Saturday, 29 December 2012

Happy New Year

The start of a new year is a great opportunity to reflect on the year that has been and think about what you want to achieve/experience/do in the next year.

I like to start a new journal on New Years Eve and kick it off with a list of highlights from the year. Things I am proud of, grateful for, things that made me smile or helped me grow. Most of us don't stop and reflect enough so this is a really nice time to look back at 2012 and see that even though it appeared to fly by, you did an awful lot.

And then it's time to look forward.  

What do you want your 2013 to be? What will it look like? What will you achieve, do, learn, feel, conquer?

Why not take a few minutes to think about your list of highlights and what you want out of 2013. You don't have to write it down, you don't even have to tell anyone.

Here's an extract from page one of my new gold sparkly journal.

In 2012...

·  I got married to the person I love most in the world and had a beautiful wedding

·  Traveled through the US

·  Started a new job which allowed me to learn a whole stack of new things, including the courage to stand up for myself. Also managed to survive another year of commuting and pulled myself out of a really hard slump this winter

·  Finally found a great yoga studio and decided it is something I want to do for the rest of my life

·  Learnt to cook (still wearing my training wheels but it's a start)

·  Pushed myself out of my comfort zone, grew in many unexpected ways and started my blog

·  Let life surprise me and now we're moving to Sydney.

In 2013 I want to...

·  Feel fit and energetic and happy

·  Be a good wife, friend, boss, sister and daughter by being kind and honest and present

·  Find a regular yoga class I enjoy and practice yoga in the mornings at home

·   Make exercise part of my life. Keep cooking

·  Make a home in Sydney

·  Keep pushing myself to grow and learn. Work on replacing my perfectionism with authenticity

·  Read more books. Keep blogging.

Now it's you're turn.

I want to thank you all for your encouragement, love and support this year. May your new year be whatever you need it to be. May it be filled with joy and love. May you move closer towards your truth.

Very Marie

(Image via Geronimo Balloons )

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Preparing for Christmas

I have two Christmases.

My family (mum's side being from Finland) celebrates Christmas in the evening of the 24th. My family Christmas is a fusion of snow inspired Finnish traditions set against a backdrop of an Australian summer.

We pretend it's -15 outside and have a sauna, light candles, and eat hot casseroles and gingerbread. Then when we're done with that, we sit outside swatting away mossies while drinking champagne and listening to a chorus of cicadas and televised carols.

My grandmother cooks everything. She always has and any attempt to contribute is met with a disapproving stare. One year my sister and I volunteered to do all the dishes. We broke three glasses and have been banned from the kitchen ever since.

Our family Christmas has largely remained the same for as long as I can remember, but as we have grown the emphasis has become less on santa and presents, and more on spending time with eachother and laughing over baileys and milk as the summer sun sinks and is casually replaced by the familiar twinkle of Christmas lights in the street below.

The next day we wake up and get ready for an Australian Christmas with Mr Marie's side of the family.

This is always a big day that involves breakfast, lunch, prawns, an afternoon nap and dinner.

We host breakfast at our place and it's always a challenge to make something yummy for six people that doesn't require much prep (given we're out until midnight the night before).

This year I am going half gluten free, half naughty Christmas goodies for the guests.

This year's menu consists of;

Finnish Christmas cookies (cooked and donated by my grandma)
Sweet Christmas bread with cheese and Christmas ham
Orange juice and strong coffee

Hope you're feeling relaxed and organised in the lead up to Christmas. Always remember that if you forget to buy someone a present, you can just re-gift a box of favourites.

Very Marie

P.S. It has been a really busy few months/weeks and I have not been feeling festive or at all organised for Christmas. I'm also on-call for work until Boxing Day which is never fun.

But today I found out a good friend and of mine has been diagnosed with breast cancer. In the week before Christmas. And it made all my silly worrying about food menus and presents and work seem really unimportant. My friend is going to be fine, I know that, but it did prompt me to think about what a special time Christmas should be. A time to enjoy the company of family, friends and the people you love, a time to be grateful for what we have, not because it's perfect, but because it's here and it's ours. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Following your gut

How often do you follow your gut?

When you have to make a decision and something inside you seems to be drawing you one way even though you know it might be risky. Or you're getting ready for a night out and for some reason your instincts are telling you it's not a good idea and you stay home instead only to find the night was a disaster.

When it comes to making big decisions, I have chosen to follow my instinct. To do what feels right even if it doesn't seem entirely smart on the surface. And to date, I have always been very grateful. So much so that last week when trying to decide whether or not to take a unit in Sydney, my biggest frustration was that I couldn't decipher what my instinct was telling me.

Moving to Sydney is going to be a big change for us, the space, the lifestyle, and while struggling to find a pet friendly place in a good location was proving difficult we were finally approved for a one-bedroom unit.

Now don't get me wrong, the place was fine. The complex was lovely, the interior was brand spanking new, but it was small. Like kitchen in the living room, not many windows, all the furniture is going on e-bay, small.

Mr Marie was nervous but I was so worried that we wouldn't find anything else and the move wouldn't happen that I pushed forward, convincing the both of us that we could make anything work and we should just take it.

So we put in the application and we were set.

But we weren't. For the next week I was a mess. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't concentrate, I felt nervous about the move, my chest felt tight, I was confused and scared. Putting it down to the fear of change I tried not to let on to anyone how I was feeling.

I tried to meditate on it, knowing I had been able to draw on my instincts before gave me confidence the answer was inside me. But when the resounding feeling coming through like a knock to the head was not to take the unit and keep looking, I put it down to fear and kept going.

It wasn't until someone else saw the state I was in and asked me how I would feel if we pulled out of this one bedroom unit that was destined to be our home for the next couple of years.

I closed my eyes.


And there was the answer. We withdrew our application and immediately I felt lighter. My chest wasn't tight, I could breathe, I didn't want to cry, I felt excited about the prospect of moving again. I felt like I was back on the right course.

And just in case I doubted it, the next day, for the first time in three months, three units popped up in our price range, in the right location, pet friendly.

Two days later we had our application approved on a two bedroom place that feels... right.

While this was a not a life changing decision, it does serve as another reminder about the importance of listening to myself. To seeking out and listening to that voice inside of me, that feeling in my stomach, that when I sort through all the external crap and the fear, is there to keep me on my course.

(Image via A Whole Lotta Love on Pinterest)

Monday, 3 December 2012

Sunday afternoon food musings

My eating of late has been less than ideal. I could sit here and develop a whole series of reasons why, explanations to justify it, but the truth is it probably doesn't matter.

What matters is that in the last month wine has become an accepted addition to my personal food pyramid and hot chips have moved from 'every now and again' to 'almost every day.'

I have a complex relationship with food. I eat or drink for comfort, boredom, celebration, stress...and surprise surprise it's not usually the good stuff. My fledging cooking skills means this task still remains in the too hard basket when I am getting home at 730 or 8pm and it's much easier to get takeout or head out to a restaurant.

And it has to stop. I know because when I am eating well and sticking to what I know is good for me, I feel fantastic. And right now, after a weekend of too much champagne and salty foods, I feel like absolute rubbish. In fact I think I deserve a medal for successfully pulling myself out of bed this afternoon and out of my food coma to sit on the lounge and write this.

So what am I going to do? I’m going to try again.

Write a list of what I should be eating this week, do a trip to Woolworths so I have all the fruit, veggies and snacks I need to stop me reaching for junk when I get tired, bored or stressed this week. I am throwing what’s left of a bottle of Pinot Noir down the sink.

I'm just going to try again.

(Image via pinterest)