Sarah Short Circuit

Heal, Nourish, Nurture

Tag: Slow Home (page 2 of 2)

Towards slowing down

Last couple of weeks I have been listening to the new podcast The Slow Home by one of my favourite bloggers Brooke at Slow Your Home. I loved episode 6 with Cybele Masterman; really needed to hear this lately. Brooke and Cybele discussed shifting your thought process during making something and stop feeling resentful, rather, think I am choosing to make it because I want to. I make the choice to live this way, I can enjoy the process of making it and that act benefits me. So felt this the other night making home-made yoghurt! Be in the moment, choose to view it differently. It’s ok to be content. Be mindful of what you include in your life, create space and time to things that bring you joy. To me this is what living a slow life is all about. My daily motivation for continuing to declutter is Brooke’s facebook group where members post about the highlights and the challenges they face in working towards living a slow life, filled with lots of support and encouragement. It is a continual journey slowing down my home.

Last month I had a freak out moment. I went to a concert and went to our spot where I keep tickets to realise that the next shows tickets were not there. Since my episode of Postpartum Psychosis I have this annoying tendency to move things in tidying up and not remember moving it. Luckily I have gotten on top of my paper piles so double checking everything was a 15 minute task and not a weeks job. Husband thought it was unusual for me not to put tickets in its spot. I had the ticket invoice filed easily in my email so I called the box office & the tickets were not posted out, hence why we couldn’t find them. Crisis averted! Grateful for a decluttered slow home.

Over the Easter long weekend I thought is was a great idea to pull apart all my wardrobe and drawers full of clothes and sort through it all. Not a fun task when you have a toddler jumping around pulling things out too! The bed looked like Mount Everest with clothes piled high. Though I haven’t read the book (waiting to borrow it from the library), this method of pulling everything out in piles is the ‘Konmari’ method based on the popular book, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art Of Decluttering And Organizing. However, my motivation was to go through my clothes, particularly stuff to wear for winter as it has turned cooler and see what now fits after losing 30kgs to date. After sifting through all my clothes I rearranged my piles to better suit the space, and was able to part with two bags of clothes to charity that either no longer sparked joy or no longer fit. Another bag of clothes was put aside as rags, lots of old t-shirts especially. I have the vision of turning the t-shirts into a rag rug one day soon. My absolute favourite pair of track pants came to the end of their life as I cut it up for rags, it was sad day for me but they have gone on to another life.

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Goodbye favourite pants!

Decluttering doesn’t have to be a mammoth task all jam packed into a day. All it takes is 10 minutes a day and pick a simple, small, manageable task. Like the other day while waiting for dinner simmering on the stove I pulled apart my tupperware cupboard (I have done this several times before over the past 18 months so there was no avalanche of containers). I made sure each of the containers had a matching lid and that is still functional. I pulled out a entertainment serving ware set still in its box and popped in the charity donation bag. I have plenty of other plates that can serve as suitable entertainment ware rather than hang onto something that would only get used less than monthly at best.

Lurking at the back of the tupperware cupboard was a pasta serving set that we had received as a wedding present and I don’t think we have used as I had been saving it for a ‘special occasion’. Why wait when every day is a special occasion! I had been thinking of getting some more bowls for the family for a while as all our plates and bowls are hand-me-downs from husband’s bachelor pad days with the bowls limited in number unlike the forty thousand plates we seem to have. Now I have four beautiful bowls I can use everyday.

Late last year I purchased new low-tox pots and pans and the order came with a free Scanpan steak knife. I had held onto it till now, even still in the packaging, thinking to myself but is was free! I reasoned with myself that someone else would make better use of it so popped it into the donation bag. One can only own so many kitchen knives and husband has his favourite knife that he uses all the time so it tends to be the knife of choice in our kitchen.

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My cook books new home.

