Category Archives: Create

Someone You Should Meet

Romper Magazine is coming soon
{ via Ello Lovely on Etsy }


First, can I just say – thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

The last post I wrote wasn’t designed to garner a heap of attention or praise. Your comments and emails were so gratefully received, and everything you have said – both publicly and privately – has been taken on board.

I’m not going anywhere. I promise.

I just needed some time to recallibrate and work out where I fit in this world.

Like I said, I want to be part of the solution, not the problem, and many of you have assured me that is the case. That you’re actually doing with my words what I hoped you would be – allowing yourself time to read them, and then moving out into the world, ready to live life whole-heartedly.

If someone asked me about my dream for the readers of this blog, it would be that they, or rather, you, might find something on these pages – a spark, an idea – that would spur you into action. Be it to clear out the clutter and excess, or to embrace the simple beauties that surround you. Fill your hearts up with gratitude or take ten minutes a day for yourself. I want your life to be as good as you deserve.

But I had been struggling with how that would happen. I was worried that I was adding to the noise and the pace and the urgency, rather than encouraging you to live a slower life.

But you tell me different.

You tell me you dip in and out of my words as needed. That you take the inspiration here and apply it to your daily life. And I want more of that. I want to see this idea of living simpler, slower, more joyfully, more beautifully, more playfully and more mindfully spread even further into the world – both yours and others. I want it to unfold before us, like the ripples from a stone tossed in a pond.

So I’m creating something new.

This blog will remain here. It will be here as far into the future as I can see. I love writing here and I love the community of beautiful, like-minded souls we’ve created. Don’t go anywhere! (Unless you want to, of course.)

But I am creating something new. Something big. Something I’ve never done before…


Romper Magazine - coming soon


I’m publishing a magazine.

Friends, meet Romper


Romper is playful.

Romper is joyful.

Romper will inspire you to discover the tiny beauties so often passed by. It will uplift and motivate you. It will tell stories of people living incredible, inspiring lives. It will share life-changing ideas. It will offer the small moments of peace and joy and fun and human-fuelled inspiration that we all need.

Romper is, in a word, different.

And excitingly, the first issue of Romper will be hitting the Apple Newsstand in early December, 2013.


There will be more information about the magazine and how you can get involved over the coming weeks. But for now, I simply needed to let you in on my plans. And to let you know – I’m not going anywhere.


A 4-Part Approach to Simplifying Life

The 4-Part Approach to Simplifying Your Life

This is a guest post from my friend, Debra Dane of Home Life Simplified and author of the new book, ‘Simplify Your Life – From the Inside Out‘.

Many books and blogs approach simplifying life from the perspective of removing things to make life simpler.

  • Declutter to free up space.
  • Say no to cut back on commitments.
  • Buy and consume less.

While I definitely focus on what I can let go of, my approach is actually four sided.

I use a four part tool that helps me decide:

1. What to keep – things that are working as-is and I want to keep them. It is possible I will even increase them in my life.

2. What to delete – things that do not serve me well. I consider what brings me down or stands in my way, complicating life. These things are beyond help and just need to go.

After these two steps I have a clear picture of what “is” before I go into the two remaining areas.

3. What can I edit? – What do I want to keep, but needs to be adjusted. This might be an activity I want to remain involved with that needs to be scaled back or a task that needs to be adjusted to reflect the current season of my life.

4. Finally, knowing what resources (Time, money, energy) I still have available to me I can look at adding in things. What is missing in my life? What could make it easier or more fulfilling? What have I been longing for?

I use this approach whether I am decluttering my home and wardrobe or setting goals. It helps me examine things from all angles.

Sometimes life is made simple by removing things, but sometimes it comes from adapting or adding in what I really need to live a good life.

Download a worksheet from my new book ‘Simplifying Life -From the Inside Out’ and try it out in your own life. (Click here to download.)

For goals I use it to help me figure out potential roadblocks and possible supports to help me reach my goal. In other areas it is a more straight forward examination of what is working and what needs help.

This post is adapted from Deb’s new book ‘Simplify Your Life – From the Inside Out‘. In this book and workbook you can explore who you are, what you want and what is standing in your way, so you can simplify and live life your way.
Deb blogs at Home Life Simplified about intentional and authentic living. You can connect with her on her blog, Facebook or Twitter.


3 Simple Steps to Find Your Soul Food


If we don’t eat good, nourishing food, we get sick. We become weak. We have poor energy. But if we feed ourselves healthy, nutritious, satisfying food, we become happier, healthier, more energetic.

This is not rocket surgery.

And yet, so many of us forget about feeding the parts of ourselves that drive us. The parts that define us. The parts that set us apart, make us ‘us’, make us happy or make us content.

We forget to feed our soul.

Feed your soul by giving yourself time. Feed your soul by putting that need high on the priority list. Feed your soul by finding its best food and relishing in it.

I feed my soul by waking early and soaking up the quiet. By gardening, belly laughing and writing. When I don't make time for these things, I come up empty. I haven't invested enough in my soul and I feel it. I'm depleted. Undernourished.

