Happy Face Project- {Small} Office Space Design- Thanks Pinterest!

If you’re anything like me, you spend a large portion of your time on social media, looking at images, commenting, engaging and reading.

Pinterest is by far one of my favourite platforms.

Why? The ideas people post are so inspiring! I can spend so much time looking through design posts, laughing at jokes, pondering the quotes people repin and be spurred onto to recreate something I’ve seen, even if it’s not quite the same as the original. Saving all the links that come with my favourite pins is so easy. Time is never wasted browsing on Pinterest!

Getting back to this post {so distracted by my over 3200 pins!} I’ve been working on how to make a small part of my bedroom into a workspace for myself. I want it to be a place I can sit and write in peace, think quietly and study {yes, I’m venturing back into study, God help me}. I want it to be a clean area, free of clutter and I want it to be a tiny place just for me.

Here are my favourite “pins” re: “small home office ideas” {this was my search term on Pinterest}

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(image courtesy of houzz.com)

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Image courtesy of hitta-hem.blogspot.se

 

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image courtesy of cozycottagecute.com

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Image courtesy of hgtv.com

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Image courtesy of latricedesign.com

 

I’d love to see pictures of your home office or workspace, even if it’s out in your backyard!

 

From My Childhood Home

if walls could talk, they’d remind me of us. 

they’d sing songs we sang, they’d tell stories of my childhood.
they’d whisper that all is okay.
 
if walls could talk, they’d remind me of you.
how you walked through these rooms, how you cooked in the kitchen and
how you slept soundly wherever you fell asleep.
 
if walls could talk, they’d remind me of us.
they’d share the times doused in laughter and the times full of tears.
they’d whisper “don’t ever forget you were all here”.
 
if walls could talk, they’d remind me of me.
how i drew on them, leaned against them, stared at them.
they’d whisper that all will be okay.
 
if walls could talk, they’d give me some comfort.
they’d understand what it’s like to look at blank walls that once showed shadows of us.
they’d understand how much good and bad went on inside them.
they’d whisper “don’t you forget us”.
 
Sitting in the middle of the empty house that was once (and I guess still is) my childhood home, I wrote and I cried. It will be auctioned soon and I’m nothing but miserable about it. It’s bloody tough. It’s just a house, but there’s so much about it that I can’t ever forget. 

Hey You, Whatcha Readin?

So I have SIX books on the go at the moment. SIX. I haven’t had the time nor the patience to read in so long with two small goblins who constantly fill my days with utter chaos {when I’m not “relaxing” at my place of paid part-time employment- yes, it’s more relaxing working sometimes!}

Here are my current literary companions:

  1. Soul Lessons and Soul Purpose- A Channeled Guide To Why You Are Here {Sonia Choquette)
  2. The Simple Things- Creating an organized home, a happy family and a life worth living {Antonia Kidman and Sally Collings}
  3. Possession {J R Ward}
  4. Auschwitz- A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account { Dr. Miklos Nyiszli}
  5. Healing After Loss- Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief { Martha Whitmore Hickman}
  6. In the Land of the Long White Cloud {Sarah Lark}

As you can see, I like a wide variety of topics to keep me busy and my mind active.

What are you reading at the moment? Any recommendations I just can’t go past?

Lauren @LittleRed

Now I’m asking for your help….

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{Image courtesy of babble.com}

What are your best tips for organizing and planning around your home and business?

How do you sort clutter? How do you store your precious memories?

What do you do to ensure your important documents are stored safely but easily accessible?

How do you maximise space in your home and office? {or home office if you’re lucky enough to have one}

I’m asking for your ideas, please share through a comment below or post to my Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/LRWSolutions

 

Lauren @LittleRed

My Anti Bucket List- Stuff I Really Can’t See Myself EVER Doing Once or Doing Again

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Taking inspiration from this great article I read on news.com.au in the wee hours of this morning, and following on from my Bucket List post I published not long ago (which you can read here), I’ve decided to make public the stuff which I will NOT do in my lifetime. I’m not thinking short-term, because I will hopefully live until a ripe old age, I’m thinking like well into my 80’s (if I’m lucky).

So as I’m now 31 years of age, I’ve given it my best and come up with a list of 31 things I, Lauren, will NOT EVER do in my lifetime.

Enjoy!

