Shop Small: The ultimate gift guide for New Zealand ladies



I’m really excited about this gift guide.


One of my most favourite things in the world is connecting with creatives and small business owners online (and in person.)


Nothing spells bravery, determination and creativity like a person deciding to set up their own business to sell whatever it is that they love to create.


Which is why I love celebrating these incredible people by cheering them on in their work. Recently, I’ve seen this cartoon (by @adriaadamsco) pop up quite a lot and I think it’s such a lovely idea.


Running a small business is HARD work and those who do need all the support they can get.



So that’s what this gift guide is all about. Giving you some ideas for Christmas presents and supporting some beautiful New Zealand business women.


The best part is that when you purchase from one of these small businesses, you know that the person who sends out your order will be beaming from ear to ear. That’s the real Christmas spirit!


The ultimate gift guide for New Zealand ladies:




Indigo & Iris



This company is just awesome. Their slogan is, ‘a beauty brand that gives a damn.’ And they truly mean it!


They currently produce mascara which is vegan and cruelty-free and they donate 50% of their profits to charity.


I’ve been using this mascara for a couple of weeks now and I’m a huge fan. I’ve always found mascara to be quite clumpy and I get frustrated by the fact it always leaves streaks under my eyes by the end of the day. However, levitate mascara isn’t clumpy and stays put on my eyelashes. It’s amazing.


Indigo & Iris currently have free shipping running all the way up until Christmas so it’s the perfect time to try it for yourself and get one for a friend too.

Website, Instagram, Facebook





Flowers On The Coffee Table



Maya sells such cute and quirky artwork. I’ve been following her for a while on Instagram and I love the positivity and joy she shares through her posts. If you aren’t following her already, you definitely should!

Maya creates her art by commission so get in touch if you like what you see. Check out her Christmas cards below, aren’t they just lovely?




Dusk To Dawn



Jemma’s artwork is so simple, yet so emotive. I have been eyeing up a couple of pieces for some time now because we have got several blank walls that really need filling.


I caught a snippet of Jemma explaining the reason behind her artwork on Instagram stories and it made me love her even more. Jemma loves to incorporate images of nude women and flowers into her artwork because she believes both are beautiful and natural and deserve to be celebrated. I am so here for that.

Website, Instagram, Facebook




Willow Collective



Layering delicate gold necklaces is on trend at the moment so these Willow Collective pieces would be perfect for any lady in your life.


All the jewellery is designed right here in New Zealand and is stocked in over 25 boutiques across the country. Take a look and see if there is one near you.

Website, Instagram, Facebook




Bohome And Roam



If you are a fan of boho style, this is a brand you need to know about. They carry a range of products including jewellery, accessories and homeware.


What I really love about this business is that the pieces are sourced from all around the world but everything has  an ethical and sustainable focus. It’s lovely to know that the person who made your jewellery has been treated well and paid fairly for their hard work.

Website, Instagram, Facebook



Ashley Co.



There is no shortage of people selling clay earrings (it’s this years version of soy candles I think) but these are so unique I had to include them on my list.


Ashley Co earrings look so professionally made and the designs are bold and beautiful. I am definitely going to be getting myself a pair (you know how Christmas shopping goes…one present for you, one present for me…)

Website, Instagram



Lunar Blue Designs



Okay I know this is yet another clay earring brand but oh my gosh how cool are these? I’ve never seen such intricate and creative designs before. I’m so tempted to add these to my cart as well.


A girl can never have too many pairs of earrings right?

Website, Instagram, Facebook





Ness Watson Pottery



I’m such a sucker for pottery. We found a bunch of cups in the garage at home and I had to have them. They’ve just been sitting in my cupboard unused but they are so pretty, every time I open my cupboard they make me smile.


I love these cups Ness has made and what makes them super fun gifts is that she can customise them with whatever name you would like. Then whoever you gift it to will feel special every time they drink their morning coffee!

Website, Instagram



Fox And Ivy



Emma creates the most gorgeous home fragrances. You must take a look at her Instagram because it’s another one you need to follow.