Discover What Feeds Your Soul:

1. How do you know your soul is nourished?

There is a feeling of contentment. Of fullness. Of pride for having done something for you. Something that will sustain you for days. It will carry you through difficult times, tantrums, sleep deprivation, sickness. And it will make the good times feel even better.

2. Question: When was the last time you felt this way?

Take a pen and paper and jot down the last five times you felt like this.

  • Where were you?
  • What were you doing?
  • Who were you with?
  • What were you thinking about?

3. Make time to do these things.

Talk to your loved ones, tell them you need time. Tell them you’re out of the house for an hour on Saturday morning, or that you’re taking a pilates class every Thursday night. And tell them that their support is important.

And as you try each of these nourishing activities, you will discover what it is that is your ultimate soul food. You will find that thing, that activity that makes your heart full and your spirit happy.

Then – and this is the key – do that thing. Often. As often as you can.


It may be:

  • writing for 30 minutes every day
  • jogging 3 times a week
  • gardening – digging, weeding, planting
  • painting
  • building model planes
  • renovating old furniture
  • singing
  • mountain bike riding
  • going to church
  • playing guitar

Whatever it is, make a promise to yourself that you will care for your soul as much as you care for your body.

You and those you love will reap the rewards.



Let us know – what feeds your soul?


Simple Living in Real Life: The Creative

Simple Living in Real Life - Alicia Parsons of Akimbo


Simple Living in Real Life is a new series where we take a closer look at how different people approach simple living. The theory of “living with less” is straightforward enough, but how does that actually look in real life? Each interview in the series will delve into how different folks apply the ideas of simple living to their every day. Enjoy!

Simple Living in Real Life: The Creative

On average I receive one email a week from an avid crafter who desperately wants to simplify, but is struggling with their sizeable stash.

Considering I get my creative juices flowing with words on a screen these days, and that I’ve given away almost all my craft supplies, I am definitely not an expert on this.

But what better way to begin the new Simple Living in Real Life series than asking a talented, creative business-owner and crafter to share her simplicity tips.

Alicia Parsons is the boss lady behind Akimbo – an Australian stationery label. She is a graphic designer who creates ‘clever hellos’ and very beautiful, timeless art prints.

Simple Living in Real Life - Alicia Parsons of Akimbo

1. You’re a creative business-owner. Tell us about your work and the raw materials you need to create. 

On a daily basis I need my computer, printer, product inventory and shipping supplies. I also need regular access to things like my photography gear, invitation samples, marketing materials, stock envelopes and of course my art and craft supplies. Finally, there’s the periodically used items such as my expo/market stall setup, spare supplies, packaging materials and photo shoot props/backdrops. Oh, and of course the usual stuff like books, paperwork… the list goes on!

2. With physical supplies necessary for your business, how do you keep clutter minimal in your workspace?

I work in a very small space (our tiny second bedroom) and have a product-based business as well as a blog involving craft so it’s a constant battle to keep things under control. Here are some strategies that help me:

  • Going paperless wherever possible (is this ironic for a stationery business?!)
  • Not over-ordering supplies (sure, that bulk order of 5000 envelopes may be cheaper but where am I going to put them?)
  • Regularly decluttering (let’s be honest: I’m probably never going to use those fabric scraps)
  • Borrowing or hiring infrequently needed items (for example, photo shoot props, specialist craft tools, expo displays)

I’m actually considering outsourcing my warehousing and shipping to a fulfillment house which would dramatically decrease the amount of inventory I need to store.


Simple Living in Real Life - Alicia Parsons of Akimbo


3. Aside from your creative work, how do you embrace simplicity in everyday life?

I’m an organising machine from way back! I find great satisfaction in decluttering our home and making intentional choices about what belongs here. Like my parents, I would rather buy one thing I love rather than ten cheap, trendy things (hard when you have a decorating blog though!). Either when tempted in a shop or looking at my own home, I ask myself ‘Do I love or need this?’.

So that’s the physical stuff, I am good on that front. Simplicity in other ways – such as my time and commitments – is not something that comes naturally to me. I’m always trying to pile ‘one more thing’ onto my plate so it is a conscious effort to add more breathing space to my life. I’m getting better at saying ‘no’ and accepting my limitations. This is hard for me, but I try to remember that my friends come over to see me not a perfect house and the only person who cares whether that cake is homemade is me.

We also live in a small and modest home (2-bedroom unit) and started out with hand-me-down furniture until we saved for what we wanted. So many people our age were buying the three bedroom, two bathroom plus backyard combo. Which is great if that’s what they want and can afford, but I know some of them feel burdened by the cleaning, maintenance and big mortgage. We are happy with our choice and it works for us but we still occasionally get asked when we are buying a ‘real house’.

4. Do you have any storage/organisational tips to share?

Decluttering should always be the first step of any organising project: the less you have, the less there is to keep tidy. Choose versatile items that can be repurposed when your needs evolve and don’t just look in the storage aisle – you’ll find much more attractive storage elsewhere.

I could go into all the nitty-gritty, but the most important thing is to work with your own tendencies and lifestyle. Otherwise you’re fighting a losing battle. For example, if you prefer to work on your laptop from the comfort of your couch, stop worrying about putting your supplies back in the office every day, simply pop your charger, pens and notebook in an attractive lidded box on your coffee table where you actually use them.

