Author: danieller77

Mid life awakening

Mid life awakening

As I get closer to my mid forties (not quite there but close) I find that there are parts of my life that I am changing and other parts that I am questioning. I think this is quite natural for people in this age group.

My kids are still young but getting more and more independent and growing fast. I guess that gives me the headspace to start thinking about what my life currently is and what direction I want to move in.

As per previous posts, I have started to further align parts of my life to my values. I have also started reading books on topics of interest, especially around health, and now that my leg has improved I am getting back to walking and exercising.

All of this makes me question other parts of my life. What should I do for work? What will fulfil me and align to my values for another 20 years of working life (unless I win tattslotto). At the moment stability and flexibility are keeping me where I am in a time that is so uncertain.

So for now I am staying where I am and finding challenges and fulfilment in other areas of my life.

So I don’t believe I am going through a mid life crisis, I’m certainly not rushing out to buy a sports cart. Therefore I am calling it a mid life awakening where I am more aware of who I am and what is important to me. What is in my future? Watch this space.

Product review: Pleasant State glass cleaner

Product review: Pleasant State glass cleaner

About a month ago, I wrote about my desire to start moving my cleaning products to align more with my values as I had previously done with others things in my house. This included reusable containers, refillable product that comes in recyclable/compostable packaging, Australian businesses, and natural ingredients.

And after my search was complete I decided to try the range from Pleasant State. I ordered the kit and promised to provide a review.

Please note this is an independent review and I did not receive product or payment for this review (just letting you know as the following is a glowing review)

At this stage I have only tried the glass cleaner as, keeping with my aim to reduce waste, I am using up my current products first.

However I am singing the praises of this glass cleaner and I cannot wait to try the multi purpose and the bathroom cleaner.

Firstly can I say the smell is amazing. The mandarin and lemon myrtle essential oils (yes I checked before writing to make sure I got this right) leave a fresh and natural fragrance that is not overpowering. When I dropped the bar in the water to let it dissolve I did keep going back to smell it.

However I was slightly sceptical about how well it would clean given it doesn’t have the ingredients I have used in the past. The mirrors in my bathroom were a breeze and were clean and streak free with very little effort.

The showers screens however are very old as I am waiting for my bathrooms renovations to start (delays from continual lockdowns in Melbourne is a whole separate blog post). To my surprise not only did it clean well but they are the cleanest they have been in the 4 years I have lived in this house. Clean with no streaks or smears. And after having a shower the next morning they still looked clean. I don’t know how they do it but I am sold. Hoping the other two products are just as amazing.

Oh and on a final note – in the last blog I mentioned the only box they didn’t tick for me that other companies did was a hand soap. Since that post they have advised their customers that they are trialling a hand soap. It is like they heard me and I will be one of the first to try when it is available.

Going green

Going green

After spending the last year and a half going back to basics, as per a previous post, it is time to push myself a bit more. What do I want to do for work, how will I challenge myself, what are the things that are important to me and fit with my values, and how do I want my household to look and run?

To start the thinking process I am writing an ongoing list of what I like doing (now and in the past), what skills I have, and what interests me. This is helping me to channel what I like and am good at, what I want to learn or improve at, and what is really important to my values. And there are definitely some common themes. If it is something you have never done I recommend it as it really gets you thinking.

One thing that is important to me is animal welfare. I have been vegetarian for 26 years, buy cruelty free, have rescue dogs etc.

As I get older , and especially since I’ve had kids, how we look after the planet and being sustainable is also really important. I also like to support Australian made and owned where I can. I cut down waste as much as I can (as a side note my neighbour puts more in my rubbish bin than me as it is never full). We did have a worm farm, although they unfortunately didn’t survive the hot Australian summer so we need to find a better location.

Quite a while ago I swapped my skincare routine all to Sukin which is an Australian company that make beautiful, natural skincare. And at my hairdressers recommendation I use Eleven Australia hair products.

However there is a gap between my cleaning products and my values. This may come from a time a while ago when money was extremely tight and I was watching every dollar, or maybe because I was time poor and took the easy way out. However financially I am in a better position now, and time is not a good enough excuse.

So I started researching and there are so many new companies out the doing great things in this area.

  • Reusable packaging from glass, aluminium or recycled plastic.
  • Refills that come in compostable packaging (note to self – must bring back the worm farm) or in packaging you send back to be refilled.
  • Natural cleaning ingredients and fragrances
  • Programs implemented to ensure they are carbon neutral and helping the environment through planting trees or cleaning up oceans

It made me so happy but it was so overwhelming, and hard to know where to start. So I narrowed it down to those that provided all of my key criteria – reusable initial containers, refillable product that comes in recyclable/compostable packaging, Australian business, natural ingredients and still cost effective. This got me to two companies. One was having a great one day sale on slightly imperfect containers as they didn’t want to waste them and that got me over the line.

Pleasant State seems to tick all the boxes for me apart from one – they do not have a hand soap. However like many of these companies they are relatively new so that could change down the track. And there are other companies I can buy that from anyway. I am starting with the starter pack and will review once I have used the products.

