The un-sparking of joy. KonMari update 6 months on.

Ok, I am calling BS on the Marie Kondo method. After my joy filled rose tinted post several months ago about organizing my entire life I need to come clean about my fall from the organizational wagon. When the impossibly well presented Marie Kondo popped up onto my Netflix watch list in February I looked around at my living room which was strewn with various neon coloured bits of plastic and eyed the bulging drawers I daren’t open and felt decidedly non joyous. This sweet lady was offering to spark joy in my life and all I needed to do was throw out all of my things in return. Simple, easy, I. can. do this.

So I drank the Koolaid, I immediately binge watched the entire show and decided I needed to get my life in order or I risked becoming one of those people who hoards newspapers and becomes the centre of a television show documenting how I was crushed to death by my lifelong collection of greeting cards (it’s a problem, I keep them for no reason). No, this would not be my fate. Everything needed to go and it needed to go now.  So off I went with my bin bag (that’s garbage bag for you North American’s) and began holding every piece of clothing I owned hoping for the elusive feeling of “joy”. Unsurprisingly, much of my pre-pregnancy closet did not spark joy so into the bag it went and off to the donation centre. I earnestly held towels, ornaments, shampoos and other random household items in my search for joy and most of them found their way into the bag too. A lot of times the notion of joy gave me pause. Honestly, how can a towel spark joy? It is necessary but I don’t have a strange magic feeling when I hold it. What about my wireless skin coloured bras? it offers comfort yes, but joy? no. Soon I had my husband involved and a mountain of bags ready to leave my house. I was an organizational wizard, neigh a goddess. Why hadn’t I done this sooner? I recommended the book to everyone who would listen to me. I carefully took pictures of my drawers and promised myself and Kondo that I would NEVER fall back into my old ways.

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Warning: this is an unrealistic, Utopian ideal.

Well it was all sunshine and lollipops for a few weeks. I carefully folded everything into strange triangles and put them into my drawers. I blogged about how amazing I felt and sang the methods praises. I must have been nauseating. But then things inevitably went awry. I must preface this by stating that I am a closet messy person. My house is organized and tidy on the surface but I have a nasty habit of sweeping stuff off counters and into the nearest drawer. It started small. Cables escaped their carefully organized box prisons. Bras were shoved into dividers rather than being carefully laid out. clothes were pushed into drawers in haste with the 0.5 seconds I had to myself.  Socks lay divergent on my bedroom chair. Folding the laundry became an EVEN WORSE job as I now had to take ages folding everything so bloody small. Perhaps a pivotal moment in the sullying of the Kondo method came when my 4 year old decided she wanted to dress herself daily and pulled every item of clothing out of her drawers. I could not face refolding. I couldn’t do it. I’m sorry Kondo but I have had my awakening. This was not sparking joy.

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She totally sparks joy but the mess that her new found style expression leaves does not.

So has my life turned into disarray and a joyless void since I stopped following the KonMari method? In a word, no. Folding and putting away my laundry, whilst not speedy, does not take 10 business days. I don’t want to cry in the fetal position every time my kid opens a drawer and spills the contents onto the floor with no regard for the hours of careful folding I have put in. It wasn’t a completely wasted exercise though. I have become a little more mindful of putting things back in their place, but I’m realistic. Sometimes you’ve gotta throw everything in the nearest drawer because you have company coming over. Sometimes you have things that just don’t have a “place” and end up moving between drawers. Sometimes All the time you don’t have time to fold your underwear into neat little squares. I’m not saying that her ideas are without merit, millions of people have bought her book and found a calmer life through her method but for the average, busy mum it is just a level of organization that is simply unattainable.

So there you have it. I throw my hand up and admit that I’m a messy person. I’ve been waiting 33 years to become a proper grown up who knows how to fold a fitted sheet and cared about folding underwear but it’s just not happening you guys. Will I ever be a grown up? But you know what? It doesn’t matter, what sparks joy for me is a relatively tidy home that is a place of calm but where you’re not afraid to get comfy or put your feet on the couch. Just don’t look in the drawers.

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Musings On Friendship In Your 30s.

It seems like your 30s are a decade of many questions and mysteries. Why are my veins sticking out? Is that a grey hair? Why don’t my shorts fit? What do I wear? How do I parent? Why can’t I sleep despite being perpetually exhausted? But one of the trickiest mysteries is why is it so blinking hard to make friends?

Friendships throughout the years

Humans are by nature pack animals. We seek out others to make tribes with and have done for millennia. Taking a look at our own lives, making friends throughout the years never seemed that much of a challenge. Lets go back in time for a moment. In the school yard you were a kid who had no idea who they are or what they wanted yet making friends was as simple as sharing a bag of crisps or playing a game of Little Mermaid. In Comprehensive school you got separated from your primary school pals and formed new bonds over the Bunsen burner which led into going to the park and chasing boys after school and then your first nights out on Bacardi Breezers and ten quid in your pocket. University saw you move away from home and into halls of residence with the giddy sense of freedom yet the responsibilities of adulthood being so far away. People from all over the country were thrown into the same situation and just like that you fell into easy friendships with room mates, course mates and randoms you met at the union. Who remembers waking up on a Sunday morning with a dozen friend requests and multiple tagged pictures? It was easy, it was fun, it was…natural. Then in a blink of an eye university was over and yet again you moved, either back home or away for a job. This seems to be where those carefree, easily formed friendships got a little trickier. Now you were an adult and probably had a job that required at least an iota of professionalism. New people at work needed to be vetted before friending on Facebook or asking them for a drink after work. Welcome to the minefield of adult friendship forming.

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Behold the wonders of early 2000s fashion. Side belts, kilts and halter tops. Wait is that a..TIE?

I am an adult now, I am important and serious.

