How to create a travel kit

Sometimes opportunities come along in life at an unexpected time, but end up being the perfect time. I have recently experienced this as a result of being offered a new role, one that initially I was not looking for. The role requires a lot of travel, which I have been enjoying not doing, however that was the reality with this role. And to be fair, travel is easy for me now with no kids at home and Pete only working four days a week. However one of the biggest pains with travel is the packing and unpacking. So I decided that if I was going to do this I needed to make as many things simple for myself. I decided if I could have a travel kit that was essentially ready to grab, I wouldn’t need to keep packing and unpacking. So I created my ultimate travel kit, one that is ready to use for one day or a whole week. So if like me you are wanting to make your travel easier keep reading and I’ll take you through the steps I took to create my ultimate kit.

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Step 1 - Travel Requirements

The first thing that I did was to think about what my travel requirements were going to be. To do this I thought about where and how often I would need to be travelling, even thinking about the weather as well.

Working that out, initially I would probably be travelling weekly from one day to four days a week. However potentially changing locations during the week, which would mean slight variations in the weather. i.e Dunedin to Hamilton! The travel would likely settle down however not for a number of months, so it was going to be high frequency travel.

Knowing the regularity and locations helped me to think about what I would need to have in my travel kit, so this takes me to the next step.

Step 2 - Items for the Travel kit

The easiest way I found to do this is to just do a bit of a brain dump. I simply listed out all the main items I normally need when travelling and categorised them

  • Work information

  • Technology

  • Wash bag and Make up

  • Wardrobe - work/exercise/casual

For each of the categories I worked through what items I would actually take with me for every trip regardless of length and decided that these were the items that I would have in my kit. Essentially always ready and all I needed to do was to add my clothes.

As an example for my wash bag and make up category I decided that I would have items such as deodorants, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush etc permanently in the kit. 

From my list I collected together those items , crossing them off as I went. Helpful to only get those items that you have on your list. It is easy to start to include things that you think …ohhh I might need that !!! But really you don’t  

A handy hint the small baby bath bottles from ECO store make perfect sized containers to fill with shampoos and body wash etc and means that you can just decanter from your existing products.

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For my wardrobe I have a set of travel sleep wear, lounging clothes and yoga gear which stay with my travel kit.

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Now that I had a good idea of all my travel items, this helped me to decide what my best luggage options would be, bearing in mind that I want to be able to have everything in my carry on and hand luggage. Essentially I wanted to only travel with two items of luggage, one being my handbag/briefcase and the other my carry on .

So to the next step ——-suss out the luggage, but this also the fun part as I got to do a bit of shopping

Step 3 - The Luggage

Weight and functional are king here, I was really focused on ensuring that I have light weight luggage which needed to be really functional and ok yep it had to look good as well. Having said that I would compromise on looks to get weight and functionality.

Thankfully now there are a lot of great options available that not only look really good but are very functional as well. In my research I found the Samsonite luggage a great option, these are certainly at the pricer end however if you are travelling a lot it’s a worth while investment. Here in Aotearoa, New Zealand you can find these often on special at Luggage.co.nz and Strand Bags and of course Amazon has a great selection.

Interestingly enough for me, while I was doing the research one of favourite New Zealand bag brands, Saben, released a new range of luggage…..and like OMG I just feel in love with them. Of course I did my research on the luggage to ensure that they ticked my check list; light weight, functional and good looking. I had a good read through of all the details online first, checking the sizes and weight , then went into the store to have a good look. So I choose the Cabin Bag Black Carry on . It is super light, has four wheels, a lovely long handle (bonus for us tall gals) and has great capacity inside. And of course it is a beautiful thing….I mean just look at it ! I love the gold detail in the zips and handles. Also the zips have a lock which again is another great feature. In terms of price they sit similar to the Samsonite as well as the quality.

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Now I was also looking for the perfect handbag/briefcase….that turned about to be a more challenging search, well initially. For my handbag/briefcase it needed to hold my personal items; purse, small make up bag, planner, MacBook air, cell phone, as well as my  work Surface Pro , work notebook and pen case. In my research I found that there were briefcases, mainly for men however they were often very narrow and really too slim so you could not get in all the personal items.

When looking at just handbags they were really not robust enough to carry all the tech equipment. There was an option that I was thinking of using and that is my London Carry all Dagne Dover which I use as my carry all for work and it’s fab for that . However really needed something smaller as my hang bag. Dagne Dover do have some excellent options now in their luggage collection which I was looking at.

However that was before I came across the perfect solution and I happen to find it at Saben……ohhh I shouldn’t have gone into that shop!! What I found has worked out to exceed my expectations…..it is soooo freaking practical, and the design means it is so nice to use and it is not bulky but holds everything that I need. So check it out my beautiful Taylor Black work bag . The two best elements of this bag;

  1. Dual compartments which I can get my Mac onside and my Surface Pro on the other

  2. Design, it’s long and slim and for a tall gal it just works so well for me functionally.

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So there I am on a wet Friday afternoon coming out the Saben shop with a new bag and carry on, having spent, and lets be honest, a small fortune on them…..I had a smile across my dial feeling very pleased with myself. Because for me I had found the perfect two travel pieces I needed.

Now to set them up ready for travel. Ohhh the fun of organising ….I’m in my happy place peeps!

Step 4 - Travel Kit set up

This is all about great packing organisation and if you do some googling there are all sorts of ways to do this well. For many years I have been a roller, boy you can fit a lot in when you roll clothes. In fact we travelled around Europe for 6 weeks with the kids with only two backpacks using the rolling method.

However for my work travel I pack shirts and blazers and they are not really ideal when it comes to rolling. So I will use packing cases. I have actually been using dust cover bags that you get with shoes and bags and sometimes sheets as packing cases for sometime however decided that I would upgrade these. I manage to get these Flight packing cases on special at Briscoes as well as a tech bag .

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On a recent trip to Sydney I discovered this fabulous reusable bag shop in Paddington called Bag-All . They have the most amazing selection of bags and you can even get them personalised. I did do a bit of a spend up and got myself some really lovely packing cases and a small tech bag for my hand bag. Now I think I am well set up for packing cases!

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In terms of the Travel kit set up, as I mentioned above I really wanted to be able to reduce the amount of packing needed and essentially have as much ready to go as I can. With the exception of my daily clothes I set up the following kits;

  • Wash bag

  • Yoga kit

  • Lounging clothes

  • Tech kit

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Each of those kits have their own bag and have all the items I need ready to go. I just add the clothes I need for the period I am away which is not a big deal.

I am sure that I will have make changes to the kit as I go along however it’s a great start and will make the chore of packing and unpacking a lot less time consuming.

All packed up

My goal was to set up a travel kit that enabled ease of travel as well as reducing the packing and unpacking. I found going through the four steps outlined above was really helpful and helped me to make the right decisions to get my travel kit set up. I am sure that you could apply this to any travel situation to help you to also build the perfect travel kit for your needs.

