Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Reflecting on the year that has been 2011

Over the weekend I picked up my new Kikki.K diary for 2012 (it's super cute), and started filling it out. I do the same thing around this time every year, as I haven't really yet gotten used to using my iPhone calendar (that and I still enjoy using a pen).

Copying over the annual appointments such as birthdays and anniversaries gave me a chance to reflect on the year that has been.

There have been parties, dinners, breakfasts (so many breakfasts), coffees and movies. Catching up, making up, rebuilding, bonding, growing, and breaking down. Moving house...twice, festivals (hopefully I can go to L'Oreal Fashion Festival again next year, that was amazing), learning new things, photographing, blogging (I reached 3000 hits yesterday), singing and dancing (mostly in my own bedroom). New beginnings and wonderfully welcome endings. Saying goodbye to personal issues, and realising new strengths. Discovering new and delightful things in wonderfully familiar people, realising and coming to terms with the good in everyone (no matter how buried or subtle), and taking a few steps closer to self acceptance, compassion and understanding.

It's been the biggest year of growth in my entire life, and I'm grateful for every minute of it. The laughter, tears, worry, relief...the cathartic release of fears...the new home (and the garden which gets a special mention), and of course the Jean in tan Jo Mercer shoes...all of it.

Of course this year (for me) would not have been possible without the special attention and patience from a few key people. My beautiful, wonderfully gentle and caring boyfriend, my amazing and tirelessly supportive family, my incredible friends (you know who you are *nodding solemnly*), my psychologist (who has consistently gone above and beyond), my doctor, and everyone else in the world who contributed to my successful 2011 (I know that's quite vague but I didn't want to leave anyone out...okay, for example Bev Aisbett for writing her fabulous book "Living with 'IT'").

Thank you all.

Maybe oddly to you, I'd like to thank a part of myself who I've been just delighted to meet. She can get fairly feisty, but she's determined, brave, considerate and patient...and she has never given up on me.

Signing off for 2011,
Mary xx

Monday, 19 December 2011

A very merry Christmas

The days leading up to Christmas are crazy, hectic, exciting, stressful, fattening, and completely exhausting, but there is something magical about the atmosphere around this time of year. Over the weekend I spent a lot of time meandering around shops doing my Christmas shopping. It was just lovely. Everything was bustling, and there was a buzz of excitement in the air. At night time buskers are out in full force, there are people everywhere, and the city is dotted with fairy lights and hanging lanterns.

Everyone is busily thinking of presents to buy loved ones, trying to plan and shop for Christmas day menus...and looking forward to some time off.

This year I am particularly enjoying my Christmas. Being happily installed in my new home, surrounded by the most amazing family and friends, and looking forward to an exciting new year.

After having walked around Fitzroy and Collingwood on Saturday, and all the city on Sunday, yesterday my feet felt like they were going to fall off, but I had a little buzz of happy contentment deap inside. This year I've lovely gifts for everyone, a wonderful Christmas day with my beautiful boyfriend and my family to look forward to, some time off, and (unusually for this time of year) 2 weddings to attend.

I've got everything.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Yoga, tears and fears and letting it all hang out

Last night I experienced my first mid-yoga-practice cry. 

I was in savasana at the end of a particularly overwhelming practice, and unable to quash it any longer cried silently so much the years were running down my cheeks, over my neck and then around down my back. (In savasana you're in your back, see.)

Although quite intense, it felt good to get it out. 

That's the funny thing about yoga. You think, "nah you're just moving your body", but you're exposing yourself to all sorts of thoughts and emotions - ones that during your practice you can't necessarily distract yourself from. 

For a moment in time you're looking at yourself, just as you are. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Fall in love with your life

Do you ever stop to realise that you've completely in love with your life?

Today, do something truly great. Recycle, upcycle, and waste as little as possible. Plant some herbs. Shop carefully. Have a massage. And love. Love like you've nothing to lose.

Check out Fall in love with your life on Etsy.

I swear I'm not stalking you

This morning I got on my tram, and sat next to a girl wearing a lovely red cardigan over a navy vintage dress. Absolutely beautiful outfit.