I was introduced to the concept of ‘room spray’ a few years ago and I’m a convert. At first I thought it was weird to spray fragrance around your house, in my head that was more for the bathroom because that’s where the bad smells tend to be.


But if you have guests coming over, it’s so nice to quickly make your house smell like freshly baked cookies or clean laundry. So do yourself a favour and get some of Emma’s room fragrances and candles.

Website, Instagram,



Honeylove Candle Co



I was given a honeylove candle for my birthday last year and it is simply delicious. The scent I have is salted caramel popcorn which is absolutely as heavenly as it sounds.


My biggest fear with buying candles is that they won’t really smell like anything. Sometimes they promise so much and then really disappoint. I promise that Honeylove candles won’t do that to you! They make an entire room (and house if it’s as small as mine) smell fantastic.


Honeylove also sells beautiful earrings and soy melts.


Website, Instagram,



Be Chunky 



Be Chunky sell gorgeous, stainless steel water bottles. Once you try a stainless steel water bottle, you will never go back to plastic. They keep your water cold for ages and you don’t get any of that yucky plastic taste.


These water bottles are environmentally friendly (hooray for re-useables!) and are designed by emerging artists which I think is awesome.

Website, Instagram,





Wild Crate



Gift-boxes always go down a treat. Wild Crate has a great selection of different boxes so you can find the perfect one for whoever it is you are shopping for.


What I also love about these boxes is that all the goodies are consumable which means you won’t have more things cluttering up your house.

Website, Instagram, Facebook



Happy Gram



Happy Gram is an online gift store that sends little presents to the people you love. You can choose what is inside and the message they receive. What a fun way to show someone you care about them!


I’m thinking that this could be perfect for Secret Santa at your work or among friends.

Website, Instagram, Facebook



I Used To Be



It’s almost summer in NZ so this gift is perfect. ‘I used to be’ re-purpose pool toys into water resistant accessories. They make bags and purses to keep things dry at the pool or beach.


I love that they are using materials that cannot be recycled to create something beautiful and really useful. So clever!

Website, Instagram,



Flora Grow 



Flora Grow make little gardening kits. These are perfect for people who find gardening on a large scale a little too daunting. I think everyone needs a little herb selection on their windowsill and these kits are ideal for that.


I think kids would really love to join in with growing these mini gardens too!

Instagram, Facebook


A few thoughts on a simple Christmas…


I hope that this gift guide has given you some Christmas present ideas. I haven’t started shopping yet but I feel confident that I can get it done well before the madness begins!


I have been thinking a lot about what a simple Christmas would look like for me. Honestly, the pressure to find the perfect present and spend hundreds of dollars and accumulate more and more STUFF makes me feel overwhelmed.


Unfortunately, as a society we have made Christmas about all the wrong things. But it is hard when you are celebrating with friends and family to keep your own values without offending or upsetting them.


There was one point when I wanted to throw in the towel and say NO gifts at all but here is my compromise. Giving small, lovely presents that come from NZ-based businesses.


At the end of the day, it’s not about how much money you spend or how many things you buy, it’s about showing and sharing love. 

How to create a mindful morning routine to start your day right



Until recently, I wasn’t a fan of morning routines. I found them to be far too restrictive for me. I didn’t like feeling as though I was chained to a particular way of starting each morning.


What if I woke up and my energy levels were very low? Exercising just wouldn’t work on those days.

Or what if one morning I felt super energetic? Sitting down and journaling would just feel frustrating.


I didn’t really see how one routine could work for me.


Well, now that I am self-employed, I see that structure is everything. I absolutely need routines, planning and some sort of order to my days.


At the moment I am still trying to figure out what sort of morning routine might work best for me. I thought that some of you might be in the same boat so I hope that you find this post helpful!


Thanks to Makayla who writes the blog, Little Me and Family for sharing her thoughts on how to create a mindful morning routine with us.




Having a mindful morning routine sets the tone for your whole day.


It’s not just about getting certain things done as a habit each morning. It’s about creating the mindset you want to be your default throughout the day.


What is mindfulness?


