Monday, 11 June 2012

Why I'm not shopping this year...

Why I'm not shopping for clothes this year...

I love dresses. And I love coats. My wardrobe was once teeming with mis-matched items that I had bought at "such a good price"! Alas, many of the items could not be matched with anything. I'm not much of a shoe lover (I keep it pretty basic and comfortable) so often I had no shoes to match with an outfit.

All this changed when I started (slowly) realising that I had a dependency. Every time I felt a bit low, buying a pretty item of clothing helped me feel better about myself. Often, I felt too guilty to 'splurge' and so I'd convince myself it was okay to buy a cheap item. So my wardrobe was filled with cheap items that I didn't really love that much and didn't match with anything else. Also, keeping up with laundry, ironing and mending was a MASSIVE job!

I finally decided I no longer wanted to:

1) be a mindless consumer
2) waste money on a gazillion tops, dresses, skirts etc. when there are people in the world who don't even have  enough clothes to protect themselves from the heat/cold.
3) be dependent on something external to make me feel good about myself.

I wanted to, instead:

1) redefine the word "need". How many party dresses do I really need? How often do I get to wear formal clothes anyway?(I'm a stay at home mum!). Or how many daggy at home outfits do I need?(you know when a loved shirt gets too old to wear out so you relegate it to the ever-increasing 'wear at home' pile)?
2) buy quality not quantity (so yes, 'splurge' on something that is lovely, elegant, good quality material and cut, modest, versatile).
3) simplify my life by decluttering my wardrobe and thereby cutting the time it takes to figure out 'what to wear' each day, laundry, ironing etc.

I was partially inspired by this wonderful blog by a honest and lovely lady, Leesa: 

Part of decluttering my wardrobe was the decision not to buy any items of clothes this whole year. Call it an exercise of self-control. I don't want to be controlled by the fashion industry/consumerism.

I don't need a constant stream of new things to feel good about myself. If a dress looks good on me, then it will still look good in a years time. I've spent more than enough money on clothes in my lifetime- one year without won't hurt! The time/money I've gained has been better invested in things such as:

-actually taking the time to do my hair (when your hair/skin looks great, you don't feel like you need a new dress etc.)
-giving extra money to charity.
-sewing something new (yet to try this)!
-mending clothes that's been in the 'fix it' pile forever. Feels like you have a new item!

There are a lot of 'de-cluttering' blogs/websites out there, just google it!

Here is a 'sample' of a table you can fill out if you want to declutter your wardrobe. You make a table of what clothes you NEED (be reasonable!) and then 'slot in' your favorite items. Any 'excess' items go to ebay or charity! I filled out a few columns, as an example.

(Also, if you want to join me in not buying any clothes for the rest of this year, leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you about your reason/s and what you will use the money on instead.)

At home


 1 pair of pants

2 skirts

3 tops

2 cardigans


 1 coat

1 jacket

2 skirts

2 pairs of pants

3 tops

2 jumpers

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Things I rate...

Some of the people/places/foods/books/activities that make me happy...

(not listed in any particular order!)

Napoleon Dynamite, the best comedy in the whole world.

Vietnamese wraps from my friend Kimanh’s blog (she 'met' Jamie Oliver in an online
interview last week! Awesome!) with a ‘how to make’ video:
Vietnamese Wrap Recipe - how to roll

Online shopping!! (Although I'm not doing any shopping at the moment..see next week's post!)

Pine All Mine DressSwing in Your Step SkirtOne Scoop or Two TopDaisy for You Dress (vintage and ‘new vintage’)

And… (online community of craft/art/fashion/homewares lovers).
(ASOS clothing/shoes/accessories free shipping to Aus.)

FREE shipping for cheap books (novels, school/uni books) from the U.K:

Nick Vujicic, one of my heroes:

Snowboarding. and watching movies/youtube videos of professional snowboarders (or other more extreme sports like base-jumping, which I would only attempt if I was, in fact, a bird):

(person in images is not me;)

 Cannon hill anglican college for having:

-kind, polite and memorable students.

-wonderful teaching & admin staff who took time out of their busy schedules to help me out

-healthy food options in their canteen.

-a Dreamworld excursion as part of my Geography teaching time! Score!!

-beautiful bush surroundings and a boardwalk where I could hang out for a bit and pray.


Sunshine Coast:
Climbing Mt. Beerwah and walking the Noosa National Park trail to Hells Gate.