I feel good that I am starting to make more changes. I will use up the products I have here first of course as I am trying not to be wasteful. Over the rest of the year I want to start introducing more eco friendly products into my house. Let me know if you have any great recommendations from products you have tried.

Bedtime routines

Bedtime routines

For young kids bedtime routines are so important. Bath, milk, book, cuddles, nursery rhymes and songs…..every parent works out their own version of what works and then tries to stick to it every night. The routine provides comfort and lets the body and mind know it is time to wind down, relax and go to sleep.

Then you grow up and all your ideas about sleep and bedtime change.

In my twenties I had started working full time. The focus was on trying to get enough sleep during the week to get through the work day. Then weekends were multiple late nights out with friends, and sleeping late.

Then in my thirties I had my children. The focus shifts to their sleep requirements, while you struggle through on what you can get. And you start to understand why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. My first child was a great sleeper, my second child the opposite and I was often heading to work on only a couple of hours sleep

Now I am in my forties. My attitude to sleep has changed again and I have gone back to realising how important those bedtime routines are. This time however it is for me, not for my kids. My routine changes slightly but in general:

  • pjs on early,
  • no eating after 8.00pm,
  • small screens ( phone, ipad) down an hour(ish) before bed,
  • Non screen based activity (eg. knitting) and herbal tea while watching tv,
  • Read one or two chapters of book in bed,
  • Lights out and meditate.

It is what works for me, although I am flexible and obviously don’t stick to it when out or with friends.

With an injured leg I have not been following my routines as I currently go to bed at the same time as my kids. I watch tv in bed to force me to put my leg up and stop moving. And while I am sleeping ok I have definitely noticed the difference.

My leg has also prevented me from doing my morning workouts and walks at lunchtime which also helps with sleeping and my mental health.

My lesson learnt – sleep is very important and bedtime routines help with the quality. That is why parents swear by their routines for children.

What are you bedtime routine tips? Any I haven’t thought of that you recommend I give a try

Crutches again

Crutches again

Three years ago, almost to the day, I posted on this blog about my eldest son and the perils of a kid on crutches. Three years later, almost to the day it is me on crutches.

I have a new appreciation for what my son has gone through. I have only been doing this for 24 hours and I am over it. He has had to suffer through it multiple times for long stretches. However, he has me to run around for him, pick up after him and provide whatever support he needs.

As a single mum I am used to being the only adult in the house, to being strong even when I don’t feel like it or am sick. But what happens when I am on crutches and have to elevate my leg constantly? When I don’t know at this stage how long this will be for?

My kids are trying to help. My eldest checks in constantly and understands the struggles of crutches. My youngest is great at helping but usually only when I ask. They have been getting their own food, carrying things for me and giving me lots of cuddles.

Then after work I went out in the kitchen and there was stuff everywhere. Making the food apparently doesn’t mean cleaning up. To their credit some dishes had made it to the dishwasher and when I mentioned the rubbish and leftover food they cleaned it up.

So tonight I’m tired after a day of crutches, working and my one outing to the chemist for pain relief. The boys are at their dads for a night and I have washed all the dishes. And although I wished many times today I had a me to help out, I got through the day. Who knows how many more there are but we will get through and maybe the boys can learn some new skills.

World chocolate day

World chocolate day

“I could give up chocolate but I’m not a quitter”

July 7 is International Chocolate Day.

I am a chocolate lover – once I open chocolate it is hard to stop. I love all types of chocolate but these days I tend to eat more dark chocolate than any other type.

However I didn’t know until today that there was a world chocolate day. It got me thinking, who decides all of these days and how does it spread across the world. It seems there is a day for everything now.

After a little investigation I have found that it is July 7 as, according to legend ,that was the day in 1550 when chocolate was first brought to Europe from Central America. I haven’t been able to find who determined we should have a world chocolate day but it was first celebrated in 2009.

And in answer to the big question – did I eat chocolate today to celebrate? Of course I did, some dark chocolate earlier in the day and Kit Kat when catching up with friends after dinner.

I hope you managed to celebrate and eat some of your favourite chocolate today too. Life is far too short to deny yourself a bit of chocolate every now and then.

Back to basics

Back to basics

It has been nearly a year and a half since I have written a post on my blog. And what a year and a half it has been.

COVID has turned the world, and everyone’s lives,upside down. In Australia we are lucky, the pandemic has not hit to the scale of most other countries. But there has still been an impact – watching number of cases and deaths, hotspots, lockdowns, homeschooling and loss of jobs.

I was a lucky one – I kept my job the whole time, nobody in my immediate family or friends got sick, but the emotional toll and stress of it all, of being busier than ever at work while also homeschooling, of changes to parenting plans, of uncertainty and trying to comfort my kids while being stressed took an impact on me. Early last year I hit a low point and unlike other times made sure I reached out for help.