I think that a big change we go through with our friendships as we age is the fact that we develop a stronger sense of who we are, understand what we need (and don’t need) and lose some of that carefree childlike attitude that allows us to talk to practically anyone who crosses our path and ask them to join in our imaginary game. Add to that mix the lack of organic meetings (like school or uni), partners and children and it seems like an impossible feat to make new friends once you hit your third decade on the planet. Everyone is just so freaking busy and not to mention the fact that they might be plants from your boss to befriend you only to access your Facebook and divulge its most hideous content to your superiors resulting in your termination and social disgrace (Okay maybe that’s a bit dramatic and my Facebook doesn’t have anything THAT incriminating on it but I’m definitely more wary than I was many moons ago in the union when everyone and anyone made the cut to my friend list).

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Taking a short break from annoying absolutely everyone by retelling stories from school.

I moved across the world when I was 23 and left behind all my friends which was torture. I haven’t ever been a flavour of the week type of friend. I chose my mates carefully and have been friends with my girls since school. I love them more than anything. Each one makes me laugh and I wouldn’t want to imagine life without them. I’m a very lucky girl to have them. Now if they’d just move to Canada already! My best friend in the world, Charlotte, and I have been friends for almost our entire lives. I mean it started off a little rocky between us but a teacher forced me to sit next to her one year and the rest is history. I still chat to her practically every day and when we’re together its like we’ve never been apart. We have millions of in jokes and stories from our childhood and perhaps why I find making friends at this point in life is that lack of history. There’s something so special about having your lives intertwined for so long you can’t remember them not being there. Now just because you didn’t go to school together doesn’t mean you’ll never be amazing friends. I will say that I’ve got some amazing friends here in Canada who I cannot imagine being without. Many of them I’ve been friends with for years now so we’re building a new history together. My closest friend here keeps me sane, makes me laugh till my sides hurt and loves her wine as much as I do.

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My Swansea girls. Not to brag, but they are literally the greatest (and most gorgeous) girls in the world.

Let’s hear it for Mum Tinder

A major problem in your 30s is the lack of organic friend meeting opportunities. You’re probably done with school and don’t go out as much unless it’s with your kids and you spend an abnormal amount of time chasing them around persuading them to go to the bathroom and not much time looking like the carefree, approachable perspective friend you hope to be. I joined the Peanut App (think mum Tinder but way, WAY more wholesome) and I’ve been blown away by how many 30 somethings seem to struggle to find friendships that are meaningful. So many women say they’re lonely or find it hard to get out and meet people that it seems somewhat pandemic. I’ve decided to put myself out there during this maternity leave and I’ve made it my mission to say yes to anyone who wants to meet (within reason of course, I do not wish to be made into a lampshade or have my organs harvested and sold on the dark web) and to take a chance on asking fellow mums out on play dates or for a drink. It’s actually been an incredible experience and I’m amazed of the response you get when you just put yourself out there. I’ve met some incredible women who I have so much fun with. Sure it wasn’t the most organic way to meet but it works!

Another reason is that we’re busier now than ever with careers and families, but I remember my parents always having people around or going to their friends’ houses for dinners and parties. This left me wondering if it is a generational thing? Or is it the advent of the smartphone and how we now message people for our friend fix rather than taking a chance and ringing the doorbell to see if they’re in for a chat? It absolutely blows me away that no one just calls around their friend’s house for a coffee or a wine on a whim but it is a somewhat military style operation that must be organized and reorganized a month in advance. Why are we so scared of inconveniencing people? I guarantee you that many of your friends are probably sitting at home wishing someone would just ring the bell and take the freaking pressure off of all. this. damn. planning. I fear spontaneity is an art lost on many millennials.

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Some 80s frienship flavour. My beautiful Mummy and one of her besties, Kim. Oh and that’s me.

FEAR

Maybe the real reason that making friends as you get older has much to do with fear. Fear of not liking other people, fear of not being liked, fear of being too much or too little, fear of offending people, fear of being made into a skin suit (this fear is REAL when you are meeting internet people guys…just me?). Maybe if we could go back to that carefree child we once were who danced with abandon in public and thought nothing of pretending to be a cat with a perfect stranger then we would find it a lot easier to connect with other people as we age (or find ourselves the subject of an unflattering newsreport).

There seems to be many reasons as to why your 30s seems like some kind of friendship black hole whether it be lack of natural circumstances to meet, being cooped up covered in baby sick and barely functioning, or just plain old fear. What we need to do is take a chance on friendship, put ourselves out there and start making new stories with new friends that soon become old friends. That way you can be part of the biggest clique in the nursing home (on Wednesdays we wear support stockings).

Love,

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Hello…it’s me again.

Hey friends,

I know, I know it’s been a long time. I started off this blog guns blazing and I desperately wanted to create something that people would flock to amidst the saturated blog market. It started off swimmingly, I was featured in Scary Mommy  and I felt unstoppable. The response to the article was widely positive (of course some lovely people felt the need to minimize by feelings from behind their keyboards but that’s the internet for you) and it was amazing to have people from all over the world reach out to me. I was asked to be a part of a collection of expat stories for a book which was really special. I felt unstoppable. But then, I started to run out of steam.

Desperate to make the blog a success that might allow me to supplement my income, I lost focus and direction and focused on writing about what was popular and might get more hits rather than what I really cared about. I became too bogged down in affiliate programs and honestly the content suffered. I started this blog as a space to be real about the trials and tribulations of parenting as an immigrant (not expat, thank you keyboard warriors) farm wife and to share things I am interested in. It’s time to get back to that and if success comes then fantastic but what’s more important is connecting with other women and men who might get a little laugh and support from my ramblings musings.

At the same time as trying to be the world’s most unlikely influencer I decided to start taking better care of myself and found that nap times were taken up by getting active rather than writing and my little window of available time slowly got smaller. Add to that the never ending mum guilt of having a 4 year old that constantly wants to play and I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write. Now, I chose to say yes to play as much as possible as I know my daughter will be going to school soon and I just want to soak up every delicious minute with her so I’m not complaining, it just naturally happened that the blog took a back seat. I just tried to enjoy this maternity leave as much as possible, I went on trips, took lots of pictures and made new friends. Oh and let’s not forget the most stressful, long planting season EVER (yes I’m a farm wife to those of you who are new) and my little space in the internet just gathered dust.

