January Wrap Up

January’s travel events from a spectators perspective couldn’t have been more boring. As I reported last month, January in Budapest was all about dental work which thankfully is mostly complete. From my personal point of view though January was actually quite big in the realisation and decision making categories if less so in the tourist and travel area.

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One of my 2017 goals from News Years was “BUILD”. Not literally as in bricks and mortar but the base of my life going forward. So financially, career, family and friends, health, home. All the aspects that make up your life. I want to take them to a new level. Changing directions where I needed to. Implementing or learning whatever that meant in various areas to make that happen. When I left home nearly 12months ago the plan was to travel for 12 months (if I didn’t hate it and everything went ok with the option to add a few more months up to 12 if money allowed and the desire to keep going was still there.) Then I would decide next moves. January was when I realised that my goals for 2017 would mean finishing up this travel episode at the 12+ month mark and ticking off that life goal as finalised in the not too distant future.

For me BUILDING needs to come from a stable base and I don’t have that while travelling. You’re on the move often. You can’t rent in a traditional sense – making a home, you never really unpack 20170214_154634and unless your job, business, income is online you’re not building your career obviously. Your long term friendships are back home and new ones often with fellow travellers and usually from different countries can be fleeting, apart from on social media. I ran some options in my head for not heading back, visa’s to stay in a different country longer term etc. What country. What options would that give me. To and fro with the for and against. What life goals did I have left that needed for me  to be overseas to  accomplish them, was I ready to head back – did I want to? What were some of the more tangible things I knew I wanted to do or aim at achieving this year and what would that involve. Not the easiest decision to make but within a week or so I decided that ultimately for me, at this point…. the best chance and most options I would have to achieve my aim for 2017 would be in my own Country.

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With the decision made it was actually a weight of my shoulders having a more solid plan than “continueing to travel” in place. I have had an absolute blast travelling and challenging myself in the last 12 months. Met so many great people. Mind blowingly interesting people, doing amazing, intriguing, outstanding, wonderful and or creative things. I have seen the most amazing sites and places and things. I have gotten to have experiences I could only have dreamed about previous to going abroad and challenged myself to do new things. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses and there was a couple of challenges but it was definitely the right decision for my life. It’s been a great break away from everything and absolutely the way to reset your life if you ever have that option. Now I’m excited for the next adventure. To have a purpose again. To see what I can create from here on in and although I haven’t booked the ticket yet I know that within a few months at most I’ll be heading back. There are a couple more things I’d like to do and then … a new start in a different city because it’s also time to move and that decision has also been made.

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My time in Budapest in between dental visits and decision making was spent doing some of my favourite things there. Walking the streets photographing the gorgeous buildings and various statues around the city, eating Isla, street markets and musicians, and visiting or revisiting some of the tourist sites. It also marked the closest I got to actually being out while it snowed. It wasn’t huge but I was thrilled non the less. It got cold enough for the Danube to start freezing which was a big deal and pictures of that went up around the world. The Russian  president Vladimir Putin visited the capital increasing security everywhere for a time. It warmed up just a bit and the snow and ice that had laid on the ground for weeks melted away so quickly you could hardly believe it had been there to start with. There one day almost gone the next. February I head into a new country and also will likely start to wrap up the last of this amazing adventure.

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Lastly..I had some inner turmoil moments over the Opera in Budapest. I dearly wanted to go to the Opera walked past it many days, but it’s one of the few things in life where I feel like it’s something you should do with someone else. Half the joy would be lost doing it by myself. So I passed on that *sigh* I think I’ll have to add dressing up and going to the Opera with someone to my life goals list. Or better yet someone taking me to the Opera… very Pretty Woman / Moonstruck. I know there’s other movie examples but my brains not  giving them to me at the moment. If you can think of them put them in the comments. Ahh such simple dreams and pleasures I have …

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Till next time. Big love E x

E.R.A.S.E Everything Part 1.

E.R.A.S.E  –  ELIMINATE … REDUCE … AUTOMATE … SCHEDULE … EXTERNALISE ©

In the previous post we talked about getting your dream life and that some of the key components of achieving that were simplicity, focus and time. To get more of your life for what you want to do, you need to simplify it. I said we’d talk about simplifying further and so I thought the easiest way to do that would be to just show you the system I use.