Making rice for dinner during the week I noticed that our rice cooker had started to flake and peel. Not wanting to think about the possibility of ingesting flakes of Teflon, the rice cooker left the building. With me not being a cook I am hoping that cooking rice on the stove is as easy as it looks on River Cottage. The space vacated by the rice cooker has given me a easy to access space for my cook books to live. This is the third rearrangement of my cook books as they originally started off living in the laundry kitchen as there was no room in the kitchen cupboards. I love the new home for my cook books. Now looking at the cupboard that steam machine cleaner’s days are numbered.

Are you working towards slowing your home? Decluttered anything recently?


Turn off the TV

You come home from a hard day at the office, strung out and all you want to do is sit down and watch mindless TV to unwind. Switch on the news to see the latest doom and gloom, accidents, natural disasters, murders, etc. After the news you tend to flick over to the latest realtity TV show, which is hardly based on real life, or TV series transporting you to an alternate reality where you get caught up in the character’s lives, not wanting to miss the most recent episode of drama.

Growing up I didn’t watch much TV as I always had study to do, but TV was a means to veg out and relax watching shows like ER, McLeods Daughters, Dr Phil or the Biggest Loser. Every night the TV was on and by 5pm the first onslaught of daily news would fill our living room, continuing on another channel at 6pm. Like most families we sat in front of the TV while eating dinner most nights. There were 4 people living in our home and there were 4 TVs! Moving out of home I continued my TV habits, particularly as I was able to ‘tape’ particular programs that looked appealing onto the DVD hard drive and watch uninterrupted TV with no ads. I had endless hours of TV viewing of reality shows, documentaries and TV series building up on the hard drive to keep me going.

When I was hospitalised in the mental health unit for Postpartum Psychosis, the TV was on constantly. There was another patient who particularly liked to watch the news, so the news played even if he wasn’t in the room. Each time I was in the common lounge area the news was blaring at me, all these images causing chaos in my mind. The trauma of the news played havoc on my delusions as I was already out of touch with reality. I vaguely remember watching Kate Middleton the then Princess of Cambridge travelling around on the Diamond Jubilee Tour in 2012, thinking that I too was a princess that should be out enjoying the world travelling to exotic places. The confusing images on the 2012 anti-Islam protests erupting in the streets of Sydney and not being able to understand what was going on, why was this happening in my own backyard. As patients on a mental health unit we had no access to the remote control and it was difficult to ask the nurses to change it as they had other more important things to do. There was little else to do on the ward so I retreated to my room away from the TV.

While in hospital I began to miss the simple pleasure of listening to music. Having not driven in the car anywhere in weeks the radio in my life was absent. Having not been home I missed being able to put on music streaming into our lounge room. I clearly remember being granted my first home visit pass from the mental health unit, my husband picking me up and driving home with the music pumping, feeling the bass through my body. I was so pleased to escape not only the hospital briefly but to escape the continual barrage of the news and the TV.

Organics on a budget - TV news

(Via Organics on a Budget)

After my Postpartum Psychosis episode gradually I watched less and less TV. At first it was because I struggled mentally to follow the gist of the program and the concentration on the TV was mentally fatiguing. I deleted quite a number of TV recordings from my DVD hard drive not having the time to watch time with a new baby in the home. I tended not to follow any of the news as it was distressing to me with all the suffering and anxiety-provoking negative stories being broad casted. Over time I found myself more content having the TV switched off and playing music or the radio instead. I no longer felt like I was missing out on something, as I was enjoying time with my family. I no longer feel compelled to buy something as I had seen it ‘recommended’ on TV. Not having to be glued to the TV screen I found more time to do other things. Apart from River Cottage and the odd documentary, I was finding the programs on TV had lost their appeal.

There was so much more out there than TV, so many things that TV was not telling us about. There are other things you should know about apart from the what the news wants you to hear. How our world is changing, the environmental impacts human are having on our planet, how we are slowly killing ourselves through toxins were are ingesting, how to live simply and sustainably, alternatives to the conventional ways of eating and living. There is a plethora of free documentaries and podcasts, and so many well-written books filled with knowledge and inspiring stories.