Now I feel like I want to write again. Maybe it’s the giant upheaval that’s coming in the form of returning to work? I mean I’ll have so much more time now right?!  I’m not sure but I hope that whoever is reading this blog is happy to have me back and enjoys what’s to come!

Love,

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How I KonMari’d My Makeup Routine

I’m obsessed with the magic of tidying up. If you’ve been following my blog then you’ll know that I’m slowly but surely Kondo’ing my life and I am LOVING it. Yes I know that Kondo says that you have to tidy up in one go, but I have two kids and I just cannot work like a Trojan every moment of the day cleaning things up. However, I am following her mantra of sparking joy very closely and tidying by category and I am finding the whole process oddly soothing and therapeutic. My closet has taken the brunt of my KonMari craziness with a whole host of random clothes bought in a postpartum induced haze finding their way to the donation box. The biggest plus side is that I have noticed that getting dressed in the morning has become a lot easier as I can easily see everything I have and I have gotten rid of all the junk that just didn’t fit in with who I am now.

Where am I with the KonMari method now?

So I’ve moved on to Komono which is basically everything else in the house that isn’t paperwork, books or sentimental items. I will say that I kind of skipped over books as I don’t really hoard them. I always lend books out to friends if I really enjoyed them, I leave them on vacation for someone else to enjoy or I read on my Kindle. For someone who loves to read, I actually have very few books lying around the house. I did tackle paperwork but I didn’t want to bore you with my filing system. So here we are at the vaguely more sexy komono. This was the category I was most afraid of because herein is where the majority of my hoarding lies. I don’t know why but I have a plethora of old decor, craft items and most shamefully of all, outdated beauty products. Despite my fear I tackled komono head on and made most progress with my bathroom and product stash.

Tackling the tidying of my beauty products

Honestly I don’t know what I have been saving all my products for. My bathroom vanity is a graveyard of half empty bottles and an inexpiable amount of samples of various cosmetics that I would never in a million years wear. I am a bit of a product junkie and I will try anything out if  it promises perfect hair, nails, skin or eyelashes. I’ve tried it all. Forget Makeup Alley if you want a review, come to me and I’ll tell you the honest truth. I am also a little fickle with my products and rarely commit to anything long enough to finish the entire bottle. I mean come on, who can wear the same mascara until the end or stick to the same shampoo once the conditioner is finished (really though, why can I NEVER finish a shampoo and conditioner at the same time? It must be some conspiracy from the shampoo company to keep you repurchasing) I am a bit of a commitmentphobe when it comes to products and my bathroom vanity tells the story of past relationships and breakups. So I tackled my vanity head on in typical KonMari fashion. I threw away anything out of date, I got rid of any products that I haven’t used since Christmas and I separated everything into little boxes so they were easily accessible and didn’t roll around the drawers. To say it is now a thing of beauty isn’t hyperbole. I can easily find my everyday skin products and I can even find my hair ties (girls you KNOW how hard it is to lay your hands on those suckers). However, nothing has made my routine simpler than my makeup organization.

One Makeup Organizer To Rule Them All

This post contains affiliate links

I LOVE makeup. I wear it almost every day and I have a lot of the stuff. I am constantly changing how I store it. I have had it in boxes, in cases and bags but every thing I used didn’t help keep in organized. I spent ages rifling through my overflowing make up bag to find my little pencils or my sharpener would leave shavings everywhere causing a kohly mess. So when I started doing the Marie Kondo method on my products, I knew my make up would require the most attention. I wanted one of those perspex organizers that would sit on my vanity to hold all my essentials but didn’t want something huge as I don’t have a dressing table and my vanity needs to be clutter free. I headed to Amazon and found this beauty for a steal and it has changed my morning routine completely.

I couldn’t find the exact one I got but I found one that is EVEN BETTER WITH AN EXTRA DRAWER!! I might need this one too… Click on the picture to check it out!

Sure it isn’t the biggest organizer but that isn’t what I was going for. I wanted something that could hold all my daily makeup essentials and keep them organized and easy to access. I’m busy and don’t get much time to do my make up what with being my kids’ snack bitch and all so I needed something functional and user friendly. I am not Sephora, I am a mum who likes to look nice. Overall, I wanted to simplify my morning make up routine. This organizers does that perfectly. The drawers are pretty small but I can put my tube of foundation, bronzer, highlighter pallet, eyeshadow pallet, blush and lipsticks in them which I think is just perfect. The organizer on the top is perfect for displaying your most used products and numerous pencils can fit into each compartment. I added a little mason jar to keep my brushes in and voila, everything I need is in one place. I do have my other make up in little boxes but for my everyday things this is PERFECTION. I cannot recommend it enough. Look at this organization nirvana!

Benefits of KonMari-ing my makeup

  1. I can see everything I have.
  2. My make up is clean as it doesn’t share a home with a pencil sharpener that constantly seems to have kohl and shavings attached to it.
  3. I don’t waste time rifling through my makeup bag every morning. Each product I use daily is at my fingertips.
  4. My makeup stays in better shape as the powders are not banged around in a bag.
  5. My morning routine is simplified and that is ALWAYS a good thing.

I am so glad that I got this little organizer, it sparks joy to see all my products looking so neat and tidy. Only negative is that it has spurred me to buy nice things so they look pretty on my counter (a make up junkie is always in recovery after all). I am also so glad that I got rid of the fake tan that has been sitting in my drawer for 5 years. No one needs to see a green tinged woman walking around the place (did you know tanner goes a khaki green colour after a while???)

So my friends I’ll keep on Kondoing (I like that verb) and keeping you all updated on little tricks and hacks I’ve picked up along the way.

What do you like to hoard randomly?

