2018: The little things.

Welcome to 2018. A fresh new 365 days to live boldly bolstered by the memories, triumphs and downfalls of those before it. I for one, feel like this new year caught seamlessly onto the last thread of 2017 and continued to weave it’s story. 2017 was a really good year for the most part, and I didn’t quite feel the need to “leave it behind” or run from it. I was ready to just simply keep on living, no matter its numerical standpoint in a calendrical world.

For the first time since K.B passed away, we celebrated new years. Not how we used to when she was here. There weren’t any midnight dashes down to the ocean to watch the fireworks from the shoreline, or planking competitions. We didn’t have a group of strangers turn up to the apartment to party with us, or spend the next day drowning in exhaustion and hot potato gems. No, it wasn’t like it used to be – though those new years will always be the most cherished.

Instead, I think after all these years, we were finally ready to celebrate it a new way. And I think she would be happy to know that in the midst of the fireworks, although we missed her still incredibly, we found a new way to love her and the bright sparks at the same time.

We welcomed 2018 in camping under the stars on the beach, something I know K.B would have approved of immensely. With a light breeze just strong enough to pierce through the summer balminess, we set a box of fireworks alight and watched them disperse in the black night sky above us. The ocean cooed in response, wildly crashing upon the sand and I took it all in.

With perhaps more clarity than I’ve ever had on a new years eve before, I realised I had been chasing this feeling of contentment all year long. My chest felt light and my thoughts were clear as I sat around the campfire listening to the campsites next door count down to last seconds. It was like taking a breath of air for the first time in a long time, and hitting an internal re-fresh. And in that moment that I knew just how much the little things matter.

Christmas last year showed me how to be present in the little things, and new years eve taught me what to do with them.

You see they tell you that it’s the little things that matter. And it’s true. They do.

But I think what matters more, is what you do with them.

Little things can be good, awe-inspiring, the start of the next big thing. But little things can also be sad, inconvenient, and sorrowing. Being present in those moments teaches you understand their significance, but it’s what you then choose to do with them that’s important.

Notice the things that make you happy, chase them and crave to find them in your mundane everyday routine. Remember them and cherish them. Don’t know where to find them? Start with that coffee your Mr. bought you on his way home from work, or the way your golden retriever spends ten minutes rolling around on his back for entertainment in a bliss all of his own. Then notice how a flower grows to face the sunlight, and how the little old man looked at his sweetheart on the park bench next to him. Find the little things that are good and let them guide you. There’s plenty of good left in the world to be found, you just have to let yourself see it.

And as for the little things that trouble you? Well, it’s easy. It always has been. Let them go.

I recently read a letter from a young woman who passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. She was only 25. In amongst the reflection* upon her life and the things she wished for herself and others, she remarked upon the little things.

She said that people spend too much time focusing on the little things that plague their minds with worry or heartache. And that it’s not until you’ve been given finite amount of time to live that you realise that those things aren’t what’s important.

When you’re told that there’s not much time left, you start to wish your biggest issue wasn’t that your body was giving up on you, but that instead it was just terrible traffic on your way to work this morning, or a bad night’s sleep.

Because the bottom line is that it shouldn’t matter if the hairdresser cut your hair too short, or you have cellulite on your arse – these are not the things that should consume you. These are small things. And they are insignificant in the big scheme of things.

She had it completely right. And I can’t help but want to take her last worldly advice and run with it. Because if there’s anything I think I’m starting to understand in this lifetime, it’s that true happiness stems from gratitude. And I think gratitude comes from knowing how to deal with the little things. So that’s where I’m starting.

This year, it’s about the little things. And I truely think this is the biggest lesson you could  ever learn. Learn it with me if you’d like!

Wishing you the best for 2018, always.

d x

[* Holly Butcher’s Reflection: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/dying-womans-inspirational-and-moving-final-letter-goes-viral/news-story/89c6036ccdcde5c0522a23a5c10265eb %5D

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Fiddle-leaf Friend.

It’s well-known that I like to make friends with my plants (all inanimate objects really – in a much less psychiatric way than that sounds). I’ve totally become one of those people who speak to their greens in the rare case they might hear me and grow a little better. 

It’s also well-known that I’m not the greatest of all gardeners, and like many new beginners, have a regrettable track record at keeping things alive (green, plant things that is! My human patients have never suffered from my lack of a green thumb I promise!). It would seem that plants are yet to learn how to love me as much as I love them.

From an outsiders perspective, it looks like an easy gig. Water, sunlight, fertiliser – and voila! But I am here to confirm that all is not as it seems in the world of plants, and my goodness – I have so much to learn. 

