Category Archives: Simple

Here’s to a simple year

A Simple Year

While I’m still technically offline until next week, I wanted to pop in briefly to wish you a Happy New Year!

I’m not really one for resolutions but I always find this time of year really exciting. Possibilities are refreshed and hopes are new and there’s just something wonderful about the potential fizzing just below the surface, don’t you think?

More often than not though, this feeling of excitement and possibility disappears before January is behind us. We find ourselves stuck in old habits. Revisiting old issues. Battling the same old piles of clutter and mess, and feeling the same old sense of overwhelm as we realise we don’t know where to begin.

That was me for years, until I discovered the delight of living with less. Less stuff, less stress, less pressure, less comparison, less shopping, less debt, less clutter.

I’ve spent the last five years learning that having less stuff actually gives you a lot.

It gives you the opportunity to focus more on the people and important experiences in your life.

It gives you more time, more energy, more care and more compassion.

It means you can focus on experiences over things. Travel instead of trend-hopping. Memories instead of souvenirs.

Over the past five years as I’ve slowly learned to pare back, find what’s important and live (mostly) according to those priorities, life has become easier. Simpler. Sweeter.

  • We have afternoon naps on the weekend
  • Cleaning up takes minutes, not hours or days
  • I spend less time dusting and organising
  • There is more time together on the weekends
  • We entertain more
  • Our horizons are expanding and we’re travelling more as a family
  • I worry less
  • I compare our life with that of others far less
  • The overall feeling of life is that of contentment
  • In other words, life is good.

Not to say that living a simpler life makes things perfect. It doesn’t.

Our kids fight. We get things wrong – alot. We make poor spending choices. We get impatient. There is still the annual influx of gifts at Christmas (although this is much less than it used to be).

Simplifying life just makes it easier to deal with this. And to me, that is the single biggest benefit of living a simpler life – over time it just makes living life easier. The daily tasks, the constant stresses, the annual pressures – these things become easier to deal with when there is less stuff cluttering up your home and your head.

The difficulty, I would say, is in getting to that point. How do you actually create that simpler life, when right now everything feels so complicated? When you feel so overwhelmed? When you don’t even know where to begin?

A Simple Year.

There are literally thousands of places to find simple living information and inspiration, both online and off. This blog and many others similar to it have hundreds of suggestions on how to start, where to begin, how to declutter and what to do once you’ve finished. And they’re all great sources of information. In fact, that’s how I came to discover simple living and finally get started on my own journey.

But if you’re looking to make 2016 the year you create a simpler life, you might be interested in joining A Simple Year.

This is the third year I’ve been lucky enough to be part of this course and I couldn’t be prouder of what we’re achieving.

Rather than having to work through the process of simplifying by yourself, A Simple Year is an interactive online course created by some of the best known writers in the simplicity movement (and me). Leo Babauta, Courtney Carver, Cait Flanders, Colin Wright and Tammy Strobel (among others) have come together to create something amazing. Each month you focus on a new area of simplicity by working with one of the simple living advocates mentioned above.

  • January – Clutter
  • February – Busyness
  • March – Travel
  • April – Cooking
  • May – Digital
  • June – Work
  • July – Money
  • August – Self-care
  • September – Mindfulness
  • October – Eating
  • November – Relationships
  • December – Gratitude

If you’re looking to make 2016 the year you simplify your life, I can tell you that our 2014 and 2015 members have had incredible success and this year is going to be just as transformative.

There are already hundreds of people signed up to take part, and registrations close at the end of January. Check out for a full outline of each month’s module and to register.

In the meantime, we’ll be back to regular podcasting (and maybe the occasional blog post!) real soon.

Happy New Year! xx

How to deal with relationship clutter – SHP020

How to deal with relationship clutter - SHP020


First Thursday of the month means it’s time for another hostful episode!

This week we’re taking some more listener questions and trying our best to answer them, and I also talk a little about my decision to stop blogging.

When we recorded this episode I was only a week into my decision to step away from the blog, so it all felt very new and uncertain.

Now, a few weeks later, I can easily say that it’s been such a positive change for me and my family. My mental and physical health has improved and I’m back to regular mindfulness practices. What’s more, I feel lighter. I’m happier. More prone to dancing in the kitchen, making (and laughing at) stupid jokes and gardening with the kids. It’s all good.

Actually, it shocked me to realise just how much those things had slipped in the months leading up to my decision to stop blogging. It was such a gradual shift that I didn’t recognise the changes until I took a break.

I plan on recording an episode of the podcast about the process and the changes I’ve experienced so I won’t spend any more time digging in to it now.

Instead, here’s a look at the questions Ben and I try and answer today:

  • How do you deal with friend or relationship clutter?
  • Is there room in the life of a working mum to pursue slow living? Or is it solely the domain of the single-income family?

Usually I’m excited to share these conversations, but that second question really had me talking in circles. And while I did my best to articulate my thoughts on what is a really complex and highly individual issue, I worry that I left too many things unsaid. But there’s only so much we can fit into a 30-minute conversation! 

I’m really looking forward to getting your thoughts and feedback on this one, so please feel free to leave your comments below. 


Today’s show is sponsored by where you can access over 180,000 audiobooks, including On Writing by Stephen King (and yes, it is the second time I’ve recommended this book but it is THAT good.)  Click here to get a free, no strings attached, 30-day trial of Audible and claim one free audiobook of your choice.


