Category Archives: Simple

Can slow living make us lonely?

Slow living has changed my life for the better in so many different ways, and somewhat surprisingly, one of the major benefits I’ve experienced from learning to slow down is stronger relationships.

On the whole I’m able to be more present and emotionally available to my family, I’m a better listener, and when I’m spending time with people I care about I try to show all the way up. (That I even know what it feels like to show all the way up is a huge shift from the frazzled and distracted person I used to be).

Over the past few years slow living has also helped me form new friendships, albeit slowly. Where Past Brooke allowed comparison or negative self-talk get in the way of real connection, I now have a handful of tools that I use to meet new people and to (usually) help me move through the awkwardness that is making friends as an adult.

As an introvert I’m by no means a fan of networking events or small talk, but I have developed a self-awareness that helps a lot. So when I received an email from today’s guest, the lovely and open-hearted Nancy, I knew this needed to be a conversation we had together on the podcast.

Nancy has recently moved from the UK to Kuala Lumpur with her family, and is afraid that her introversion, combined with her desire to live a ‘slow life’ is holding her back from making friends.

I could see a LOT of me in Nancy’s question, and we have a fantastic conversation about why we struggle with connection and what relationship that struggle has to deeper issues of self-worth, guilt and shame.

I share some of the practical techniques I’ve used over the past six months of living in a new place that have helped me slowly find and connect with like-minded people, even on those days where going out to meet new people feels too much.

To bring another perspective in to the conversation, I also wanted to bring in my friend Cait Flanders, and she joins me in the second half of the episode. Cait and I talk about making friends online, the importance of getting comfortable with awkwardness and letting go of expectations when meeting new people.

This is a really warm, honest and reflective conversation that I absolutely loved. Nancy showed all the way up for it, and we’re all rewarded with an honest chat about making friends as an adult, with some additional insights given for those of us who are on the more introverted side of the spectrum.


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:

As always, thank you for listening!

Rebecca Sullivan on eating (truly) local and the power of simple observation

Image courtesy of Nassima Rothacker from The Art of Herbs for Health

“Being observant to nature and what it has to offer you teaches you so many lessons.”

Rebecca Sullivan

Do you want to know something random? I think about today’s guest – the delightful and delicious Rebecca Sullivan – every time I wear blush. In our first conversation on the poggie a couple of years ago she shared her very excellent, two-ingredient, homemade blush recipe with me and I’ve been using it ever since.

In that conversation, Rebecca did more for making homemade solutions accessible than the previous five years of internet research and messy experiments combined, and me (and my naturally blushed cheeks) are grateful.

Since then Rebecca has published four (!!) new books, with another on the way, and moved from an apartment in Adelaide to a closed loop eco-farm in the Clare Valley. There’s just a bit for us to catch up on, so we thought it was about time.

In today’s episode we chat about the challenges and joys that living on the land have brought so far and why Rebecca essentially considers herself a ‘dirt farmer’. We also dive deep in to the importance of slowing down and paying attention to nature, living with fear, embracing failure, taking risks and the aim of her new work: reconciliation on a plate.

Rebecca and her partner Damien Coulthard founded Warndu – a social enterprise committed to regenerating culture, community, tradition, health and soil using native Australian food – and are about to release their first cookbook, Warndu Mai. We talk about why all Australians should be embracing native food, and how conversations about what we eat will hopefully open up much-needed conversations about indigenous culture and heritage.

Questions featured in this episode:

  1. What’s the transition been like as you moved to the farm, from theory to reality?
  2. How do you think about your own environmental impact?
  3. What does it practically look like to live in a circular (closed-loop) house?
  4. What was the seed for the idea of Warndu – both the company and the book?


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:

As always, thank you for listening!

Tips on Reducing that F****** Ironing Pile.

I am very, very, very bad at keeping up with my ironing pile. Like, bad enough that there are clothes at the bottom of the basket that may or may not have been there since…May. That kind of bad.

I generally manage to take care of the top 75% every couple of weeks, but rarely seem to find time/motivation to finish it completely. (That’s probably a sure sign that we have more than enough clothes in this household, don’t you think?)

This has been something that’s bothered me for a while now. Growing up, my mum was Master of the Laundry. No sooner had you discarded your dirty clothes than they were in the washing machine, hung, dried, ironed and back on the bed. I grew up using this as one of many measures of competency at home.

And while that is super admirable and my hat is forever tipped to such Laundry Masters, my recently adopted path towards the simple life has seen me looking for a better way (for me). And as a result I’ve cut down so much on the amount of ironing I need to do, which leaves me time to do more pleasurable things, like scrape paint off windows or clean the toilet. Some tips for you:

1. Shake, shake, shake! 
My sister told me about this method, and it really works. As I’m hanging up the wet laundry, I give all the kids’ clothes, plus mine and Sparky’s tshirts, jeans, etc three really good, firm shakes before I peg them up. This plus line-drying generally takes care of most things.

