Food for the soul

Chosen my flower-girl frock

Hello lovely readers, a tiny plea. Let’s just archive this endless rhetoric around Marriage Equality in the annals of history and vote YES ok? ‘Cos I’ve already picked my flower-girl frocks for my gay buddy’s weddings and I don’t wanna have to fight for a refund!


Finding ‘mindfulness’

Hello there lovely readers, now put that device down and listen up. Having trouble doing that? Well today’s blog is all about a whole new, rapidly growing industry focused on helping you do so. Remember the days of Eckart Toll’s ‘The Power of Now’ extolling the virtues of conscious awareness’? Familiar with Yogis and meditation gurus banging on about the virtues of meditation for stilling the mind? Same premise, new buzzword ‘mindfulness’. Given goldfish now have a greater attention span than we do (seven seconds while those sweet little suckers have eight!) thanks to our febrile attempts to accomplish bigger, greater, more – from the moment we rise, to the second we lay our weary heads upon our lavender spritzed sleep inducing pillows, we need it!

Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve a whole bunch of chattering monkeys banging away in my head. The same critters who reach a crescendo during post Yoga Shavasana where, instead of focusing on breathing, palm trees and shimmering water, I find myself mentally singing ‘Old Macdonald had a…haeeey macarena!!’

Seems the only time I was able to quell the monkeys was during time spent wandering around France, no deadlines (other than grabbing a baguette before the village closed for afternoon siesta), no expectations, just me, alone with those busy, busy thoughts. Until the day I looked up to take note of a street name on a wall to mark my way home and discovered a mosaic space invader. My quest to find them all (see Space Invaders) soon brought a whole new world into focus.

Before I knew it I found myself marvelling at dappled sunlight through the plane tree leaves, the delicate patterns inside the Arc de Triomphe, the Meccano struts of the Eiffel tower; the weight of massive curtain tassels in the Palace Opera. The pure joy on a little girl’s face as birds alighted on her seed proffered hand; the beauty and the infectious giggles of twin baby girls, identically attired in white leggings and camel puffer jackets, as they pushed boats across the pond (with just a slight distraction as I secretly coveted their impeccably attired mother’s Louis Vuitton cross body patent purse). The click of boules; the disconnect as a rabble of folk in crazy costumes with an assortment of instruments bashed out a tune only they recognised; the pure notes of a choir in a back street synagog. The burst of sweetness from warm, freshly picked market cherries. The atmospheric feel of impending rain, the smell of ozone, wet tarmac. Nailed it lovely readers! Mindfulness.

Thing is, we can’t just pootle off on sojourns to escape the everyday busyness of life as we know it today.  We also know we can’t keep clinging to the pretty roundabout horse, losing our sense of inner harmony without consequence. Ask Arianna Huffington (author, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, now owned by AOL) who experienced first hand the detriment of trying to do too much for too long and, after recovering from collapse, now advocates for getting off that goddamned horse. So too Lisa Messenger, founder of the Collective, Camilla (of the Flowing Caftan genre) and so many more.

So what to do to regain our balance? Well darlinks, you can actually app your way to work-life balance and, being queen of apps, I thought I’d build you a little toolbox of said helpers to get you started:

Antisocial: On average, people touch their smart phones 2,617 times a day. This app tracks how much time you spend on your device and helps you become more mindful about your usage.

Buddhify: Eleven hours of meditations designed to squeeze a little peace into every part of your day, from the start of day until you hit the hay.

Bloom: Keep your workaholic tendencies in check by turning your most-loved picks and music into mini-movies that you can schedule to appear during your day; along with pre-made reminders – ‘time for a glass of water sport!’

Thrive Away: Arianna Huffington’s new organisation ‘Care of Thrive Global’ comes with an app that allows you to take a proper vacation from your inbox. Thrive Away let’s senders know your not at your desk and automatically deletes all new emails while you’re relaxing.

OffTime: blocs apps, filters out notifications and sets up auto-replies to stop your smartphone gatecrashing your creative concentration or special moments with loved ones.

Pocket: If you’re prone to falling down internet rabbit holes, this beauty puts articles, tweets, videos – pretty much anything – aside for viewing when you’re not on the job. Save links straight from your browser for the commute home.

Pause: Set a time, pop in those ear buds and do what you’re told by this audiovisual app aiming to bring mindfulness to your day. Big circles, slow motions, my personal fave!

Habitbull: Habits can both enhance or damage your life and this sweet little app will help you make or break a few more. It deploys an army of strategies to keep you across your habits, from generating graphs to displaying progress and encouraging you to set specific goals

Enjoy!! And if you’ve any you’d like to share, please drop a line in the comments.