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

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


Keep Listening:

The Slow Walk


Over the past couple of weeks, I stepped back from the online world. I went 10 days without checking emails and over two weeks without posting to the blog or social media.

And, somewhat surprisingly, the world didn’t stop spinning.

The world didn’t stop spinning, but my head certainly did.

And do you know what I realised? I’ve shifted so far away from my personal philosophies that I hardly recognise myself.

Back in the day, before my breakdown, before I closed my business, before I discovered the delight of living a simpler, slower life, I used to rush everywhere.

Everything was hurried and harried. I was never off. I was never at peace. I could never sit and watch a movie without checking my email. I couldn’t enjoy playing with my daughter without feeling like there was something more important to do.

While I was offline these past two weeks I realised I had become that hurried, harried, disengaged person again.

Ironically, writing, blogging, podcasting, teaching, tweeting and Facebooking about slow and simple living has made my life fast-paced, hectic and far too complicated.

Previous to this offline break, I can’t remember the last time I was able to fully disconnect from work and be present in my day to day life. What’s more, it happened so gradually that I wasn’t even aware of it until now.

So I’ve come to a difficult, but ultimately positive decision: I’m stepping back and making some big changes.

That means I’ll be closing The Bloom at the end of August (members, all details are in the email I sent on Friday) and aside from show notes for the podcast, I won’t be posting here regularly.

Instead, I’m going to spend the rest of 2015 focusing on the podcast and our in-person Slow Living events, while reclaiming the slower, simpler life we’ve worked so hard for. (I’ll also be sending an exclusive article to newsletter subscribers once a month.)

I need to re-engage with my priorities. I need to let my ego go. I need to stop thinking that success and importance come from busyness. I need to simplify.

I can’t, in good conscience, talk about the benefits of living a slow, intentional life if behind the scenes I’m living in a way that is anything but. That’s hypocritical and it’s doing everyone a disservice.

The truth is, living a slower, more intentional life means making hard choices and tough decisions. It means saying no to things I want to do now in order to say yes to things I really want in the future. 

This has not been an easy decision, which is why I can tell you it’s the right one.

I also want to tell you how much your support, kind words, emails, messages, comments and encouragement has meant to me over the past 4+ years. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being part of this community and thank you for your support and your understanding.

Here’s to walking the slow walk.




Kristen Ottaway on films that will change your life – SHP017

The Slow Home Podcast Episode 17 with Kristen Ottaway - Films that will change your life.

I’m always fascinated to see the unintentional themes that pop up in my podcast interviews, and one of the most frequent has been the idea of community and how it plays a huge part in living a slower, more intentional life.

Today’s guest is Kristen Ottaway, a health and well being advocate based in Brisbane, who has created a community of like-minded people through her business, Inspired Living Events, where she runs documentary screenings to help inspire people to change the way they live.

Honestly, aside from the fabulous conversation, this episode is worth a listen just for the film recommendations!

When I initially contacted Kristen to appear on the show, she questioned whether her life was actually slow or simple enough to qualify, but as you’ll hear, she’s made huge changes over the past few years and is now living a significantly slower, simpler life than she even had recognised.

We chat about how that happened – how she got out of debt, downsized, started a business and created a community of like-minded people who have been instrumental in her making and maintaining big changes in her life.


Today’s show is sponsored by where you can access over 180,000 audiobooks, including Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. Click here to get a free, no strings attached, 30-day trial of Audible and claim one free audiobook of your choice.


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

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


You’ll Hear About:

  • The book that changed Kristen’s life
  • What slow living is and why Kristen thought her life didn’t qualify
  • How she and her family got out of debt and completely turned life around
  • The huge role that community has in helping Kristen not to feel alone in her choices and ideas
  • Kristen’s most excellent film and book recommendations.

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Big Picture

Have faith in the big picture >> Slow Your Home

Sometimes it’s difficult to keep our eye on the big picture. Sometimes it’s hard not to get bogged down in the grind of day to day. Sometimes the small, consistent steps required to make big progress feel too small and too insignificant.

Sometimes we lose sight of the big picture. Sometimes we lose sight of our why.

You know that giving your kids boundaries will hold them in good stead. But it’s hard to see that when your 4 year-old has a meltdown at the shop because he can’t have the dinosaur toy he desperately wants because he saw it just now and he didn’t know it existed until three seconds ago but it’s most definitely the best thing ever and if you get it for him he will never ask for another thing everinhiswholelifeplease.

You know that eating a wide variety of healthy, unprocessed food and being active every day is good for your body and mind, and you know it will serve you well as you get older. But it’s hard to see that when you really do want that extra piece of cake and you really don’t want to get out of bed and go for a run.

You know that saving your money and not buying that fourth pair of skinny jeans is good for the bank balance, which in turn is good for the house/holiday/car you’re saving for. But it’s hard to see that when you really want to keep up with fashion trends and, seriously, they’re on sale! It’s like I’m saving money by buying them!

So today I’m telling you (and myself) to have faith in the big picture.

Have faith in the fact that these steps, these choices, these decisions that leave you wondering, “What’s the point?” continue to move you towards the big picture.

And that big picture? It won’t look like you’re imagining. The future never does, because once you arrive you’ve already experienced all the hard work that went into creating it. And that doesn’t seem as magical as when it’s viewed from afar.

And while it might not be magical, it will feel amazing because you will have earned it with your small, consistent steps and your faith that they were making a difference.

Everything you do makes a difference. Don’t forget that.