of Bright in the Victorian high country & stayed @ a caravan park right next to my parents for 5 nights. It was very ace. The best bit was having our two dogs with us & we are looking forward to that becoming a regular thing.

I now cannot wait for our next mini-trip to Halls Gap. We will be staying here & I’m not going to lie, the wood-fire heated pool has got me intrigued & I can’t wait to dive in.

After 5 days in Bright, we popped home for one night then headed of to Lakes Entrance for 3 nights for more relaxation.

Whilst Bright was pure relaxation as can be seen in the below pictures, Lakes was always about ‘planning’.

Bright Quad

Each year, MacroBoy & I try to get away for a few days, just the two of us, often quite out of touch with the rest of the world & really relax but we also spend some time reflecting on the year just gone & talk a bit more about where we are at that moment & perhaps if there is anything we want to change.

Last year, we did just that. In July we headed off to Erica to Silver Top Cottages & on a side note, if you ever want to get away, this place is just completely divine. During that trip, we made the decision that MacroBoy would request to go down to 4 days per week at his employer of 7 years. Luckily, we knew his employer would probably not come to the party & if they did, change his contract to be very much in their favour. Which of course, they did, so on that trip, we also decided that he should seriously look at study options & ceasing work altogether. And that is just what he did a mere matter of months later.

So off the back of the success of last years trip, off we went to Lakes Entrance. We knew what the main theme of our discussions would be, however I don’t think either of us thought we would nail down so many aspects of our next ‘dream’.

The funny part of all of it, as if it were a sign, we also happened upon a ‘kit home’ builder & their display home on the way home from our trip. That display home ticked pretty much every one of the boxes we had put together on our trip.

So what is the general summary of our little planning session you ask? Well, it’s a 2 year plan & it involves us selling up where we are now & purchasing about an acre of land on the other side of Melbourne, much closer to Bendigo.

Essentially, it’s a move ‘to the country’. I am originally from the bush & I love the city, but as each year passes, we both feel a strong pull to a smaller community where we can get involved & follow our passions of growing our own food, making more ‘things’ with our own hands & feeling more connected to earth & community in general.

So we appear to have identified a broad area we want to move to, we have found the home we want & we have a few pages of things we want the house to do for us & even more ideas of what we want to do with the land. Including dreams of a market stall business eventually (not for anything other than community involvement & covering of costs).

We love where we live now & 4 years ago we built our dream home & honestly, 4 years later we still love this house as much as we did on day 1, if not more. However, we built this house with a different life in mind & the location was a compromise of ‘rural fringe’ living & close enough to city & schools. Now that children aren’t part of our future, we have decided we should follow this dream much sooner than anticipated & I am so so grateful for the endless possibilities that are now in front of us.

The beautiful part of this whole process is that I will still work where I am now. Anywhere we are considering moving will allow me to comfortably commute via the regional train service to & from the city of Melbourne which is a must, not only as the ‘bread winner’ of the family but also because I really do love my job & I’m not ready to give it up.

So that is our news. Lots of possibilities, plenty of inspiration & no rush to get there, but I know we will get the dream, as there has never been anything we have set our minds to that we haven’t achieved, so I can’t see this being any different.

We’re coming up to 12 years together soon & I am so excited to see what the next 12 could bring us.

The Soft Chevron Crochet Blanket

Oh me, oh my, what an epic project this turned out to be.

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Late winter of 2014 my parents made the final decision that Bendigo was to be their next ‘home town’. With that came a whole lot of craziness associated with selling the family home & moving 3 hours ‘up the road’.

In my down time (which wasn’t a lot seeing as this took me 6 months to complete) I decided to relax by crocheting a blanket for my Dad.

The blanket is completely made from Bendigo Woollen Mills ‘Luxury’ 10 ply yarn. I chose the yarn as I wanted Dad’s blanket to be as local to the area they were moving to as possible. Plus, I love everything the Bendigo Woollen Mills produces. I am particularly excited about their latest release and the colours. I need to keep reminding myself I have an epic stash of wool that is earmarked for a myriad of projects, so I don’t need it. Then my evil twin mentions the fact that ‘really, what is one more ball of wool when it’s so pretty’….argh, the dilemma haha.

Ok, so back to this blanket. It ended up being pretty big but I love it. I used this CrochetHooksYou tutorial and just adjusted it to the width I wanted then just decided to do 15 rows of each of the 7 colours I had. To finish it off I just did a single crochet border & I’m really happy with how it turned out.

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Hopefully this blanket will keep my Dad’s skinny little legs warm this coming Bendigo winter & for many more winters.

MacroBoy & I are heading up to Bendigo tomorrow so I will finally get to give the final product to Dad. Hope he likes it!

I’m already on to my next project, I spotted this blanket on Pinterest by Rescued Paw Designs & at the start of the year I snapped up some super cheap wool on clearance at Spotlight in pretty much the same colours, so I am already making good progress on a blanket for MacroBoy.

I am sure to be back in a couple of weeks with an update of sorts. Until then, happy crafting!

Ahhhh life, you just get in the way sometimes

It’s been a bit quiet around here.

As much as I would like to show loads of pictures of what I have been sewing, I just haven’t been doing that, so alas, no photos.

Work has been dominating a lot of my time lately, which I am ok with, as long as it’s not for an extended period of time. I suspect it will be like this until Easter & then we have a couple of weeks off, so I guess I just need to focus on the next 3 weeks.

I attended a course today which is focused on personal development which is always such a privilege & I think the next few months will ensure some time away from the daily grind to reflect on the type of person I am & how that influences the type of leader I am.

In more exciting news, we picked up our camper trailer last week. Just absolutely love it. Cannot wait for Bright in a few weeks.

Here is a pic I took on Saturday morning from the couch area.

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Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some more sewing projects…