Simple Living in Real Life - Alicia Parsons of Akimbo


Notice how – even though our work, living situation and circumstances differ – so many of the core ideas of simplicity can be found in Alicia’s space?  I love seeing these ideas applied!

It’s proof that simplicity doesn’t need to cramp your style.


Tell me, do you have any tips on how you embrace simplicity in your daily life?


If you would like to submit your home (part or all of it) or your workspace to Simple Living in Real Life, please click here and send me an email with some details. I’m really looking forward to featuring more simple living homes and workspaces soon.

The New York Times Best-Selling Author… and Me.

Life Lessons from the Problogger Event
Mademoiselle Slimalicious, Seana Smith and me {via Smilebooth Aust}


Last Saturday I found myself sharing the stage with a New York Times best-selling author.

We were having a casual chat about this blog and my big ideas for its growth. In front of, you know, 200-odd people. It was…surreal.

I was at the ProBlogger Event in Melbourne and had volunteered to publicly workshop my ideas with Chris Guillebeau in one of the sessions. It was ridiculously wonderful – inspirational, educational, motivational. And while talk of e-books, content creation and engagement are incredibly interesting to me, that’s not what I want to share with you.

Instead, I want to share the three amazing life lessons I learnt there.

Three Life Lessons Learnt at ProBlogger Event

Yes, each of these was originally a lesson on blogging, but each of them is so poignant and beautiful that they apply perfectly to the life you’re creating. A life of simplicity, happiness and meaning. You can apply them to your life today, and you certainly don’t need to be a blogger to do so.

Lesson #1: Small Actions Add Up to Big Changes

What can you achieve in 15 minutes?

As an isolated unit of time, it’s not very significant. You may be able to hang the laundry, flick through the newspaper, go for a walk, write a few hundred words.

But if you commit to 15 minutes of action every single day, 15 minutes spent working towards a simpler life, this will have a huge impact.

15 minutes a day
1 3/4 hours a week
91.25 hours a year

In other words, 15 minutes a day gives you 11.8 working days a year in which to simplify and create the life you want.

Life is busy, I know. If you’re struggling to see where you can find those extra 15 minutes, think about these options:

  • Watch one less television show.
  • Wake 15 minutes earlier.
  • Get off Facebook.
  • Ask your partner to sit with the kids for 15 minutes in the morning or evening.

You can find 15 minutes a day. I know you can. It’s just a matter of committing to change.

It’s what you do with those 11.8 days a year that will change your life.

  • Write a book
  • Declutter your entire home
  • Start a business
  • Launch a website
  • Learn a language

15 minutes doesn’t sound significant, but look at what you can do with it. REMEMBER: Small actions add up to big changes.

Lesson #2: Be a Life-Long Student

I was in a room with some of the best and brightest wordsmiths and tech-heads in the country. These people know their stuff. They are experts. They are innovating an entire industry. And yet, they were there with their minds open, ready to learn.

You can never know everything. Ever.

This photo from Eden Riley speaks volumes. That’s Darren – the ProBlogger – sitting in on a session at his own event, open to learning. Listening, taking in the knowledge that filled the room.

darren rowse at problogger event - still learning
{via Eden Riley}

Lesson #3: Say Yes to Opportunity

Have you ever been faced with an opportunity – a brilliant, once in a lifetime opportunity – only to let it slip by as you stay seated, hands in lap, eyes cast down, silently praying you don’t get picked?

Trust me on this – you need to learn to say yes to opportunity.

That’s how I found myself sharing the stage with Chris Guillebeau.

The idea terrified me. But I recognised the opportunity and studiously ignored the shy voice in my head pleading, “No, no. Please. Get your hand down. I can’t possibly do that.” My hand went up and before I knew it, I was on the stage.

The payoff was immediate and incredible. I was literally inundated with ideas and feedback – invaluable ideas and feedback from some of the best in the business. The universe repaid my willingness to say yes, and it repaid me handsomely.

So learn to say yes to opportunity.

You will meet wonderful people. You will experience incredible things. You will surprise yourself every single time.


Those 3 Lessons Again:

#1 Small actions add up to big changes.
#2 Become a life-long student.
#3 Learn to say yes  to opportunity – even when it’s terrifying.

Learn them and apply them to your life. Today.


For those of you who missed the event, there are now Virtual Tickets available to buy, allowing you online access to the slides and audio of each session. I’ve already listened to some of the sessions I missed and will definitely be referring back to those I attended – that’s how packed full of info they were.

Over 21 hours of audio on blogging, online marketing and internet business – delivered by some of the best bloggers, authors and businesspeople in the world. My favourites were Shayne Tilley’s session on launching a product and James Tuckerman’s keynote. Amazing.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Virtual Ticket, click here and see what else is included*.

(*Affiliate link – meaning I will receive a commission if you purchase the Virtual Ticket through this link. Regardless, I would be recommending this anyway – it is that good.)


What was the last life-changing experience you had? How did it change you?