Happy Travelling my friends

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beginners guide to growing healthy House plants

I am always surprised by the amount of people I talk to who say, “I can't grow house plants, they just die on me". It surprises me because I can grow them and I'm no expert. I have been fortunate to learn from Pete, whom when I first meet him, his house was full of beautiful green plants and lots of cane furniture. Along side learning from my own mistakes over the years, I now grow lots of healthy plants in the home and I love them. It appears the house plants are certainly making a big come back so if you are thinking about getting some plants but not sure, keep reading as I share what I have learnt about growing beautiful, healthy (most of the time) house plants.

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benefits of house plants

Ok, so to start with, I would just like to remind you of just some of the benefits of having house plants, to help with your motivation.

  • They look great, they are a great home decor elements that can bring great impact to the look of a space

  • They make you feel good, being surrounded by greenery does wonders to your mood and general sense of wellbeing

  • They are great listeners!! yes I like to talk to me plants, they don’t argue with you.

  • They help to purify the air. They recycle the air by converting the carbon dioxide we breathe out, into oxygen that we breathe in.

  • They are inexpensive and you can easily take cuttings and multiply the numbers of plants.

Now that I have sold you on how great house plants are let me, tell you easy it is to actually grow them.

Watering and Feeding

All the house plants I grow are very low maintenance and only really need water and a bit of a feed every now and then. The most important thing about watering and feeding is to be consistent, have a routine. I find this helps to maintain steady growth and constant level of moisture in the soil.

Most common house plants are good with weekly watering. Pete and I water them on a Saturday morning. During the hottest months of the summer, we do water the sunroom plants mid week. We feed them about once a month. During the hottest months of the summer, we do water the sunroom plants mid week. I have always used Baby Bio Original House Plant Food, it's a classic and available everywhere.

If you are not sure how often to water, track it in a diary/calendar noting any changes to leaves and soil, you should be able to establish a good routine from doing that. When buying your plants just check the care for instructions as this information should detailed.

Do not over water, this will rot the roots. If you notice water pooled on the saucer and leaves changing colour, it may be too much watering. Also, the potting mix will start to smell.

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Placement

Most indoor plants, that we have, thrive in partial sun or indirect light, some like the 'Peace Lily' are great in bathrooms and other lower light areas. Avoid draughty spots, and direct sunlight. Plants are pretty good at telling you that they are not happy, just watch for changes in leaf colour, die off of the new growth, and wilting. You may need to move some around different spots until you find the right one.

I have placed plants all over the house, on shelves, tables, even in the shower. They all settle well in their place and I can only recall moving two plants, one was not getting enough light and the other one was getting too much!!.

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Buy Small - Grow Big

I always buy my plants when they are babies. This is done because I like to raise the plant in the environment I want them grow uo in....and well it's a lot cheaper. Any garden centre should have a good selection of baby plants as they are grown from cuttings. I have found that Bunnings have a good selection of healthy house plants.

If you do this you must regularly upgrade into bigger pots as it helps with growth and they will not get root bound in the pot.

Use good quality potting mix, this does not have to be the most expensive. All garden centres will be happy to recommend and often have their own name brand. I just use the name brand at Mitre 10 and have had no issues with this.

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Turning the Pots

Ok so I am not sure if this is normal but I always turn my pots every time I water the plant. I find that you get even growth as they will always grow to the light. This is a good example. As an aside this plant produces beautiful yellow flowers, its a Calathea or Peacock plant and likes to have moist soil.

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Top plants list

To help you on your way, here are a list of plants that I have and are actually pretty easy to look after. These are also very popular plants so would be easily sourced from your local garden centre. In Auckland , there is a fabulous garden centre which has a great selection of very cool indoor plants, Church Street Garden Central

There are also a lot of handy guides on the best house plants to grow

  • Arrowhead vines

  • Bamboo palm

  • Birds nest fern

  • Calathea/ Arrowroot/Marantaceae

  • Fiddle leaf fig

  • Maidenhair fern

  • Orchids

  • Peace Lily

  • Rubber plant

  • Spider Plant

  • Swiss Cheese plant

  • Succulents

  • Yucca

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If you want to learn more about house plants check out my Pinterest board, Plants and Gardening where I have pinned lots more great content for you.

I cannot finish this blog without talking about Orchids.  To be honest, I adore them. I only started to like them when we moved to Auckland. I have a few around the house and they are just so beautiful. They are not hard to grow and they bloom forever. There are some key tips you do need to know with Orchids. Beth, my friend gave me this great website which will help you on your way.

As a tip, I buy my Orchids when the garden centres mark them down which is normally at end of flowering. If you are happy to repot and "prune" them it's a great way to buy a few at a time. You do need patience as it will take months for the new growth and flowers to arrive.

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So lets get you started

Having read this I hope that you no longer think it’s a mission to grow house plants…coz it’s not, just remember the key things that I covered off;

  • Benefits for your health and decor

  • Water regularly, (I do mine weekly)

  • Buy them small , cheaper and helps them get use to their environment

  • Rotate plants if you can to help even growth

  • Talk to them …I do!

I have listed the most common and popular house plants to grow and generally you should be fine with any of those plants, even Orchids.

I really hope that you enjoyed this blog and that it may inspire you to have a go at growing some house plants.

Enjoy planting my Tidies

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Beginners guide to Zero waste Pantry

Ok so first up let’s be realistic here peeps…….A Zero waste Pantry is probably a bit of a misleading statement, the ability for most of us modern families to have a totally zero waste pantry is very hard, however it’s quite possible to make great steps towards one. Pete and I have been slowly making changes to achieve that. Yes, we got to the point where I was looking at everything that I throw away and thinking how could I reduce that. Let me share our journey with you.

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THree R’s

If you have been looking at those beautiful Pinterest pantries with all the lovely jars lined up and no “plastic” in sight , these are not in themselves Zero waste, they may look pretty but the ingredients could have come from a plastic packaging or single use containers, which is now sitting the rubbish bin. Achieving a Zero waste pantry is soooo much more than pretty glass jars.

The best approach to starting on this journey is to start with the Three R’s , hopefully you have heard of them. These are the waste hierarchy, so in terms of your pantry you should;

  • 1 st Reduce, what you buy and what you waste

  • 2nd Reuse - what you purchase and how much you waste

  • 3rd Recycle - what you use that can be processed into future goods

They are in that order because the priority is to firstly try and reduce what you purchase then reuse what you have and last option is to recycle.

So Pete and I have been applying the three R’s to our journey to Zero Waste in the pantry. Oh yeah when I say pantry , it also includes Fridge as well. I’ll take you through what we have done and how we have done that.

Reduce

Surprisingly, I believe that this is probably the hardest to achieve for a lot of people as it simply means buy less food and packaged products. When it comes to cooking and stocking up pantries, most people have far too much in their pantries and purchase too much food. There is no better illustration of this than food waste.

