Contemplating the simple life

We have returned from our short break on the coast and have since enjoyed two child free days. We had prearranged to have Lottie and Emmy in care for the Thursday and Friday of this week. Yep parents of the year eat your heart out!

It has been bliss!

I questioned our decision thinking it was unfair to pay others to look after our children while we kicked back and relaxed or got some of those pesky jobs around the house done without the kiddies underfoot. While questioning it, I was secretly thinking how nice it would be to be at home by ourselves without having to tend to anyone else’s needs and do whatever took our fancy for once instead of what the girls wanted to do.


Of course I sounded out a few people about what their thoughts were surrounding this idea –

Husband – Hell yes why are we even discussing this – it’s a no brainer

Sister in Law – Hell yes – what are you waiting for?’

Carers – Excellent idea – have you booked them in yet?

So with that resounding approval I went ahead and booked. Yes in the back of my mind is still the thoughts of the beautiful parents who love their children more than life itself and couldn’t stand to be away from them for more than a moment and then I remember that I am not one of these parents. I work part time to fulfill my need for a career, I enjoy sleeping in my own bed with no intruders, I look forward to sitting at the hairdressers for 3 hours by myself and I don’t mind if they don’t talk to me – silence is delightful.

I still got the guilts and have done some sewing for them during the day but it got me thinking of how life could be if we didn’t have to work all the time. I started contemplating the simple life.

Back in the day, Mums never worked outside the home and the Dads only worked 9-5 Monday to Friday and enjoyed their weekends. They lived in a comfortable house (not with a cinema room included) and possibly only had one car. Kids played outside all the time and their parents didn’t always know exactly where they were. They also weren’t fearful that they wouldn’t return as soon as they got hungry.

Nowadays, Mum works a paid job too to help meet the bills. Everyone wants a brand new house for their first house and it must meet a huge list of minimum requirements (what do you mean we can’t fit a cinema room??). Two luxury cars in the driveway and how many months wages are those engagement rings supposed to cost now?

Unfortunately in our quest for the biggest and the best we have had to sacrifice so much without even knowing it. I would love the freedom of sending the children off to school and only needing to bake and clean the house for the 6 hours they are gone. And don’t doubt for a moment that my husband wouldn’t enjoy kicking back more often.

I fear we have over complicated our lives and become so wound up with being busy and needing to have everything that we have lost sight of the bigger picture. We never have time to ourselves, we never stop to smell the roses and we keep trying to outdo the Jones’. Maybe if we all took a step back and asked ourselves what we really want out of life we might be surprised by the answers. They won’t have anything to do with material things. They will have things to do with time. We need to buy our time back and not be a slave to the Jones’. We need to evaluate where we would be content. Where we would be happy.



Some nights my dear husband and I end up discussing world problems and how to fix them if we had a magic wand and last night was one of those occasions. Somehow we ended up on the topic of decluttering and how we as a society accumulate ‘stuff’.

Each year at Christmas time I have four weeks off work as we shut the office down and it is a great break. Every second year we head up north to the coast and family however this year is one of the ‘off’ years where we will be staying home. Each Christmas I try to undertake a ‘declutter’ of the house as we have both the girls birthdays and Christmas all within a month and our house seems to explode overnight with new toys, wrapping paper and food.

The first year I went on an all out war on my house we filled 10 garbage bags full of ‘stuff’ to take to the Salvation Army. I was ashamed! How had we possibly accumulated so much stuff we didn’t use, had outgrown and the waste! Waste of resources, waste of money and waste of space! Crazy, crazy, crazy!

So the following year I set about setting some boundaries on the gift department as this was certainly one area that could use some improvement! Given their birthdays were so close to Christmas I had always set about purchasing smaller gifts for Christmas (probably more about quantity) and making a bigger deal out of their birthday so purchasing the bigger more expensive item for this (Bike, mini tramp etc). I regularly make some items for Christmas as handmade gifts from me as well. The grandparents however were presents on steroids!