Ciabatta bread from the awesome Rock and Roll Bakery, 500 Logan rd, Greenslopes.
 labneh 2 Making your own cheese – homemade labneh

Labneh (Turkish cheese with spices and herbs) recipe from

Best Gelati in Brisbane:
Gelateria Cremona at 151 Baroona Rd, Paddington.

A few best-loved books:

The Bible – This is my favorite book ever, as you might be able to tell from the
rest of my blog. Reading the Bible gives me peace, happiness and strength for whatever
the day may bring. It also helps me when I’m stressed, sad or angry.
Try reading stories online with videos and audio as well to explain things as you go:

Diary of Anne Frank


Les Miserables  by Victor Hugo
(coming out soon as a new movie with Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway).

Or read online:

Monet paintings

Van Gogh paintings

My brother-in-law's 25000spins charity
adventure cycles. Check out the videos:

Day 1 Apollo bay
Great Ocean rd 2011 - Team

Places I love:

Hastings Point, great beach close to Byron Bay but quieter. Headland camping or luxury


Bellingen, North Coast of NSW. Stay in the Promised Land Region and go for day
trips to the town of Bellingen, Dorrigo National Park, Armidale or Coffs Harbour.


More photos:

Quotes & Proverbs:

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind
us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and
that diamonds are made under pressure."
-Peter Marshall

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be
and you help them to become what they are capable
of being." -Goethe

"Hate stirs up strife but love covers a multitude of sins."
-King Solomon

"Be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger." James 1:19

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Too busy

 After 2 years of being a stay-at-home mum, I'm going to be teaching full-time for my 4 week practicum.  

Altogether, I have 3 months of teaching to 'tick off' before I can graduate from uni (finally!) in December. My blog will be a little bit quiet these next 4 weeks as I juggle teaching, spending time with my daughter after school (who I will miss very much!) and preparing the next day's lessons. 

Just a question before I 'sign off' for a few weeks:

Do you remember a teacher who had a positive impact on you? What made them a 'good teacher'? And if you didn't have any positive experiences, then what do you think your teachers could have done better? Please leave comments! 

Also, please keep me in your prayers?The temptation is there to cut down on time with God during busy periods but I recall to my mind a Christian quote:

Too Busy NOT To Pray.

And mentioning 'busy-ness', here's some words of inspiration about this modern-day ailment (where everyone is so busy that you can get into arguments trying to prove who is busier!):

"That you aspire also to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you." 1 Thess. 4:11

"Why do you labour for that which does not satisfy?" Isaiah 55:2

"Come unto me, all you who labour and are weary, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

If we only carry the burdens God intended, then He will provide the strength and energy we need. He knows the trials and temptations and also opportunities that each day will bring and He has prepared beforehand what we will need to be successful each day- if we rely on Him!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Great Ocean Road cycling trip

300km of cycling over 3 days. Luckily, I was just accompanying my husband by car. I felt a bit tired driving all that way but I felt I really shouldn't say so, not in front of the cyclists! They did an amazing job raising funds for children's charities, see

It really is a beautiful stretch of coastline.
After the ride, we had a serene 2 days in Lorne.

We had a pit stop in Apollo Bay and I wished we could have stayed longer.
My daughter Evie interacting with a Cockatoo.

While I was driving on my own, I had to stop and get petrol. We had a hired 4WD and I wasn't sure how to even open the fuel thingy or whether the car was unleaded or diesel.

"Pretty sure it's diesel, it's a 4WD, trucks and 4WD's use diesel, don't they?" 

I was going to just go diesel but then I thought to double check with the guy working at the petrol station. Well, lucky I did. He basically told me that it's most likely unleaded and told me to call the hire company just in case. He told me there have been many a hired vehicle that had to have the wrong fuel sucked out of them. And, if they couldn't get all the fuel out, the car had to be towed...all the way back to Melbourne, usually! What a way to end the holiday for some poor soul!

(this is a sample image and may not reflect the actual 4WD I was driving on my trip ;)

It made me think- what if this had happened to me? Would it have been reasonable of me to say, "Oh I'm cursed, I'm just so unlucky!"  I don't think so. 