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Did you know that here in Aotearoa we throw out 157,389 tonnes of food waste each year. In 2018, the food waste per household was the equivalent of 86kilos. Thinking of this in terms of money how would you feel if you went into your bank account and there was $644 less in your account…think you would notice that? Sure you would and that is, on average, how much the food waste costs per year.

There is great support for those, like us, that are wanting to reduce food waste. There is a great website called Love Food Hate Waste which has been developed off the highly successful Love Food Hate Waste campaign in the UK. WasteMINZ has partnered with over 60 councils and the Ministry of the Environment to promote and support the reduction of food waste across Aotearoa. The website is full of great ways to reduce food waste, including links to the individual council programmes and initiatives. Totally worth checking it out.

For those from the US reading, I’d refer to you the USDA site which has some really scary food waste information but also resources.

Coming back to “Think global , act local “ approach, Pete and I have found that the easiest way to reduce food waste is to meal plan. In fact we have been a meal planning family “for like ages ago!!” (it’s a saying here in Aotearoa). The reason meal planning reduces food waste, it’s that you only buy what you need for the meals you have planned to cook. The added bonus is that it is also a very economical way to shop as it saves you heaps on your grocery bill. Now my friends if you are interested in learning about meal planning and how easy it is, just jump over and read my Meal Planning for beginners post. I have easy to follow steps and even a hand meal planning FREEBIE for you.

Now because we meal plan and only buy what we need our pantry is minimal. For us this was one of the starting points of getting to zero waste. It is really helpful to use a shopping list and only buy what is on the list. This helps to avoid buying extras like those “specials” that you will never actual use.

 
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Another area that you can reduce your waste is to think out your food scraps. What do you currently do with these? If you have a garden maybe you can set up a Worm farm. Those little worms are fantastic at chomping through the kitchen scraps and turning it into worm juice and compost for the garden. They are actually easy to make and you should be able to get instructions from your local garden centre or Hardware store.

Reuse

Now this is where you can get all pretty in the pantry with jars and storage. Ideally using storage options that you can refill. With jars you don’t even need to go out and buy them, just recycle your food jars. Give them a good clean and remove the food label (if you can). Now you can use the jar to store some of your pantry staples, like your dried goods. Now, the challenge with this is that you have to refill without adding to waste. This essentially means that you need to take your jar/storage container to the shop for refilling. This means that you will need access to refillery stores. These stores are becoming more popular, thanks to people wanting to move away from single use containers. I shop at out local GoodFor store, and they have nationwide, plastic-free, 24 hour, delivery. If you are not sure what options you have locally, see if you can locate any wholefoods or bulk foods store as generally they would have refillable options. Huckleberry , Commonsense stores in Wellington and Auckland have sustainable nation wide delivery.

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You do need to be slightly organised to manage your pantry stocks like this, as you need to be able to take your jars with you to the shop to refill, You can’t just rush off to the supermarket and get another packaged replacement. However if you can just refill, it is very satisfying and you do really cut down your waste and even recycling.

The other aspect to using jars and refilling is the aesthetic options you get with this in your pantry. If you love to have an organized and beautiful looking pantry ….jars are a winner! just check all the Pantry inspiration in my Pinterest Kitchen & Pantry Organization board.

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If you can’t reuse jars and want to buy new ones, your local home store should have plenty, and most refilleries sell storage jars as well. Goodfor have a great range, we use their tinted glass bottles for our oils which are refillable. I recently had to get some more spice jars and picked up these little cuties from The Warehouse. The main thing to check for with storage jars is to ensure that they have really good seals otherwise your supplies will go stale. And if you want to go all out and get labelling , you can use vivid marker or chalk pen (just wipes off). I am of course a label queen and have a label maker which I use on nearly everything in the house that can be labelled!!! There are also many online stores on Instagram and Etsy that sell pantry labels. One of my favourites if Pretty Little Designs, they not only have fabulous labels in a variety of fonts but they have beautiful bamboo glass jars and spice sets and they ship internationally (from Australia).

I have found a great article from Treading my Own Path which is all about jars in a zero waste pantry, totally worth a look.

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Recycle

Finally lets talk about recycling which is the last thing to focus on to reduce your waste. This means trying to ensure that if you have to purchase things try and make a conscious decision in buying an item that can be recycled. Always check the recycling number on the product and ensure that this is able to be recycled.

As an example here in Aotearoa (NZ) we can only recycle #1 and #2 plastics, as China no longer takes our plastic waste. This means a lot of plastic containers, and soft plastics are just dumped into land fill. So it’s extra important to know this so you make sure you buy wisely.

Changes we have made

Pete and I still a long way to go to get to what I would call a zero waste pantry, however we are really pleased about the progress that we have made in significantly reducing our waste. I have listed below the changes we have made and maintained;

  • Reduced purchasing of package dried produce such as flours, rice, nuts, beans, cereals etc.

  • Refill our storage jars at the local refillery, Goodfor

  • Stopped purchasing milk in plastic containers. Purchase milk in glass milk bottles from our local produce store, Simply Fresh

  • Stopped buying single use oils. Refill oil jars at the refillery, Goodfor

  • Reuse our coffee beans bag when purchasing our coffee beans from Meebz (best roasted beans ever)

  • Reuse the egg carton when buying our free range eggs.

  • Use reusable cloth bags for fruit and veges

  • Use a Keep Cup for my free coffee at our local produce store, Simply Fresh

So my challenge to you is to see what changes you can make in your regular grocery shopping to reduce your waste!.

To help get you started I have developed a great little FREEBIE which guides you through options to a Zero waste pantry, grab a copy below.

 

FREE Guide

Helpful guide to get you started on your journey to a zero waste pantry

     

    Powered By ConvertKit
     
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    Remember your Three R’s

    So lets wrap up, Pete and I have found sticking to the Three R’s, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle really helpful in making the changes we have done to date and we are certainly still on the journey to getting to total zero waste pantry. Making small changes regularly is probably the best approach and allow yourself to get use to the change before going onto your next one. You could just pick one area of the Three R’s

    • Reduce - meal plan or compost

    • Reuse - fruit and vege cloth bags

    • Recycle - use kerbside recycling and check what plastics do get recycled

    I’d love to hear how you get on with your journey and what changes you have made so leave your comments below

    Happy waste reducing my Tidies!!

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    Planning for house guests


    Here in Aotearoa, New Zealand we have just had Easter and school holidays. For my northern hemisphere readers, summer holiday season is upon them and many of us are looking forward to having family and friends to stay. After the initial excitement of looking forward to seeing family and friends, comes the panic of realising what you need to do to get the house ready for guests. I suspect that most of us have little time to do this and can therefore quickly become overwhelmed. My wonderful brother, sis in law , niece and nephew came to stay for a week over the Easter holiday and I needed to prepare our home for their stay. So I thought that this is the perfect opportunity to take you through how I plan, what I do, things to consider, helped by a check list and other tips to help you when preparing for house guests.