Let’s talk Bucket Lists baby

Hello lovely readers, on a lighter note, dated a guy recently and talk turned to Bucket Lists where we discovered that No.1 on his list might possibly be solved with No. 72 on mine. Talk again turned to Bucket Lists over a luncheon I was hosting yesterday where my guests found themselves revisiting their own. For each accomplishment, the perfect excuse for a toast! I wrote the below post back in 2015 and, given we’re all determined to continue making the most of what this life offers, thought I’d inspire you by re-sharing: 

What’s the one thing you dream of achieving?

And what are you doing about it? I’m talking Bucket Lists ladies and gentlemen – have you developed yours? And are you steadfastly ticking those goals off?

A friend recently gifted me a fabulous little book for recording my Bucket List and, list lover extraordinaire that i am, I did exactly that. Rewarded myself by reliving and recording the goals I’d already achieved, then noted the things I’m planning to do next. A smattering below – four achieved, two in the queue – a tad of guessing for you…

  • #34 Learn to dive
  • #96 Sing at Burning Man
  • #53Learn a language
  • #16 Dance at Rio Carnival
  • #66 Explore Europe
  • #70 Skydive

“What’s one thing you dream of achieving? You know  – what’s on your list?”

A question posed by Sebastian Terry a ‘professional list-ticker’ key note speaker, motivator and adventurer. And has that guy kicked some classy goals! For example:

  • #23 Deliver a baby
  • #27 Minister a wedding
  • #43 Volunteer at an Orphanage in Uganda
  • #58 Skydive naked
  • #79 Live with a tribe for one week
  • #98 Crash a red carpet

The more adventurous items mostly ticked, Sebastian’s list now has a more philanthropic core and, as Ambassador for Camp Quality, Alzheimer’s Australia and Make-A-Wish, he’s already helped to raise more than $200,000 for them (originating from #4 – raise $100,000 for Camp Quality).

Thing is, everyone has at least one thing they have to do before they die. Some even have a list. But how many goals and dreams on this list are actually achieved?

According to a UK poll, 53% of us want to travel the world (with one in four hankering for a safari trip and one in five busting to trek Peru’s Inca Trail), 31% want to learn a new skill, 30% a road trip and 24% a new hobby. Something you’ve been itching to do but never got around to?

One day I would like to…

My Mum often pre-empts with ‘one day I will…‘ but never does. I say to her it’s never too late! A 92 year old man recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s just skydived; an 85 year old woman made history as the oldest person to scale Mt Kilimanjaro; a 91 year old debuted her flying skills and piloted a plane. Makes a bus trip around Tasmania look like a mere doddle now doesn’t it?

So what about you? Whether your goals are as tame as mine or as adventurous/philanthropic as Sebastian’s, why not commit them to paper…then commit to action. You might even indulge yourself with a My Bucket List book to record your goals. Still easier said than done? Dr Alice Boyes, author of The Anxiety Toolkit recommends the following:

  1. Surround yourself with people who are actively pursuing their bucket list
  2. Make a list of goals you’d like to achieve this year
  3. Mix big and small goals, and include harder and easier variations
  4. Put a little time aside each week to work on your bucket list
  5. Let your bucket list reflect your own personality, quirks and interests

Oh and did I tell you, Sebastian has a website and app 100things where you can share your goals, communicate with each other and do things together. He also organises trips to help you achieve the more challenging – trip to the Antarctica anyone? Now go for it!

What’s on your bucket list? What are you most proud for accomplishing so far?

Bucket List

And no, I didn’t satisfy that #1 with my #72…not this time 🙂

Happy Mama’s Day!

To my lovely Mummy (so British but that’s my Mum for you), to all who have endured burnt waffles, cold coffee, sticky fingers and big wet kiddy kisses…and to those whom we’ve lost yet remain right there beside us in spirit… 

That extraordinary goal of yours…

I was driving down the coast with my lovely friend M recently, when conversation turned from men (a singlette standard) to what we wanted to achieve in 2017. M sets herself goals and steadfastly meets them every year, with richter scale applause and admiration from me. This year, she wants to achieve something ‘extraordinary’. We’re talking beyond jumping out of a plane, or climbing Mt Everest, or finding the Unicorn who ticks all boxes, or getting her toenail paint on straight. Something that will fuel her heart, her passion, rejuvenate, inspire.

Well hello? Given this blog’s about all things inspirational, that eve I poured a wine and set to the task of sleuthing out the most inspirational sites, personally reviewed and compiled a list that just might provide her (and you) with ‘extraordinary’ potential. (Feel free to share the love with your own faves in the comments!):

Click here for my Top 30 Fabulously Inspirational sites

A tad of fun learning:

Mentalfloss – Interesting articles guaranteed to put a smile on your dial and get you thinking.