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Are You Truly Listening? 6 Steps To Become A Great Listener

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” Stephen Covey

Hands up, who loves to give advice? Guillltttttttyyyyy! We all love to be the hero sometimes. OK, another quiz, hands up who loves to be right in an argument? Guilllllttttyyy as charged again. I mean come on, who doesn’t love to throw down an amazing point in an argument that silences your opponent? It’s human nature to fluff our feathers in conflict. It’s also in our nature to take on the role of savior and sage adviser. But did you know that being the agony aunt or the victor actually makes you a less successful communicator? I came across this quote a couple of years ago and it was one of those things that has stuck with me ever since. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”. It’s a simple concept isn’t it, listening to someone? We all do it throughout our every day life and many of us give ourselves the title of “great listener” without giving much thought to what is actually means to listen. When I talk about listening I don’t mean merely switching your lugholes on. I mean REALLY listening and not just say “yeah” while you’re painting your nails on the phone or sitting there waiting for a gap in the conversation to offer some groundbreaking advice that will also award you with the title of “wise one”. So few of us genuinely practice active listening yet we believe whole heatedly that we are “great listeners”. It seems to me that we all have our two cents that we want to add to a conversation and part of being human is a desire, no matter how small, to help and if we’re really honest a small part of us that wants to be right. How many times have you had an argument with someone and sat there poised to respond? Mouth slightly open waiting for your chance to butt in. How many times have you thought that you know just what to say to your friend who is in crisis? You’ve got the perfect anecdote of a time you experienced a similar problem and want to tell them how you overcame your challenge and how they can too. Now I’m not saying that it’s wrong to give advice. Sometimes our experiences that we share with others help them exponentially and sometimes people genuinely want to hear what to do. However, sometimes people just want to spill their guts and not hear what you would do in their position. Because it’s just that, it’s not you in their position, it’s them.

This concept of actually listening opened my eyes (or should I say ears) to a new way of understanding people and managing conflict. When we’re in a heated debate or argument we naturally think one, two or three steps ahead, eager to get our point across. We aren’t actually listening to the person offering an alternative point of view and therefore our arguments never go anywhere apart from shouting territory as we’re only listening to our own internal monologue. I often tell my students that they need to turn off their own minds and fully listen to the person they are having trouble with. It is only when we stop and truly, honestly listen that we gain a new perspective.

Sympathy V.S Empathy

Many people think that two two words mean the same thing when in actual fact they’re very different. To sympathize with someone means to feel sorry for their situation and feel sad for their sorrow. This is a very superficial response to someone’s problems. Of course you will feel bad when your friend is in a bad place but pitying them doesn’t equal understanding them. Instead of sympathizing we want to aim to EMPATHIZE. When we empathize with someone we truly listen to their perspective and understand their struggle from their point of view. We put ourselves in their shoes.

How can you become a great listener?

  1. Give the speaker your full attention

    This means putting your phone down or sitting in a quiet place if you’re talking on the phone. If you’re face to face, turn your body towards the speaker and look them in the eye. Show that you’re giving them your full attention.

  2. Clear your mind of your own thoughts

    Yes, I know you have a to do list that is huge and your own problems but try and put that to one side and just listen to the speaker. Give them space in your mind and let their words sink in. Don’t think what you would do in the situation or how you would react. Remember this isn’t you, it’s them.

  3. Don’t interrupt

    This is simple etiquette when you’re having a conversation but I still cannot believe how many people jump in before you’re done talking with their own quip. This is classic listening to respond rather than listening to understand. We’re all guilty of this type of listening, especially in an argument. You need to take pause and think about what the person said and how to respond. See my 5 second rule to stop the interrupting habit.

  4. Repeat what they said

    You know when you meet someone and it’s recommended that you repeat their name so you remember it? Well this falls along the same line as that (full disclosure I am awful at names so any tips please leave them below). If you repeat what the other person has said to you then you can fully take it on board and internalize it as if it was your own thought. It also lets the other person know that you’ve listened to what they’ve said as you are able to repeat it back.

  5. Count to 5 before you respond

    This is something I picked up to help me not snap back at people when things get heated. It is also a power play if you’re trying to get more information out of a person as people like to fill silences (but this is not what we’re aiming for here). I sit and count to 5 in my head. This gives the other person’s words time to wash over me and helps stop an automated response. You’ll be amazed at how you see things more clearly when you give yourself time to digest the other person’s thoughts.

  6. Just listen and don’t give advice

    Unless you are asked directly for help, just listen to the other person and tell them that you understand how they feel. Offer support but not advice. There is nothing worse than unsolicited advice (am I right mums?) but support is always welcomed.

These tips for listening can be applied in many contexts from debates, to lending an ear to a friend to conflict. So next time that you’re in a position to listen to someone, try truly and actively listening. Put your own ego aside and actually take on board what they’re saying and I guarantee you’ll be amazed by the results. The world would be a better place if we listened more and talked less. Wow, all this yoga I’ve been doing is really rubbing off on me. I’ll be scrubbing floors at an Ashram and taking a vow of silence before you know it.

So, are you an active listener?

Love,

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Top Questions About Tidying Clothing The KonMari Way Answered

Hey guys!

I’m pleased to announce that I’m three weeks deep into the KonMari method and so far so good. Full disclosure: I did cheat a little and only did it on the top two floors of the house. Now, before you let out a collective gasp and Marie starts turning in her twinset let me say that my basement is a whole other level of tidying that I cannot handle right now. As I’m on maternity leave all my teacher crap necessities are piled in the laundry room (hey, they’re in Rubbermaid containers!) and I can’t tackle that mountain until next year once I’m back in the classroom and my resources can find a new (hopefully permanent) home. Also there are loads of baby things down there that we’re not sure what to do with. The basement has also become the place where any discarded furniture and scatter cushions that I changed my mind about go to die. It is like an Aladdin’s cave of relics of decor past down there. So we agreed that one weekend in the spring we’ll hire a big bin and go to town. Phew now I’ve got that confession of my chest I’m ready to talk to you all about the first phase of tidying: Clothing.