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    Have a plan

    The first thing that I do when I know we have guests coming is to create a plan. I work out what I need to do and what time I have got to get these things done. I find doing a bit at a time really helps to reduce the “panic” of needing to get everything sorted at the past minute. My plan generally covers off these main topics;

    1. Food and Beverage

    2. Meal planning

    3. Cleaning

    4. Linen and Bathroom

    5. Gifts

    6. Information

    Under each of these I have a list of things that I need to cover off , so this essentially becomes my “to do list”. My next step is to plan out in my home planner the days during the week that I need to get these things done.

    Now that you have an overall plan, let me take you through the six areas that I work off in my plan.


    Food and Beverages

    This is all about making sure that you have got the sorts of pantry and fridge supplies needed for your guests. Rather than just stocking up with your usual supplies try and think about your guests and what they may like to eat. e.g breakfast cereals, favourite teas and how they have their coffee. If you have a family visiting think about snacks and fruit for the kiddies. For my niece and nephews visit I made sure that I had snacks in the pantry, and in the fridge I have a tray of apples and yoghurt that they could just grab.

    Don’t forget the adults too, if you have a cocktail cabinet make sure it’s fully stocked and that for the Craft beer lover that there is some nice cold ones in the fridge ready for their arrival.

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    A really nice touch and a very economical option is to do some baking. A fresh batch of cookies always goes down a treat with everyone. This could be a great way to have foods specific to festive seasons such as Christmas or Easter time.

    Lastly don’t forget the essentials such as milk, bread and spreads , have plenty of these supplies to ensure that you don’t run out.

    Meal planning

    This may seem a bit silly however if your guests are staying more than a couple of nights, then a meal plan is a great idea. Firstly it means that you don’t need to worry about what to cook and gives more time in the day to have time with your guests. As with the food and beverage supplies, think about your guests and what sort of meals they would like. When my Mumma comes and stay she loves hot spicy food so our meals are planned to that. However with my brother and family it was much more good old family meals, like Lasagne.

    Make sure that you also think about which nights you might go out, i.e if you have a celebration dinner to attend, and plan that in.

    Displaying the meal plan can be a good idea, I just use my weekly meal planner board for this, it can actually be really helpful to discover if someone is not too keen on a certain meal., as illustrated by a funny story from my niece. Only being 6 she immediately notice the meal plan board and checked out the meal we have planned for their stay. She asked if we could swap a meal around because she didn’t like Bacon and Egg pie (which was on list) , so cute.

    Once you have the meal plan, you can just shop to that, so much easier than guessing what to cook each night.

    If you are interested in learning more about meal planning, just check out my meal planning for beginner post, just click on the pic below.

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    CLEAning

    The challenge with cleaning in preparation for guests is the timing, as you really need to do it just before they arrive. It’s likely that you will not have a lot of time so just do the important areas, like the guest bedroom and bathroom. If you have time do a quick clean up in the living area and kitchen. One of the quickest and easy tricks to making a home look and feel clean is the entrance area. I would suggest making sure that you have cleared away all the clutter and give the area a quick clean. If you can, create a space where the guests have a place for their jackets and bags etc. Also if you have a no shoes in the house rule , then make sure that they have a place for their shoes and that you provide some type of house shoes/slippers. As an example I got my guests house socks and put these into their gift basket.

    Other things to remember when cleaning;

    • Replace the hand towel in the bathrooms with fresh clean ones

    • Clean the taps and the toilet seat, especially underneath

    • Stock up the toilet paper

    • Fill up the soap dispensers

    • Clean the bathroom mirrors

    • Change the shower curtain, or at least wash it

    The last and the best trick of all when it comes to a clean house is the scents you use in your home. Walking into a home with a beautiful scent in the air with makes it feel clean and inviting regardless of how clean it really is.

    I am personally a huge fan of essential oils and love using these to create gorgeous scents around the house.

    In the guest bedroom I use a small jute bag full of cotton balls on which I place some drops of lavender. I place these discreetly near the bedhead area, not only providing a lovely scent but enabling a great sleep. I also place some drops of lemongrass in the tube of the toilet paper, this gets absorbed through the toilet paper.

    One thing I do want to mention is zone cleaning or having a cleaning routine. If you have a regular, consistent cycle of cleaning it actually means that you generally always have a clean house so you don’t need to really every do a big “clean” . This really helps when having guest because all you need to do is a quick tidy up and you are done.

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    Linen, BED and Bathroom

    So tell me…. Do you like getting into a bed with clean fresh white sheets? Yes I thought so, and why is that? Because it makes you feel like you are in a hotel! Therefore great bedding and linen really makes your guest feel like they staying in luxury. It you don’t have specific linen and bedding for guests beds, then at least make sure that you have fresh, clean sheets on the bed.

    It’s good to have extra blankets or throws in the room, especially if it’s autumn or winter. And in the warmer seasons, provide a fan.

    Another lovely touch in the bedrooms is to have some nice dressing gowns and slippers. These can be placed with guest towels on the corner of the bed for their arrival.

    I am fortunate that we have guest rooms that are not used other than for guests so I can make sure these are ready earlier. However if you are using bedrooms that have to be made up, I’d suggest getting as much as you can ready so when you have to make up the beds etc you have everything ready.

    As an example, we had a single mattress that used to be housed under my sons bed. We would use this for any guests and it could be placed in any spare space at the time. To make things easier for this, I had all the linen & bedding for that single mattress all ready to go and in its own place in the cupboard. This meant that when we got the mattress out all I needed to do was grab the linen & bedding and make up the bed. This would only take me 5 mins or so.

    Onto the guest bathroom, I’d recommend having full set of towels as well, including a hand towel and face cloth. I also like to ensure that there are supplies for the guests for oral, hair and skin care. And lets not forget a wee medicine stash for those morning headaches from one too many celebration drinks. You don’t need to go over the top, just have the basics. Maybe display them nicely, to bring a bit of luxury into the bathroom.

    Skin care supplies on tray in bathroom.png

    Gifts

    Just to clarify at this point, that it is not necessary to provide gifts to every guest you have, a simple gesture of snacks and bottled water in their room is plenty.

    However if you are having close friends or family you may want to go a bit extra to make their visit special. Here are some ideas;

    • A bottle of bubbles with nice wine glasses and candles on a tray

    • Basket with cozy house socks and a selection of new magazines (try and get a topic that they like)

    • Books, fun stationery, puzzles for kids

    • Fun slippers

    • Seasonal gifts - e.g Easter eggs , Christmas cookies

    I recently had my niece and nephew (6 & 10) staying over easter time. I got them a small basket each and filled it up with a few fun things;

    • Mug with hot chocolate sachet

    • Easter Bunny (Chocolate)

    • Books to read

    • Travel Diary (as they were doing a road trip)

    • Pens and stickers

    • Head phones

    • Cute wee house socks

    As they were travelling on a road trip I knew that they could take their basket of goodies with them. So when thinking of gifts consider how they are travelling. Often it would be best to provide a gift that they will use during their stay so don’t need to take it with them, food is the obvious choice for that.