There are quite a few verses in the Bible where God talks about curses and punishment. Putting the discussion about justice/punishment aside, I believe a lot of the suffering in the world is not a 'curse'  in the sense that God has said, "Oh, you're not obeying me so I'm going to make you pay!" as much as it's a case of putting the 'wrong fuel in the car.' God made us and so He knows our 'manufacturing design'. His commandments are there to help us live according to our 'design'. If we put the wrong things in, then we don't function at our optimum level (or we don't function at all). How is your 'engine' going? What are you 'putting in', when it comes to your physical/spiritual/emotional/mental health? 

"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome." 1 John 5:3

God made us then saved us and is coming soon to take us home. He has invested so much into us and we have no reason to ever doubt His good intentions towards us.

"Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live! 
Ezekiel 18: 31, 32

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

(check out the Great Ocean charity cycle video, by 25000spins (started by my awesome brother-in-law!) and also the advert for next years one )

Monday, 16 April 2012


I love rainbows! I saw a really amazing rainbow today @the beach and it looked just like the photo at this link (check it out, it's the best photo ever!):

(except in a beach setting. There wasn't a nice photo on google images of a rainbow AND a beach so i put two photos. Just imagine it as one haha!!!) The sky was kind of stormy but the sun was also out and so this rainbow happened! (I didn't have my camera and who am I kidding- even if I did, wouldn't have been able to take such an awesome photo!).

1st image from :

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sermon on the Mountain

A lot of the words Jesus spoke were spoken in reply to questions or accusations. The Sermon on the Mountain is one of the rare times were Jesus had the liberty to talk on a topic of His own choosing. This is a message straight from God's heart and mind! 

One of my favourite portions from the Sermon on the Mountain is the following:

"...And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye...

..Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven...

 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you give to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful."

(From Luke 6)

Why do we focus on the faults of others (and often these faults are imagined or exaggerated) instead of focusing on what we actually have control over- changing our own faults?

Why do we find it easier to do good to those who do good towards us? Why is it so hard to be kind to someone who is not kind to us, even if it's just an impolite stranger?

God can help us to change from loving others with a reactive/responsive love (i.e. "I'll love you only when I think you are being good and loving towards me) to a creative love (i.e. "I can love you even when I don't feel like it"). 

The greatest realisation we can come to is that God loves us with a creative and original love- i.e. It's not in response to our performance but rather it originates with HIM. And because God never changes, neither does His love for us. 

"Nothing can separate us from the love of God." Romans 8: 38, 39. 

Only once we realise this can we have that same sort of love towards others in our life. 

The Rock of Gibraltar, famous for being an impenetrable natural fortress of protection. The phrase 'Rock of Gibraltar' is used as an expression to indicate something that is unshakeable and reliable. May God be your Rock, Fortress and safe Refuge this week.  Have a happy week!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

time, money & priorities

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also..." Matthew 6:21

Have a look at how the world spends money. It definitely reflects certain priorities. What about us personally? How does our spending compare?

Global Priority$U.S. Billions
Cosmetics in the United States8
Ice cream in Europe11
Perfumes in Europe and the United States12
Pet foods in Europe and the United States17
Business entertainment in Japan35
Cigarettes in Europe50
Alcoholic drinks in Europe105
Narcotics drugs in the world400
Military spending in the world780
And compare that to what was estimated as additional costs to achieve universal access to basic social services in alldeveloping countries:
Global Priority$U.S. Billions
Basic education for all6
Water and sanitation for all9
Reproductive health for all women12
Basic health and nutrition13
(Source: The state of human development, United Nations Human Development Report  from     (Great website! Check out the whole article if u have time).
"Be content with such things as you have." Hebrews 13:5a
"For we bought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out." 1 Timothy 6:7
"But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?" 1 John 3:17
"The eyes of man are never satisfied." Proverbs 27:20
The world sends us certain messages about what will make us happy. And yet the best that this world has to offer will pass away one day- the world's most fascinating entertainment, most glorious buildings and whatever other material goods exist. Are you investing in eternity? Are you investing in people or things?
Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life more abundantly.." John 10:10. The life Jesus calls us to sometimes seem illogical due to the conflicting messages from society and even our own sinful desires. But take it from the world's wisest man, who said that,  "Whatever my eyes desired, I did not keep from them, I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure....then I looked on all the works my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind." Ecclesiastes 2:10, 11.  Instead, King Solomon came to the conclusion that the main duty of man is to keep God's commandments. And what are God's commandments based on but a love of God and others? 
The way we use our money and time shows who has our heart. Do we live for ourselves or do we love and serve God and others?