How I’m Making Weekends Work For Me: The Follow Up

A couple of months back, I came up with a strategy to try and make weekends as enjoyable as possible. The overall aim was to batch errands together, ensure I got plenty of down time, and have lots of fun on Sundays in particular.

I thought I should circle back and see how I’ve been doing and, if I’m being completely honest with you readers, I haven’t done great. But, I can find the lessons in why my plans aren’t working so well. So what have I discovered?

There is no such thing as a typical weekend

...and I’m ok with that. I’ve had some weekends away, I sometimes want to catch up with friends on Friday nights and take it easy on Saturdays, and sometimes I’m willing to skip the supermarket visit altogether on the weekends.

I think this is a positive realisation - most times I’m listening to what my intuition feels like doing, and that’s not always able to be rigidly scheduled.

I like doing Sunday errands

Remember my post way back when about my ‘holistic lifestyle coach’? Well, he’s still around and I see him for a group session most Sunday mornings. It keeps me honest on Saturday nights and it’s still one of my favourite times of the week.

I zoom out of the session, collect my groceries for the week and usually maintain enough momentum to come home and prep some food for the week.

It’s my routine and my the plan to move everything to Saturdays has just not worked.

Plan ahead for fun

Does that sound like a contradiction? Stick with me.

I really find if I don’t plan some fun activities ahead of time, I end up on the couch scrolling through social media, then look around and wonder where the weekend went.

When I plan for some time outside if the weather is good, make a date with a friend to have brunch, or drag myself into the city for some shopping, I feel I’m making better use of my down time and feel even more refreshed come Monday.

So there you have it. Tell me - are you a weekend planner? Are you in the errands camp or the fun camp? Let me know below.

 

Three Life Lessons Learnt in Vietnam

Hi readers, I’m back! My husband and I just spent two weeks in Vietnam and a week in Thailand and it was an amazing trip.

Three weeks felt like aggggggggeeees and we saw and did so much. It was super warm (35 degrees Celsius plus) which was amazing, but I’m actually kind of happy to come back to cooler weather.

I highly recommend travelling to both places, but I thought today I’d reflect on the three major themes I took from my experiences in Vietnam.

Keep it slow and fresh in the kitchen

Vietnamese food is incredible - at almost every meal my husband or I would say to each other ‘I know I said this last time, but this food is just so … fresh …’ and we’d laugh.

We visited bustling food markets in Saigon, Hoi An and Hanoi and whipped up some dishes at a cooking class on the river in Hoi An.

The experiences really inspired me to slow down and take the time to make fresh, healthy, delicious food.

Often when I’m racing home after work, it’s a case of ‘what can I cook the fastest, with the least amount of steps?’ and although there are times when that is called for, it’s not that difficult to shred up mountains of fresh green herbs, slice your meat carefully for optimal cooking and stir fry delicious noodle dishes while meditating over the steam.

Relax and take risks in life

As some of you may know, Australia is often referred to as a ‘nanny state’.

Australia has a LOT of rules and laws and the complaint is that we are way too over-regulated compared to the rest of the world. Think - you have to wear a helmet on a bicycle, you really can’t smoke anywhere anymore and the restrictions go on and on.

As I grew up in Australia I’ve obviously grown accustomed to the safety and comfort of where I live, but I do love going to other countries and observing the differences.

Well the cities of Vietnam are perfect for that - in particular, gawking at the traffic.

Leaving the airport at Saigon, we were caught in a semi-traffic jam.

I peered out the taxi window at motorbikes weaving in and out of the lanes (often with up to a family of 4 on the motorbike), cars and buses beeping their horns (always as a warning that they’re there, not in an aggressive manner) and random people strolling into the middle of it all as they try and cross the road. It is truly an incredible sight.

Although I’m aware Vietnam’s road toll is much higher than Australia’s - I love that the chaotic traffic situation just works.

People live with more risk and get on with walking, driving and living without fear.

Be grateful for what you have

Vietnam is not a rich country and is still officially a communist nation. Although the food, the people and the places are amazing, I was reminded how lucky I am to come from a safe, spacious, wealthy country.

In Vietnam there is more poverty, no free healthcare for citizens and a very low pension for retirees so most are looked after by family into old age.

On the positive side of that, you see many older people floating through tai chi routines or using the free exercise equipment in the park on a plight to remain healthy for as long as possible.

Vietnamese-owned companies require employees to work six days a week and wages are often not high enough to afford a visa and trip to a country like Australia. I am extremely lucky.

I’d love to hear about your travels. What’s the number on lesson you’ve learnt in another country?

March Recap and April Intentions

Well, Q1 of 2016 is about done lovely readers.

It did go quickly but I take that in a good way - it means I was busy doing enjoyable things and not feeling bored or sluggish.

Let’s take a look at how I did with my March intentions and set one for April.

Enjoy the weather

I totally embraced this intention in March.