E.R.A.S.E  is what I use in my life to free up time and streamline my life. To simplify as much as possible.  It’s how I was able to take off 2 months to go and walk the Camino (a cross country pilgrimage trail starting in France and finishing in Santiago De Compostela Spain) It is how I have now been traveling for nearly 12months months and all going well plan on doing that for just a little bit longer. It’s how I run my home when I have one and the system I used within my own family. It is how I continue to redesign and explore my own life. I have used it with friends and their houses. This is the system I developed and used as part of Managing a team and projects in the finance sector. Especially around the improvement and change management processes I became known for. It can be both incredibly in depth or simple depending on how you put it to use and how deep you’d like to take it. lets start with the simple stuff.

The truth is I’m not going to show you how to organise every single thing in your life. Only the stuff you need or want to keep. Everything else we are going to Eliminate. Reduce. Automate. Schedule or Externalise. We want to simplify our lives and get our time back NOT find a place and time for everything that’s already there. Because frankly what you usually find is much of it shouldn’t be there to start with or is taking up waaaayyyy more time than it justifies. If you want to multitask yourself into the middle of the next century. This is not the system for you. Nor is it if you want to keep everything you have and do currently.

Now  I’m more of a “teach a man to fish” person i.e. I want to show you how to do it for yourself “the system” so you can go off and use it whenever and on whatever you decide you want to or that needs it. We’ll focus mainly on home, family and life in an overall helicopter type view but if you have any questions feel free to ask. Pretty much anything I will ever talk about is just a part of this basic system tweaked and applied to whatever conditions, system or problem at hand. Once you’ve learnt it / understand it. You have it forever to use or not as your choice dictates.Lets start.

 

ELIMINATE

In relation to “things” Do I need this? Do you have multiples of the same thing. Do you have it just in case you might need it. Have you kept it because it was a gift or heirloom but you don’t really have any attachment to it. Are you holding onto it because it cost you a lot of money. ALL of these reasons are WRONG answers. Everything you own – actually owns you. It has to be looked after, maintained, stored, cleaned, whatever. It takes up the hours and space of your life, your house, sometimes money. sometimes more. You have a finite amount of hours in your life…. you should be VERY discriminating as to what warrants your time. I’m not a minimalist but I would be closer to that definition than any other. You want to be living your life, exploring your passions, building your career, having relationships and fun, having quiet time, family/friends time or adventures, trying new hobbies. Whatever it is you want to do and focus your time on. Not doing chores and looking after stuff. They are base necessities of life we’re talking about. Get in, get it done and move on to the better, more fun stuff.

Too many clothes, knick knaks, tools, committee obligations, after work activities. Donate. Sell. Get the electronic version. Give it to friends or relatives that want it. Take a photo of it and let the actual item go – if it’s there simply as a reminder of a time, place or person. Scan it and get rid of the paperwork / photo.This can be done in layers over time with most things. Start with clothes, move onto video’s, DVD’s etc I wouldn’t drag it out forever though. Aim to get it done within 6 months tops. Keep the stuff you love or is useful and get rid of everything else including any time commitments ..committees etc that you aren’t 110% wanting to be part of.

In relation to jobs, tasks, the day to day of life it gets even more exciting. Does it need to be done at all. Does it need to be done as often as you do it. Does it need to be done by you. You NEVER organise or simplify anything that can be eliminated altogether. It is also here that I would like to suggest to you that if you do not live alone you are actually part of a team who, fantastically, you get to or already should be involved in the successful running of your home. Whether that is you and your partner plus or minus children, any other family members or you and your child. Anyone who is living in the home is contributing to it’s need to be cleaned and maintained….therefor should be contributing to it’s cleaning and upkeep. If you are doing the line share of the work. Stop being a hero, martyr, victim or idiot. There is not really any lesson of value I can see in teaching your children or partner this level of expectation or failing to prepare them for or let them be fully functioning human beings in their own right.  You are creating a rod for your own back and frankly your childrens  future partners are unlikely to thank you either.