I got off the tram in the city, walked over a city block to get on a connecting tram. Got off at my usual stop at Richmond Station to walk to work. Why hello, Ms Red Cardigan, fancy seeing you again here.

I walked beside the tracks for a block or 2, then down a side street. Ms Red Cardigan slightly ahead of me the whole time. Feeling slightly conspicuous I crossed the street. We both turned a corner, left, and then another corner, right.

I swear I'm not stalking you.

We walked a little bit futher. I'm not even certain she noticed me taking the same route (I wasn't following her, it's just the same way I walk to work).

Finally, 2 builings away from my work we took separate paths. What are the odds?

Monday, 31 October 2011

It's the careful art of making coffee

We Melbourne residents are lucky to live in a city thriving on good coffee. I've lived in a few different places, and Melbourne wins on the coffee front. Hands down, there's just no contest.

But, even in Coffee Capital, it is still (vaguely) possible to come across a bad coffee every now and again. I do try to avoid it, but there you go.

This morning I came painfully close to drinking a Bad Coffee. I ordered a latte-to-go. She made it and off I went. The first sip burnt the hell out of my tongue and the roof of my mouth. I'd taken a good swig, just not expecting it to be so hot. Latte: pretty certain it's not supposed to be scalding.

Once the remaining three taste buds in mouth recovered I was pleasantly surprised to find my coffee wasn't burnt, but close enough to delicious that I was able to enjoy it all the way to work.

I do love a good coffee.

Where to get a good coffee in Melbourne (a ridiculously good coffee, that is, there's good coffee everywhere):

For those of you south of the river, head to Babble, 4 Izett Street Prahran

Otherwise, stick to the awesome side, or to the city
Make Madame Sousou your local haunt @ 231 Brunswick Street Fitzroy
Or head to Provenance @ 288 Smith Street Collingwood - and ask Dave to make your coffee (sorry mate but you do rock at it)

If you're in the city, Espresso @ 23 Degraves Street Melbourne
Or The Mess Hall @ 51 Bourke Street Melbourne

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A positive move into a beautiful home

I recently moved into a new place with a good friend of mine, C. We moved into a lovely old brick terraced house in Fitzroy, aka The Dream Suburb.

During the house hunting process (*shudder*) we looked at a few places. Although each place seemed more exciting than the last, I expended a lot of energy on searching for signs that after moving to the new place I would Be Okay (the people closest to me will know my last move was a bit of a disaster). We used yellow paper (for good luck) for covering letters to each of our prospective landlords. We were organised and neatly filled out our applications before we went to each inspection. We had folders and plastic sleeves containing copies of all our documents. I was pumped, and determined to find The Right Place. I paid attention to The Signs, I checked-in with my body, I watched out for omens, and I searched through my thoughts.

We had 2 inspections to go to. The first, on Greeves Street, looked divine in the pictures but was on the expensive side. It had been raining earlier and so we were the only ones at the inspection. Was that the omen? Nope, the place was teeny-tiny and by the time we left I was feeling anxious.

The second, on Napier Street, from the pictures looked scruffy or something ('rambly', we had dubbed it) but was on the cheaper side. We weren't that excited about it and almost didn't bother, except that it was right after the first inspection and only 50 metres around the corner. It was drizzly as we waited across the street on a park bench. A rainbow came out - a full one, the type that go right across the sky. The end of the rainbow was behind the Napier Street house. I got a little bit excited. Maybe this is the sign...but then I packed in the whole notion of looking for omens.

When walked into the Napier Street place all rational thought flew out the window. We didn't check for power points, or inside the drawers. We didn't look to see what sort of showerhead there was, or see whether
there was enough storage.

We didn't have a yellow covering letter and we hadn't even filled out an application. We did a quick lap of the place, getting more and more excited at the perfectness of it all. It wasn't particularly grand, or funky. But it was lovely, and it felt like home. We didn't have all our documents with us, nor a tidily filled out application, but we handed in what we did have, babbling out promises to look after the place with solemn grins on our faces (well, it was mostly me doing the babbling).

The next morning there was a message on my message-bank. It was a pocket call C had made to my work number after the second inspection. You could hear us in the background chatting excitedly about the
Napier Street house, and there weren't many nice things said about that teeny-tiny place on Greeves.