My girls effectively have three sets of grandparents as my parents are separated and living with new partners (not so new but you get my meaning…..). So grandparents presents x 3 was amounting to a rather large influx of items at Christmas time. Now speaking to grandparents about presents is a delicate thing. Not wanting to offend anyone I set about asking if they could limit the quantity of items – No need to tell anyone what they can or cannot spend or what items I specifically want them to buy, just if they could slow down on the number of gifts. Consolidate for want of a better word.

Well last Christmas was our best one by far in this department! I undertook the decluttering process ‘pre’ Christmas as I my holidays started a little early with the timing of Christmas. I had managed to get through all of our bedrooms before we had Christmas day and we went on our holiday to the north coast. The grandparents had all complied ¬†(I even swindled some new towels from one set rather than toys!) and we (I) had reduced the quantities at home. It was wonderful not to struggle to find new homes for all these toys.

We still managed to take a large number of garbage bags to the Salvation Army but there was only one toy bag and the rest were clothes that no longer fit or were unsuitable so that was a far better outcome than the 10 garbage bags we began with. I also went through our linen cupboard and downsized in that department as well.

It is so refreshing to have a thorough clean out of stuff!

So in our discussions last night, my husband can be quite pedantic about efficiency and downsizing the number of ‘jobs’ you have to do and I can only agree that decluttering reducing the number of jobs. When there are less things to put away or find homes for it is so much easier to keep on top of things. Unfortunately over the twelve month period stuff accumulates again on you! I am starting to get the itch again already to cleanse the house so it may come early this year.

I incorporate the ‘spring clean’ into my declutter process so it can be time consuming as I wash walls, wash windows, dust every possible place and vacuum every floor surface within a room. Pull everything out of each cupboard and re order them, move all the furniture around to get all the lingering dust and really give the place a workout.

Maybe I should stop writing about it and start……

La Emilotte…… my alter ego


Once upon a time there was a girl who grew up got married and had a baby. She went back to work part time and before too long decided a sibling was required for the lucky first born. While on maternity leave for a second time it dawned on her that she wasn’t any where near busy enough so a hobby was required. In walked a sewing machine……

Crazy but true story! I have always loved sewing and craft projects are always on the go in my house. My mum taught me to sew and after getting a part time job at Spotlight while at school, the craft department got the better of me (and the better part of my pay cheque!).

While on maternity leave with Emmy, I started creating again and began with all manner of hair accessories for my two girls. Then I borrowed my mother’s old sewing machine and started on dresses and skirts. Then came the Facebook page, the market stalls on weekends and the ball just kept rolling. I ventured off into the supplies trade to supply all the latest and greatest products to all my newly made friends in the handmade community on Facebook. My house was being overtaken!

I went back to work part time as an accountant and tracked along ok for a little while juggling all the many balls I had up in the air at once. Life is really busy with two little girls, part time work and part time business! Eventually it dawned on me that I was making life more difficult than it needed to be and I was not spending anywhere near enough time with Lottie and Emmy as I was always working. Hard choices and compromises is what life is all about and it was time I let something go.

I was very lucky to have a great support base for the Craft supplies business and a number of hands went up when I asked the question if someone would like to take over. We settled on a price for the stock and accessories and before I knew it time was back on my side.

I didn’t realise how much I had missed sewing and creating items for the two special little people in my life. It was disappointing for them when I would create a lovely dress only to post it off to another lucky little girl. It was lovely to get back to basics and spend time with them choosing a fabric for a dress or making something in secret at night time to surprise them with in the morning. It reminded me that simple things are the best and I don’t need to be super woman.

I still sew for business and truly love making one of a kind items for my beloved customers – I just don’t take on a million orders at once any more. I have enjoyed sewing again now that I have stepped back from forcing orders out the door each week. I never wanted sewing to be my job – I always want it to be something I am passionate about. When I converted it to a job I lost the passion. Now that I stopped it from being a ‘job’ and went back to enjoying it as a hobby life has become easy again.

Thankfully the girl cut herself some slack¬†and they lived happily ever after…..