Category Archives: Podcast

How to meditate with Kevin Janks

How to meditate with Kevin Janks - Episode 149 of The Slow Home Podcast

A few weeks ago I sat down to chat all things meditation with Kevin Janks – the founder of Centred Meditation in Sydney. It was fascinating to talk to Kevin about his journey from skeptic to practitioner and the benefits of meditation that he’s experienced personally, as well as those he sees daily in his clients and students at the studio.

What I failed to do though, was ask him how to meditate. (Quite the oversight, really!) When I realised that and started getting lots of questions in follow up to our chat, I knew I needed to sit down with him again and go back to basics.

In today’s poggie we talk about his definition of meditation and why it can be much simpler than we expect and he takes us through the simple process they teach at Centred Meditation. I also ask him how long we need to meditate for in order to start feeling the benefits and what kind of words or visualisations we need to practice.

I then had the chance to ask Kevin some of the most common questions I’ve received since we first spoke, including:

  • What equipment do I need to start meditating?
  • What apps does he recommend in order to learn meditation?
  • How can I avoid falling asleep when I start meditating?
  • Is there ever any reason to not meditate?
  • How can I maintain a regular practice of meditation?

Then, blissfully, Kevin closes today’s episode with a simple guided meditation I think you’re going to enjoy a lot – I know I did as I sat and listened!

I’d also love to know your experiences with meditation – what you like about it, what’s challenging, what works, what doesn’t, why you’ve developed your own practice, or why you want to. It’s been one of the single most transformational practices I’ve adopted over the past few years and has been instrumental in many of the changes I’ve made, and I’d love to hear your stories too.

Thanks again to Kevin, and enjoy the episode (and the meditation at the end!)

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.9 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Slow Home: Cleaning Rhythms

Slow Home: Cleaning Rhythms - Episode 148 of The Slow Home Podcast

In the final of our cleaning related episodes (I know many of you have found these really helpful, which is awesome, but I’m not going to lie – I’m looking forward to not thinking quite so much about cleaning again as of next week!) Ben and I look at our rhythms. Specifically the rhythms we’ve developed at home that allow us to stay on top of the home maintenance and ensure things never get overwhelming.

It might seem like over-engineering, but I’ve been using a version of this rhythm for years now, and while it’s changed as circumstances have shifted and the kids have gotten older, it’s served me incredibly well and it means we can minimise:

  • the amount of time we spend thinking about cleaning
  • the overwhelm that strikes when there’s a build-up of jobs that haven’t been done frequently enough. (A bathroom left for a month takes much longer to clean than a bathroom that’s cleaned once a week, for example)
  • the stress and willpower factors involved in cleaning – I don’t need to think too much about housework at all, but simply go through the rhythm that’s in place
  • the chance of things ever getting truly out of hand which in turn means cleaning takes less time, less energy, less product, less of everything.

In order to work out our rhythm, I simply wrote down all the weekly housework tasks and split them up over the days of the week that make sense for us. For you it might be a matter of doing all the housework on a Saturday morning or a Thursday afternoon because your schedule doesn’t allow for it to be split over days. Whatever works is the order of the day here!

And, despite the fact that I feel like this is very dull, I’ve been assured that this stuff is interesting to some of you, so I’ve written a simplified version of our rhythm below, to give you an indication of how this actually looks in practice:

Monday

  • Clean kitchen (15 min) – tiles, bench tops, microwave, cupboard doors, fridge door, stove top
  • Wipe bathroom vanities with towel and change towels (2 min)

Tuesday

  • Change bed sheets as needed
  • Wash linen
  • Laundry

Wednesday

  • Clean glass (10 min) – shower screens, back doors, mirrors
  • Admin/bills

Thursday

  • Clean toilets
  • Dusting

Friday

  • Clean bathrooms
  • Vacuum
  • Mopping as needed

(Almost) Daily Tasks

  • Wipe kitchen benctops
  • Wipe bathroom vanity
  • Sweep
  • Laundry

Less Frequent

  • Oven
  • Fridge
  • Pantry

This week’s action is simple: write a list of all the home maintenance tasks you need to do each week(ish) and then spilt them up in a way that works for you. Delegate and schedule as needed, then stick to the plan for a week and see if it reduces stress/mess/cleaning time. And let me know how you go with it – I’d love to hear!

