Nest and Nurture.
It has a far more pleasant ring to it than ‘self-isolation’ or ‘lockdown’, don’t you think?
As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease and we return to the ‘new normal’ (whatever that means), I reckon we should stick to being kind to ourselves in this way.
I’ll admit to losing my entire sh*t a couple of times throughout the pandemic, at really lovely friends who certainly did not deserve it. They just caught me at a bad time. So then I checked myself and decided to A) apologise to aforementioned friends profusely (thank you Suni and Scott for your forgiveness) and B) reframe the whole situation into one where I could be good to myself and come out the other side (hopefully) refreshed, or at least a better person.
And so, ‘Nest and Nurture’ became my mantra. I was (and still am) sick and tired of being frightened by news reports and social media hysteria. I was (and again, still am) done with doom and gloom. I wanted my world to be happy and joyous again.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not for a second downplaying the seriousness of what has been happening and continues to happen globally. My heart absolutely aches for those who have been directly affected, or who are vulnerable. Or, indeed, those who have lost loved ones, as a few close friends of mine have.
I also think about the folk working in the front line medical field every day, like my lovely cousin Aimee and dear friend Danni, and I can’t send enough respect their way. Can you even imagine the stress they’ve been under?
Which is yet another reason I decided to reframe this entire status quo. Yes, it really sucks. No, it is not the start of the new decade we hoped it would be. Far from it.
But what if it was Mother Nature telling us it’s time to take a step back? To pause and reflect. To stop taking so much and giving so little.
As humans, we also tend to get on the treadmill of life and continue to run faster and faster to keep up as it increases its speed, which it has done rather dramatically in the past 10 years or so. I am certainly guilty of that. I think our earth is telling us that now, it’s time to stop. It’s not like we have a choice.
As I write this, I realise I’ve spent pretty much the past two and a half months alone, save from a couple of legally allowed visits from friends or tradies. It’s been just me and my beautiful four dogs for the entire time!
Thankfully, I’m quite fond of being alone with these critters. I’m also quite adept at Social Media, so I know how to tune out the hysteria and connect with the joy and that really helped to keep me sane (ish).
I also started a little self-care routine to keep me looking and feeling uplifted. Transforming my home into a haven of calm, peace and love was Step One. A dear friend gave me some beautiful second hand furniture he could no longer use, so I redecorated my entire home. I even improved my garden. And, it hasn’t cost me the earth, which is great, as (like many people) I also lost a lot of work and income due to the mandatory closures.
So, here’s what I’ve been up to. To be honest, I really just winged it, but it’s helped me. I hope it perhaps helps you navigate these uncharted new waters, too, and keeps you chilled and happy as we enter this next chapter!
I GOT A HAMMOCK
Honestly, I’ve wanted to do this for years, and now that I have one, I can’t believe I’d waited for so long. I got the Two Trees Double Quilted Hammock From Bunnings, with a frame for ease of set up. I ordered it online and it was delivered in days by my local store. Taking half an hour a day to rest out there (when it’s not raining), read a book or magazine, listen to the birds sing and just hang out with my hounds is a simple joy that can’t be overrated.
I’VE SURROUNDED MYSELF WITH BEAUTIFUL TEXTURES
Touch is one of our most important senses and is directly related to the Central Nervous System and our mood. With this in mind, I implemented a few ways to improve my mood by being able to feel beautiful textures wherever possible.
The feeling of hopping into bed when your sheets are fresh off the line is one of the most luxurious experiences I can think of, even if they’re cheap as chips sheets, like mine are (Target in Bowral has an amazing selection of great quality bed linen – get in quick before it turns into K-Mart). I wash my sheets weekly or fortnightly. Actually, I have always have done this, but it feels even more special now to hop into a freshly made bed that is crisp, clean and has that special feel of sunlight and fresh air embedded in the fibres.
Ditto for snuggling under a cosy blanket on the sofa. As the cooler weather is approaching, I recently raided Target’s online store and purchased the most beautiful faux fur blanket for just $60, including delivery.
Needless to say, one of my dogs immediately claimed it, so I’ve had to purchase a couple more, but now my house looks like a beautiful European ski lodge. I couldn’t be happier. Well, maybe I could be if I was actually at a beautiful European ski lodge, but hopefully that will happen next year, right? We can only hope and dream …
I REFURBED MY OFFICE
I work from home and to be honest, I’ve never really liked the colour of the walls in my office. So, a friend and I recently painted it a gorgeous off-white using some leftovers from her old paint tins (she’s an amazing handy-woman).
We then used some Chalk Paint purchased from Pete’s Shed in Bowral to paint an old door, stack it on some trestles and create a desk. I instantly had a whole new office. Which is great, as I used this ‘pause and reflect’ period to redirect my career. It was a wise move, as I realised there is so much opportunity out there for us all – we just need to see it and seize it!