Mindfulness is simply creating the emotional and mental space to breathe in your environment, experience it intentionally, and let go of the stresses around you. Mindfulness is about being present in the moment.


Being mindful in the morning can change the way you view your whole day.


Instead of reacting, you can respond. Instead of blowing up about something that didn’t go your way, you can breathe and accept your situation with love and the grace to change without being angry.


A look at my mindful morning routine


My mornings don’t always look the same since I’m a mama. But, I try to make sure that my mornings include a few of the same essentials to start my day off right.


First, I try to get up before my daughter. This does miracles for my attitude the rest of the day. If I have that time to myself, I feel like even if I accomplish nothing but motherhood after she wakes up, I can rest in the fact that I did things by myself in the morning. ]


Some days this looks like me waking up at 4:30am, other days it looks like waking up at 6:30am and just showering before she wakes up.


Another morning mindfulness routine that I love to do is reviewing my prayer journal.


If it’s the beginning of the month, I fill out my prayer requests and intentions for the month. If it’s the middle of the month, I can look back at these prompts and it makes my prayer/meditation time much more focused and mindful. I also try to fill out the gratitude section of my journal. Identifying my gratitude first thing in the morning really sets a thankful tone for my day.


As I get work done in the morning, I find that focusing on one task at a time ensures that each task is done well and with intention. This means not opening more than 1-2 tabs at a time, only completing one task at a time, and completing pre-planned tasks so I’m not overwhelmed.


Once my daughter wakes up, I turn screens off during breakfast and try to get some yoga or stretching in. Moving my body first thing in the morning really charges my day with healthy energy.


How you start your morning sets the tone for your whole day. This post will give you some great tips for creating a mindful morning routine so that you can feel your best every day.


How to create your own mindful morning routine


The most important thing you can do for your mental state in the morning is to ensure that you approach your day with grace is to have a good evening routine.


Not many people talk about evening and morning routines together, but they go hand-in-hand. If you aren’t going to bed early, without your phone or TV putting you to sleep, you aren’t going to feel your best the next day.


Taking care of your body at night will determine how well you can take care of your body in the morning and feel throughout the day. Here are some things to remember when you create your own morning mindfulness routine.


Go to bed early


You want to aim for 8 hours of sleep. If you have a Fitbit, you can use the bedtime reminder to alert you when it’s time to get ready for bed.


Eliminate screens 1-2 hours before you go to bed


The light from screens can disrupt your sleep and cause you to take longer to fall asleep. If you want to be well rested, turn off your screens well before you go to bed.


Eat a healthy breakfast


Make sure you eat breakfast and make healthy food choices. These will influence your food choices for the rest of the day. You can try eggs and toast, a fruit and dark leafy green smoothie, or some oatmeal with fortified nut milk, chia seeds, nuts, and fruit.




Drink a calming tea before bed if you’re prone to stress


If you’re prone to stress or have trouble falling asleep, try a glass of decaf tea or a magnesium supplement to help you fall asleep easier and sleep more restfully.


Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning


Drinking water is so important for your overall health. Drinking it first thing in the morning not only wakes you up and signals to your body to get moving, but it’s great for your digestion and sets the standard of hydration for the day.



Getting your body moving first thing is a great way to set your intentions for the day: productivity, mindfulness, and movement.


Journal your goals, gratitude, and affirmations


Reminding yourself what your goals are, what you are thankful for, and speaking positive affirmations over yourself will require your brain to have these as your default instead of complaining, stress, and anxiety.


Focus on one task at a time


Don’t multitask. It doesn’t work. Instead, focus on one task at a time and concentrate on doing each one well.


Final thoughts


Mindfulness is so important for emotional and spiritual well-being. It creates such an impact when applied first thing in the morning.


Starting your day with a mindfulness practice can create an intentional and grace-filled mindset for the rest of the day. When everyone else is stressed out you’ll be centered and ready to take on everything with intention.


I’m curious. What’s your morning routine? How do you practice mindfulness? 


About the author




Makayla is a mother and the blogger behind Little Me and Family. Most days you’ll find her in yoga pants and a messy bun with a toddler glued to her leg. She is passionate about helping women to ditch the STUFF and to just enjoy the present moment. Makayla works hard to create beautiful resources that make simple living easy!