Enjoy!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.9 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

 

Slow camping and dealing with doubters

Slow camping and dealing with doubters - Episode 147 of The Slow Home Podcast

It’s that time of the month again! Where Ben and I sit down and answer some of your questions about all things slow living, and try to keep the stupid jokes to a minimum. (In today’s episode I think we succeed in at least one of those areas).

I don’t know why I’m always so surprised at the wonderful questions we’re asked every month, but I always am. I learn so much from these episodes, and they give Ben and I an opportunity to talk about things that we honestly wouldn’t sit down and chat about otherwise.

This month we open up by answering a question from Sharni about camping, which is super fun and timely as we’re currently waiting for the soaking wet Sydney March to end so we can spend some time in the national park down south.

Sharni asked specifically for a list of the bare essentials when it comes to camping so I thought it best to put that together here. Keep in mind, much of this can be borrowed rather than bought (particularly if you’re just starting out with your camping adventures and aren’t sure of your style yet) and it’s definitely worthwhile taking a few exploratory trips before committing to one kind of set up.

I love that camping requires us to be intentional in everything we pack, and the realisation I always have about how very little we need in order to have an amazing time.

So here’s a list of items we always take with us (based on the fact that we don’t hike in, but rather camp near our car and usually stay a few days) but I’d love to know yours too – feel free to leave a comment sharing your must-haves or leave-at-homes:

  • something to sleep in and all necessary pegs, ropes, poles (tent, swag or similar)
  • hammer
  • something to sleep on (blow-up mattress, bunk style bed, foam mattress)
  • something to sleep in (sleeping bags are best but if it’s warm or you’re backyard camping, a sheet or blanket would be fine)
  • basic clothes and shoes that are OK to get (potentially very) dirty
  • folding table
  • folding camp chairs 
  • light (torch, gas lamp)
  • Esky and ice
  • firewood and hatchet
  • something to cook on (if your campground doesn’t have wood fired BBQs then just a simple gas stove or a camp oven)
  • pack of cards
  • large water carrier
  • drink bottles
  • Aeropress and KeepCups (coffee is non-negotiable)
  • hats
  • tennis ball/cricket set/soccer ball/frisbee
  • solar shower if going for longer than a few days, or if campground has no facilities
  • toilet paper
  • shovel

We also have a box in the shed that contains the smaller basics and is always packed, which makes packing so much easier as we know the essentials are ready to go. It includes:

  • camping plates, bowls and mugs
  • cutlery
  • washing up bucket
  • dishwashing liquid
  • dustpan and brush
  • matches
  • rechargeable torch
  • knife
  • chopping board
  • saucepan
  • frying pan
  • tongs
  • large bowl
  • wash cloths
  • tea towels
  • a few clothes pegs
  • length of rope
  • suncream
  • insect repellent

We keep it as simple as possible, and I’m sure there are ample ways we could improve our set-up, but I love the idea of making do with what we have rather than going out and trying to optimise things. Necessity is the mother of invention, apparently!

Aside from camping, we also answer questions about phone use and the arguments it can cause, as well as how to deal with the guilt that arises from even necessary purchases, learning to adopt ‘holiday slow’ in to daily life, and what to do when people aren’t down with the changes you’re making in life.

It’s another good’un and I hope you enjoy it!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.9 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Slow Home: Minimising Cleaning Waste

Slow Home: Minimise Cleaning Waste

One of the biggest changes I’ve made in cleaning our house over the past few years (aside from my love of vinegar and citric acid!) is to really think about the materials we use, and to start looking at ways of reducing waste.

I’d simply never thought about it before, but when I realised that the dishcloths we used at home were made from plastic and would spend hundreds of years in landfill, I was a bit shocked. It doesn’t seem like a big deal really, but for such a ‘disposable’ item it was entirely the opposite. So I started using compostable kitchen cloths instead and over the years have developed a lifecycle of products that makes a big difference to our waste output.