2. Sort and fold straight away.
Not always practical, I know, but when I can I like to fold and sort the clothes as soon as they come inside or out of the dryer. It means they don’t get all creased up sitting in the basket for who knows how long.

3. Drop your standards a little. 
I can’t be sure, but I don’t think people talk about us behind our backs due to this non-ironing thing. “Oh, would you look at that rumply family? How embarassing for them. Can you believe they walk around with unironed clothes?”

Point being, I no longer iron tshirts, the kids clothes, pyjamas, outside work gear, exercise clothes, jeans, shorts etc. I iron Sparky’s work shirts, anything really creasy like cotton and linen, and a handful of my delicates. I will admit that I love ironing pillowcases and teatowels though. Weird, I know.

How about you? Do you iron? Do you avoid the ironing? Do you outsource it? Are you the Mayor of Wrinkle Town?

My Name is Brooke and I am on a Decluttering Bender.

Sorry for the radio silence, friends. Every spare moment lately has been spent clutter-busting our home. I’m only a fraction of the way there, but damn it feels good. I feel lighter somehow.

I’ve been reading lots about minimalist living and the slow home movement, and buzzwords aside I think they’re both really interesting, desirable, accessible ways to live. They both apply to what this whole journey is about.

So far:

Sparky and I have cleared our wardrobes, with the hope of sharing one wardrobe and getting rid of the other, as it clutters up our bedroom far too much. This 30 minute exercise netted us 5 big garbage bags of clothes to donate and two big garbage bags of pure crap, which was recycled or tossed as a last resort.

Yesterday I cleared out both of our bedside tables (netted another huge bag of recyclables/rubbish) as well as our bathroom cabinet. Another big bag full’o’junk there.

Went through my multiple piles of costume jewellery and tossed 95% of it. It was mostly tarnished, broken, mismatched or really really ugly. I actually don’t wear much jewellery, so I need very little in the way of this stuff.

I cleaned out my craft cupboard and threw away two more bags worth of random scraps that I’d been keeping for “just in case”. Nope, no more.

I sorted through our cookbooks and bookshelves, put aside all those books I’ve borrowed over the years and never returned (sorry, Dad!) and now have a big basket that I will try to sell to the local second-hand bookshop or otherwise donate to Vinnies.

You know those magazines that you buy/subscribe to and keep for no real reason? Yeah, me too. But as of yesterday: gone. I tore out anything I really wanted to keep and the rest was recycled. (I did keep my Organic Gardeners though – I use them a lot).

This morning I’m tackling the laundry and may just be crazy enough to try and tame the beast that is our “store room”. Maybe.

K.I.S.S: Paper Traps!

I’m very very bad at lots of things: returning phonecalls and emails, cooking with chicken (it freaks me out) and keeping our bills and other admin-y type things in order.

As a result of the last one, I occasionally am late paying bills – oops – which really bugs me. It introduces unnecessary stress into my life, and as we know, I’m allll about reducing stress.

I’ve been looking at my life and trying to pinpoint the recurring stressors, and while there are many, there are a few that I think can do a better job at managing:

– paperwork/filing
– bills
– weekly meals/grocery shopping
– managing appointments/schedules

I read somewhere that the best way to deal with paper traps is to touch it once. That is, to have a place where you bring in your mail, open it, recycle what’s not needed, sort what is and pay your bills or take any required action. It means you know exactly what to do with every thing that comes in your mailbox. Of course, my life isn’t that predictable and usually when I bring the mail in I have a hungry baby in one hand and a stack of mail and local newspapers in the other, with a nappy beg around my neck and a toddler hanging off my knee. But, you know, the intention is there…

So with all that in mind, and as part of our ongoing renovations, Sparky and I have decided to build a bench in the back family/dining room that will function as a hub for all that kind of stuff.

I saw this one on design*sponge a few weeks ago and knew that was basically what we were after, so hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will put ours together.

The plan being that we incorporate a place for all the following in the one space:

– opening mail
– recycling any unnecessary mail
– box for action (bills to be paid etc)
– box for filing (paid bills)
– laptop
– phone/laptop/ipad chargers
– home phone
– notepad
– shopping list

Ours will be higher than the one featured above, and we will have a couple of stools tucked in underneath which means I can check emails, pay bills etc while keeping an eye on the kidlets. A vase of flowers or an indoor plant, plus a couple of artworks on the wall and it should match in really well with the midcentury/industrial/nanna/eclectic/crafty/diy vibe we’re going for (!!)