It was the sign I had been waiting for. And in a round-a-bout way it came from me. Hearing myself talking about the rambly Napier Street house was enough to give me confidence we were doing the right thing.

And then of course, The Necessary Sign, our application was approved.

The move was extremely stressful, as all moves are. But once we were in, we were in love, and all the people holding their breath until it was fairly evident I was Okay could exhale and sigh with relief. (Although slightly mortifying, it is very nice having people look out for you.)

Though I loved my apartment dearly, and it was hard to say goodbye (see previous post) it has been just wonderful moving forward and into such a lovely house.

This one's for you, C.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Brave new venture

There is absolutely a time and a place for things that come unopened in shrink wrap, all shiny new and unused. But there is something undeniably lovely about something old that comes wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. It's the story that comes with it, the character.

There is also something lovely about not discarding these things, but rather passing them around somehow, for others to enjoy. In any event new things all come from somewhere, the overall mass of our world can't be increasing (it's science!), and we can't make things from nothing.

A good friend of mine got a new set of saucepans, but she couldn't bear to throw away her smallest copper-bottomed saucepan. It had been her Nan's, when she'd been alive, and she didn't feel right about throwing it away. So I’m taking care of it for her. Now, whenever I boil water for a cup of tea in that copper-bottomed saucepan I think of my friend's Nan, and it's lovely (and they really don't make saucepans the way they used to!).

I have recently started my own business, Beautiful Life by Design. I hand pick vintage pieces, and I also hand make hanging artwork.

My pieces are simple, aesthetically appealing and easy on the eye. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

If you would like to know more check out the Beautiful Life by Design website, or the Beautiful Life by Design online store.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Fighting this idea of perfect: but what is "perfect" anyway?

I always seem to return to this one thought. No matter which merry-go-round I end up on, no matter the digressions, diversions, distractions or tangents, it usually comes back to this one same thought: 'how do I do this the right way, the perfect way...?'. Or, 'how can I be perfect at this?'

It's infuriating! I'm not perfect. I was never perfect. I hate perfect. I don't even want to be perfect!!! So why is this my default thought setting?!

Lately, I've been falling completely head-over-heels in love with my life all over again. With it's messy twists and turns, and complicated kinks. I start jobs, I quit jobs. I move and then remove. I start and don't finish things. I love and laugh and cry and sing. I talk to myself in the shower! I love my wardrobe but I don't really bother with make up. I beg my boyfriend to squeeze the zits on my back but I am such a sook when it comes to just about everything else. I still rent at 29 and I don't own any shares (or a car). I'm made good decisions and bad decisions. But I wouldn't trade any of it. I love all of it. It's part of the magic that is me, et cetera et cetera.

So why, I am asking myself (almost completely exhausted by this thought that repeatedly returns, unsated), oh why are you constantly berating yourself for being something less than perfect? For goodness sake, girl, accept yourself!!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The relationship between us and a space

I’m fascinated with how being present in particular spaces can affect so much about our lives and how we feel emotionally.

The effect of choosing a particular space in which to reside or work, for example, can cause us a range of varying states of emotions: excitement, fear (or in extreme examples anxiety), feeling secure or exposed, happiness and delight or uncomfortable misery, financial hardship or sometimes even financial prosperity, health or discomfort, connected or isolated, well, you get the idea.

How is it that the physical properties (the shape, atmosphere, location, etc) of different spaces can have such an affect on us? Does the space even affect us, or is it merely our perception of the space?

The range of factors which I know personally affect how I feel within and about particular places, include: light, artificial vs natural; size, spacious vs cramped vs overwhelming enormity; context, living vs working vs visiting; and colours light vs dark.

I recently moved into a new house and it is just beautiful. It has such a friendly and wise feel (if it possible for a house to be wise), sort of like a favourite grandfather. It chuckles. I feel very happy there, and in the surrounding areas too. The little courtyard is lovely. The street is lovely. The graffiti is lovely. Even the air seems lovely, somehow.

I contrast this with an apartment I lived in only briefly. There, the building literally groaned it was so worn out an old. It looked nice, but it felt very isolating there, and almost cold. It was very dusty and musty and I hated it so much I only stayed 7 days (I am almost embarressed to admit).