  1. swim with sharks {even gummy ones- holy moly they creep me out with their slimy skin and streamline swimming!}
  2. go skiing (again) {long story short- think dislocated shoulder after a Lauren-versus-tree incident at high speeds}
  3. eat wasabi (again) {holy mother of burning tongue hell!}
  4. bungee jumping {I have developed an INTENSE, and boy do I mean INTENSE! abnormal fear of heights. It’s bordering on a phobia I think. Yes, self-diagnosed. Lucky I’m only 5ft nothing tall}
  5. abseil {again} {brings back frightening memories from a camp as a child where I was told “it’s okay Lauren, it’s only concrete, you’ll bounce”} {!!!!!!!! is all I have to add to that}
  6. having another child {I’d love to NOT EVER go through another pregnancy, but yeah, give me another cute pipling and I’d be happy}
  7. saying “yes” to everything I get asked to do {I’m a people pleaser and it has really worked against me in the self-esteem department}
  8. Zumba {just no!}
  9. going on another date-date again {happily married to the man of my dreams thank you!} {ps we do go on dates occasionally, I’d like to more often, but that’s the subject of another “how to have more time when you have two little piplings” blog post}
  10. own a bird {again, I’ve done this before. It ended quite badly. I’m not ready for friends of the feathered kind}
  11. like Rachel Danger, the creator of the viral post My Anti Bucket List, I won’t EVER run a marathon {I was built to run up until my early twenties. Now all I run for is cover when my children wake up in the morning}
  12. sky dive {insert terrified scream here. no thanks. keep me INSIDE the plane or ON the ground}
  13. go on a scary upside down, round and round etc ride at a show {again, I’ve done this before but no, never willing to do this again. God bless my iron stomach and its need to stay on stable land}
  14. i will never smoke or take drugs {the most prudish person you might meet, but hey I value my lungs, my organs and my senses thank you very much!}
  15. take on too many clients at the same time {comes back to my “people pleaser” roots}
  16. saying “yes” to everyone and everything {no, just no!}
  17. volunteering to sing in public, which rules out ever going to Karaoke {I sing in my car only, my poor children’s ears….}
  18. walk in the city alone at night {Can’t trust the Victorian Parole Board to keep us Victorian Women safe in the community, so I’ll take matters into my own hands….and most likely become a hermit}
  19. going on a bus tour in Europe { I can drive, I’m middle-aged now, no Contiki Tours with randoms for me}
  20. eat any animal offal or leg of ANY kind {frog, chicken, pigs trotters. EWWWWW. No}
  21. become vegetarian {don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my vegetables and love avoiding meat occasionally, but I can’t see myself passing up a delicious roast chicken or scotch fillet any time soon}
  22. spending a tiny amount on my children for Christmas and Birthdays {I love spoiling them, what can I say?}
  23. visit Iceland or Greenland or Antarctica {Warm old sunny Australia for me, thanks}
  24. FULLY completing a daily “to do” list {there are always things I just don’t get done- maybe I’m trying to do too much. Maybe I need more naps}
  25. ignore someone who I think is struggling {I like to help, Nurses are built like that}
  26. painting our house {I REALLY dislike painting. It’s more tiresome and boring than watching paint dry. And the fumes make me see noises!}
  27. die my hair black {I’m just too pale}
  28. ending my writing career {I’ll die with fingers on the keyboard or with a pen in my hand}
  29. having a good night’s sleep {two children under 5, what can I say? zzzzzzzzzzzzz}
  30. becoming a body builder {I like my womanly curves and pasty, yet feckled skin. No bronzing, weights or protein shakes for me. Just the tiger stripes I earned growing my piplings for a total of 18months- glad I’m not an elephant, two years for each pregnancy would have me reaching for the butter knives….}
  31. AND last but not least- getting a tattoo {scared of the pain, don’t like needles, don’t like the idea of permanent images on my skin, what if I don’t like them in like 5 minutes? Temporary tattoos that come in bubble gum packets all the way for me}

Have you created your bucket list? Now you know what you want to do, it’ll be easy to work out what you DON’T want to do with the rest of your life!

Link your bucket list and anti bucket list blogs below!

LEJ

Little Red’s Top 10 Recipes for Busy Mums and {Busier} Munchkins

I sit here thinking about the daunting task of grocery shopping for Master Nearly-5 {yes, I have two children but Miss 6-Months is too too tiny for food just yet} and I for the week {Husband will be busy working, as usual}. I ask myself “how can I make my cooking really REALLY easy and yummy this week?” Will I survive the supermarket with {Octopus in a Pram} Miss 6-Months and {King of requesting toys each shopping trip} Master Nearly-5? Without breaking the loose {slightly tight} budget?

