Another January, another self help book

It’s like a drug. I am into my self help literature in a big way, and this year is no different. I am dosing myself up to the eyeballs in new ideas, courses, strategies, vlogs, blogs, books, podcasts and anything else I can get my mitts on to make my life (and ultimately those around me) a little better.

I tend to overload myself like this quite regularly – not just January – and annoy the living heck out of my sister and mum by sending them link after link of something ‘life changing’ (my overused words) every time I stumble across something that I think will be revolutionary.

I see myself as Santa’s little self helper. I have no qualifications, I learn from trial and error and I don’t mind sharing my new found knowledge with anyone who’ll listen.

And it looks like you’re listening.

So allow me to indulge in my top 3 self help concepts for January 2016.

Zen Habits: I am undertaking a 6 week Sea Change course on Daily Mindfulness practice. I can’t remember how much it costs (the perils of Paypal) but it’s been going since the start of Jan and so far I am sticking with it. Leo Babauta is a dreamy mentor and it has been the simple tricks that have kept me motivated. The time it takes is just a couple of minutes and there is a little daily challenge, as well as videos explaining the content. I just want my head to stop racing with thoughts and my heart to be calm. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

A Simple Year: I gave this 12 month course a crack last year but sadly fell off the wagon. A couple of friends I know (ahem) have let me have a peak at this year’s content and I feel like I could do it again, but this time with feeling. It’s a course designed to make life more simple and starts with the practical aspects of decluttering, what busyness is and how to combat it, through to simple cooking and travel (I will be tuning in in March for that one.) It’s still open for registration and like all learning it takes some dedication and time but is well worth it in my opinion.

Happiness Jar: I stole this idea from Elizabeth Gilbert and everyday before I hop into bed I write on a little piece of paper the one thing from the day that made me the happiest. I don’t have a jar, as such, but I am stuffing each piece of paper into my bedside drawer. And I might never read them again but it is such a nice way to get ready for sleep and to finish off the day. And there hasn’t been a day yet when I haven’t been able to think of something. Whipping both my husband and brother in ping pong may have featured for a few days running.

Of course regular massages, self care days, herbal teas, journalling and all of those other wonderful pursuits are on the list but I am trying to be practical here.

So to Self Help – here’s cheers!



Time for change…

Blogs are a funny concept. And the one thing I have noticed lately is that if it’s not happening, then it’s just not happening. I have lost my little spark, where I felt motivated to write and comment on progress of ‘Northcote’. And sure, it served a purpose for a while – I was able to keep family in the loop of the happenings, and it was fun to keep checking in with progress.

But like many things, there comes a time for change. The fact that I haven’t been able to tie myself to the keyboard in months, to try and belt out a new blog post, is a sure sign that it had run its course.

But I really love the ‘idea’ of blogging – just not the practicalities. Like typing. Or writing words. I much prefer to talk. In person preferably.

And I have had a couple of opportunities to talk about blogs lately – once in Bathurst and then again this week on ABC radio. And I think it’s the medium for me. So I’m going to re-jig this little baby, and there’ll be a few ‘sweeping changes’ in the wind.

Oh and there is a small person expected in the next two weeks (don’t worry, this isn’t going to metamorphosis into a mummy blog) but I think the timing is right to mix things up a little.

As they say in the business ‘Stay Tuned’

On the radio this week, I spoke about some cracking blogs that have me hooked. And I actually think they could be life changing (I saw that eye roll) especially the ‘Slow Your Home‘ beauty.

If you want to listen to the rather brief radio segment, then here’s the link to Soundcloud HERE so you can listen online.

Or, if you want to just cut straight to the blogs themselves, then be my guest:

1. Deliciously Ella: This UK dynamo really is delicious. She is a foodie who documents – via text and videos – her lifestyle changes that were implemented when her health took a dive. Her recipes are simple, her (short) videos are easy to watch and she has a great outlook on life – I’d call it confident but not a love job. I would have killed for this kind of inspiration when I was in my 20s.

Deliciously Ella
2. Slow your Home: Oh so much to talk about here. Blogger Brooke is based in the Blue Mountains (so many ‘b’s) and she speaks of a slower paced life that brings so many benefits. Her podcasts have me hooked, and I seem to be making up excuses to drive everywhere just so I can listen to another instalment. I am convinced this slow paced business is the way forward for me…

Slow your home

3. The Squawkin’ Galah: The gorgeous Tracy Sorrenson lives in Bathurst and we met a couple of weeks ago at a blogging panel thingy-me-bob as part of the Sydney Writer’s Festival. Her blog is calm (I sense a theme) and beautifully written – firstly about her fight against cancer, and more recently about her life and musings post cancer.

Tracy SorrensonSo it’s a bit of a ‘chick-fest’ this time around. I just can’t believe how so many great things can be found and learned via blogs. Cheaper than therapy.

Let’s hope this blog in particular manages to keep up with that philosophy. See you soon with a change of pace.




Back to school…

I think it’s great that we have access to so many online courses these days. No? Yes? Well I think it’s pretty great. Sure, it’s always fun to do something face to face, but when you live in the sticks, you have to do what works.

I have been doing a little blogging course called Blog with Pip and it’s been really useful and fun. Like, really useful. It costs money, and you have to try and keep up to date with the course (because you will eventually be unable to access the content) but it’s self paced and pretty non stressful. Win Win.

We have assignments – ooh, sounds just like school – and this week’s requires us to get a bit reflective.