I love this post by Becoming Minimalist on 10 Reasons to watch less TV. Though we have not given up the TV entirely, we are watching a lot less than we used to and my son in particular has limited hours of screen time. My family sit around the dinner table with no TV on in the background. It is easier to get out of the house on time and calmly when the TV is not on to distract us. I am not passing my days at home with day time TV, I rather go read a book, listen to a podcast or even have a nap if I choose.

Rather than watching life pass by, turn the TV off and start living life!

My parents were children of the 1970s so I listened to a lot of music from the seventies. This this song comes to mind when watching the news.

Victorian times with a modern twist

The past week or so I have reflected on the things that I have been doing and likened them to how times used to be, old times, Victorian times. I have an image in my head of ladies sitting around with a needle and thread sewing and chatting the day away.



I pulled out my bear sewing box last week, popped on the classical music, had a pot of chicken broth simmering on the stove and wiled away an afternoon repairing a few of my dresses, patching one, sewing back up the seam of a favourite work dress and reattaching a few straps that had come adrift.

The other night by the light of the candles and salt lamps, my husband and I sat at the dining table and enjoyed dinner, a bottle of wine (or two!) and chatted the night away playing cards. No technology, just good company. My husband now likes to tease me saying that we played cards with my dad whilst I was in hospital on the mental ward during visiting hours, however I have no memory of these. Apparently I wasn’t that good and was making up my own rules, which had my husband and dad seeing the funny side of crazy situation.

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Playing cards by candle light

I have spent a couple of afternoon’s at my parent’s place rediscovering my craft projects. It was such a pleasure to spend the time with mum and see what sewing we can get up to. Thanks to mum I also have a new sewing machine to call my own, and there is a lot of ideas swirling around my head of what I can create.

Sewing and craft have been a huge part of my life. I have always dabbled in craft like teddy bear making, felting and crazy patchwork, and mum is a huge influence as she is apart of the Embroiders Guild. There has always been threads, fabric and bric-a-brac flowing from mum’s craft room, a new project that catches my eye, and project waiting to be finished off. But as I got older the needle and thread got put aside for other things like studying, working full time and starting a family. The projects and craft sat in the boxes in wardrobes and under the bed gathering dust (some gathered rust as well from pins).

Now I am on the journey to a simpler, slower life I feel like getting back into sewing. While it may not be like Victorian time as I do not have a whole day to do needle point, I will weave sewing back into my modern life, a bit here and a bit there. I plan to make some reuseable household items like un-paper towels. I really want to replace the green shopping bags for a brighter, nicer home-made version. I have this gorgeous button doll bag with all the embroidery complete and fabric pre-cut just waiting to be assembled. I have an endless amount of patterns, particularly for teddy bears, ready to pick up and simply start.

Whilst looking for my craft projects and sewing tools, I decluttered some cupboards to create a better space and access for my sewing basket and craft projects. I had some hand-made teddy bears of mine tucked away out of sight in a drawer that now have pride of place on display on a book case. I have a pile of old t-shirts that I pulled out to reduce the amount of clothes spilling out from the wardrobe, now set aside for a rag rug that I have always wanted to try. I have a few old jumpers and tracksuit pants that lost the elastic in them long ago now pulled out that I am not sure yet what I will re-purpose them into, perhaps an oven mit or some rags. A few things I found along the way have been popped into a bag to donate to charity. I feel lighter from decluttering and clearer mentally as sewing has always been a great way to be mindful and forget about what is going on around me.

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A few of my hand-made teddy bears

Are you a crafty person? A knitter? An embroiderer? A teddy bear creator? Do play cards?

What’s on our plate? January 2015

Here is a snap shot (or few) of what we have been cooking, baking and eating over the past month. I have always enjoyed baking, especially as a stress reliever. Husband is a chef so a photo is a good record of what we have cooked as its normally a throw together meal, making it difficult to replicate.

Grass-fed scotch steak and pumpkin feta walnut salad with macadamia oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Enjoyed with a Rose we picked up at the Exo Xpo.