Master Nearly-5 has a poor appetite at the moment, not sure why, and it takes all of my energy to get him within five miles of finishing a meal. So with a lot of work and functions on this week, simple and quick is my focus.

I thought if I could give even just one other person a new recipe to try for the week and they in fact enjoy the meal, then I’ve achieved something great on a quiet Sunday night. I’ll be even more impressed if my growing boy finishes a meal this week.

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indulgent treat while I work tonight- organic juice, a tangello and feta-stuffed eenie meenie peppers

So here are some recipes I’ll be trying in the next few weeks. Enjoy and please provide feedback if you get stuck into any of these recipes in your kitchens this week. Click on the links to be taken to the recipe listings.

PS: I’m sure absolutely NONE of my replica dishes will resemble these carefully posed foodie pics in any way, but hey, a Mum can try.

Mint and Pumpkin Couscous with Sesame Lamb

iron, protein, fibre. just what a tasty dinner needs.

iron, protein, fibre. just what a tasty dinner needs.

(Image and recipe courtesy of the Heart Foundation of Australia)

Turkey Burgers with Coleslaw

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burgers- easy, quick, tasty. turkey- delicious, healthy and budget-friendly!

(Image and recipe courtesy of Taste)

Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup

soup- warming especially for those Melbourne souls who face the "4 seasons in one day" weather down south!

soup- warming especially for those Melbourne souls who face the “4 seasons in one day” weather down south!

(Image and recipe courtesy of Heart Active- Heart Foundation Australia)

 

Fish in Foil

hold the chilli if your little munchkins aren't too ready for spice!

hold the chilli if your little munchkins aren’t too ready for spice!

(Image and recipe courtesy of http://www.kidspot.com.au)

Easy Frittata

teamed with steamed vegetables or a fresh salad with an oil-free dressing. YUM!

teamed with steamed vegetables or a fresh salad with an oil-free dressing. YUM!

(Image courtesy of PetiteMiam, via All Recipes, Recipe Courtesy of All Recipes)

 

Crepes with Ricotta

a bit of a treat for both Mum and Master Nearly-5 {go easy on the sugar, try coconut shreds or a teaspoon of organic honey instead}

a bit of a treat for both Mum and Master Nearly-5 {go easy on the sugar, try coconut shreds or a teaspoon of organic honey instead}

(Image and recipe courtesy of Super Healthy Kids)

Potato, Ricotta and Spinach Pizza

Master Nearly-5 love making our own pizzas- so easy to rotate ingredients {and use up that leftover ricotta}

Master Nearly-5 love making our own pizzas- so easy to rotate ingredients {and use up that leftover ricotta}

(Image and recipe courtesy of Taste)

Lamb and Potato Bake

add any vegetables. all sorts of delish-ess-ness.

add any vegetables. all sorts of delish-ess-ness.

(Image and recipe courtesy of Good Food- BBC)

Rhubarb Crumble

hold the custard, replace any nasty sugars and rhubarb's your uncle!

hold the custard, replace any nasty sugars and rhubarb’s your uncle!

(Image and recipe courtesy of Good Food- BBC)

Tuna Melts

looks cheesy, but it oh so easy. try rye bread and low fat cottage cheese for reduced fat tastiness

looks cheesy, but it oh so easy. try rye bread and low-fat cottage cheese for reduced fat tastiness

(Image and recipe courtesy of Eating Well)

So there you have it. All my recipes must be easy to make, tasty and healthy. Hoping that all these simple, no-frills recipes give me an easy run in the kitchen this week,

What are some of your all-time favourite and easy recipes to make for your families or even just for yourself? Do you stick to the recipe or embellish a little {or a lot?}

Would love for you to post links below to your favourite recipes, my recipe book always has room for some tasty treats from around the world!

LEJ

Organizational Skills- Optional. Stamina- A Must.

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So this morning Master Nearly-5 had his first “I don’t want to go to kinder”, “I can’t put on my velcro shoes today“, “I don’t want that breakfast”, “I’m about to explode” meltdown. Set off by Miss 6 Months giggling at him crying, Master Nearly-5 was hysterical. “Tell her to stop laughing at me, it’s not funny!!!!’ he screamed as he tried to get ready. I must admit after an hour of tears, repeated outfit changes thanks to giving birth to a reflux-laden baby, spilling the milk and literally crying over it, and falling over in the driveway in full view of the neighbours, I had had just about enough!

