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One More Moment

sorrow

One more moment

One more kiss

One more conversation

To touch your face

To see you smile

To bathe in your adulation

I know these may be foolish dreams

But they’re ones I can’t let go

Your death has left me hollowed out

My life now veiled with sorrow

Although I know the sun’s the same

It doesn’t feel as bright

Nothing feels normal now

Nothing feels quite right

I wish I could be angry

I’d scream and throw some things

But all I feel is nothing

A numbness from within

I smell your clothes every day

But the scent is quickly fading

I’m struggling to recall your voice

I’m scared my memory’s failing

I’m petrified I’m going to forget

My life before the pain

Your clown-like smile and playful eyes

Your love that never waned

Your life was taken quickly

Stolen by a thief

And all I’m left with is fading memories

And this terrible pain called grief

If only we had one more moment

photo credit: Funkybug via photopin cc

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Are you addicted to being happy?

We all want to be happy all the time, right? I know I certainly do. But what happens when we are not? What happens when the fix has worn off? We feel bad, like a failure and start the search again for this “perpetual state of happiness.”

Yes, it seems as if we are all searching high and low for this so-called happiness and once we find it we believe life will be all “puppy dogs and roses.”

Well this is certainly what I used to believe anyhow. That was until I had one of those light-bulb moments whilst reading a book called “INVITING A MONKEY TO TEA” by Nancy Colier.

book cover

As I was reading this book I felt myself nodding along with every page and felt relieved to realise that it is not an achievable goal to expect to be able to be happy all of the time. Partly due to the fact that “happiness relies on controlling circumstances that, no matter how hard we try, we cannot control. It relies on circumstances staying the same. Life’s circumstances do not – ever – stay the same. This is the nature of life.”

So is there a workable alternative? If we cannot maintain perpetual happiness what is it that we should aim for instead in order to feel a sense of well-being?

According to Nancy, there is a way to feel grounded and well even when the contents of our life are not that way.

calm mind

She talks about achieving ‘contentment,’ which means allowing whatever is going on in your mind (the monkey) to just happen without trying to control or change it and then making peace with it and distancing yourself from the emotions and feelings. In other words, not letting the emotions or feelings dictate your whole being. Once you master this, Nancy believes that you can always feel content and well.

The book details how you go about achieving this as well as topics such as fear, acceptance and surrender.

As I said earlier, reading this book was like a switch had been activated in my head. It makes so much sense to me to be able to get myself to a point where I can feel well and content even when the circumstances in my life are challenging and difficult.

So, from this point on I am doing away with my happiness addiction – and instead of trying to hunt it down, I will be grateful for the times it appears in my life. I am also going to try to achieve contentment and work towards not letting my monkey mind take over but instead just allow it to natter away in the background.

Who knows, I might even invite the monkey to tea!

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Nancy Colier or her book ‘Inviting A Monkey To Tea.’ I have not received any compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

photo credit: eljoja via photopin cc

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Mid Life: Crisis or Transformation?

I am quickly approaching the middle of my life (assuming I am lucky enough to live until I’m in my eighties) or as Carl Jung famously termed “the afternoon of life”.

As the curtains begin to open on this period of my life I am starting to notice some changes going on. Some may deem these the signs that I’m suffering from a mid-life crisis, however I like to look at what is going on as more of a transformation than a crisis.

When we think of a mid-life crisis it often conjures up ideas about men trading in their cars and wives for sexier, younger models – and although this does actually happen to some – a mid-life transformation is different for everybody and happens to women as well as men.

woman and car

Sometimes this change can be triggered by life-changing events such as illness or the loss of a loved one – where people are forced to contemplate their own mortality and think about how they want to spend the rest of their lives.

Other times it can be when the family dynamics change such as kids leaving home or starting school – and people find now the children are not so dependent on them they have time to think of themselves and their own needs and interests.

Now that my youngest child is due to start school next year I am beginning the process of trying to figure out what I’m going to do with myself – what work I want to do, what interests I’d like to pursue etc.

However, thinking about career choices is not the only thing going on. There are a number of subtle changes and thoughts that seem to have only just surfaced recently:

* Questions

It feels a bit like I’m a four-year old again – constantly questioning everything. However, instead of asking “why the sky is blue” and looking to my mother or father for answers, I’m interrogating myself and expecting the universe to provide me with what I am searching for.

The kind of questions go a bit like this: What do I want out of life? What is my passion? Is it realistic to pursue your passion? Why am I not where I want to be financially / emotionally / physically? How do I become the person I want to be? Will I ever have the answers?