So I have spent the last year and a half working on my health and well being, as well as supporting my kids through their own struggles which have included surgery and recovery for my eldest. The time has been spent going back to basics which for me means exercise, sleep, what I eat, meditation and connections with people. Throw in a great psychologist and time with my kids. It has been time spent working out who I am, how I want my life to be, and what values are important to me. It has been a time to show my children that this is a safe space to discuss whatever they need, and where they can raise concerns and issues without judgement.

I also allow my kids to see that I have good days and bad, that sometimes I cry, that sometimes I’m mad, that I know how to apologise and that I always know there are things to be grateful for. And everyday they know I love them and am here for them.

Because let’s be honest, something good that can come from all of this is working out what is important. And to me that is my families health, wellbeing and strength together.

Hope you are all well, getting back to basics and reaching out for help when you need it. There are things to be grateful for everyday – sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find them.

Do you know your triggers?

Do you know your triggers?

Everyone has triggers. Things that seem insignificant to most people but make you react in a way that you know may be irrational.

I was reminded of this last night when watching I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Perez Hilton acted irrationally/over the top when he thought someone was disrespectful to another camp mate. He admitted later people he thought were disrespecting his family are a huge trigger for him.

I watch my son who has been through multiple surgeries and procedures. Anything medical is a trigger for him now – even going to the dentist or GP. Today we had an appointment for something minor at the GP and he ended up in tears and distraught about a needle there is a small chance he will need in a week.

I have a few triggers that I am aware of and others catch me by surprise. I have been triggered by things that remind me of the downfall of my marriage, where I am frustrated by medical ambiguity and long waits in hospital waiting rooms.

Two weeks ago I read an article that was written by my ex. It was to help get support and fundraising for the charity that helps with my sons condition. So it was for a great cause and for all the right reasons. However the language he used was apparently a massive trigger for me and sent me into a downward spiral of anxiety that lasted for two days. I found some new ways to settle my anxiety a little (jigsaws work well as my brain and hands are occupied and concentrating on something else). A couple of days later I was feeling more settled but I was shocked at how it had impacted me. And while I am rational about it right now I know that I will probably be triggered by this again.

It is an interesting thought though – what do you know is a trigger for you? Or have you not discovered yours yet?

Quality family time

Quality family time

At the moment it is School holidays in Australia and at this time of year my sons dad has about seven weeks off work. That means that the boys spend over half the week with him each week. So often there is pressure to fit a lot into the three days we have together including catching up with people, doing activities and making memories.

During the week I had been making plans for what we were going to do on the weekend but the weather did not play along. So we had a lazy weekend instead. Which turned into a great weekend.

Friday consisted of a lazy pyjama day doing our own things and relaxing. This was followed by a yummy homemade dinner together and our standard Friday night movie night. And to finish off the boys decided to have a sleepover in one room (king single beds mean they can fit in together (along with the dog).

Saturday was my day to get things done around home while the boys played with the kids across the road. Followed up by leftovers from the night before and a games night that consisted of four board and card games, snacks and lots of laughter.

Sunday we went out for brunch which sounds very sophisticated but is less so when y go with an 8 and 10 year old. Followed up with shopping for school supplies and more games when we got home before the boys went back to their dads.

The big winner for the weekend was the bedtime stories I made up on the spot each night. They were a huge hit and they want them to continue – better get things king over this week of some new topics as my brain isn’t always so creative by that time of night.

So the weekend that I thought might turn out not so great ended up being just what we needed and a great one for making memories.

Starting with intention

Starting with intention

Happy new year everyone.

This year I am taking the advice of another and have started by taking some time to reflect on the year gone by and set my intentions for the year ahead. This is very different to setting resolutions which is something I have never been big on as I think it sets you up for feeling like a failure when you slip up.

I am very big on being grateful for what I have and have written about this before. Every night I take the time to record three things I am grateful for – even on a rough day I manage to find three things (sometimes it does include things like take away food after a hard day). I also encourage my kids to think of the best thing from their day over dinner to try and show you can always find good moments even in the toughest days. And from January 1st I have started journaling about one of my three gratitude points as it is said that reliving the point provides the benefits of when you experienced it the first time – reducing stress and helping you feel calmer. This is perfect before bed and something I have planned to do for a while however wasn’t in the right headspace the last few months.

So getting back to how I have started my year. The first part is to reflect on the year gone by. What happened, what am I grateful for and what did I learn.

Then I set my intentions for the year ahead. What do I want to do, what do I want to reduce and what am I grateful for at this time of my life. And unlike resolutions there is no failure and giving up if I don’t achieve. It is more about setting the direction I would like my year to go and things I would like for us to try and achieve/do together as a family.

I found it a really positive and clarifying experience and have shared my answers with my boys. I did also give them the same sheets to the boys and discovered something. Everything they could remember for the last year happened in the last few weeks other than one major event. Which I guess is why it is important to talk about our days a the time while it is fresh in their mind.

Wishing you all an amazing new year/decade that is full of moments you are grateful for.