How to enhance your creativity using white space



Have you ever noticed that all of your best ideas come to you in the most unusual places. Like when you are in the shower or just about to fall asleep or driving your car? 


So basically just about any place you are unlikely to have a pen and paper lying around, right?  


One theory for why that may be is that all of the above are examples of mental white spaces. 


I’ve been really fascinated to discover this idea of mental white spaces and how they can help you to enhance your creativity. 


Because ask any writer, the thing about creativity is that it needs space to breathe. It is near impossible to work our creative muscles when we feel overwhelmed or under pressure. 


For us to be at our creative best, we need freedom, a fresh mind and a willingness to let go.




You may have heard of white space before. 


In page layout, illustration and design, white space is known as negative space. It is the portion of the page or canvas that is left unmarked. It is the space between any writing, pictures or diagrams. 


It is called negative space rather than blank space, because white space actually has a very important purpose. 


White space provides visual relief and allows our focus to be drawn to the other important elements in the design.


As I am beginning to learn with my wardrobe, a lot of colours and patterns mashed together can be overwhelming to look at and that is why white space is used, to create balance.


The idea of mental white space is much the same. 


There are certain activities and daily rhythms that provide balance and mental relief for us. It is these moments of repetition and calm where your mind is free to wander that your creativity can be unleashed. 


So how do you go about adding more white space into your life?




Enhance your creativity by using mental white space:


Just consume less 


As tempting as it is to avoid being alone with our thoughts, it isn’t very helpful for our creativity if we spend all our time consuming masses of information. 


I know this is hard because I am a huge information junkie. I LOVE reading blog posts and news articles, listening to podcasts, and watching YouTube videos. I’d much rather scroll through the apps on my phone than sit quietly while waiting for the kettle to boil.


But one of the easiest ways you can bring more mental white space into your life is to simply consume less information. That means not filling up every quiet moment you have in the day by scrolling on your phone. 


Instead, make use of those mundane tasks like washing the dishes or putting the grocery shopping away to practice being present in the moment and allow your mind to wander. 



Go for a walk


Yes, I know this tip is on every single self help list ever, but I won’t apologise for putting it here. 


Going for a walk gets you out of your current space and into a new environment. Outside there are so many things to observe and take inspiration from.


Moving your body also has this magic effect of relieving stress and bringing mental clarity. So a simple walk can be all it takes to bring forth a brilliant idea that’s been hidden away underneath all your stress.



Try free writing


Elizabeth Gilbert talks about free writing in the form of ‘morning pages.’ The practice of just writing down whatever thoughts come to mind first thing in the morning. 


Free writing is great because it takes a lot of the pressure out of writing. I think part of the reason we get creative blocks is that often when we write, we have an agenda.


We want to get a blog post published, a caption crafted or an email sent. And even in my journal I can become unconsciously controlling about the words I write, steering clear of those tricky, uncomfortable emotions. 


So just taking the time to spill whatever thoughts are in our heads onto paper can enhance our creativity. 


Free writing can bring forth things that are keeping us stuck, as well as ideas that may later be useful for some project or other.




Get creative


Something I find so refreshing when I experience writer’s block or a dip in my creativity, is to work on something completely different. 


I like to branch out into some other creative discipline, to give myself a break while still using my imagination.


For me, that looks like taking to my sewing machine.


It is totally different to writing but it also requires thinking outside the box and coming up with new ideas. Also, the whirring of the machine as it casts stitches is somewhat hypnotic and thoroughly relaxing.


But you don’t need to be a whizz with a needle and thread. You could try painting, creating stop motion videos, pottery, needlepoint, the options are exciting and endless!


Stop rushing


I’m absolutely terrible at slowing down. I love having a plan and getting things done.


This has a negative effect, being that I tend to rush through my days hopping from task to task. Sometimes while I am working on one task I’ve got another five things I need to get done swirling around in my head, fighting for my attention.