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How I Began Tidying My Clothes The KonMari Way

Before you start with the method you really do have to get your head in the game. You need to be fully prepared to tidy and have some notion of what brings you joy. This part I found easy to wrap my head around as I don’t attach sentimental value to clothes. I generally see them for what they are; bits of fabric that I bought to serve a purpose at one time or another. The only non-negotiables are my wedding dress and my girls’ going home outfits. Other than that everything is fair game.

Visualize What You Want To Achieve At The End Of The Process.

Before I started this journey I was feeling about low about myself and a little lost with my clothing identity. I have gone through a few years of just buying things for function and not for “joy” as such. I’ve bought cheap things that go tatty and don’t make me feel particularly good. No more. My goal is to only buy things that make me feel fabulous and to take the time to invest. My visualization was of a wardrobe that was calming to look at. Not cluttered with random clothes but a wardrobe that was complimentary, streamlined and classic. I pictured myself in these clothes and I felt good. I pictured myself going into my closet to pick out my clothes and I felt really good. I was now ready to work towards making that visualization a reality. This might sound absolutely nuts but have a think about how you want your closet to look or even how you want yourself to look. The power of thought is quite profound.

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Some Questions I Have Been Asked

Do You Really Have To Pile All Your Clothes

Honestly I was not looking forward to this as it was a huge mess that I did not want to deal with. However, by making a frighteningly huge mountain of clothes I was actually forced to finish my tidying up as I couldn’t just leave it on the bed and I was confronted with a visual of how much I had bought over the past few years. When your clothes are in the drawer or hanging up it doesn’t look as much as when you put it all together. I was absolutely gobsmacked with how much I had accumulated and a little taken back with how much I must have spent.

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Do you really have to hold each piece?

In short, yes. I am not into thanking inanimate objects at all but I really feel that physically holding each piece is an important part of the method. Why you ask? Because in holding each piece you are forced to look at it and truly consider where it fits in your life and whether it sparks joy. In the past when I have been cleaning out my closet I just flipped through the hangers and donated the pieces that immediately made me cringe. When I actually dumped everything out and looked at each piece I could truly recognize what made me happy. I was actually pretty shocked at how much stuff I hated. That might seem like a strong word but I actually hate a lot of my clothes. They don’t represent me and I am not sure why on earth I felt the need to purchase those items. I put it down to my early 30s clothing crisis that I’m trying to work through. Oh and the fact that I am addicted to cheap clothes. I know, I know but I can’t walk away from a bargain.

How do you decide what goes?

By holding each item and truly deciding whether or not it has a place in your new vision for yourself. I had 3 piles on the go: donate/trash, keep and maybe. In the end I donated the maybe pile as I thought that if I didn’t care enough to keep those items in the first place then they probably didn’t truly bring me joy. See, I’m growing into a woman Marie would be proud of.

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Did I find it difficult?

Now that it is all done and dusted I can’t say that I found the process all that tricky. I was in the right frame of mind to discard any clothes that I no longer need and I truly wanted an organized life. I do find the folding a bit tedious but I worked so hard I want to keep it up.

How I’m keeping it up

Like I said above, when you spend the better part of a week tidying clothes you naturally feel like you want to maintain it. I am also a little addicted to seeing everything so neat and organized so that is spurring me on. I feel so much calmer knowing that everything is in order. Also, putting away my clothes and getting ready in the morning is a lot more simple now a mountain of fabric isn’t falling on my head at any given opportunity. It really does become a way of life and so far, so good.

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What I learned

You Need To Embrace the art of letting go

I ended up getting rid of 8 bags of clothing between myself and my husband (I think 6 were mine). I realized that I was holding onto items that I hadn’t worn in years because I was holding onto that version of me. Honestly it is not a version of me that I’m happy with. By throwing them away I’ve let go of that person and now I’m ready to fill my closet and my life with only items that spark joy. I promise you that the emotional weight that is lifted from letting go of all that clothing is AMAZING.

I Really Hate Folding

Ah folding. In all honesty I have not completely mastered the KonMari folding method and seeing as I have really deep drawers sometimes organizing in her way isn’t practical. However I tried my best. There are lots of great resources on Pinterest to teach you how to fold and it does take a lot of practice. I have found it really time consuming when I’m folding the laundry. However, I will say that with all the effort I put into folding I am much less inclined to throw my clothes carelessly into the drawer. You sly old fox Marie Kondo, that’s your plan isn’t it. If you are a folding officiando please get in contact with me to show me your ways.

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marie kondo perfect shirt fold

Overall, once you get started, tidying up the KonMari way is actually very maintainable and leads to an enormous sense of well being (anyone else singing Parklife now?). I really recommend getting started right now and discovering how awesome it is to live a tidy life. If my teenage self could see me now. I suppose things that bring you joy change as you get older. Whereas once a trip to a sticky floored nightclub brought me happiness now I enjoy folding and organization. Ah life.

the best shoe storage

plastic shoe storage box
I got these amazing clear shoe boxes from Amazon and they are PERFECT for stacking my shoes and keeping me organized. You can get them here and they’re on prime!

Happy purging friends! I’m moving onto Komono next, pray for me.

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My January Loves

So it’s January 76th apparently. For real, why is this January so long? It has been frigid here in Canada and after the excess (both monetary and food/alcohol) of the holidays I have felt in a total funk. However, there are a few little things that have brightened up the grey days and helped spur me on towards February. I thought that I would compile a monthly list of things that I’ve been loving every month in the hopes that maybe they can bring a little sunshine to your life too

Make up/beauty products

Garden of Wisdom (GOW) acids and serums
I was given a set of GOW products for Christmas and I’ve been using them religiously for a month and I must say I’m really impressed with my results so far. My skin was really dull from being inside (and maybe not taking care of it over the holidays but that’s a tiny detail) and these little beauties have really given me a refresh. I got the hyaluronic acid, Anti-Aging Multi-Peptide, niacinamide and the eye contour serum and I’ve been layering them daily. There’s a longer post in the works breaking down how I use these products and the results I’ve had. So far, so good.