Buy a succulent, they said. It’s impossible to kill those, they said. Well, they were wrong. I’m the kind of ambitious gardener who apparently can kill a succulent. My last venture out into the garden almost burnt my beautiful gardenias alive with a little too much blood and bone fertiliser. Apparently, you’re supposed to use that stuff sparingly and at least ten centimetres away from the plant itself…

But never fear! This August, I’m turning over a new leaf (pun definitely intended). I’m learning how to be the crazy plant lady in all my glory – starting with Fred the Fiddle Leaf Fig. 

Fred arrived last Friday with a tiny height of 50cm and as cute as you get when it comes to plants. Wanting to keep this one on the healthy side of preservation, I did a little research and thought I might as well share it for anyone else who, like me, may not be plant-rearing-gifted. 

I’ll call the following tips collectively… How to best love your fiddle-leaf friend 🌿 And wish it to be the most helpful gardeners how-to list you read today!

Here we go:

1) Sunlight

Fiddles love the sun, or at least, they love the humidity and brightness the sun brings – and not quite the direct sun rays. So keep this in mind when choosing the perfect place to keep your new green friend. I keep Fred in the corner of the main lounge room. There’s always plenty of sun to keep him in the brightness all day, with a little refuge thanks to the charcoal curtains adorning the window. 

2) Water

One important thing to know is that Fiddles don’t love being watered as much as you imagine they would. They are easily susceptible to root rot – and trust me, that looks just as bad as it sounds. Only water your Fiddle when the top inch of soil is dry. If you’re not sure, try sticking your finger in the soil and work it out by feel. Depending on the weather, the potting and the position, you might find your Fiddle only needs to be watered once or twice a month! (Talk about low maintainence!). 

3) Food

Fertilise your Fiddle regularly! They thrive off being fed at least once every month throughout their growing seasons (this means you get a break over the winter months!). Try using a weak liquid fertiliser – if you’re not sure which one, I’m sure your local garden centre staff can point you in the right direction. 

4) Soil

When it comes to soil, Fiddles aren’t picky. Any good soil will do the trick as long as it’s a fast-draining potting mix that will allow water to move freely through. My tip: go for quality soil over the cheaper priced ones – your Fiddle Leaf leaves will adore you all the more for it. 

5) Leaf Care

Your Fiddle will need some TLC from time to time with its beautiful large leaves. Being such a great indoor plant unfortunately doesn’t make it immune to catching dust. So every now and then, take to the leaves with a cloth to gently wipe away any residual on the leaf’s top side. This will help your Fiddle to absorb as much light as possible and increase its ability to avoid fungal infections. It also brings back the gloss we all love!

6) Pruning

If you want to have a little influence over how your Fiddle grows, you might want to give pruning a go. Fiddles should only be pruned in the Spring months (this is its best growing season!). Pruning promotes branching and a thicker growth. If you want your Fiddle to look similar to a tree, make sure you prune from the top to encourage the branching out up there! Fred is a one metre high variety, perfect for my little home – so I’m thinking I’ll just let him do his thing!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is apparently all there is to it! 

Here’s to hoping my little Fiddle Leaf Fred (and yours too of course) stays glossy, healthy and happy from here on out! 

August is definitely the month for learning how to make my plants love me one ‘How-to-self-help’ list at a time! Next, I think I’ll try jasmine….

Happy gardening!

d x

The difference between want and need. 

Can we ever really be content?

I think as humans we never stop chasing desire. We have this unquenchable thirst for the things that we can’t have, or can… but absolutely do not need

It would seem that the moment we are lucky enough to obtain the things we want most, desire evolves and revolutionises our definitions of happy.

I always had three big financial goals. The first was to save enough for a house, then for a new car and then for a wedding, that is of course, if a certain someone ever did decided to put a ring on it (ahem…still waiting). 

Well, I’m now 24 and I’ve built the house, I’ve bought the car and I’ve saved for the hypothetical-wedding (as there’s no shiny diamond yet). And I thought that by achieving these goals of mine I would happily fall asleep each night, utterly content with life and all it entailed. 

But lately, I somehow find myself awake in the early hours of the morning, chasing new desires in my mind.

And I am astounded by myself and my all-too-human flaw in wanting for more. I feel that this makes me greedy and I’m so uncomfortable with the feeling. How can I want more? Why isn’t what I have enough? 

I simply can’t fathom how I can feel so helpless for the people in the world with far less than me, yet crave trivial things such as new couch cushions and a fiddle leaf fig tree. It’s obsurd to me that I can in one state of mind, know I am privileged to have the things I have and yet in the other throw that notion to the wind in search of decor matching tea towels. 

I’m left to wonder whether these materialistic traits are avoidable or simply embedded into the very fabric of our beings as humans. 

Because I would very much like to turn down the dial on the wants, and focus solely on the needs. And with every attempt at this, I’m finding I’m walking a very find line between the both. 