Creating white space could be as simple as slowing down and giving your full attention and time to the task at hand. I think this is especially important for tasks that seem trivial, such as folding the laundry or vacuuming the floors. As I mentioned earlier, those mundane moments are often when our best ideas come to us.


Taking your time in those boring daily tasks could actually be exactly what you need to enhance your creativity.


I’m definitely going to be making more of an effort to decrease my consumption of information, so that my creativity has space to breathe.


And I think slowing down wouldn’t be the worst idea either!


Have you heard of mental white space before?

How embracing hygge can help you beat the winter blues



When we made the decision to move back home we never really gave the difference in temperatures a thought, and then winter hit and we became very aware of that difference.


Both of us had grown accustomed to Auckland’s coastal humidity and frequent, unpredictable showers. Our home town is further south and inland, so the climate here is quite different to that of Auckland.


In winter, we often wake to find frost blanketing the backyard, and our breath swirling in clouds around us. It is rather chilly walking across the kitchen floor and condensation is constantly dripping down the windows. 


On the whole, I have found the obvious shift in the seasons to be refreshing.


There is something about that visible change that seems to make me more aware of time passing and therefore, I am more mindful as each day goes by.


However, I am still not immune to the blues that many face during the winter period.


I hate how a great deal of the day is lost in darkness. I hate how I feel sluggish, slower and less motivated to get things done. I hate that my fingers get so numb that I struggle to use my keyboard.


Winter is hard. 


But there are some people who know exactly how best to beat the winter blues because they have to endure much longer winters than the rest of us. 


You have probably heard of ‘hygge’ by now, the Danish secrets to embracing the winter season.


In Denmark, winter is cold, long and dark. Some days they only get 7 hours of daylight and therefore, they need to find ways to help keep their spirits up, which is where hygge comes in.


Last year, I read ‘The little book of hygge’ by Meik Wiking (which is really great by the way) and in it he describes hygge as,

an atmosphere and the experience, it is not about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling we are safe that we are shielded from the world…to be able to let our guard down”


In the book, Meik shares his hygge manifesto which is accompanied by lovely little drawings. I liked it so much that it is printed out and stuck on our fridge. 


Since this is the first proper winter I have experienced in the past five years, I have been trying to put hygge into practice.


To make the most of this season and to keep myself in good spirits until our side of the planet warms up again.




How embracing hygge can help you beat the winter blues:


Dressing for the season


Something I love about winter is that the temperature stays relatively consistent. I can bundle up in multiple layers without worrying that by midday I’ll be too hot/cold.


The key to being cheerful in winter is dressing for the season.


Alfred Wainwright said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” I have to agree with him. I don’t mind muddy ground, icy winds or drippy rain if I am dressed for the occasion.


And the great thing about winter fashion is that simply flinging a coat and scarf on can make any outfit look stylish.




Eating seasonal produce


I am passionate about eating with the seasons. As tempting as it may be to eat tomatoes, peaches or capsicum in the winter just because we can, I choose not to.


Winter fruits and vegetables are perfect right now. They are ripe, cheap to purchase and suited to the kind of meals I’ll probably eating.


Pumpkin whizzes up perfectly into soup that warms me from the inside out. Oranges are sweet and contain vitamin C to help me fight off colds. Potatoes, onions and carrots add bulk to stews that are comforting after being outside in the chilly wind.  


Eating seasonally just makes more sense.


Creating a cozy home


We have almost covered the entire perimeter of our flat in fairy lights at this point and I’m not at all sorry about it. I love the warm, soft lighting that they provide in contrast to the stark white light bulbs we currently have (that I refuse to get rid of until they blow.)


To make our home more cozy I have come to terms with the fact that there will always be a red blanket strewn haphazardly across our brown couch that clashes horrendously. You win some battles and others you must concede. 


One battle I do intend to win is against that musty, wintery smell that can linger when the house stays closed up for too long. I have several room sprays that I use on rotation that work like a charm.




Chasing the sunshine


The hardest part of winter for me is the lack of sunlight. After days and days of grey skies, I start to feel really off and so I am learning to chase the sunshine.