    Guest gift basket for young girl.png


    Information

    Lastly and probably most importantly, is useful information that your guest will need. The most obvious is the Wifi password, it’s like to be asked for fairly soon after arrival, so have it somewhere visible, e.g typed up inside a picture frame.

    If they are likely to be using the TV and other electronic equipment make sure that you have the instructions available, e.g How To guides. Also think to include washing machine instructions , especially if they are staying for a wee while.

    A good idea would be to make up a folder with brochures of local attractions and activities as well as eateries.

    Local public transport information is also great to have, timetables and even a travel card could be useful. Information on the local supermarket is handy and think about having a reward card available.


    To wrap up and some FREE help

    I have tried to cover of all that I can think of in relation to preparation for house guests, and a lot of the time there is no need to do all of the above, however it’s helpful as a guide and can form your “to do list”. As I mentioned initially, the sanity saver in terms of preparation is to plan, even if you only have short notice of a guests arrival you can still plan. To help you with the preparation I have developed a check list for you , which is FREE to access below and covers of all the six areas above;

    • Food and Beverage

    • Meal planning

    • Cleaning

    • Linen Bedding and Bathroom

    • Gifts

    • Information

    FREE check list

    Your ulimate "to do" list to get ready for house guests

       

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      Thanks so much for coming by and I hope that you have found this information really useful. I’d love to hear about any preparation tips and gifts ideas that you have in preparation for your house guests.

      Happy Hosting and may you be the Hostest with the Mostest!!!

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      Bathroom organization - How to declutter and organize your drawers

      It’s early morning and the sun has not even bothered to show yet and you are not even sure that you are awake! Leaning over to get the toilet paper and you realise there is none, nor is there any in hand reach …..so there you are finally realising that you have to sort out your bathroom organisation coz this can’t happen again. You have also gotten sick of hunting through all the junk in the drawers to find toothpaste that’s not empty….and what about your make up…..is it a complete riot? It’s time to get your bathroom drawers and cabinets into ship shape, so if that is you then this post is perfect. I’ll take you , step by step, through how to go from chaos to calm and have functional and beautifully organised drawers and cabinets. So lets get into it.

      Bathroom drawers organized before and after.png

      What you will need

      • Empty containers -old storage boxes, bowls/ice cream containers whatever that you have lying around.

      • General cleaner and cleaning cloths

      • Measuring tape

      • Note paper and pencil

      Clear and sort

      Just to give you a sense of what we are tackling, here are the before pics of both my bathroom drawers.

      Bathroom drawer open and cluttered.png
      Bathroom drawer open and messy.png

      First rule of organising is to start with a clear space. Empty out everything from all your drawers. Please don’t miss this step as you will end up in a mess again, take it from me , I’ve learnt from experience.

      But before you just simply throw everything onto the floor and bench top STOP , go and get your self some containers , these will be used for sorting you things into categories.

      The plan for the containers is to place like items together, i.e you are categorising as you go, this makes life a lot easier when it comes to working out how you want things organised when you place things back into the drawers.

      I just used these storage boxes that I had in the linen cupboard unused. They are actually great to have on hand as they easily fold up and store away.

      Bathroom drawer contents categorised.png

      You will see in my clear out, I have organised the items into these main groupings;

      • Face and make up - for me

      • Oral care/Manicure and Pedicure kit

      • Eye care

      • Supplies (soaps/scrubbers/gloves/headtowels/toilet paper)

      • Medications

      • Hair products/Hair Equipment

      At this point I also make a point of getting rid of any items that are passed their used by date. This applies particularly to make up, just get rid of half used or old products that haven’t been used for a while. To help with knowing what to keep and for how long here are a couple of handy guides that I found;

      Cleaning

      Now that you have everything out, give the inside of the drawers a good clean out. I just used my trusty general cleaner and the paste for hard to shift dirt. If you want to get the recipes for my cleaners just complete the form below to receive it straight into your inbox. Also you can check out my post on my DIY cleaning products.

      FREE DIY Natural Cleaning Kit

      Get your free guide on how to make your own all natural cleaning kit.

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      Cleaning Bathroom drawers.png

      These products that I have here are actually from Figgy & Co , they have great DIY kits so you can easily get started with your first home made cleaning kit.


      planning & organising

      Now that you have everything all cleaned and shinny it’s time to have fun planning out how you want to sort and organise everything. To illustrate the best approach to this I’ll just take you through how I worked through this for my drawers.

      For me there were a couple of main things I wanted to improve in how things were organised in my drawers, being the toilet paper, my makeup, Pete’s stuff and my hair stuff. So the toilet paper needed to be sorted at end of the drawer closest to the loo. This meant that if I ever ran out while on the loo , I could just reach into the drawer and grab some more. My makeup needed to be in a more portable container as I take it out of the drawer everyday. In relation to Pete’s stuff, he needed his own section of the drawer so he knows which was his, and lastly my hair stuff just needed to be better contained and sorted out.

      I decided to keep the items in the same drawers they came from, so the top drawer to have all daily items and bottom one everything else, including supplies on hand.

      At this point I get my pencil, notebook and tape measure out to start working out how to fit everything in. To start I roughly map out on a page how the drawers will be divided up with the containers that I want to use.

      Then measuring the length and width of the drawers helps to work out what containers will fit in. At this point I also look at containers that I can reuse from around the house rather than buy new ones. If you are going to buy containers make sure that you know their measurements so they will fit into the drawers. Also make sure that all bathroom containers will need to be water proof and easy to clean.

      Apart from the practical aspects to the storage containers, you can really personalise a space with the type of colours and styles of the containers……so why not make it pretty. As an example get a nice pattern or colour drawer liner to place under clear containers. In my drawers I have just used a white non slip liner so the containers will not move around. Tip: secure the liners with Museum putty.

      It may take a few goes at getting the containers best placed, have a play around to see what works best. I often find that what I have planned out does not always work well so have to change it up a bit to get it right.

      Also think about other ways to contain your items. As an example, I am using make up bags to store my hand and nail products and hair accessories, as I often take these items out of the bathroom.

      THE Reveal

      So here we have it , the big reveal of both the drawers, all organized and sorted.

      Having measured and mapped out the organizing plan, I placed the various containers in empty first. I did end up moving things around a bit to get things sorted how I wanted them and more importantly functionally

      The top drawer is now divided into two sides, one is for Pete and the other for me. So no more mixing up toothbrushes !!! eeewww.

