Wednesday 15 April 2020

It's Okay not to be Cooking, Crafting or Kondo'ing

If your Instagram and Facebook feed is anything like mine at the moment, it will be full of beautiful images of reorganised spaces, drool-worthy meals, baking and bread making. It will be full of knitting, sewing, painting, art, craft and all manner of creative projects. It will be full of images of people wearing nice clothes, playing with hairstyles and experimenting with makeup. I am not that lockdown person.

My Mum's work. I am not that lockdown person.
More of my Mum's work. I am not that lockdown person.

On my daily walks, I see evidence of people's productivity, there are freshly washed houses, newly painted fences, evenly pruned hedges, trimmed edges, manicured lawns, weed-free gardens, cute children's craft projects hanging in windows and on fences, and so on. I am not that lockdown person.

I could be that lockdown person. I am capable of being that lockdown person. But, I am not that lockdown person.

To be fair, the Princess & I did bake a cake.

I am the lockdown person who had grand plans. I was going to knock out the giant to-do list I have had forever. I was going to have an immaculately clean and organised house, inside and out. My gardens would have been done. My wardrobe, drawers and cupboards would have been Maire Kondo'ed. We would have been eating interesting meals and the jars and tins would have been full of home baking. I would have been crafting, making art and sewing up a storm. I would have all manner of behind the scenes school stuff and shop stuff done to carry me well into the next year. I was going to be making full use of my lockdown time so that when lockdown ended, my life would be orderly, up to date and organised to an inch of its life, well my life.

This is the only thing I have 'Kondo'ed'

So what happened? I'm stuffed if I know! I know I feel unsettled with this life on hold business. Most days I  just feel flat, blah, nothing. Every day I think to myself, "this is the day I am going to knock five things off my list."

It. Does. Not. Happen.

These two love lockdown. They have become very 'extra' with demanding attention.

I don't think I am that idle though. I am watching far less TV than I did before lockdown. Okay, maybe last week I didn't do much apart from reading (a book a day), Instagramming and playing Sims, but it was the school holidays after all! Time just goes.

I have read all but two of these in a week and a half.

The things I manage to do consistently each day are, drinking a lot of coffee, wearing clean underwear, brushing my teeth, keeping up my skincare routine, organising one meal for my family to eat and going for at least one walk. The rest of the day, every day, every week is just a blur. And, that is okay.

At least I am doing some selfcare.

It's okay to admire the pretty pictures online as long as they don't make you feel inadequate because you are not doing all that stuff. It's okay that some days are a struggle and you feel like you didn't do anything. That is lockdown life. That is life. We need to remember that what we see online is a snippet of a moment in someone's life. The rest of their day/week, whatever, could be spent working, wrangling children, watching Netflix or none of that. We just don't know. And that's okay. It's their lockdown life.

What I am trying to say here is this. You do your lockdown life. I'll do my lockdown life. If you are sticking to the lockdown rules and being kind to other people you are doing a good job of your lockdown life. I am doing a good job of my lockdown life. That's the best we can do at the moment. And, that's okay.

And, there's still time...

Thanks for reading.

Take care, stay safe, stay well.

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Self-Care at Rosebud Cottage

This is a post I have been meaning to write for a long time! A while ago, okay a big while ago, I had quite a lot of turmoil in my personal life, Post Concussion Syndrome and sudden losses of people I cared about. One weekend I just snapped, I had totally had enough and needed to run away. Impulsively I booked two nights accommodation at a place that had popped up on my Instagram feed and with that, I packed a bag, whipped to the supermarket, bought food and off I went. My accommodation wasn't too far out of Auckland, in fact only a 40-minute drive, once I found it, because of course I did get lost!

Oh my goodness though, when I finally found my way to Rosebud Cottage my heart truly skipped a beat. It was as if it had been designed just for me, there was not a single thing I didn't love about it. Stepping through the french doors instantly soothed my poor, emotionally worn-out soul. Soft, vintage colours, French country decor with pretty bits and pieces everywhere, it was all perfect. Rosebud Cottage is a luxurious studio bedroom/living space with a bathroom attached. Another set of french doors led out to a little outdoor living area with seating and a clawfoot slipper bath. Sitting on the wooden kitchen bench was the most beautifully put together breakfast platter, enough to last for two mornings. There were fresh flowers, fresh fruit, farm eggs, artisan bread, chocolate and biscuits and a bottle of sparkling wine in the fridge.
I had arrived at around 5pm so on that first night I unpacked, ate my dinner of cooked chicken (from the supermarket) and salad in a wrap. I ran a bath, filled to the top with hot water and the Epsom Salts fragranced with fresh Lavender that had been thoughtfully provided. I lit the many, many candles from inside and out, placing them around my outside bath and lay back under the stars, reading my book by candlelight and sipping herbal tea. It was heaven. A soft robe had been provided which I slipped on before getting into the canopied wrought iron bed made up with crisp white sheets and lovely layers of bedding. I slept.
Waking up in that bed, in that room was bliss. I lay savouring my surroundings before getting up to make tea which I took back to bed and continued reading my book. After a leisurely cooked breakfast, eaten outside, I ran another bath and soaked while admiring the view of the countryside. Coffee was calling however, when does coffee not call me! A short drive to Murawhai and good coffee was found. Phew! That day, I walked Murawhai Beach, from one end to the other. It was perfect Spring beach walking weather, almost isolated apart from a few lone surfers and a dog chasing a drone! There is seriously nothing like a windy beach walk to blow the cobwebs away and to just sit and contemplate, life or whatever, or to not contemplate, just to sit and look out to sea. Bliss! Another stop for another coffee and I set off, back to Rosebud Cottage for the afternoon. Outside on the long deck was a French wrought iron table where I set my laptop up and worked on the Roseroom shop which at that time I was in the process of opening. How totally perfect that I was at Rosebud Cottage working on the Roseroom shop. Serendipity.
Another dinner of chicken and salad in a wrap and another candlelit, lavender-scented outdoor bath before reading in bed. I am clearly a creature of habit! The next morning, my last morning, I tried to book for another night, really, at that point, I would have booked for the rest of my life if it were possible. Sadly, the cottage had already been booked so with that I packed and drove to Murawhai for my daily coffee fix, another long beach walk and then a meandering drive the long way home and back to reality.
Nothing, of course, had changed with my actual personal issues, but what had changed was me. My inner turmoil had settled, my thoughts were clearer and I felt re-energised and able to deal with what was ahead of me. Going to Rosebud Cottage was the best form of self-care I have ever done for myself and something I plan on doing again, in the future.