Whenever there is even the tiniest hint of sunshine, I will sit outside and eat my lunch. I find that even those few minutes over lunchtime or while I hang my washing out on the line make a world of difference to how I feel.  


There isn’t an awful lot of sunshine so you have to make the most of it while you can.


Bringing the outdoors, indoors


One of my favourite hygge ideas to adopt was including more natural elements in our home.


For me, that was just an excuse to fill our living room with plants, plants and more plants. 


Having an array of houseplants brings me such peace. I love watering them and misting the fussy ones and making sure they are getting enough sunlight.


But if you lack green fingers, then other natural elements you can bring into your home could be logs, wooden furniture, pine cones, dried flowers, grasses, seed pods and woolen rugs.




Gathering with friends


Due to the bleak weather, going out in winter isn’t always possible or very enjoyable but that doesn’t mean your social life has to come to a grinding halt.


Having friends around for supper is such a nice way to spend a dreary winter night. It doesn’t have to be a big drama to host either, just get everyone to bring something to share and then you can enjoy the company without having to spend most of the evening in the kitchen.


I can’t think of a better way to raise your spirits than spending quality time with the people you love.



Hygge has taught me how to slow down and enjoy life without feeling guilty. Winter is a dormant season for many plants and animals and I think most of us need that change in pace too.


With just a smidgen of creativity, winter doesn’t have to be so dull and dreary. Try adding a little hygge and see if that helps you beat the winter blues.


If you want to print out your own hygge manifesto to stick on your fridge, you can download the graphic I made (because most of the ones I found online from the original book are awful quality.)


10 easy changes to create a simple, sustainable kitchen


My kitchen is my happy place. I spend hours pottering around in there, stirring pots on the stove, sweeping crumbs off the floor, waiting for the kettle to boil for my tea. 


Although my kitchen is tiny and the cupboards are so tall that I need a step stool to reach the top shelves, I love it. 


I’ve been doing quite a bit of house hunting with my mum (she’s buying, not me) and in every house we’ve seen, the kitchen is the thing that sells the house for me. 


I can live with a small bedroom. I can live without a bath tub or an en suite. I can live without a garage. But I cannot live without a decent kitchen.


Therefore, of all the areas in my home, it is the kitchen that I have tried to ensure is as simple and sustainable as possible. 


It is still a work in progress but I thought I would share some of the ways I have simplified my kitchen with you. 


10 easy changes to create a simple, sustainable kitchen:


Buy things in bulk 


For some reason, I really hate having multiples of things. I think it has something to do with the fact that growing up, my mother loved to stock up our pantry whenever things went on sale. Having more than I need has always made me feel stressed. 


However, I am a fan of buying things in bulk to save on money and unnecessary packaging. So a good compromise for me is visiting a bulk food store or buying the largest quantity of something I can.


Earlier this year, I read an article about Tesco’s trialing refilling stations in their supermarkets and I hope that went well because I would love that to become a widespread thing!


These are my favourite easy changes to make so that you can create a simple, sustainable kitchen. #ecofriendly #sustainability #simpleliving


Start meal planning 


If you are a long-time reader then you have definitely heard me mention this before, I love meal planning. 


It will honestly simplify your life and kitchen so much. 


You will always have what you need, when you need it and you won’t have excess food withering in your fridge or getting lost at the back of your pantry. 


I must confess, I’m not always the best at sticking to what my meal plan says but I like that if I’m feeling lazy, at least I don’t have to think about what to cook for dinner.



Take reusable shopping bags


From the 1st of July this year, New Zealand brought in a ban on plastic bags which meant retailers no longer provided shopping bags and this, in turn, has made reusable shopping bags mainstream. 


I am delighted to see other people adopting such a simple change to help reduce plastic waste.


I keep a bunch of bags in my car and one that folds up tightly in my purse so that I always have something to carry my shopping in.



Store your food correctly 


There are some life lessons that I really wish they had taught us in school and how to store your food properly is one of them. 


There is nothing worse than opening the crisper drawer at the bottom of the fridge to discover a vegetable slurry has formed without you realising it. 