Adjust for age and ability and start but realise that ability is often just a lack of teaching. Most children by the time they start High School are fully capable of washing their own clothes especially in the age of push button programming. Show them how. This is not rocket science. Let alone other even easier tasks. Let alone if we are talking about another adult in the house. There are few things that feel as good as being part of a tight, well functioning team. Knowing there is a bunch of humans who you love and support and that love and support you. Team environment. Team participation. If you have a partner and you’re not splitting the workload of running your home and relationship 50/50. That is entirely up to you. You do not need to explain or justify that to anyone else if you are happy with that arrangement. Truly. No-one else needs to hear why, in the comments here or anywhere else. The only person you need to justify it to is yourself. If you are looking for suggestions or solutions though by all means comment away someone may have a work around or idea. Realise though – that your choice to take on more than your fair share will of course have obvious flow on effects to how much time you will have for other people, places or things in your life, including your own self.

So start with elimination… things you don’t need or want, commitments you don’t need or want… tasks you don’t need to do at all or don’t need to do yourself. Next will be reducing. Let me know if you get stuck or you have questions.

 

E x

 

Why I Blog

Honestly…

Multiple reasons. It’s like an on-line journal of some of the things I’m doing, done, thinking or thoughts I have for both myself and friends. The things I’m finding and discovering. The things I’m loving. It’s an efficient way to be a little more in depth with multiple people without spending hours on emails, social media, texting etc …. and a lovely way to remind myself what I was up to at various points of the trip/the project/ the  year. The things I was seeing and experiencing. I’m mapping and discovering or rediscovering the things I love. Learning personal limits.. both the ones I know and the ones I didn’t and trying to break the ones that are unhelpful. Pushing personal boundaries. Meeting interesting people. Thinking out loud. Learning new things and it’s a record of some of those things.

It also attempts to answer the question of how I’m doing this that I sometimes get from others. The thought processes that led to the decision to go travelling for such an extended period of time and the practicalities of organising that and making it happen. I can tell you the tools and processes I used and how to use them so you can put them to work for yourself.  I am also a bit too much type A and need to have a “thing” to do or accomplish sometimes and the blog allows me to do that also when I can’t just travel and chill.

I hope that the blog provides some enjoyment and fun for others and for the people who wanted to know how and why, some ideas in finding the time and resources  (whatever they might be) to design and live a life that feels good to them.  We all have different skill sets. Fun ways our squiggly little brains work. Things that come more naturally to us than others. Mine have been change management. Teaching and Training. People, Place and Process improvements. Simplifying and Organising. I have some pretty certificates I can hang on a wall around those qualifications but really I just find it fun and enjoy the challenge. I enjoy the process and I enjoy finding ways to teach and train people in a way they can absorb, learn, understand so they can put those things into practice for themselves. It’s my default mode and I love it. I also love learning new and better ways of doing things that I didn’t know about and incorporating and sharing those.

My daughter said to me once that I was a “Life Broker” i.e .. That I wanted everyone to have the life they wanted. Helping them wrangle how to get that. I laughed – but it is accurate. I’ve lost count of the times people have  shared their wishes, dreams, wants, desires and we’ve then sat down and worked out some steps they might consider to get there. Out come my cheer leader pom poms and I’m like “Sweet! So doable – Lets work this out” We are all both different and the same. Different things work for different people but no-one I’ve ever met has ever voiced a desire for a mediocre life filled with responsibility with just a little joy squeezed in there somewhere.  Every society, culture, family, community has set ideas about how you should be living your life. I think it’s important that we work that out for ourselves  and I talk about the tools, processes, the areas of life and home and thoughts I worked on or changed to do that for myself, for friends and in business scenario’s. Because you know  your life, is a business. You want it running at optimum levels giving you great returns.  When people do the work of creating the life they want for themselves… great things happen! For them, the people around the and others they come into contact with.

Zadie Smith said “Writing is my way of expressing – and thereby eliminating – all the various ways we can be wrong-headed.” There are various versions also of “I don’t know what I think till I think / see / write it .. I would add to that – sometimes I don’t realise what I know till I write or share it and so I write and share.