It’s easy to walk into a shop and get a little hazy on what exactly constitutes a ‘need’. Especially when you walk away from a ‘want’ with all the best intentions, only to arrive back twenty minutes later convinced that it simply must be a ‘need’ in disguise due to the fact that you’ve been unable to stop thinking about it since you first laid eyes on it. 

Trust me, I have been there. 

But I think it simply comes down to this. The difference between need and want is functionality, and a little more self control than you ever think you have left in you at the time. 

Could you function without it? Can you do all that you need to do this week without it? No? Then it’s a need. Everything else earns the title of a want, and gets to stay put on the shelf while you pat yourself on the back for leaving it there. Seriously, good job!

It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t sometimes get the things want. It just is important to know the difference. And just when the right time is to endulge in the wants. 

So, I’m trying my best to stop chasing the wants in the early hours for a little while and instead turn my focus to trying to harness a little more contentness in the things that I have got. Because  I think sometimes that’s where happiness truely stems from – being content with your empire exactly the way it is. 

I’m opting for functionality. And hoping to embrace a little more gratitude over gluttony on my travels. I’m aiming for contentment in every way possible. It doesn’t mean I stop chasing dreams, or moving forward in my life – I have too much on the bucket list for that! It just means a revolutionary act of finding comfort in what I’ve achieved so far, and striving for the things that will only add value to my life. 

It’s okay to have a wants list, just don’t let it dictate your happiness, because I can promise you that a long lasting happiness simply can’t be bought. 

Be more with less. 

d x

 

Christmas Hostess

Well it’s official, there’s only four days left until Christmas brightly jingles itself onto our doorsteps. And I’m totally freaking out.

This year, I’m hosting for the first time given that I now have a house big enough to do so. And I have been so excited to don the Christmas apron and test out my roasting-things-in-the-oven abilities. Because in theory, it should be fairly easy right? Buy the food, hang the fairy lights, drink and be merry?

Oh no. As it would turn out, hosting Christmas is a far bigger task than I ever expected. Cue outburst along the lines of… how on earth does Mum do this every year?!

Consider me well and truly overwhelmed.

I have a to-do list that would rival the height and weight of the Taj Mahal. It includes making garlands, and downloading instructions on how to season chicken amongst other ridiculous tasks that really were only ever meant to be ‘Mum-doing’ things. It seems like every time I think that I have perhaps thought of it all, you bet your rudolf red nose that I’ll find something else to add to the ever-growing, never ending list.

Between making toothpick reindeers for decorations (seriously did not make it easy for myself…remind me to delete Pinterest account once I’m done here), I have been asking myself at least 20 times a day this week, why I ever thought hosting Christmas was a good idea. Mum had a good thing going for the last 23 years, and I’m now entirely sure we should have let her go for her 24th.

Realising six days out that I simply did not have enough dining plates was scary, remembering five days out that I just might need placemats to go under said dining plates made me really question my future-housewife potential.

And the food! Don’t even get me started. With the amount of money I’ve spent on food for one day in December, it’s looking like porridge may well be what I survive on come 2017. It’s made me suddenly feel very grateful for the many Christmas’s before where people have fed me without charge…because I will admit I’ve contemplated portioning salted peanuts to  two per person.

However with all that being said, I am choosing to cut myself a little slack. It is my very first time hosting Christmas, and while I’m entirely sure it will not find itself even remotely close to being in the same proximity to my Mother’s Christmas Extravaganzas – I’m sure that it will be one to remember because it was my own.

After all, I don’t think that it really matters how much food there is, or whether we eat off proper plates or paper ones. It really won’t matter if it doesn’t turn out as planned or if the peanuts all get eaten.

Because I think what really counts is being with the ones you love to celebrate Christmas (and the all-too-time-consuming toothpick reindeers, of course).

It’s about cherishing each other and watching the fairy lights sparkle knowing that you have been so lucky to be sharing such a special day with the people who make your entire world light up. It’s listening to Michael Buble belt out famous Christmas carols and laughing at Grandad who had a little to much brandy with his Christmas cake and decided to sing-along into the end of a bonbon cracker. It’s about reading aloud awful Christmas jokes, and shouting the punch lines in perfect harmony because this isn’t the first time you’ve been asked what a reindeer without eyes is called. It’s about having the pavlova, rocky-road and the fruitcake because losing weight is next weeks problem. It’s finding time to smile and be thankful for the messy kitchen, the stained tablecloth and the trail of Christmas wrapping paper that now embellishes your house, because they are the telltale signs of a Christmas well-enjoyed.

But I think most importantly, it’s about letting the happiness fill your heart to the brim, and feeling the warmth envelop your chest as if it might explode.

I hope that each and every one of you have a really wonderful Christmas this year, and find the happiness I know your heart deserves to feel.

Merry Christmas world.

Love, d x