It is an exhausting process, but I believe it is an important phase in my life as it is giving me the opportunity to really take the time to think and start forming a bit of a blue-print for what I would like my life to look like from here on in. I also realise that these kind of questions are not going be answered by simply ‘googling’ or by any other external source – they will only be found by taking the time to look within myself and listen to that little voice inside.

* Feeling different

In the past couple of weeks I have started to ‘feel different.’ Everything on the outside has stayed the same; I look the same and have the same issues and challenges as I have always had – but there has been a subtle shift in how I ‘feel’ about things. I feel more calm and at peace, but ready and confident to take on the next phase of my life and whatever it may bring. I feel I am now in a place where I can welcome change and embrace new opportunities.

* Friendships / Relationships

The thing about change or transformation is that everybody changes at different times and in different ways. This means that friendships or relationships may alter and you may not have as much in common with the people you once did.

friends

Although this can be a sad realisation, I believe it also represents an opportunity to meet new people and find those who are really on the same wavelength as yourself.

* Not recognising yourself in the mirror

Lately when I look in the mirror I often get a fright.

I see a new grey hair, a wrinkle starting to appear or a piece of cellulite I never knew was there – and think who is this staring back at me?

I still feel young inside but how I feel internally doesn’t always match what I see staring back at me. I guess this is when some women turn to Botox and the like to try to ‘turn back the clock’ and others embark on a new exercise or eating regime to get themselves looking more like the way they feel.

I have noticed many of my friends starting to really get fit and they seem to be loving it and feeling great. I think it is fantastic, and it is definitely an area of my life I need to pay more attention too. However, I also think getting old is just a part of life and with age comes wisdom and often a new clarity about who you are as a person. So, with this in mind I am going to try to be kind to the person I see staring back at me and love her just the way she is.

So, my mission is to welcome this transformation that mid-life is bringing and see it as an opportunity to reflect and assess exactly what I want for the rest of my life and embrace the ever-changing version of myself with open arms.

How are you feeling about the ‘afternoon of your life?’ Are you anxious about a mid-life crisis or are you optimistic about what this kind of transformation could bring?

photo credit 1: paulStarPics via photopin cc

photo credit 2: jurvetson via photopin cc

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It’s that soup-eating, slipper-wearing time of year

I’ll be the first to admit that winter is not my favourite season; I hate the cold. It makes me want to curl up in my warm blankets and stay there all day; It makes me less inclined to exercise and less likely to want to go out of the house. Whenever this time of year rolls around I think of the bears – yes, I think the bears are on to something – stock up on food and then hibernate for the winter, brilliant!

bear

However, as you and I both know, I am not a bear. I am a human, a wife and a mother – so there will be no hibernating for the winter season for me … damn shame!

So, now that we have established I can’t just curl up in a ball and ride winter out, I thought I better start looking at the bright side of the season.

So, here is what I do love about winter:

Slippers and winter pyjamas (if only I could live in them 24/7 I would be loving winter even more!)

Soup. I want to write “soup” but I really don’t like soup all that much. It doesn’t really feel like a meal to me and although it is nice and hot I’m just not really a soup girl. Although, saying that, Jamie Oliver’s Seafood Chowder (from Woolies) passes my ‘fussy eater food test.’

Hot pools. When I lived in NZ, I loved going to the hot pools. The one in my home town is salt-water, so you get to sit in the beautiful warm water and also get all the benefits of the salt – lovely! However, these type of hot pools are not so prevalent here in Newcastle (Australia) – so a hot bath will have to suffice!

Slowing down. I always feel the need for slowing down and taking time to reflect on things when winter comes around and through doing so I always discover how grateful I am.
This year I am particularly grateful to my friends: My friends who have cooked me meals, looked after my children, shared a bottle of wine and listened to me when I’ve been feeling lonely and home-sick.

So, as I sit here in my slippers with a hot cup of tea, I would like to thank winter for blessing me with a season to sit, contemplate and be grateful for all that I have.

gratitude

What are your favourite things about winter?

photo credit: blmiers2 via photopin cc

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Where’s Dot?

After a couple of weeks cooped up in the house with sick children a day out with my friend Dot was just the tonic I needed.

Today we headed to Newcastle’s East End. I haven’t spent a lot of time around here so was excited to have a mooch around.

After searching the narrow streets for somewhere to park the car, we headed off to find a nice spot for a coffee. After a short stroll down Hunter Street, we ended up at Soul Foods – where we enjoyed a coffee, sweet potato chips and bread and dips – yummo!