So blogging for me is a shared journal and conversation with both friends and people I may not ever meet face to face. A discussion of how to get what we want, dreams and desires we may have and the interesting things we are doing or want to do and how we are currently doing in life. It is a map of where I’ve been, where I want to go, things I’ve done. What I’m enjoying. What I’m not.  It allows me to feel like just maybe I’m contributing in some way to helping someone else achieve what they want. A little community I am setting up for myself and that I’d like to add value to. It’s where I hope some of what’s in my squiggly little brain can help others get or be able to reach what they want as well.

Come along for the ride and tell me all about you.

Always. E x

And, that’s a Wrap. December 2016

December I reluctantly finished up my time in Vienna and journeyed forth to Budapest for a week before heading to Paris to celebrate Christmas.  Each city seems to have it’s own charm and endearment…something I fall in love with and for me in Budapest that was their buildings. Lions and faces, statue’s, swirls and twirls, arches, windows and decorations of every imaginable kind. Old and discoloured, fading, crumbling and still you can see all of their magnificence while they wait patiently to be scrubbed clean or restored to their original glory. These beauties definitely warrant the time and energy and likely lots of money that would be involved in restoring them.

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I walked much of the city as usual and when it got too cold, worked out how to use the transport system which was not too difficult. Their old trains are delightful and along with above ground rail etc from my experience efficient. My two main wants while I was in Budapest was simply to try out the thermal baths (delightful, I actually fell asleep for a while) and to check out the ruins pubs. These are literally pubs that have been set up in the ruins of old buildings. Initially popular with the student crowds they have become a big draw with the tourists. I went to one of the more popular ones with a fellow traveller I met at the hostel. The combination of derelict building, odd and assorted decoration and staging, open air or tarped roofs, music and general atmosphere made for a fun night.

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Heroes Square with its kings and Archangel Gabriel up on the Column, Parliament, The Great Market hall, The Opera. Budapest like most cities has a couple of noteworthy churches of great beauty. With it being nearly Christmas the choir was practicing in one of them and for me that is the equivalent of snake charming. I would have been one of those kids that followed the Pied Piper and his beautiful music and so I whiled away much enjoyable time there just listening to the music and song. Definitely go and see what’s left of the old Royal Palace. Chain Bridge and the Lion Statues who guard it. Budapest has no lack of gorgeous sites. Gellert Hill with it’s Liberty Statue and the Citadel and fabulous views of the city also noteworthy.

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Hiccups along the way:

The night before I was due to fly to Paris. One of my teeth starting playing up in a big way. The hostel helped me find an English speaking Dentist and luckily they could fit me straight in. Problem solved and averted right. Wrong ! A couple of days later in Paris I realised …. we hadn’t found the problem and so the hunt was on again for not only an English speaking Dentist but one that could fit me in 2 days before Christmas. There was zero chance this could or would wait so long story short… December I added to my list of firsts along with my first set of stitches last month..my first root canal on Christmas eve. Can’t say I’m a fan of those either really.  After spending the better park of a week in Budapest and Paris messing around fixing my teeth and finding out what work was needed to completely fix the issue I was completely thrilled as December 25th rolled around thankfully mostly pain free now and I ticked off another life goal.

Life Goal tick off:

Christmas in Paris. Christmas Day in Paris dawned and I was beyond excited to be in Paris and getting to tick this off. I had a slow breakfast and then after lunch walked Paris into the evening checking out the decorations and lights I hadn’t had the chance to do up till then and…. it was divine. The animated Christmas windows of Galleries Lafayette. The Champs Elyse. The Christmas Markets. The River and the Eiffel Tower. The Arc de Triomphe. King George the fifth,  one of my favourite streets in Paris.. home to amongst other places the Crazy Horse and some of the most outstanding hotels of excellence. I had discovered this Street back in March when I had gone to see Dita Von Teese’s Burlesque show as my late birthday present to myself and fallen in love with it immediately.