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St. Tropez self tanner
I love a bit of colour but my 30 year old skin cannot take being fried not to mention the health implications of sunbeds. I’ve been using self tanner for years and wouldn’t be without my weekly spray tan when I lived in Wales. I’ve struggled to find a good variety of sunless tanners here in Canada so I went back to the original, and arguable the best, one on the market. It is amazing how a tan can boost your mood and just make you feel glowy and gorgeous on the coldest winter days. It’s a little on the pricey side but it does last for ages and the colour is great. No tangerine hands in sight (if you tan, then you know). I highly recommend using a mitt to apply (again, if you tan, then you KNOW).

                         

Charlotte Tilbury ‘The Feline Flick’ eyeliner
I am obsessed with this eyeliner and I don’t think I can say a bad word about it. Charlotte Tilbury is a genius when it comes to make up! It’s a little bit of luxe in my daily routine and it just makes me happy. Also, I have to say that my daily cat eye has been on point since receiving it. Read more about this product in my review post. 

charlotte tilbury feline flick

What I’m reading

‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo
Yeah I jumped on the bandwagon and I’m not ashamed. This is an amazing book and it really helps you understand the philosophy behind decluttering and organizing which in turn helps you stay dedicated to living a tidier life.

“An Almost Perfect Christmas’ by Nina Stibbe
I absolutely adored “Love Nina” and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this one. I love her dry, British sense of humour and sharp observations. It is taking me a while to get through (thank you little children) and I’m not quite as fond on it as I was “love Nina” but it does make me smile.

What I’m Watching

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
This hilarious show is on Prime right now and I’ve been watching it whenever I can sneak an episode throughout the day. The basic premise is Midge Maisel has been left by her philandering husband and in a drunken stupor she goes to a comedy club and performs a raw and frankly hysterical stand up act. After that she defies stereotypes and goes on to become a comedic hit and a strong, single woman.

The Bachelor (don’t judge me)
I can’t help it. My husband goes to hockey every Monday night and I spend the evening watching trashy TV with a facemask on. It is glorious and I am unapologetic about it. Yes the show is terrible but there’s something so simple about watching a group of women fight over a so-so bachelor. I cannot believe that after all thse seasons they can still find some absolutely crackers people willing to go on this show.

What I’m listening to

Bastille
I am listening non-stop to Bastille on my Alexa right now. I love all the songs and their cover songs are amazing. I mean who doesn’t want to hear Greenday in a British accent. I highly recommend giving these guys a cheeky listen.

What I’m wearing

Cozy snow boots
It is cold AF here still and I just want to look pretty. I am so fed up with being frumpy I cannot even begin to explain (if you follow my Instagram you’ll probably be sick of my whining!)

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Fluffy sweaters

I’ve promised to stop shopping mindlessly this year and so far, so good. I purchased a really cosy jumper from H&M in the sale for $20 and I haven’t taken it off. I’m going to try and hold off now until spring. I cannot wait to get my hands on some summer dresses!

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What I’m feeding my soul with

This sounds so new age but I’m trying to focus on feeding my soul this year. I want to be a happier, healthier and more positive person and I’m doing that by doing little things that make me happy.

Organizing my life 

I am a littttttle bit obsessed with finding joy and tidying after all the Marie Kondo-ing. I have to say that there is a lot of substance to the madness. Decluttering your home of things that no longer serve you opens up space for things that bring you happiness. We attribute sentiment onto inanimate objects and seem to have a hard time letting go. I feel so much calmer since throwing my frumpy, old clothes out and I have a renewed focus for the type of person I want to grow to be this year.

Making my physical health a priority

Confession, I haven’t really worked out since Emmy was born. I know it’s awful but I’ve been so busy with life that I let myself slip by the wayside. At Christmas I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin I couldn’t stand it. Now I’m not saying I’m overweight and I’m certainly not fishing for compliments but I cannot stand that I let myself go when fitness used to be a passion of mine. It’s not my goal to be a size zero but I would like to be around for as long as possible for my girls and now I’m 32 I realize that I do actually have to take care of myself. My heart rate has been through the roof since having Aria and since working out daily and eating right it has come down almost 10bpm! The proof is in the pudding (or the Kale salad) it seems.  All I’m doing is giving myself 30 minutes a day to do a spin session or yoga in my basement while one kid naps and the other plays independently by my side. I give them 12 hours every day so I see nothing wrong with a little half hour for myself. Plus, seeing me work out is good for them and their perception of health and fitness as a normal part of life instead of a punishment.

So there are a few little things that I have been loving this month. Yes it has been EXTREMELY cold, yest it has been snowy, yes I am poor from Christmas but I have found a little joy in these things and that’s all that matters. What has helped you through the Monday of months?

Here’s to February my friends and coasting towards spring!

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The Quest For The Perfect Eyeliner: Charlotte Tilbury Feline Flick Review

charlotte tilbury eyes

Forget the quest for the holy grail or the golden fleece, the most epic crusade in the world is the search for the perfect cat eye .Okay, so maybe that’s a little dramatic but I feel like I have been on a never ending pursuit of inky black perfection that transforms me into a perfectly put together, clean winged, gorgeous vixen. I have always been a make up lover and love experimenting with my look. I’m particularly fond of my eyes as I think they’re quite large and a pretty colour (not to sound vain but I think we should all have a favourite feature) so that’s where I focus my most time in my make up routine. I’ve had a few trials and errors in my time. Lets take a walk down memory lane…