Pushing my patience, testing how far the boundaries stretch. Using the waterworks as a tool of his sneaky trade. Master Nearly-5 is going through a phase which requires me to be super on-the-ball and strategic about my choice of words and actions.

After sorting through the drama that was the first waking hours this morning, the Master was settled with his kinder friends and playing happily. So where was this boy as I stood crying over milk this morning? Ah, that’s right. I’m Evil Mum apparently, the Mum that yells, that punishes and makes rules instead of strawberry cupcakes. And the Kinder Teachers aren’t like Evil Mum, so best behaviour is part of the show.

It took all my energy, just to get out the door this morning. After what has seemed like weeks of grappling with this child I love so much, I let out a sigh of relief. It took all my patience and skills just to get him out of our house today. I did it!

For those who don’t know, Master Nearly-5 is completely healthy, physically and mentally. No underlying concerns. But WOW, he hasn’t been the easiest child to nurture of late.

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As all the mums (and moms) would know, when you fall pregnant and give birth, a lot of your parenting dreams can fall by the wayside. Not everything turns out as you planned. And there’s little you can do but just accept what you can and use the supports around you.

Your friendships turn into play dates. Relaxation, it turns out, is the point at which the matchsticks you’ve used to prop your eyelids open pop out and you fall into a deep sleep. Sleep now includes time fighting for an inch of doona, fighting for mere minutes of uniterrupted slumber with three in the bed, which becomes four in the bed on weekends. The tiny child, who needs you the most wakes you up for a feed and with that, you realize it’s not long before the sun will be up and all you’ve got will be needed again. And yes, you really do need to do it all again. For many more years yet.

People ask “what’s happened, are you okay?” when my house isn’t a complete mess. People comment “Oh it must be great to have a sleeping baby at home”- Miss 6 Months DOES NOT DO DAY SLEEPS. So no, it’s not so great. My husband wonders why I’m up until all hours doing things that could be done in the daylight. The brain of a mother never swtiches off, is what I constantly need to remind him.

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And it’s at this point that I find myself this morning. For someone that’s usually so organized in all facets of life, seeing the milk on the floor, watching Master Nearly-5 fight to within an inch of his childhood to not have to go to dreaded kinder (who’d want to go somewhere where you can eat when you want, spend time with your friends, have a nap if needed, read a good book or two and get really messy with paint and or bubbles?) and having Miss 6 Months teething and in pain, yet still managing to laughing at us both really woke me up.

You can be the most organized Mum in the universe- one who labels jars of spices, has a clothes sorting system for lights and darks and never EVER washes them together. The Mum with children who are enrolled in 18 different activities on a weekly basis and activities and times never get muddled up. The Mum who has a completely finished to-do list each day and everyone is still happy and smiling. One who never misses an appointment or arrives late thanks to great diary keeping. That Mum who can visit four friends for play dates in one day and still manage to cook a roast dinner before bathing the kids. But if your Missus and Masters want to tantrum and fight, to demand a “day off” from kinder, or to just plain test you, it’ll take all you’ve got to get back on track.

It makes you take a step back and realise just how tricky parenting can be, when you truly believe that work work achieves more than house work, when feeding yourself needs to be accomplished in a matter of two minutes, give or take a few moments of heart burn. When adult versus child negotiation skills are the first on your CV. When just going grocery shopping requires you to turn into an octopus combined with event planner and child-wrangler all in one. And I really need to get a new internal memory card- I missed five things off my shopping list last night and didn’t even take Master Nearly-5 and Miss 6 Months with me. I went shopping alone, for me-time, yet they were all I could think of.

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So before I return to work work this drizzly morning in Melbourne, here’s a friendly reminder from one busy Mum to the next: I typed this entire post whilst wrestling with Miss 6 Months, making phone calls to electricity companies and trying to eat my own breakfast, so just go with the flow. And go easy on yourself. Event though the tantrums are difficult to cope with in the midst of one, it’s all part of learning to be part of a family. If washing doesn’t get done, it’s ok. And definitely don’t cry over spilled milk. You’ll look like a “silly goose”, according to Master Nearly-5.

LEJ

Blog Challenge from a Little Red Fan- When Have You Felt Out of Place?

Before I go on, take a look back at my post about how having confidence shapes you here.