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The Louvre was back on the agenda again this trip to see a bit more of that wondrous place. It’s been estimated that if you spent 100 days and looked at each piece of art for just 30 seconds you could see all of the Louvre. Sounds about right if not veering towards the slightly optimistic. It really is a wonderland of awe and joy. The Catacombs on what used to be the outskirts of Paris was another treasure I got to in Paris this time. With over 6 million bones it’s sheer size is mind boggling. The catacombs started with the relocation of the Cemetery of the Innocents which had after hundreds of years in use become a serious health risk and cause of infection to the people of the area directly surrounding it. Food and beverages went off within hours, disease etc and to avoid the living joining the the party at the Cemetery of the Innocents earlier than they’d like the cemetery was closed. Relocation began a little later very respectfully always at night preceded by priests in surplices singing the service for the dead along the route taken by the carts loaded with bones, which were covered by a black veil.  When the Cemetery of the Innocents had been cleared the Ossuary as it is more correctly called continued to take the bones of other central Paris cemeteries’  for nearly 30 years. Housed in acres of disused lime quarries under the city that had to be reinforced and mapped due to their occasional collapse and consequent caving in of streets above it solved a couple of issues at once.  The Catacombs has seen visits from Kings, Emperors..Napolean and his son took a look. It has played host to an orchestral concert which fittingly played to an audience of over a hundred people such tunes as  Chopin’s Funeral March and the Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens. Centuries of fascinating history well worth a look.

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January will be slow .. with no sight seeing planned but plenty of dental work to look forward to as it turns out (absolutely read that in the most sarcastic voice you have) Economics dictated that instead of heading where I had planned next –  it was back to Budapest which it turns out has a roaring trade in foreigners dental work. Who knew. I was told that in passing conversation last time I was there never for a second thinking the information was gold I would soon be mining. It’s winter in Europe and while friends and family sweat it out back home in ridiculous temperatures I am thrilled beyond telling with these cooler climate places. Having been born and lived in Australia all my life and never having much of a tolerance for cold, I couldn’t be more surprised if someone punched me in the face at loving being in these cold places. To be fair though about as cold as it’s gotten is -7 quite mild compared to some places and everywhere is heated so it’s only when your outside that you’re really subjected to it. Rug up and don’t walk around outside for hours on end and you’re good really.

So that was it for December. New Years came and went… some plans were  made., goals were thought about and then it was time to jump a flight back to beautiful Budapest.

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Blogging Old School Egyptian style. (aka: “The Scribe” Louvre Paris)

Roll on January…

E x

Currently – November 2016

November had me finishing up my time in Croatia. Ticking off one of my life goals. Cutting the top of my pinky finger nearly right off and moving on to Vienna Austria. It was a big month.

Life Goal Ticked Off:  Fruit Picking.

Olive Harvest in Croatia starts around the end of October / early November and I was thrilled to be able to be part of it. We scrambled up mountains and climbed trees and decades old rock walls to nab every olive possible. That it was a family owned organically run crop made me even happier [caveat: they do use commercial fertilizer] Unfortunately it had not been a good year for a couple of reasons one of which included not enough rain earlier in the season.  So we were done in 3 days and the yield was the smallest one the owner remembers the family ever having. [60 litres] I didn’t get the tally on how many kilo’s of fruit that came from but a lot. The previous years had been 350 litres of oil and that was not overly large. It all gets carried down to a community processer which for us was in little town called Brusje [not far from the fields and the place of the original family home] where they also process the oil from the Lavender crop. We handed over your fruit and hour later they handed over your oil. We got to see the process at work and it’s brilliant. Also showing the abilities within communities without out sourcing. Keeping it local which I loved.

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Hiccups along the way:

With Olive harvest done. One of my life goals ticked off with gratitude and thanks for the opportunity. I was off to explore a little more of Croatia AND promptly forgot my pin number to my banking and sat in place for a week sorting that out with the bank. List that under travel adventures right! Luckily I was still with my olive family when that happened. Sorted. Time to go and then deciding to have a delicious breakfast of eggs and hard cheese.. I cut the top of my finger off nearly all the way through. New knife. Hard Cheese. It slipped. Trip to the hospital and my first ever set of stitches. It didn’t go well, surgery was on the cards. I’ll spare you the photos.. It was not a fun time . A week later I had to go and so it was good bye to Croatia and I headed straight to Vienna finger strapped follow up instructions in hand hoping one of the things I got to do there wasn’t going to be trying out their hospital system . Alas I didn’t get to see some of the lovely places I still wanted in Croatia. Good reason to go back though right. Vienna though ..Oh.