      Bathroom drawer organized make up and oral products.png

      I have kept the spaces as clear as possible as this makes is more useful when getting things in and out everyday. In terms of a great find, my new makeup container has worked out perfectly. The problem that I had was that the old container was actually big and had no handle. Now I have a much smaller and lighter container, with a handle and it still fits everything in it.

      Bathroom drawer portable makeup container.png

      My bottom drawer, below now is a pleasure to open and I can reach the loo paper from the toilet seat!!! boom!!. I have to say I love the cosmetic cases that I used here, one has all my Manicure and Pedicure things and the other all my hair accessories and products. Having these in cases actually means that I can easliy take them in and out of the drawer and have everything I need in one container!! perfect for when you are sitting styling your hair in front of the bedroom mirror.

      Bathroom drawer organized Hair products.png

      Thats a wrap folks!!! My bathroom drawers are sparkling clean, tidied, organized and decluttered…yip they bring me joy!

      So lets summarise what I have done and what would be the key take outs for you, to help get your drawers sorted and ready for spring or autum …..I’m not hemispherist!


      wrap up

      My most important comment here would be that these organising sessions do not have to take long and so don’t let the “overwhelm” get in your way- break each step down and do each of them then before you know it you too have finished the job.

      Three key things to remember when doing these sessions are;

      • Clear and Clean

      • Declutter and categorise

      • Plan and organize

      And handy hint , the more you do the better and faster you get!

      Well I hope that you found this little post useful and maybe even given you some inspiration.

      Ohhh I can’t say goodbye without my top tips;

      Mirror selfie.png

      Tania’s top tips;

      Tip 1 - like for like - as you go through the decluttering process , categorise like for like.

      Tip 2 - Clean - always take the time to clean any space once you have it empty

      Tip 3 - Reuse - don’t always buy new containers, shop you home first and try and use what you have at home. Saves money and the environment.

      Be Tidy out there ……until next time my dears

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      My Garden She Shed

      I had never thought much about having a garden shed, specially for me . I suppose that growing up it was always the Dads that had garden sheds full of tools and things so I was conditioned to think that it was a “man thing” to have a shed. What started to make me re think this was a combination of my Pinterest addiction and sheer frustration of not having a proper home for my garden things. I was seeing these amazing “She Shed” trend as well as Pot Sheds in Pinterest. So I said to Pete….”Hey Babe do you think you could make me a wee garden shed?” “Sure thing” he said… Now I have an amazing shed and I totally love it. I love it so much that I thought I’d share how we (Pete) built it, and how I organised it.

      Garden She Shed.png

      how we Designed it

      To figure out what sort of shed would be best, I needed to be clear on how I wanted to use it . The purpose of the shed was to house all my garden things that I use, tools, pot, feed, sprays etc. Obviously it needed to be handy to the garden so I could access it easily. Additionally I needed the design to be one where I could open the shed and have everything at easy reach from the door.

      We had the perfect position for the Shed (albeit needing to get rid of a big old Daphne bush) which dictated the size of the shed . It could not be too large at all, which actually gave us the opportunity to get creative with the plans.

      Pete was is charge of the build and in some way the design too, I helped by checking out online Timber Sheds and came across these which were exactly what I wanted. Pete then took the basic design and worked out a plan for our Shed.

      A shed that pete Built

      Have you heard the term “over engineered”? well that’s how Pete described our shed…in short it’s the place I’m going if we have a tornado. The best way to show the build is in this pictorial and the explanations of each stage.

      Wooden foundations for Garden shed.png

      Stage 1

      Cement in the foundation posts and frame up the floor

      Framework for Garden shed.png

      Stage 2

      Flooring down, Frame work up for the sides, wall lining and bracing in.

      Garden shed shelving.png

      Stage 3

      Putting in the shelving

      TIP: Pre stain/paint makes life a lot easier. This stain is just left over from the decking stain , Resene Kwila Timber stain

      Garden shed framing and cladding.png

      Stage 4

      Putting up the external cladding, with Plywood panels

      Garden shed roofing.png

      Stage 5

      Roof and tiling. We used Asphalt Shingle roofing tiles for the Shed.

      Garden shed with black stain.png

      Stage 6

      Final touches, staining to match the house

      We used Resene Woodsman stain in Pitch Black

      Now most of you know that there is actually alot more to it than those pictures show, so if you are interested in wanting more details on the building of the Shed, Pete has kindly documented out all the measurements and materials and I’ve developed it into a guide with plans on how to build the Shed.

      To access the guide just pop your details below to receive your very own copy

      FREE Garden Shed Plans

      A comprehensive guide including plans to build this small garden shed

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        Shed Organisation

        Now the fun begins! Build done and it’s my time to get my organising socks on!

        I had vision of drawing outlines of my garden tools onto the walls, yip that was a thing, back when I was a nipper, the neighbourhood Dads used to have their tools on the peg board wall at the end of their garage. They would have the shapes of the tools outlined on the peg board just in case they forgot which tool went where. I always thought it was a bit weird until I grew up and became an organising expert.

        Garden Shed inside tools on the back wall.png

        The best part of the shed is the back wall which Pete carefully designed to hold all my garden tools. He even wrote the names of each tool so I knew where to return them. By just putting up a few well placed nails I had all my tools lined up and they remain perfectly organised. 

        On both sides of the shed, Pete installed simple shelves, On these shelves I have my most common reached for items because it’s the easiest to access area in the Shed. All my garden feeders are corralled into a carry all basket so I can pick it up easily and take it outside. I tend to do all the “feeding” at the same time as I mix them with water into the feeding can (on old watering can). This is really helpful over the spring and summer season as you do need to feed regularly to have a healthy crop.

        Garden Shed containers on shelf.png

        On the other side are all my sprays, manly for insects and spiders and other wee creepies. Hint don’t spray into cobwebs directly above your head , you never know what might be waiting in hiding in the cobwebs. I do have to be careful not to muddle up weedkiller with Organic Oil spray so I make sure that I label everything, on lids and the sides. Under the shelves I have all my large spray containers that I use to disperse the sprays. These are again well labelled so I know not to put the wrong sprays into them. Also I have all my weed and pest control spray containers on one side and the liquid organic sprays on the other. I just put up nails which I then place the sprays guns on, so this keeps them well contained and the guns have somewhere to hang. You will notice in the photo that I have used the space in between the frame work for storage. These are awkward items to store, so I thought by just criss-crossing the wall with bungie cord I could manage to have these items stored vertically and not take up too much room. Never forget to use your vertical space if you are tight for room.

        Garden Shed Sprayers and sprinklers.png

        On the other side of the shed I managed to create more shelving with these amazing boxes which I scored from Junk & Disorderly for only $12 each, a total find!!! One holds all my pot plants (indoor) stuff, pots and such like. In the other box are the soil and lawn fertilisers .