In today’s poggie Ben and I talk about that lifecycle and how even the simplest of changes is having an impact. Specifically we look at:

Cleaning cloths: We buy compostable dishcloths and use them in the kitchen. Every Monday I wash them under boiling water and then use the cloth to clean the kitchen. Then it’s washed, dried in the sun and put in the laundry to be used as a cleaning cloth. Once those cloths are spent, they get composted.

Tea towels: We buy pure cotton or linen tea towels, and once they’re too old to be used in the kitchen any more (we’re talking years and years here) they’re used as cleaning rags. Again, once they’re spent, they can be composted in our backyard heap.

Vinegar: I wasn’t aware of this when we recorded today’s episode, but you can buy vinegar concentrate (20%) online and dilute it at home. This helps reduce even further the plastic bottles needed for vinegar and something I’ll be doing from now on. (Thanks for the tip, Em!)

ecostore products: We use ecostore dishwashing liquid and laundry powder as they’ve been far superior to any homemade product I’ve tried (give me your suggestions though!) and while some ecostore products come in plastic bottles, it’s actually made from sugarcane as opposed to petroleum. They’re fully recyclable too, and a pretty great compromise for the items I haven’t yet found in plastic-free packaging.

Pot brush: I bought a wooden pot brush recently to replace steel wool pot scrubbers, and while Ben’s not sold on it I’m a big fan. Particularly of the fact it will last for many years, and when it’s spent can be composted.

These changes all seem so small, so insignificant even, that it can be tempting to ignore them. But even the smallest changes have the potential to make a big impact over time, and with that in mind I’d love to encourage you to try this week’s simple action: Buy some reusable, compostable kitchen cloths instead of the plastic ones. Or, if you’re a crafty person, try your hand at either knitting or crocheting a few instead – even better if you can use scrap yarn! You can find links to instructions below.

Enjoy the episode!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.9 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Purpose (and planet) beyond profit with Dane O’Shanassy of Patagonia

Purpose (and planet) beyond profit with Dane O'Shanassy of Patagonia - Episode 145 of The Slow Home Podcast

Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway! The winner of the three Patagonia books is Jaimee G! Your inspiring new reads are on their way. xx

As someone who espouses simplicity and buying only what we need, I have an uneasy relationship with the idea of capitalism. But as a business-owner, a traveller and someone who does indeed purchase things on occasion, I recognise that I take part in a capitalist society on the daily.

During a conversation with Carolyn Tate back in September last year, I was introduced to the idea of conscious capitalism, in which for-profit organisations are making capitalism stand for something good – for people, for the environment or for social change. It was also through Carolyn that I was introduced to my guest today – Dane O’Shanassy of Patagonia.

If you’ve listened to the poggie for any length of time, you’ve probably heard Ben and I talk about Patagonia and how impressed we are with their commitment to ethical manufacturing and the environment. Founded by climbers, surfers, skiiers, mountaineers and explorers, Patagonia is a company that loves nature and wants to protect it.

They actively discourage people from buying new clothes unless they’re needed, and have in-store repair stations where you can have your Patagonia gear fixed for free. They distribute 1% of sales (not profits) every year in to grass-roots campaigns, and are highly engaged both as a company and individuals in environmental activism. They’re currently transitioning to 100% Fair Trade and are one of the most transparent companies I’ve ever come across, both in terms of supply chain and business management. In fact, founder Yvon Chouinard’s book ‘Let My People Go Surfing’ is basically the blueprint on which Ben and I are trying to build our own business.

Ben and I travelled down to Torquay a couple of weeks ago to chat with Dane, and while we do talk about the work Patagonia is doing both here in Australia and globally, we also focus on his personal journey towards a more sustainable, simple life. As a surfer, Dane loves being outdoors, and he and I share a similar philosophy on the best way to get people to actually care about the environment: spend time in it.

This is a great conversation that doesn’t shy away from the tension that exists between environmental protection and manufacturing, and also left me feeling hopeful for the possibilities that come when people turn their passion in to action (and activism!)

Patagonia has also given us three of their amazing books to give away to one lucky listener this week. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post and you’re in the draw to win a copy of Let My People Go Surfing, The Responsible Company and Tools for Grassroots Activists. Read them, be inspired, pass them on and spread the message!

In the meantime, enjoy today’s show.

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 1.9 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!