Our next port of call was the Hunt and Gather Markets at Pacific Park.

markets

This was my first visit to the markets and I had a fantastic time wandering around the stalls which included clothing designers, mens fashion labels, accessories, leather ware, jewellery, flowers, soap and more.

flowers

jewellery

stall-1

Plenty of people had bought a picnic rug so they could lie in the sunshine and listen to the live music.

music

I was mainly looking today, put did purchase a heavenly smelling soap – and of course a couple of doughnuts to take home to hubby who was minding the children.

soap

Dot is one of those salt-of-the-earth types. She is pregnant with her fourth child, meaning by the time Christmas arrives she will be Mum to four kids under the age of 5. However, this doesn’t slow her down – she surfs, cycles, competes in Iron Man competitions and renovates her house in her spare time! However, you would never know all this – because Dot is humble and never one to brag about her achievements. She truly is an amazing lady and an inspiration to me.

Dot

What a lovely way to enjoy the shortest day of the year (Winter Solstice).

Thanks Dot – let’s do it again sometime!

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Time to ‘Green My Routine’

I have known for some time that there are nasty chemicals lurking around in my beauty products … but until recently I hadn’t taken the time to find out what they were and why I should be bothered about them.

toxic

That was until this happened: A couple of months ago I noticed that the skin was starting to flake off the palms of my hands, so I just put it down to dry skin and starting applying various lotions and potions in the hope it would solve the problem.

However, it didn’t … and the problem just got worse. Soon strips of skin were peeling off my hands and they were getting red, raw and itchy. Not pretty to look at and definitely embarrassing when having to shake hands with people!

The strange thing was that the problem was confined to the palm of my hands – everywhere else was fine. This lead me to conclude that something my hands were coming in contact with on a daily basis must be the cause of my problem – which lead me to take a closer look at my body wash, facial wash, shampoo, conditioner and the dishwashing liquid I was using.

Guess what they all had in common? Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) – which was listed as the 2nd or 3rd ingredient on the list (meaning it was one of the main ingredients in the product’s make up). When I investigated SLS further I found that it is a known skin and eye irritant and is often used to test other products against (to see if they will soothe the irritation) – so that made sense as to why the skin was constantly peeling off my hands!

This must be harsh stuff because my skin is pretty resilient and I have never reacted like this before.

SLS is highly effective in removing oily stains and residues and is therefore used in engine degreasers, floor cleaners etc. It is used in products such as shampoo and body washes for its thickening and lathering effects. Apparently large concentrations of SLS can also act as an effective shark repellent! (Source: Wikipedia)

All good to know … but not really what I’m after in a beauty regime!

As well as SLS I started looking at the other ingredients listed on the products I was using and found things such as: Parabens, Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oils, Urea, Triethanolamine, EDTA – just to name a few. If you have a look into these chemicals alongside others, such as talc, you will see there are some pretty unpleasant side effects which can do some long-term damage and potentially have some devastating effects on your health.

There are many good sites where you can find detailed information on the ingredients in the products you are using. Here are a couple of examples:

* Safe Cosmetics Australia
* Paula’s Choice
* Sarah Wilson’s list

So why make the change?

lips

• Eye makeup can be absorbed by your highly sensitive mucous membranes.
• Hair sprays, perfumes and powders can be inhaled, irritating your lungs.
• Lipstick is licked off and swallowed.
• Sunscreen and lotions are absorbed through your skin.
• Shampoo can run into your eyes or your baby’s eyes.
• Laundry detergent, in small amounts, comes in contact with your skin via your clothes.
Source: (Dr Mercola)

So, for me personally, I first of all needed to stop using SLS as it was not only irritating my skin – but making it peel off.
Secondly, I discovered how easily these chemicals were absorbed into my body via the products I was using and the possible damage they could do to my health.

Therefore, in my endeavour to use products without these harmful ingredients I have started reading the ingredient lists, not always believing the ‘natural’ or ‘green’ on the labels and looking for cruelty free products that haven’t been genetically modified.

Easy right? Not so far …

Stumbling Blocks

bubbles

* Bye Bye Bubbles: It is usually the sulphates in the product that make it foam up and become nice and bubbly. Without these the products often have a more watery consistency. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t clean as well – it just feels different. I am getting used to it but it took me awhile to let go off my bubbles.

* Price Point: I have found many products, especially skin care and make-up, that looks divine but the price is just too much of a stretch – especially when they only come in teeny tiny bottles!

* Performance: Many products that I use for a specific purpose need to be effective otherwise there’s no point using it. For example: I just looked at the cream I am using for my cracked heels and noticed it contains Urea – arrgh!
Any suggestions for an alternative for this would be much appreciated!