There have many instances in my life, as far back as I can remember, where I stand still in a group of people and realise I’m a bit different. At primary school, my friends were going to their beach houses for holidays and proudly speaking of their time away collecting shells and riding waves. Then there was me, standing up quite shyly in front of the class, talking about sleeping in swags (no tents, or rarely a tent to house my family in for the night on our trips away), going to bush pubs to play pool with my dad, driving through fast-flowing waterways in our dust-covered Troopie (who Dad fondly named Bertha) and never, EVER, was there a mention of hotels, room service, theme parks, shopping or expensive restaurants in my show-and-tell stories. And no one paid attention because no one could understand what this experience was like at a young age without actually living it. Our trips were about the experience. Firing guns into the central Australian red sand, being so covered in flies you’d have to wear a net over your hat permanently, eating food out of eskis for weeks on end, being “showered” by our mums in rivers with buckets of fresh (freezing) water, playing with Aboriginal children at the local shopping mall (a pub, a general store and a petrol pump in the middle of nowhere) and your Mum being asked “how much for the two girls?” by an Aboriginal family, being grateful for a pub lunch every so often, waking up in the middle of the night and realising that you are sleeping right underneath a sprinkle of stars that no one else can see from this viewpoint except you. Waking up to bacon and eggs cooking on a fire and not having any electricity to use but the motor of the Troopie to power the cassette player. Our childhood experiences were exceptional and I felt out-of-place, maybe a little misunderstood, talking about them as a child when no one knew where Innamincka or Tibooburra were. No one my age had heard of Burke and Wills or the Dig Tree. No one cared. I know where I’d choose to travel along if I was given the Oodnadatta Track or the Tube in London. But as I grew up, I realised that my experiences and their uniqueness were helping me to feel more comfortable with being me.

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As I became a teenager, I had accepted that I wasn’t like any of the typical girls who went to the private school I went to. No overseas trips to boast about, I didn’t own horses, I lived in an average suburb and we never knew any sort of extravagance. Being taken out for dinner to a restaurant was a great night out in itself. I never felt hard done by, or like we were missing out on anything. You don’t miss what you don’t know, right? I was totally into music from a young age and my taste took a few people at school by surprise. My choice of instruments to learn, bagpipes to name the most “strange”, shocked and stunned. I began to feel not so much out-of-place, but comfortable with being me.

I didn’t rock the in fashions, but still looked respectable. I didn’t drink underage or do drugs (I still don’t even know how to smoke a cigarette- an “achievement” I’m significantly proud of) so anyone would think I was a bit weird. I can see some of my old friends saying “What have you been doing all your life if you haven’t been to Thailand or Bali?” but I’m just happy where I am and always have been. All my friends were following trends. I never did really. There comes a point in time where you go from feeling “out-of-place” to being “happy in your own skin”. And it’s a momentous milestone I think. I think reaching this new-found place in your life can make all the difference between living a happy life and living life a tortured soul.

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As I became an adult, I was still getting comments, even from family members “Geez you’re weird, but I still love you”. Over silly things like what I found funny. My favourite songs. What I wanted to wear. Comments I’d make and things I’d cry over. Suggestions for things to do on a weekend. It’s so much easier now to shrug those feelings away, the ones that seek to separate me from the person I am comfortable being now.

I was thinking about how much I’ve changed as a person and as a grown woman since having my two children, since I became a nurse and more recently, since I started my own business. And I think that when you feel out-of-place, you can think about it from two perspectives. You can feel gawky in your own skin and not feel snug being who you are and showing people who you are. Or you can take a good look around and remember that not one person is the same from the next and we all have flaws and strengths. Maybe the people you associate with aren’t being true to themselves and that makes you feel out-of-place, because you are forthcoming, upfront and confident in how you feel about your place in the world. As the old advice goes, you only feel the way others make you feel. You only feel this way because you accept the way others treat you. And of course, if others treat you differently and you don’t have the emotional capacity to be strong and be yourself, you will most definitely feel out-of-place. I really believe in accepting people for who they are and loving them regardless.

Surely there is something to love about everyone. I embrace the weird, the unique, the peculiar, the amazing, the bizarre and the uncanny in everyone. I don’t expect the same good fortune back but at least I know where I’m at and where I’m headed. I like the same comforts as the next person, but I’m content and always ready for a challenge.

So in answer to the Little Red Fan who asked about a time I felt out-of-place, I can’t give you one. I’m happily living a life that allows me to be me, to be my quirky self. I wouldn’t trade it for routine for one minute!

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When have you felt awkward and out-of-place? Have you learnt to accept what you cannot change? I’d love to hear about how you have overcome feelings like this to become the brilliant, inspiring people you are today.

LEJ