        Garden Shed boxes used as shelves.png

        Between the top of the boxes and the shelf there is the perfect space for the bag of pea-straw. I always a have a bag on hand and it’s the perfect spot.

        On top of the shelf I have a couple small baskets that once upon a time were plant baskets. I just use them for storage now.

        One I put my “hand cleaning” stuff in. Often when I am in the shed, I have very dirty hands from the garden so having hand wipes and disinfectant handy is great. I also have a pile of towels I use for two purposes, drying my hands and cleaning off my garden tools. In the other one I have some bits and pieces that I use in the garden, like garden ties etc. In the corner I use a old broken jug to store my pruning tools.

        Garden Shed cleaning kit.png
        Garden Shed shelf with baskets.png

        Now a little awesome idea I had, has turned into my mini garden office!!! The back of the shed door was unused space so I painted it with black chalk paint, and along with a wall magazine rack which I scored at the local hospice shop for $4 , I now have all my books, garden diary and notes on hard. The blackboard is handy to write notes to myself, like when I’ve feed and sprayed and things I need to do next!!. This is great use of vertical space.

        Garden Shed office on the door.png

        Another wee genius ideas of mine was my garden toolkit. It was actually a spare tool kit Pete had (he’s a Tradie) which he wasn’t using. It just seemed to be the perfect size for me. I carry all my essentials in it so I always have these with me when in the garden. I just love it and it has a handy wee trick where you can slide the kit itself along the belt so when bending down it sits on my back and doesn’t get in the way.

        Garden tool kit.png

        And finally the coolest thing of all , is this little seat on the side of my shed which Pete made for me, man he’s thoughtful. It’s where I sit and clean down all my tools at the end of my garden session. Yes I am one of those who looks after her garden tools, always making sure they are cleaned, sharpened and oiled. It is amazing how long things last when you look after them. My loppers, secateurs and hedge trimmers were given to Pete and I when we got our first house, which would be over 25 years ago!

        Garden Shed seat for cleaning tools.png

        Having my own garden shed is fantastic and it’s such a great design and so practical , I just love it.

        Don’t forget to grab the Guide and Plans, above if you are interested in building the shed. Feel free to ask any questions, we are happy to help.

        Also , as always I’ll love your feedback and do share your ideas and thoughts

        Make sure that you follow us on social media, where I share lots more on the garden, just click on the link below

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        Happy Tidying and Gardening!

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        How I created my Yoga and Meditation room

        One of the benefits of being an empty nester is the ability to turn your spare room (children’s old bedrooms) into spaces you have always wanted…like your very own dressing room or, like me, a Yoga and Meditation room. In fact there are so many things that you can do with spare rooms…they don’t have to stay as “your daughters room”. At home we have three spare rooms that were our children’s rooms. One is in the process of being a guest room, the other will become an Airbnb room and the third is all mine “muhwahaha”…evil laugh and I’m having so much fun making it into my very own Yoga and Meditation space.

        Meditation space in the new yoga and meditation room

        Meditation space in the new yoga and meditation room

        At the moment my yoga mat and meditation kit is in the lounge which is not really ideal. In the mornings I often have my peaceful silent mediation broken by fighting cats or cats leaping onto my lap….not really conducive to a beneficial mediation session. Then the morning Yoga session is managed around the cats showing me how a proper downward dog is done, by doing big cat stretches followed by a clawing of the yoga mat. And that’s just in the morning.

        In the afternoon I again fight the cats and the mat plus I have my husband who likes to partake in my Yoga session, passively mind!!! Giving me critique on my poses. The best of all is at the completion of the savasana session I turn around and Pete’s zzzzzz out on the couch having received the benefit of Yoga by osmosis !!

        Needless to say it did not take much to persuade myself to consider turning one of the old bedrooms into my very own Yoga and Mediation retreat. The room in question was my daughters old bedroom, and due to recent house renovations it has all new, carpet, paint, curtains and blinds and fittings so I didn’t need to do any decorating as such, more just soft furnishings and accessories.

        Design Inspiration

        In my mind I had a bit of a vision as to how I wanted the room to look. I have a few special things that are important to me for my mediation and Yoga sessions and I wanted to incorporate these as accessories into the room. It was interesting, as when I was looking on Pinterest for some inspiration, I noticed that there were a number of posts talking about the similar items but grouping them into;

        • Smell - or rather scents, which includes things like candles, tealights, incense and diffusers.

        • Sound - chimes, gentle calming music and maybe a Tibetan meditation singing bowl. The latter I have not got however rather interested in sourcing one, they do sound so beautiful and restful.

        • Sight - your spiritual inspiration or personal deity or something or someone that brings you a sense of peace and harmony

        • Touch - something tactile that aids your meditation, like mala beads.

        • Taste - water / tea

        My mala beads

        My mala beads

        So when looking at my special items they actually mainly fell into each of these 5 categories…surprise surprise!

        Smell/Scent

        I like to use essential oils and a diffuser, I also have incense and a burner. My favourite oil is Deep Relax from Fire and Ice using a small USB diffuser from Kmart. Trade Aid has the best incense and burners.

        Sound

        I have a very small set of chimes, that make the most delicate sound when they catch the breeze through the window. It’s such a relaxing sound.

        Sight

        I have a few things that I describe as filling my soul so I suppose these are my spiritual inspiration. They are an oil painting of Mt Aoraki which my Mumma gave me , a piece of rock or schist from the McKenzie country that my Sister found and a turquoise Bear from my dear departed Aunty.

        Touch

        My mala beads which I sourced from a local online store Pranachic. My mala beads are essential for me in my meditation sessions.

        Taste

        My morning cup of tea is essential for when I read and journal. I love using my all time favourite set from T2

        The other things that I needed in the room was more for my Yoga. Being able to have my yoga mat permanently laid out would be soooo good. Plus have my exercise weights , just 5kg dumb bells that I am using to help contain my bingo wings.

        Room layout

        The shape of the room itself is a bit awkward but has a lot of windows that get the morning sun. This is perfect for me as I always do my meditation and stretch Yoga session in the mornings. In the evening I do a full Yoga session so do not want lots of sun as it just gets all to hot for this old gal!

        Anyway in my mind I wanted to create two spaces, one for meditation and one for Yoga and I wanted a place to just chill and relax. So this is what I did.

        Relax Space

        Once was two beds now there is one. All I did here was to stack one mattress on top of the other to create a high “day bed” I suppose you might call it. I just used a nice white cover, I think it was from The Warehouse and it was from the spare room, so not in use. I had a collection of cushions that I have kept for the spare room and decided that they would look better on this bed and I think they do. I love how it turned out, it’s super comfy, thanks to the two mattress’s. The bed can easily be made up for guests if needed so I don’ t lose any bedding options by using this room as a Yoga and Meditation room.