So what was it about the horrible space that made me feel so awful? And what is it about this place that makes me feel so happy?

I’m not certain it’s energy left behind by previous occupiers. One of the houses I enjoyed living in most was occupied by lovers of satanic ritual right before I lived there. They marked the doors with satanic symbols and all the neighbours hated them. I loved that place though, completely oblivious to the symbols until someone pointed them out to me. There was something about how the sunlight came though the windows and shone on the wooden floor that had cracks between the boards so large you could see through to the soil beneath. It was just so friendly and lovely. Like a warm hug.

Despite not really understanding the logistics of it all, I'm glad that the new place makes me feel warm and fuzzy. This is my new bedroom. It feels so inviting...and safe. There is something awfully lovely about waking up in the morning and looking out of that window at the greenery and bricks outside. It's beautiful and wonderful.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Farewell dear apartment

I hadn't cried this much (or at all for that matter) about moving out of a house since I left home - and I left home to move to North Queensland! - until last night that is. I had to have a really big cry, as though I'm having to say farewell to a dear friend.

This apartment I've been living in, well, frankly it's seen me through everything. Tears, laughter, love, anger, paralysing anxiety, hopelessness, fear, relief, hopefulness, excitement and pure joy...a huge and important chunk of my life has happened while I've been living there. It housed my path of self discovery. And it's been there, steady and unmoving, without complaint the entire time: patient, comforting, safe, warm and so friendly.

Despite everything - the smallness of it (it is pretty tiny), the black soot on the balcony from the road out front, the coal heater that only has 2 settings (scalding...and cold) and the fact that the coal is not in the heater but in fact in the cupboard, the stupid lifts (that bing when the lift leaves instead of when it arrives), and even the funny euro-laundry doors that wouldn't let me open my wash machine soap holder more than half a centimetre - some of the happiest times of my life were spent living there.

It is time for me to move on. It is time for me to buy and arrange furniture, wash dishes again, have people over for dinner, spread out a bit, and be at ground level, with a little garden. I want room for my creativity to blossom.

But apartment 2.8 (aka 208, we're still not sure which is the right reference to use), you've been just wonderful and I've loved every minute.

Thank you. And farewell.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I heart policies

I recently discovered I am an E(borderline I)NTJ, and so it follows that I like certainty, and for everything to be in its place... and quite neatly, of course.

I have implemented a number of personal policies by which I live my daily life. I love my policies. They make life so much simpler. And in some ways it's humorous and comforting objectifying my preferences, if you like.

There's my No Purchasing of Televisions policy (applied strictly to the purchasing of televisions, watching it is fine of course). For me buying a television is such a waste of money. Behold technology! I have a MacBook. It plays DVD's. I have wifi and fancy speakers, and a very clever technologically savvy boyfriend. 'Nough said.

And then there is my Constant Presence of Ice cream in the Freezer policy (applicable even in the event of dieting). In case of emergency. I'm sure you approve...

Big Bag policies. Love 'em. I don't want to carry 532 items in my hands, tied around my waist, hanging off my shoulders, in pockets. No! Just give me one big ol' zip up Country Road duffle and let me throw everything in there. My right shoulder is quite strong.

I refuse to use (and do not accept if it is used towards me either) the word "too" as an adverb to modify an adjective used to descibe a person. Nobody is too anything. This is my Rufusal to Use the Word "Too" as a Modifying Adverb policy.

My sister has a very strict 'Eat Your Marshmellow's Very Carefully Policy' (although I suspect it's more of a mandate, that one).

Another favourite of mine is the Let your Rant Out policy. I'm a great advocate of this one. If I need to have a rant, at any point during the day, my policy allows me to find a way. Even if this means stomping along on my own and having a rant to myself in my head (though I suspect some of it spills out). And, I hold it against noone seen to be doing the same!

Yeh. I love policies.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Ann Timson, you're fabulous

Occasionally you hear of someone who does something simply amazing. Ann Timson, 71 years of age, English, (read the full article here) singlehandedly foiled a robbery attempt at a Northampton jewellery store with nothing but her handbag.

Ann, I am so impressed!