The fix is simple however, just learn how to store your fruits and vegetables correctly. For example, I recently learned that celery lasts much longer if you keep the stalks standing in a glass jar like you would with fresh flowers. 


To learn the best way to store your favourite fruits and vegetables, I found this great post which explains it all perfectly.  




Try composting  


For my birthday last year, my mum got me this gorgeous compost bin. The fact that I was over-joyed by this gift probably says a lot about me. 


Truly, my compost bin is one of my favourite possessions. We used an old ice cream tub for a long time but it was far too small and was always overflowing. I love my new bin because it’s 5L and stainless steel so it won’t get all rusty from the wet food scraps. 


As far as the actual composting is concerned, all I do is throw it in a heap in the backyard. Then I add sticks, newspaper and dead leaves, and I try to turn it every week or so. That’s it!


Start recycling your soft plastic  


I have always been the stickler for recycling in my family. I have been known to take things out of the bin, wash them and then recycle them. I hate waste and if I can avoid it, then I will. 


I know that recycling isn’t the answer to our waste problem but it is a start.


Something you might not know you can recycle is the soft plastic that foods such as pasta and bread come in. 


In my city you can’t add this type of plastic to the kerbside recycling bin but there are collection points at several supermarkets where you can drop it off.



Do a freezer stock take 


It doesn’t matter how small your freezer is, it will always manage to accumulate an insane amount of stuff. 


Things tend to get lost in the depths of your freezer so it pays to do a little stock take every now and then. 


I keep a list stuck to the outside with everything that’s in there. It’s not a perfect system but at least it means I take a good look inside my freezer every month or so. 



Use loose leaf teas 


It is official, I have become a tea snob! I bought a strainer and a box of loose leaf tea and I’m never looking back. I had no idea it tasted so much better. 


But besides that, I always felt frustrated having to dump my used teabags in the bin because they contain plastic so can’t be composted like my coffee grounds. 


Before you rush out and buy a tea strainer, can I recommend you get one like you see in the picture, not one of those ball and chain type ones? This strainer is so easy to use and remove the used leaves from.


I’ve tried those other cute, animal-shaped strainers and while they may look fun, they are the biggest pain to clean out. Simple is best.




Shop at a fruit/veggie store or farmers market 


I love going to the fruit and veggie store because it is often much cheaper and I can throw everything in a basket without needing to use plastic bags.


It feels good to support a small business too.


I’ve learned to go to the supermarket first however, because they tend to have specials on a particular fruit or vegetable each week.




Try natural cleaning products


I’m a little iffy on using the word ‘natural’ to describe any product. What I mean by natural cleaning products is using items you already have that work wonders for cleaning.


I found some brilliant ideas in the book: Forgotten ways for modern days. Our grandparents had some really great ways of using egg shells, lemon juice and baking soda to clean their homes ‘naturally.’


Do you have any tips for creating a simple, sustainable kitchen?

5 ways to practice being present in the moment



There are some people in our lives who are so totally our opposite, it can feel as though the two of us come from different planets. 


We have our similarities of course – or we would never have become friends – but I often find it is our differences that bring us together.


Just like the old saying goes…Opposites attract. 


My boyfriend, Dom, and I are exactly like that.


I am a flurry of activity, prepared for every eventuality, constantly thinking about the next step. He is content to remain in the same place, isn’t worried about what’s next, isn’t in a hurry to get anywhere.


I am in a hundred places at the same time, whereas he is always present, living in the moment, inherently mindful.


These facets of our personalities clash spectacularly as you can imagine. 


I am tapping my foot, ready to go, waiting beside the front door. He is simultaneously putting on his shoes, checking the oil in his car and sweeping the kitchen floor. 


I am carefully writing out and sticking to a shopping list. He is excitedly stuffing things into the supermarket trolley like a kid in a candy store. 


I am making everyone dizzy with all of my plans. He is happily pouring his cereal and opening up the next chapter of his book.


How can he be so content just living from moment to moment? Isn’t he worried about the future? Isn’t he concerned about how much milk we have left or whether he remembered to turn the oven off or what he said to that person last week?