Wizzpast – Our awe inspiring past all in one magnificent site to see what others have achieved– Love a good infographic? This site showcases useful information in an easy to digest visual format.

Unplugthetv – Swap out the commercials at least and let this little site randomly select an educational video for you to watch.

Tedtalks – Love a good TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talk.Inspirational speakers addressing a variety of topics in short videos. Perfect commute < 18 minutes

Litro – All you need to know about the wonderful world of books and writing.

Lettersofnote– If you’re into the might word, the site’s tagline says it all: “Correspondence deserving of a wider audience”

Duolingo – Learn a new language for free. Advance for a small price.

Mindsnacks – Add an app and learn that language on the bus, on your break, heck anytime you damn well feel

Lang-8 – Write posts in that language your learning, get them critiqued by a native speaker (and in turn help that native speaker learn your language)!

Justinguitar – Hundreds of free guitar lessons as well as some basic music.

Memrise – Learn things quickly and efficiently, from languages to history with snazzy little flashcards

Mathrun – If you love your math, a simple little game to practice your basic maths skills

A spot of serious learning:

Khanacademy – Watch thousands of micro-lectures on topics ranging from history and medicine to chemistry and computer science.

Coursera – A great little educational site that works with universities to get their courses on the Internet and they’re free!

Openculture – A compendium of free learning resources, including courses, textbooks, and videos/films.

Codecademy – Packed with introductory courses for various programming languages and web technologies.

Udacity – More free courses primarily focused around mathematics and programming, aimed at people of all skill levels.

Aldaily – An aggregation of articles from various higher education journals and publications.

Investopedia – Cool for learning about the world of finance, from basic terminology to in-depth analysis of various areas of investing.

Zooniverse – Take part in a huge variety of interesting studies of nature, science, and culture.

For charitable efforts

Freerice – Why not help to end world hunger by correctly answering multiple-choice quizzes on a wide variety of subjects.

Charitynavigator– This site is dedicated to reviewing charities so you can easily research any you’re interested in.

A few life-hacks too

Feelgoodwardrobe – Find out how to control the wardrobe, how the world of fashion really works and what you can do to combat it.

Lifehacker – The strangest and most interesting tips and tricks for improving all areas of your life.

Zenhabits – A minimalist Blog about improving your life by making it simpler.

Cookingforengineers – One man’s explorations in food, with step by step instructions for making a wide variety of dishes.

Artofmanliness – A Blog/site dedicated to all things manly, great for learning life skills and good insights.

Engineerguy – Kinda like having your Dad on call. A collection of videos in which Bill breaks down various feats of engineering in layman’s terms.


Humanworkplace – Love Liz Ryan, my absolute fave on LinkedIn ‘cos she talks the same career guidance language as I do.

‘I’m with her’

A week before the American Presidential election and convinced that Hillary would triumph, I pondered a Utopian future driven by gender balanced power in seats of influence, and I started writing. Then Trump won. As I mourned in disbelief, I re-framed my missive, then lost the will to post thinking what’s the point. Then I witnessed the marches protesting Trump’s inauguration unfolding across the world, many so powerful they were declared full on rallies, and I realised there is hope.

My original missive focused on an extract from an article in which Barack Obama described the future he wanted to leave for his daughters. It read:*

‘We need to keep changing the attitude that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatises full-time dads and penalises working mothers. We need to keep changing the attitude that values being confident, competitive and ambitious in the workplace – unless you’re a woman. Then you’re being too bossy, and suddenly the qualities you thought were necessary for success end up holding you back’.


The year of Harolds

Happy New Year!

Now about those New Year Resolutions. Are you a ‘big bodacious hairy goal’ setter? A crafter of sweet personal commitment lists? Or do you sit in the camp of ‘I always break ’em by February so why bother’? Judging from the volume of motivational New Year quotes shared by friends and family on Facebook January 1st, seems a lot of us have intention. I searched for mine:

‘Today is the first blank page of a 365 page book, write a good one’ 

‘365 new days, 365 new chances’

Right, so the new year has the same amount of days as last year. Good to know; and clearly the world will end on December 31st, better get cracking, pop the book publisher on speed dial and to hell with the editing.

‘New year, new feels, new chances, same dreams, fresh starts’

‘What if you simply devoted this year to loving yourself more?’ 

Valid point, why not? Could do with a regular massage, pedicure, retail therapy, oh yes, a lot of retail therapy.


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