        Day beads with heaps of cushions makes the perfect relaxation space

        Day beads with heaps of cushions makes the perfect relaxation space

        Meditation Space

        So this may sound a bit silly, since I do Yoga!! however I have a dodgy old back and in the morning it is very stiff. This means that when I do my meditation in the morning I have to sit with my back supported, so I usually always sit on the floor on a rolled blanket with my back against the couch. So in this room I need to be able to sit against the bed. My meditation space is therefore in front of the bed and I have placed a small table directly opposite that has all my special things on it. It’s really nice now to have a focal point in the room for my meditation.

        meditation space in the room

        meditation space in the room

        Yoga Space

        At the end of the room I have my Yoga mat laid out…permanently.! and just have a full length mirror up against the wall. It can be really helpful to have a mirror to just check your technique sometimes, especially when starting out. And of course I have got some fairy lights for soft lighting. There is plenty of leg room, which when doing Yoga is important.

        my yoga space

        my yoga space

        Accessories

        Art and plants are still a work in progress here, it’s important not to over do it and clutter up the space. There were a couple of plants which I needed to rehouse and lucky for me they were perfect for this room. Over time I will put a few more plants in here, maybe some hanging from the ceiling. The only art that I have in the room at present is my wee oil painting that I have on my meditation table. My beautiful Sis has completed a mindfulness colour print for me which I will frame and pop it up on the wall, the colours go so well with this room. Also my very talented daughter is going to do an oil painting for me too however I think I might be waiting a while for that.

        a few accessories in my meditation and yoga room

        a few accessories in my meditation and yoga room

        A string of fairy lights around the mirror provides some soft lighting and I tell you soft lighting is a must when you get up at the crack of dawn for meditation.

        Mastering your day

        Setting up my own Yoga and meditation space is something that I have wanted to do for along time. Over the past 12 months I have been on a personal development journey and taking little steps each day to help me achieve my goals and dreams. As part of my journey I have developed an approach to my day, of which Yoga and Meditation is a key part, which I refer to as Mastering my day. If you would like to read more about what I do, my routines and how I fit these into my day and the benefits take a look at my post all about Mastering your day





        It’s been a week since I started using my beautiful new room and I would totally recommend doing this if you can create your own space. It doesn’t have to be a whole room, you could easily use empty spaces in your house.

        Oh and lastly if you want more inspiration and ideas on what to do with your space room, just jump across to my Pinterest page for some great inspirational

        Happy Yoga time everyone

        Namaste !

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        Decluttering in 3 simple steps

        We all have them, those spaces where you end up piling up boxes and stuff to sort later or store. Ours is under the stairs, for others it might be the garage, up in the attic, in that hall cupboard or even in a spare room. You try and close the door quickly as to not notice how messy and cluttered it is looking. Our space was getting worse, not helped by the kids rummaging through it, as you can see.  I got to the point where I had enough, so decided it was time to attack this. 

        how to sort your cluttered storage space -Tidying with Tania

        I did find that I put the job off for a while as it just seemed so overwhelming...it was such a mess and I just didn't know what to with all the stuff. What I did know is that I wanted the clutter gone and I wanted a really nice space to look at as well as a functional storage area and most importantly it had to be a no spend project. I decided to eat this elephant one bit at a time, planning, sorting and decorating.

        1. Planning

        My starting point was planning out the space, for me this is the motivational part. I decided what I wanted it to look like, well within limits anyway. We have not renovated this part of the house as yet therefore it did not make any sense to do too much or spend any money on this space at this time. However like I say "you should always be beautiful with what you have"

        The room is under the entrance landing and the stairway. I had a black netting type curtain which I used to hang in front the entrance to the space so to block the view of the clutter. However this meant that it was actually fairly dark downstairs and not very welcoming.  My goal was to open it up and bring the light back in. I also wanted to highlight the cool smokey window at the back which brings in heaps of morning sun.

        The space still had to be essentially a place for storage however only for things we actually use, i.e seasonal and occasional items like luggage and picnic hampers. I did not want it to be filled back up with clutter again. 

        The last step in the planning was to work out a timeframe. I gave myself two weekends to complete this job as I knew it would be big. Rushing a job is not a good idea for and I wanted to take my time and do it properly.  So I locked in the next two Saturdays. Lucky for me the first one rained all day so it was a perfect for a big inside job.

        2. Sorting 

        This was really scary, I mean look at all that stuff! What will be the best way to tackle this? When I had previously sorted out clutter I also ended up with piles for rubbish and recycling. So I decided to sort into rubbish, recycling, donations and selling. There was a one last category and that was "misplace" . Basically an item that actually lives somewhere else in the house.

        What I found really important was while I was doing the sorting was to apply a one touch rule. An example is an item of rubbish, touch it and put it on the rubbish bag and when the bag is full place it out for collection. The same applied with recycling. In regards to the donation I put the items straight into the back of the car so I then had to take them.

        I could not believe how much I actually removed. Almost all of the clutter went, mostly going to recycle and donation. The stuff that I have collected....boy oh boy! In the end the only items that I am keeping is our luggage, sleeping bags and picnic hampers. I put all these onto the shelves which meant that the rest of the area was actually free of clutter. Boy did it feel good.

        3. Decorating

        This was the fun part, well some of it. I gave the room a really good clean out and repainted the block walls. Paint left over from previous jobs came in handy here as did the left over carpet from the recent new carpet we had laid in the entertainment room. I just cut it down to fit and used double sided tape to hold it in place. 

        Although the shelving was really efficient for the storage of the luggage it still looked untidy. To solve this I simply put up a curtain in front of the shelves, perfect !. To limit the potential for new clutter to establish itself again, I did two things;

        • set up two bins (old wash clothing bins) for storage

        • placed plants in the room as decor

        The use of the storage bins means that when we place something in them it has to then be sorted into rubbish, recycle, donate or sell.

        There was also method in my madness as to the where I placed the bins and this is solely due to the two fluffy hunters that we have. Yes our cats! they love to bring all their live and dead offerings to us through this space, note the cat flap. Therefore this area has been a corpse collection station at times, much to our horror. Also the dirty little beggars leave dirt marks on the wall when jumping up and down through the cat flap.

        Now that I have done a Tidying with Tania on this space there is no way I was letting the cats mess it up again. Therefore to stop the bringing in of offerings, the cat flap is now only one way, out only, so at least they will not wake us up in the night for a pee. To stop the jumping up marks, I purposely placed the bins in front of the walls. This forces them to jump up and over the plant, on the right of the picture, and walk along the window ledge. I actually watched them to ensure that this worked and yep it did. 

        The house plants are a simple decor idea to establish the space as part of the house and not a storage room to be shut off. 

        Storage room

        I am really pleased with how it turned out. It is such a nice space now and is open and connected to the rest of the house. Best of all it brings me joy!

        What is your cluttered space? Need help with how to tackle the space?

        Let me know, as a problem shared is a problem solved.

        Have a great week

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