I REPURPOSED MY WHEELBARROW INTO A HERB GARDEN
My rusty old wheelbarrow was not really cutting it in terms of its intended purpose. So rather than take it to the local tip, I repurposed it. Note: If you don’t have an old wheelbarrow, the shop at the Moss Vale tip is usually lined with them!
I filled it with potting mix and some rocket and herb seedlings purchased from Bowral Co-op. I am watering it daily and have been super excited to watch the little green shoots sprout from the soil.
Now, I’m not really much of a green thumb, but I’ve been following hints and tips from a fab little book I picked up called How Can I Use herbs In My Daily Life by Isabel Shiphard, who has 25 years of knowledge growing and working with herbs. It’s a comprehensive herb book, as well as a practical guide to growing and using culinary and medicinal herbs and more.
I’VE RAMPED UP MY SKINCARE RITUALS
As Vegan Beauty Editor, I do this anyway, but lately, I’ve ramped it up quite a bit. My current obsession is Retreatment Botanics by Olivia Newton-John and Gaia Retreat & Spa in the Byron Bay Hinterland.
I actually discovered the range when a colleague from many years ago approached me to work with the brand on its launch. I’ve worked with plenty of skincare brands over the years and there are quite a few I swear by, but hand on heart, I can say this is one of the most ethical, effective and delightful ranges I have ever used. Olivia and the team of directors and skincare experts at Gaia created the range without compromise. It is Certified Palm Oil Free by The Orangutan Alliance and Certified Cruelty Free and Vegan.
The all-natural formulas incorporate native Australian botanicals and they are truly effective from Day One of use.
Anyway, about my ritual … I cleanse and hydrate daily, of course, but lately I’ve been relying on Instant Glow Face Masque as a daily treat. I apply it in the morning when I get out of bed and let it work its magic for 20 minutes before showering and applying Kakadu Brightening Serum, which is brimming with illuminating vitamin C. Then, when I look in the mirror throughout the day, I am met with radiant, glowing, lit-from-within skin. Instant mood lifter!
I LIGHT A CANDLE EACH MORNING
At Christmas, my lovely friend Laura, who also doubles as a sitter for my dogs via her business Sit n Stay Pet Care, gifted me a beautiful Peppermint Grove Lemongrass and Lime Candle, which is a local company located in Braemar. It comes with a free engraving service, and she had its lid engraved with a lovely message of friendship, which I read every morning.
As I light it, I repeat positive affirmations that centre around staying strong, keeping calm and knowing we will all get through this if we stay together (at a distance!) and respect each other. Its scent is so uplifting and refreshing and helps me set my positive intentions for the day.
I’ve Renewed My Magazine Subscriptions
With many TV shows shutting down production for a while, my Netflix binges could well be in jeopardy. And realistically, I’ve watched most of Netflix now anyway! So, I’ve revisited my love of magazines. There’s nothing quite like opening a glossy copy of Harper’s Bazaar and devouring all the glamour of their pages.
What I’ve really noticed too, is they are now focusing on eco-friendly fashion, beauty and travel, with the environment as a priority and a definite shift towards more ethical ways of living. I love that! Plus, they prove a great way to while away an afternoon in my aforementioned hammock, imagining the trip I am going to take when this period of nesting and nurturing is complete!
For more grounding, homely and nesting info, I’ve turned to magazines like Inside Out, which has given me endless interior design inspiration!
I STARTED TAKING LONG BATHS
It’s the perfect way to end the day and set myself up for a good slumber. I stream some classical music and then I throw in a Lush Butterball Bath Bomb, which fills the water with hydrating coconut butter and ylang ylang essential oil.
I Finish Each Day With A Glass of Great Wine
Tractorless Vineyards is one of my favourite local wineries, as they produce ethical drops, made with as little impact to our planet and the creatures with share it with as possible. Most of the wines are vegan and pretty much chemical-free, so if you do over-imbibe, your hangover if far less than expected.
All production methods are ethical, sustainable and mostly-vegan, and all their wines are just exquisite.
My favourite drop right now is the Lost Flock, named for the pet sheep the owners have living on the vineyard that keep the grass and weeds at bay. They do this over machinery (hence the name ‘Tractorless’), as the use of machinery in wine making can often kill insects, frogs and lizards and sometimes even birds.
Lost Flock is a gorgeous red varietal that has lots of antioxidant-rich polyphenols in it. Remember, stick to the standard two drinks a day or less, and have at least two consecutive alcohol-free days each week (this is also a note to myself – insert smile emoji here).
AND Tractorless also has the most incredible initiative – Virtual Wine Tasting! It works like this:
You pay $35 and have 5ml sized samples of each of their 10 wines delivered to your door, which is enough for two. Then, you either log on to their YouTube channel to join a tasting that winemaker Jeff hosts virtually, or join in on Facebook Live. There are also private sessions available ZOOM – simply get in touch with Jeff and get your friends to join in from the comfort of their own home too!
What did you do to reframe the fear and chaos around COVID-19? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to send me your ideas by clicking here.