My eyeliner journey

  1. Barbie Make Up Counter FAIL
    One Christmas my parents got me the coveted Barbie make up counter that came with a beautiful array of blue eye shadows. That Christmas dinner I looked like Pat Butcher on a night out but I felt fabulous. I think this is where my love affair with eye shadows was born. More is more was my motto and I was LIVING it.
  2. The Goth Years 
    I really got into “alternative” music when I was in comprehensive school. I used to go to My Chemical Romance concerts, Reading festivals and love getting bashed about in a mosh pit. When I first started listening to this type of music I wanted all in. I used to wear the stupidly wide-legged jeans, ironic Stussy T-shirts (or worse still T-shirts with bands I didn’t really listen to), children’s headbands and a Hello Kitty back pack. I am absolutely dying as I type this as I cannot believe what I must have looked like. Maybe one day I’ll dig up a picture to post for your pleasure. As I navigated this painfully awkward phase I started wearing more make up. I vividly recall heading down the park with a Chinese symbol drawn by my eye in liquid eyeliner. How shameful. Fear not my friends, that particular fashion statement was short lived but my love for black kohl rimmed eyes was born.
  3. Smokey eye overload
    As I grew up a bit and started going out to clubs with my mates I really got into wearing makeup. I used to wear Rimmel’s black eye shadow or Bourgeois sparky graphite shadow all over my lids and line them heavily with Benefit’s BadGal. On top of that I would add a liquid eyeliner to really make my eyes stand out (let’s face it, they needed defining after being smokey-eyed into oblivion). I could never get it right and always ended up looking like a panda with a black eye.
  4. The more refined years
    As I entered my late 20s I stared wearing less make up. Eyeliner and eye shadow has a nasty way of settling into crows feet and fine lines and less is definitely more as you age. I still LOVE a bit of black eyeliner and wear it almost everyday. The one beauty rule I flaunt most often is to put the black eyeliner away in your 30s. NO WAY. I don’t rim my eyes in quite the same aggressive manner as I did in my teens but I always try to give myself a little cat eye so I look somewhat put together even if I’m wearing yoga pants and Uggs.

You’re a grown up now darling, invest a little in yourself

My mum always bought me beautiful Benefit and Clinique products and told me never to cheap out on what I put on my face. Now, I didn’t always listen to this advice (can you say Collection 2000 and Miss Sporty) but when I can, I always try in invest in my make up. As I’ve tested hundreds of brands of eyeliner of the years I can attest to the fact that it really is something you need to splash out on a bit if you want the rich pigment and clean application. For Christmas the year I got the Charlotte Tilbury Feline Flick eye liner in Panther and I was so excited to try it and hopefully put an end to my quest. So let’s get to the review.

Review of Charlotte Tilbury Feline Flick Eyeliner

charlotte tilbury feline flick

The packaging

Well obviously Charlotte Tilbury has beautiful, iconic burgundy and gold packaging that just looks luxe. I have my make up out on my bathroom counter in a little perspex organizer so I do like how it looks simple and classy.

The Price

I’m not going to lie to you, this is not cheap. It is $35 CAD and I appreciate that seems like a lot for a little felt pen. However, I am absolutely LOVING this product and believe it is worth the money. I’ve tried budget eyeliners before and they wear off before midday and the colour pigment is just not on point.

Application

I swear my eyes have two different personalities. I can do my right eye just fine. My liner is the perfect thickness and I get the flick at the corner just right. My left eye is the hot mess sibling that eats taco bell and didn’t go to college. Hoenstly, on the right I’m Sophia Loren, on the left I’m Amy Winehouse. It’s a problem. While I wont say my eyeliner is perfect with this product, that has more to do with my application skills rather than how the liner itself performs. It goes on so smooth and glides easily across my lids with no drag. I always apply my liquid liner on its side when I sweep it across my lids and this deposits rich colour even on its side. When I use the point to sharpen the flick the colour is inky black and comes out evenly.

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What I like about the product

  1. The depth of colour. This truly is an inky black liner.
  2. The pen itself has a comfy grip like a marker that makes it easy to hold from multiple angles. It is also non-slip so if you’re sweaty from chasing kids around or just from concentrating on your problem eye then this is perfect for you!
  3. The tip is super fine.
  4. It’s been about a month and the product is still as black as when I first got it. Cheaper eyeliners have always crapped out on me by this point.
  5. The packaging is so classy.
  6. The wear is phenomenal. I did a spin session with this on and it didn’t run and stayed on!
  7. The fact that it doesn’t come off all over my eyelash curler.

What I’m not so keen on

  1. Not going to lie it is expensive but like I said, you get what you pay for.
  2. It would be cool if you could pump it to get more product onto the tip but it’s not a big deal seeing as the colour is so good anyway.

Overall, I am obsessed with this product and it will definitely be a staple in my make up kit. I love how it looks and I think that it gives me a really great cat eye in seconds. I’m really impressed with the wear and how long it has lasted so far. I highly recommend this eyeliner if you are on the hunt for your holy grail. Spoil yourself! They offer Free Shipping and Returns so you don’t even have to hunt down suppliers (which are not close by if you live in the boonies like me) and can shop in your PJs. What more can a gal ask for?

I’m off to watch some more YouTube eyeliner tutorials to try and line my left eye into submission. Then I’ve got to give my right eyebrow a talking to.

Let me know if you LOVE Charlotte Tilbury!

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5 Things To Know Before Beginning the KonMari Tidying Method

Joy

Does it bring you joy? Such a simple question but one that packs a huge punch. It is the mantra of Marie Kondo and the cornerstone of the KonMari tidying up method and is at the heart of the craze that is slowly but surely taking over the world. Instagram is littered with pictures of perfectly organized closets and drawers with people praising how Kondo has changed her life. Social media right now is total organization goals and I’m hooked. There is something so satisfying about looking at other people’s things all neatly lined up and it is oddly soothing to me. When I found out that Marie Kondo had a show on Netflix I HAD to watch it and from episode one I was hooked. Kondo herself if the neatest person I’ve seen. The woman is perfectly put together with her gorgeous clothes and picture perfect hair. After binging the entire season in two days I needed to organize all the things immediately. I am a sucker for a bandwagon and if it promises me joy and happiness then I am jumping right on that bad boy.