Rosebud Cottage and it's sister cottage, Honeysuckle Cottage, as said, are a 40-minute drive out of Auckland. Rosebud Cottage sleeps two, Honeysuckle has two bedrooms and sleeps five. Honeysuckle Cottage has the same gorgeous French Country decor as Rosebud Cottage. I can't recommend staying at either cottage enough, either on your own, with your partner, a friend or a group of friends. The cottages are often used as a venue for bridal parties getting ready as the setting is perfect for beautiful romantic photos and is also the perfect accommodation for romantic honeymoons. Jenny, my host was so lovely to deal with via email and so welcoming in person. More information and pretty pictures, much prettier than mine, can be found on their website.

Thanks for reading.
Rachael xo

Thursday 2 April 2020

Life in New Zealand Lockdown

Long time no blog posts. I didn't realise it had been so long!

Well, how about life at the moment! It's kind of weird how quickly our new normal becomes normal.
It's also scary that back in January when many of us on this side of the world were enjoying our summer holidays while at the same time the Australian bushfires were out of control and COVID-19 was barely a thing. Look at us now, so many countries in full lockdown, like us here in New Zealand, as hundreds of thousands of people around the world, are contracting this virus and ten of thousands of people are dying from it. It seems unfathomable that this is happening in our sophisticated world of science, technology and knowledge, but it is happening. Everywhere!

All those futuristic pandemic movies many of us watched in the past are now our reality. Words that were not a normal part of our vocab such as pandemic, unprecedented, PPE, quarantine, self-isolation, social distancing, essential workers, essential businesses, essential outings, clusters and lockdown are now used daily. Frightening how quickly things can change.

I'm so thankful to be living in New Zealand, and so proud of our country and how we are handling this. No matter what political persuasion you might be in New Zealand, our government is incredible in trying to make sure every one of us is safe and provided for, as individuals, businesses and organisations. I feel like we have never had so much transparency in decisions and why they are being made. Life in our house revolves around the news, the daily 1pm update on our COVID-19 numbers and the 3pm update from our Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden.

The days are long and slow. That's a good thing though, it could be seen as a blessing really that people have this opportunity to step out of the busyness and rush of normal everyday working life to wind down. I do realise that for many people though this comes with a whole other set of worries, financial, business, even coping with children at home every day and maybe less than ideal 'bubble' living situations to be stuck in 24/7.
My 'bubble' is small, just three of us here and the two cats who are thrilled that we are home all day, every day. Days are spent doing school work so that I am super prepared for whenever we go back to real live school, cleaning, cooking, laundry, reading, walking, exercising and playing games online such as Sims, don't judge! LOL, As I said, it is all seems very slow. I'm spending a lot more time on social media interacting with family as well which is really nice.
I'm not bored, not antsy, sometimes a little anxious about what is happening in the world but all in all, I feel safe in lockdown and more relaxed about my families safety as I have a 94-year-old grandmother and also my parents who are very vulnerable healthwise.

I do miss my friends at school and the students but it's the school holidays so I wouldn't have seen a lot of them in any case. I really miss the freedom to go out for a coffee, however, we have a Nespresso machine here at home which is taking a hammering!  Other than that and of course the ability to visit my family, I don't really miss anything else. Yet!
I went to book club last week, in my bedroom, via ZOOM. It was great! LOL
Something I am loving is the community spirit throughout New Zealand. At first, I thought the national Bear Hunt in the Window idea wasn't a good idea, how wrong was I! It's so much fun going for a walk to spot all the bears and how creative people are being. There is great humour out there. I love the chalk art on the footpaths as well, which is a Girl Guide initiative. I love seeing families out walking or biking or skateboarding or scooter-ing. Out walking sometimes, is like playing human dodgems trying to maintain the two-metre distance! People are so friendly as well, or maybe it's just me because I am like that anyway, greeting strangers, cooing at babies and toddlers, chatting to cats and dogs. The Princess hates it when I do that, though HaHa. I do love walking and talking with her though. Another blessing from this situation.

I hope life in your lockdown and with your 'bubble' if you are in a 'bubble' is going as best as it possibly can. If you are an Essential Worker out there, THANK YOU!!!
Stay safe, stay well.

Kia Kaha, beautiful people!