My frustration is pointing out what I need to fix, not with Dom, but within myself.


This desperate need to rush, this constant feeling of needing to get something done, the way I resist being still and captivated in the wonder of moments. 


Dom doesn’t need to speed up, I need to slow down. 


My laser-focus on tasks, productivity and organisation is causing me to miss the big picture or perhaps, the small picture. All those sweet, silly moments that I’m always bulldozing through in my hurry to stick to my rigid plans.


I can feel the time slipping through my fingers like grains of sand in a hourglass. If only I knew how to pause it for a second, to open my eyes to what is right in front of me. 


The precious hugs that I hold so briefly before I strain to get back to the vegetables I was chopping.


The satiny, morning sun in the living room that I glance over while I’m rushing to make the house perfect before our friends arrive for breakfast. 


That warm, cozy feeling of being snuggled in bed that I jump from so that I can tackle my to-do list immediately. 


And this constant rushing feeds my anxiety.


I am always afraid of what is coming next because I am always thinking about, and living in, tomorrow.


What I need, is to start living right here, in today. I need to practice being present in the moment. 




So these are my tips for those of you who come from the same planet as me (the hyper-focused, super-organised, stressed-out one). Let’s try to slow down.


5 ways to practice being present in the moment


Stop worrying about tomorrow


I really need to schedule an appointment to get my wisdom teeth taken out and I have been worrying about it for months.

Almost every day I have been worrying about making the call, paying for the procedure, getting the teeth out and the inevitable pain I will feel afterwards. 


But the other day I realised something – I am not getting my wisdom teeth out today – and therefore I do not need to worry about all those things today.


Each day has plenty of worries without me adding tomorrows worries too!


So this is my question for you: Is the thing you are worrying about happening today?


If yes, then it is perfectly acceptable to feel concerned about it.

If not, then remind yourself that today you are safe. You have nothing to worry about today



Rest in gratitude


When something makes me feel especially happy, I enjoy it for approximately one second and then I feel terribly afraid that this thing is going to be taken away from me.


I call this self-sabotage, Brene Brown calls it ‘foreboding joy.

A way of protecting ourselves from the worse-case-scenario by playing it out in our heads. And according to Brene, the antidote to this miserable way of thinking, is gratitude. Daring to be vulnerable and choosing to feel the joy over the fear.


When you feel that rising panic about something going horribly wrong- give thanks. 



Notice your joy


So often, we don’t allow ourselves to fully enjoy a moment. We cloud our happiness with our pent up anger, sadness and fear.


When a moment strikes you as being absolutely delightful, when your chest swells and your laughter rings out, take a second to soak in that joy.


Notice how it makes you feel. Stay here awhile instead of rushing off to do the next thing. 


5 ways to practice mindfulness and being present in the moment. As someone who tends to rush from one thing to the next I need to consciously choose to slow down and rest. Being present has helped me feel less anxious and much happier. I hope these 5 tips will help you too!


Be intentional on social media


It can be all too easy to use social media as an escape. A chance to numb ourselves and avoid whatever is going on in our real lives.


We can sometimes let hours slip by as we scroll mindlessly through our newsfeed, without even stopping to notice or connect with anyone else.


Try to be intentional when you are online. Use those apps to actually connect with people. Leave thoughtful comments, share something you found valuable, add to the community rather than skimming over the posts you see. 



Focus on one thing at a time


We like to think that if we do two things at once we are being more efficient but in reality, we are more likely just doing a bad job of two things instead of a good job of one.


I am not a fan of multi-tasking. I say focus on one thing and give it your full attention.


When I am driving, I can’t also be texting (mostly because that’s illegal but also because it is distracting.)

When I am talking to someone, I can’t also be editing a photo for Instagram.

When I am studying, I can’t also be on Facebook (although, if I am honest, I never really adhere to this.)


You just can’t be in two places at once. Be all here.


You know I am glad that we aren’t all the same. The world needs both of us. People to make things happen, to plan ahead, to get the job done today. And people to encourage us to rest, to keep us grounded, to remind us of the importance of being present in the moment.