I sat in the backyard and watched our cat munch on grass, I walked along the river as the sun was setting and we ate dinner out on the balcony as often as possible.

Although the warm weather and light have been so enjoyable, the mornings are becoming darker and I’m ready for the clocks to change and the cool months to roll in.

But then again, my April intention may be swaying that position...

Less personal development

This was truly hard!

I had an inkling, but it’s totally been confirmed that I am addicted to podcasts and blogs with themes of self-discovery and personal development.

I found myself wanting to catch up on my regulars, and had to make a concerted effort not to.

In being mindful of not overloading my brain with too much ‘self-help’, I focused on podcasts with a wider variety of interviews and read some more light-hearted blogs and news sites.

April intentions

Embrace our trip fully

As I mentioned, maybe I’m handling the thought of cooler weather better because we’re about to escape it for a few weeks.

With our trip to South East Asia ahead, I’m excited to see new parts of the world and escape everyday routine for a while.

Enjoying the food, lazing on the beach and walking the streets (if I can learn how to navigate crossing the road in the bigger cities) are high on my list.

How has your March been? Let me know below!

 

February Recap and March Intentions

I usually try and keep a positive attitude here on the blog, but I am in complete denial that summer is ending here in Australia.

We had a rubbish week of weather in mid-February and I can feel the days getting shorter already.

What are your best tips for accepting the change of seasons? Halp!

Ok, back to normal programming now. How did I do with my February intentions?

Focus on home decor

Although the Pinterest boards continue to grow, I haven’t purchased much in the last month.

After closer consideration, I think I need to replace big ticket items, rather than continue buying trinkets and feature items.

And that takes some $$ saving...stay tuned.

Plan trip away

We were trying to tie a work trip into our jaunt to America and Mexico, and unfortunately our plans were foiled last month.

The good news is we’re still going on a holiday - but now to Vietnam and Thailand.

Let me know any tips on these countries in the comments below and, in the meantime, I’ll keep following Alaina Kaczmarski, co-founder of The Everygirl, on Instagram as she’s in Vietnam right now. 

Rehab

So I was gearing up to tell you guys how regular I’ve been with my rehab and the benefits I’ve been noticing.

But of course I’ve now woken up with a super sore lower back today and I feel like I’m back at square one a little.

Time to book a visit to the osteo to get sorted again.

March intentions

Enjoy the weather

Rather than moaning about the end of summer, I’m going to kick the gratitude up a notch.

My plan is to enjoy walks on the river, wine in outdoor beer gardens and dinners on our terrace while it’s still light in the evenings.

In the meantime, I’ll try to stay positive and keep saving articles about jazz like this. Apparently I’m going to be smarter in winter!  

Less personal development

So I had a few other ideas for March intentions, but felt a little tired and overwhelmed when I thought about them.

So rather than working on myself in another way, I’m going to try and do the opposite and embrace less personal development.

Yup, as I mentioned here,  constantly striving for self-improvement and absorbing the associated media can be exhausting. I’m taking a break.

What are your plans for March?

 

Secrets from the Southern Hemisphere

People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.

Anton Chekhov

winter tree

 

One of the stressors around reading such beautiful blogs is the sheer amount of northern hemisphere content I consume. Every now and then I will let out a ‘hmph’ and go searching for a local Australian blog to devour. This is usually in the midst of a dim, foggy winter in Australia, when it seems like it is summer everywhere else in the world. I do follow a few local bloggers but I’ve noticed:

1  Blogging is just bigger in the US and UK, thus I follow more international blogs.

2  Melbournites tend to go on an Asian summer vacation in the middle of our winter (unhelpful for me if I don’t have a vacation imminent).

3  The UK is having a heatwave this year. The place I once lived and could depend on for mediocre summer temperatures is not following through as hoped.

The reality of ‘season pressure’

Of course, I do try and be savvy about the influx of summer posts. Often I’ll see beautiful Instagram beach shots and think ‘I wonder how hot it really is in San Francisco/NYC/London today’ and discover it’s around 21 degrees. Not really beach weather for me! 

I am lucky to live in a pretty mild climate but when surrounded by summer juice recipes, pool parties and fairy-lit BBQs, I can get a little jealous. I’ll start searching around for more relevant articles – how can I get through winter, how do I layer my button down shirts and how often should I exfoliate my lips?

I realise summer is a pressure unto itself. Hello Giggles illustrated this with an Instagram shot a few weeks back. This caption = pressure to me.

hello giggles.jpg

 

I know the chill of winter will come and go and with any luck an exciting summer lies ahead. Being consumed by this heaviness only takes away from the very things we’re looking for – enjoyment in life and a day/week/season full of sights, experiences and new memories – no matter the weather.

Do any of my Southern Hemisphere friends feel the same way? Or are any of you reading our blogs from the Northern Hemisphere during your winter?