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Back on the Road:

Vienna has been my favourite city so far. I am here in the Winter so everything is bare and cold and looks dead and still I have been completely delighted and enchanted by this beautiful city. The buildings and gardens, palaces, churches, monuments and parks. Look up – the buildings are gorgeous works of art themselves. Their train system is marvellous, simple and efficient and I used it constantly and easily which is really saying something. If I can use this system easily… anyone can. The United Nations has one of it’s homes here and they run tours which are worth the visit. Schonnbrunn Palace, Hofburg, Belvedere .. go and see them all if you get a chance. You won’t be sorry. Trip right into the city visit the shops, see the Museum Quarter which is fabulous. Try the pastries and the warm punch and wine. Prater Park is where you want to head if you like carnivals, rides and fun parks.  My experience of the people of Vienna is that they are friendly and helpful. Oh Vienna how I love thee. I would definitely have snuggled in and spent Christmas here if other plans were not already in place. Luckily I got to see this gorgeous lady all decked out for Christmas AND between mid November and Christmas Vienna has “Christkindlmarkt” The Christmas markets. Ice Skating … and the ring is enormous. Food. Gifts. Music. Souvenirs an Amazing Christmas Tree. If you’re here at that time you should check it out.

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November drew to an end and it was time to start preparing for Christmas and new adventures.

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E x

PS: You can follow along on Instagram if you’d like to see what I’m up to, what I’m seeing, thinking and doing more regularly.

 

Slow Down Sundays

The other week I decided to reinstate Slow Down Sundays aka Defrag Day.

I used to do this at home before I started travelling. We get so busy “doing” emails, work, house, blogs whatever it may be for you, that we don’t give ourselves any time to just stop and be and enjoy. We have a minute off and we feel we need to fill it with something productive or we’re wasting time. Ridiculously even travelling as I have been I was doing this to myself .. “You’re not doing enough tourist sites or quick enough. Not doing enough blog or working it out quick enough. Not catching up with work back home or emails or friends enough. Stupidity in the extreme. So it’s back! The day can include anything I want as long as its for me and not work or catch up. This back home typically involved a lovely slow day of reading, a movie or TV series, doing my nails, a little pampering an excursion or outing of some kind, catching up with friends maybe and a lovely long detox bath that evening.

Winter typically found me under a blanket on the lounge, reading. Large quantities of warm tea on the stove. Coffee with friends. Cooking large batches of soup (I find it relaxing) or stews. Summer. Under the shade of trees. Wine or movie dates with friends in air conditioned comfort. Mostly not a lot of money was involved … just time, and the commitment that it could only be spent on myself. No work, including housework.

This is a great thing to put into action for yourself. Children, no children it matters not. If you have a partner and or children make it a day you spend together … no work, no homework, no housework. Make sure you do get some ‘you’ time elsewhere though … just for you and or your friends. Alternatively have a luncheon and invite everyone. This way friends, fun, time out, kids … all being covered at the same time. It will involve some rescheduling of other things likely (and we’ll get to that as well) but it is so worth it and I think.. so very necessary in the crazy busy lives and world we live in.

You’re likely going to find it stressful just stopping. That alone should tell you to keep going. If you can’t stop for one day without dread, stress, anxiety or feeling irresponsible (insert whatever negative emotion or thought you’re having here) then I would suggest this absolutely makes the case for you including this as part of your life going forward. One day a week dedicated to self care, time with friends or family without  a ‘To Do’ list should be something to look forward to, not dread. You will come to look forward to it and love it, I promise and in a very short period of time you will find yourself making all sorts of plans for your ‘Slow Down Sunday’

Feel free to leave what you’re doing in the comments, sharing your ideas and tips with others.

E x