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Simple dinner

Banana and chocolate spelt cake (recipe adapted from Women’s Weekly Bake Cookbook)

Choc Banana Cake

Banana and Chocolate Cake

Apple and leftover museli muffins (based on recipe in Women’s Weekly Bake Cookbook, inspired by Lisa Corduff’s porridge muffins)

Apple Muffins

Apple and leftover muesli muffins

Chocolate mousse (recipe from IQuitSugar)

Choc Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Meals from Blackbird Cafe, Cockle Bay Sydney as we enjoyed a night out on the weekend seeing 2Cellos in concert.

Blackbird Cafe

Dinner at Blackbird Cafe

Paleo Parfait (recipe as seen on Pete Evan’s The Paleo Way)

Paleo Parfait

Paleo Parfait

Osso bucco (a first time meal for the family, inspired by recipes on Taste, tasted so good!)

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Osso Bucco

Stone fruit pudding (recipe adapted from Women’s Weekly Bake Cookbook)

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Stone fruit pudding

Roast pork shoulder (meal got eaten before photos, mmm crackling!)

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Cooking up a storm on a Friday night!

Changing Habits Einkorn bread (recipe from Changing Habits Recipe Book)

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Einkorn Bread

I love the variety of meals we eat of real food made from scratch. What have you cooked up lately?


Changing Habits Emmer Wheat Flour

Slow Down

Since living through my Postpartum Psychosis, I really had to learn to slow down. My body always got sick when I do too much, and this episode was a huge wake up call. I had to overhaul they way I had been living with too much stress. I had been focused on improving my health through nutrition but what about my home?

One of my triggers into psychosis was the clutter that was enveloping me whilst I was at home. I would sit for what would seem like hours on end on the lounge feeding my son, staring at what was around me, the piles building up on the kitchen bench, the dishes creeping on the bench towards the stove, the piles building up on the floor, the stuff that was homeless and just left to its own devices, not to mention the flood of papers.

I used my camera a lot in the first weeks of my son’s birth as I did not want to forget all the special memories. But the camera turned on me as I started taking photos of the drawers overfilled, the wardrobes bursting at the seem, the benches you couldn’t see the bottom, and the floor scattered an assortment of items and overflowing laundry baskets. I cannot recollect the point of the photos in the moment, but obviously something was bothering me. The night I went disappeared into psychosis I had my husband and father removing items that I could no longer stand in the house, including our dining room chairs, though I have very little memory of doing this.

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One of the piles in my kitchen (2012)

As I recovered I knew I had to deal with the clutter build up. I had an emotional attachment to the stuff, that I needed it just in what case or what if scenario. I had duplicates of items that I hardly used and things that I had even forgotten that I owned because they got buried beneath the clutter or shoved to the back of a cupboard.

Reading Real Food Real Change (13 October 2014) opened another world to me, introducing me to Brooke from Slow Your Home, a story of an ordinary family who decluttered 20 000 items from her home towards living a simple, minimalist lifestyle. Brooke’s story resonated with me, a mother who had experienced a postpartum mood disorder similar to me, and who was rebuilding her life with her young family, a simple life with less. Another mother who had experienced the darkness and thought she was coping, when in reality she was on the path to a breakdown.  A mother sharing her story about her husband and young kids on how they have simplified and are living a fulfilling life by decluttering, being happy, showing gratitude, living in the moment but most importantly being slow.  A slow home is what I wanted to achieve; I was struggling with being organised, with decluttering, I was attempting to be eco and green, and I was trying to create a positive space for my family.

Slow Your Home held my hand as I worked towards slowing down, one simple change at a time. Dealing with the clutter in my home helped immensely with dealing with the mental clutter clouding my thoughts. Brooke’s post were thought invoking, real, and at times raw and I love following her on her journey of recovery. I am grateful to have found Slow Your Home in the blogosphere, and for opening my eyes to a simple life that is possible. Thank you.

Do you find a messy home disrupts how you cope mentally day to day? Do you feel the clutter creep? Are you working towards a slow home?

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