Towels, Washday, Laundry, Housework, Wash, Bath Towel

Confessions of a secret slob

If you look at my Instagram account you would think that I have the perfectly put together home and yes, on the face of it my home is clean and decluttered but a look into my kitchen junk drawer or closet tells a different story. My whole life I’ve struggled with keeping things tidy. I love my home being neat but I find it easier to just sweep things into a drawer rather than actually take the time to put it in its place. Then I lose things and panic and stay up for hours scouring the house until I find it (I’m type A, what can I say?). Have you seen the episode of Friends where Monica’s junk closet is exposed? My basement puts that closet to shame. It is a deep hole of junk that just keeps growing. I’m not proud of it but it is what it is and at the ripe old age of 32 I’m ready to be a grown up and get organized. So my friends I will be your KonMari guinea pig and will be reporting on my progress. Hopefully these posts will become a series and my home, and maybe other aspects of my life, will become zen, harmonious and incredibly tidy. You can learn from my mistakes and see the KonMari method take place in real life, with a real person who just can’t seem to keep her damn junk drawer in check.

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5 things to know before starting the KonMari method

  1. Understanding the theory is the cornerstone of the process

    Starting is ALWAYS the hardest part of any journey. It just seems so overwhelming to get everything in your home in order. I think that the most important part of the method is the philosophy and theory behind the madness. I have tried to tidy so many times in my life that I’ve lost count. I get everything neat and throw out my clothes and vow to everything that I will never let my drawers get into that state again but somehow elves or something come into my home at night and screw everything up. I genuinely believe that this is because I don’t truly buy into the process and just do it as a means to an end. If I am to become a KonMari convert I am going to have to totally immerse myself into her beliefs and theory. So, I ordered the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” from Amazon in the hopes that it would give me some divine inspiration.

  2. You’re going to have to drink the KoolAid

    I will admit it, I scoffed at the notion of thanking various items around the house and asking if they bring me joy. I mean it sounds like absolute lunacy to look at a tin opener and think that it would give me any joy but it is an important part of the process. I think this is why you start with clothes. It is easier to attach emotions to the things that show the world what we’re all about and therefore easier to gauge how it makes you feel. So put cynicism away and get in touch with your softer side, feel each item, think about it and unabashedly thank it when you throw it away (most of the people in your house would have long run for the hills when you tell them you’re tidying up so at least you’ll look loony in private).

  3. Picture what you want to achieve at the end of the process

    I am new to this visualization thing. I am terrible at anything remotely zen and new age-y. My yoga teacher tells me that I have “monkey mind” as I would sneak out of meditation because I just couldn’t deal with laying there with my thoughts as it seemed a little weird. However, this year I have told myself that I want to be positive and a big part of that is visualizing positive situations in my life. So, I thought “why the hell not?” and had a mini meditation session about how I wanted my life to look after this process. When I thought about the organized home and how much less anxiety that would bring I knew that I needed to achieve it. No more Tupperware avalanches every time I open the cupboard. I will be a put together, thirty something whose organized drawers are reflective of her organized life. The main thing I want out of this process is less stress and more calm in my life and this is the driving factor that I hope will get me through the process and keep me on the straight and narrow.

  4. Get all the boxes you can find

    Ask your family, friends, neighbours for any small trinket boxes that they don’t need anymore. You really will need a ton of them to successfully separate your drawers and tidy. If you put things into a drawer without dividers they will inevitably smoosh together within 24 hours and all your hard work is undone. I’ve bought a bunch of these Ikea organizers that I LOVE and are perfect for socks and underwear. I also use jewellery and cosmetic boxes. TOP TIP – separate the box and the lid as both can be used to organize. The lids make awesome little holders for pens and small items!

  5. COMMIT COMMIT COMMIT

    I’ve only just started but if I’m honest I’m already a little overwhelmed. My house is full of bin bags and I am freaking terrified of when I reach Komono (the phase when you do bathroom, kitchen and miscellaneous tidying). However, even the small amount of organizing I’ve done so far has truly lightened my mind and has in turn brought me joy. I know that I have to see this process through and it might take me a few weeks but the process will be so worth it. Keep that visualization in mind, write it down, put it on a mirror with lipstick, whatever keeps you going. Marie Kondo will be asking me for tips at the end of this marathon.

    Arm, Hand, Desk, Notebook, Pen, Writing, Write, To Do

So there you have it, the things you need to know before embarking on this tidying journey. It’s going to long, hard and probably emotional (I’m sentimental and hoard cards and trinkets that I’ll have a hard time parting with) but I am loving it so far. I honestly cannot see how I’ll ever go back to over flowing drawers and once I get used to the folding I’m sure I’ll learn to love it (or at least tolerate it). I really recommend reading the book and starting your own KonMari tidying journey along with me. Misery loves company.

If you don’t hear from me then I might be buried under a pile of early 2000s glitter jeans and old emo CDs so maybe check in on me.  Don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list!

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A Little Change Is Good

Hi friends,

As you might have noticed, we’ve had a bit of a change around here. Not to worry, it’s still going to be the same blog you know and love but now the name represents what I’m about a little closer. When I started out I thought I wanted to talk about my life experiences as a way to vent but as time has gone on, I’ve built a community of women who are navigating the same challenges and joys in life. I’ve struggled with being in my 30s, not as an existential issue but more so in the way that I don’t really feel at ease with myself. I don’t know what to wear, what fitness plans work, what beauty supplies suit my skin and what on earth I’m doing as a parent (sometimes, haha). So, I thought, why don’t I put that information out there in one place so women who are feeling like me (I know there are many of you) can find somewhere to laugh, learn and enjoy a safe space on this big scary web.

Thank you all so much for your support, I am amazed every day at the response my blog has had and I’m excited to see the exciting ways in which it will grow.

Let’s take back our 30s!

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