* No one-stop shop: I have found I have had to shop around and find different products from many different places. For example: I use a Sukin cleanser and moisturiser but didn’t love their body wash and have read some pretty average reviews for their hair products.

* So good I could eat it! Some beauty products smell so fantastic you could just devour them! Lucky I didn’t once I found one what was actually in them! However, I do love a product that smells delicious – and now that I know not to trust the fragrance label (as many ingredients can be hidden under the general ‘fragrance’ heading) – I try to find products containing essential oils as these have many holistic health benefits as well as smelling divine!

Trial and Error

So far in my endeavour to ‘green my routine’ I have been using a variety of different branded products with different price points. Obviously I’m all for affordable but I still need the products to work and to ‘feel’ and ‘smell’ nice.

These are some of the products I’m using at the moment and my thoughts about them:

Sukin: I am currently using the Foaming Facial Cleanser and Moisture Restore Night Cream. I am enjoying both of these products and am finding the moisturiser is lasting a long time. The price is very affordable and it is easy to find, being available in most pharmacies (at least in Australia anyhow). I like that it is Australian owned and made, 100% vegan, not tested on animals and 100% carbon neutral.

Nak: I am currently using the Hydrating Shampoo, Hydrating Conditioner and Ultimate Treatment (conditioning).
This a salon brand so is a bit more pricey but it smells lovely and has that salon shampoo feel. Saying that, the day after washing my hair it definitely needs another wash.

Thursday Plantation: I am also trying this brand of shampoo as a cheaper alternative to my salon brand. I don’t mind it but it doesn’t feel as luxurious as the Nak shampoo. It does seem to work well when I am suffering from dandruff though.

Argan Oil: I have read some good things about this and am thinking about trying out some shampoo and conditioner. Watch this space!

Organic Surge: I am currently using the Lavender Meadow Body Lotion. This smells beautiful and is really does seem to do the job. It is available at David Jones. Maybe a little pricey if you use a lot of body moisturiser – but I love it!

Couleur Caramel: I am in the throws of tackling my make-up bag and trying to replace everything with safer alternatives. I’m very excited about my first purchase – a Couleur Caramel Concealer. This product has won awards and is getting some great reviews. An added bonus it that I got a free eyeshadow with my purchase – I love free stuff!
This, along with some other great natural make-up, skin and wellness products are available at Love Organic Beauty.

My Green Team

green woman

As I tackle the world of non-toxic, organic, natural products I aim to bring you my findings and also hopefully team up with some of the brands in order to introduce you to some great, safe alternatives to the products you may be using at the moment and also to try to get us some deals along the way!

The first company I have teamed up with is ‘Love Organic Beauty’. It was created to inspire Australian women to look at natural beauty products that are ethically produced and environmentally sustainable, without toxic or harmful ingredients. They have been working with French organic, natural makeup brand Couleur Caramel since 2007. The creators of Love Organic Beauty offer more than just a webstore offering natural beauty products however … it is somewhere that’s interactive, engaging, educational and driven by the women in its community.

So, go and check them out here and if you like anything you see make sure you use the code: KathrynB at the checkout to receive 10% off your order.

Wrapping Up

So, there’s my story about my beginnings in the ongoing process of ‘Greening My Routine.’

I would love to hear your thoughts about this process, what products you love and of course if you would like to be part of my ‘Green Team’ please contact me.

Keep smiling,
Kat

photo credit: (Image 1)Free Grunge Textures – www.freestock.ca via photopin cc

photo credit: (Image 2)Auntie P via photopin cc

photo credit: (Image 3) jurvetson via photopin cc

photo credit: (Image 5): oxfordian.world via photopin cc

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Let’s take the ‘Scenic Route’

Our modern life is like driving on a voyeuristic highway:

We expect everything instantly and are very uncomfortable with waiting.

We are available all the time and spend a large portion of this time in an entirely different reality – Cyperspace.

Popularity is King and has replaced hard work and good behaviour as the criteria for reward. This is evident with more and more posts appearing featuring kids holding messages such as ‘My mummy said she would buy us a puppy if we get 1 million likes on facebook.”

Bullying is no longer limited to the schoolyard and relationships are started and finished on the web or by text message.

Well, I for one am getting tired and am desperately seeking a rest area or perhaps even an alternate route.

So, how about getting off this highway and taking the scenic route?

It might take longer and be off the beaten track; It may not be the most popular or status quo – but I bet it’s beautiful, enriching and definitely more of an adventure!

We could meet some fascinating people, have real conversations and authentic experiences.

We won’t be tagged, liked or commented on but instead smiled at, hugged and spoken to.

Let’s take a chance, try new things and most importantly stop, breathe and take it all in!