It’s called ‘taking stock’ You should try it. It’s kind of like therapy…but cheaper and a lot less squirmy. I just have to write the first thing that pops into my head when I read the prompts.

Here goes…

Making : Choc Cashew Bliss Balls
Cooking : Farm chops
Drinking : Relaxing Tea from Tea Tonic
Reading: ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ for book club
Wanting: To meet the new baby
Looking: At my belly button popping out
Playing: Cafe tunes on Spotify
Deciding: On whether I should post this or not
Wishing: For life to keep poking along like this
Enjoying: ‘Girls’ on iTunes
Waiting: For the end of June
Liking: My friends (well kind of loving)
Wondering: Why the 2 Australian drug traffickers were murdered
Loving: My friends
Pondering: Deepak Chopras ‘Perfect Health’ messages
Considering: Not spending any money in May (except for groceries & essentials)
Watching: The leaves turning on our liquid amber
My family is happy
Marvelling: At the size of my tummy
Needing: Another log on the fire
Smelling: Our compost heap
Wearing: Tracksuit pants
Following: About 30 blogs…at once
Noticing: How much better I feel if I meditate
Knowing: I need to drink more water
Thinking: How lucky am I?
Feeling: Content
Admiring: Mothers
Sorting: Socks & undies. Same old, same old.
Buying: See ‘considering’ above
Getting: A bit sick of using the dancing girl as my ‘go to’ emoji
Bookmarking: Everything ‘Deliciously Ella’ cooks
Disliking: Gravy
Opening: The back door because the fire is too hot
Giggling: At my two nephews playing bucking broncos & riding each other
Feeling: Content
Snacking: On carrots
Coveting: I can never remember what this word means…
Wishing: For nothing
Helping: My ‘usband with his books
Hearing: The toilet flushing

My favourite of all of these prompts is ‘Feeling’ and I hope you too are feeling content.


In a bid to be authentic…

I’m not quite sure where March went, but let’s just say it might have been taken up with school teaching, turning the big 40 (yikes) and getting amongst this pregnancy thing. Yep, it’s happening and there’s a small person growing inside…which makes pretty much everything (except eating) pretty hard to concentrate on. I am still pinching myself.

Here’s how the March instalment of Bits and Blogs on the ABC radio went…

We chatted about authenticity and the influence that bloggers can have on their followers. This is a theme that has reared its head just in the last couple of months – that of bloggers being in a powerful position to influence people. The die hards amongst the world of journalism still can’t believe that bloggers can have so much clout… considering they don’t have a degree in writing or some such skill.

Jess Ainscough aka The Wellness Warrior (website now taken down) blogged about her battle with a rare form of cancer, whereby she undertook a relatively radical approach – known as the Gerson Therapy – seeking to use food and alternative therapies to treat her condition.

Jess Ainscough

Jess Ainscough

Sadly Jess passed away only two weeks ago and her blog has been put under the microscope. The concern is that many readers may have pinned their hopes on Jess’ experiences and advice, to help them recover from similar life threatening illnesses.

Healing Belle (who has now gone removed herself from Instagram and Facebook) is one such blogger and social media sensation that has recently come under criticism for apparently making false claims via her social media accounts that she has cured cancer via her diet. All sorts of gossip surrounds this young lady, but the crux is that many of her claims to actually have cancer in the first instance are believed to be untrue. Still, she has apparently made a lot of money via an App called ‘The Whole Pantry’ that was developed as a result of her experiences with cancer.

According to an article by ‘The Age’ some online media celebrities could be doing more harm than good “Dr Bartone says the Internet has made people into online sensations and pseudo-experts.”

Read more about it HERE

The bottom line…make informed decisions, and by all means read blogs for interest, but also do your own homework.

3 of my favourite blogs at the moment:

Food & Craft: Meet Me at Mikes

Pip Lincoln aka Meet me at Mikes

Pip Lincoln aka Meet me at Mikes

In keeping with the above theme of authenticity, author Pip Lincoln makes a lot of sense in a recent blog, and the problems associated with social media and the need to feel ‘liked’. She refers to this recent phenomenon as the ‘like-cycle’ and how some ‘wanna be’ celebs will do whatever it takes to gain likes and followers. Apart from that, she does amazing online courses – one of which is an online blogging course that I have just taken up – and has published several books.

Life: Sarah Wilson

The Sarah Wilson

The Sarah Wilson. Image via

I can’t believe it has taken me until March to talk about my favourite blogger Sarah Wilson! I have a healthy woman-crush on this lady, which began in about 2009 when I started firstly following her articles in a weekend magazine, and then on her blog. She has gone on to create the online business ‘I Quit Sugar’ but her own personal blog goes into many topics about life and living authentically and happily. I could go on for hours about this one!

And yes, she weighs in on the debate about what to believe, and what not to believe, on the internet.

Regional: The Central Nest

Screenshot 2015-04-19 16.39.10

Kayana is based in Bathurst – so nice and close – and as a result, her blog is very relevant (except the owing a Thermomix part!!) She is honest and humorous and this is a great lifestyle blog to have in your feed.

She has practical tips (the parent mode on an i-phone so you can lock your child on just one screen and they can’t get out of it!) My girlfriends are going to love this!

Best of all, this girl does not claim to know it all. Authentic and real.

As for my take on the whole shebang, you can listen to my take on authenticity and blogging right HERE

Feel free to let me know of any brilliant blogs that you are following.