The Zen Files // Denyse from Denyse Whelan Blogs To Connect

 

Today we’re finding out a bit more about Denyse from Denyse Whelan Blogs To Connect. Denyse has recently joined the ranks of the semi-retired, and now has more time to follow her passions.

 

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Please tell us what your blog is about and why you started it.

The current version of my blog is about me and being connected to readers every day. I started in at the beginning of 2015 with the goal of a daily post to keep a record of my first year of a completely new life since selling our house in Sydney and moving to the Central Coast of NSW. I also retired from just about all of my work responsibilities in education AND we have left our dear families ‘behind’ consisting of our grown kids and their kids…a total of 8 grandkids.

 

 

What does “zen” mean to you?

Zen means being ‘chilled out’ and taking all things in life as they come…. I am not so good at Zen (yet)

 

 

Tell us about something positive that has happened to you and how it has affected your life. 

The positive that happened to me that means the most was meeting my future husband in 1970 at a country teachers’ meeting and marrying him in 1971. We have weathered many, many storms of his ill-health, loss of a business, selling a much loved ‘dream house, difficulties with secondary infertility, depression and anxiety issues for me and my subsequent early retirement as a school principal.

BUT what has always, always kept us together is the simple love of and for each other which has never waned. We are each other’s best friend.

 

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If time and money were no object, what is something you would do to help others?

As Sydney siders (formerly) It would be housing for our kids (actually we did this to our detriment but I wouldn’t change it – we added more to our mortgage to give our kids large deposits for their first homes in mid 2000s) and I would like to be able to ensure our grandkids had tertiary education costs met and perhaps help them into their first houses.

 

 

Are you working towards anything that will make a positive change in your life? 

I am indeed. Since moving and leaving employment and family had an impact on my emotional health with resultant stress-based physical issues (IBS) I have taken responsibility for making big positive changes and Mindfulness Meditation is the direction for this.

I started slowly building my understanding and awareness via on-line and in person groups and now I meditate daily (44 days in row to now) using Headspace from the app of the same name. It has made me more mindful in my daily life and helping me in the transition I am in right now.

 

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Is your blog what you thought it would be when you first started it?

As mentioned, this version of the blog started this year. I have has a blog or three since 2010. I registered my name as a website (with great foresight I now realize!) so my name has always been somewhere in what I have blogged about. In 2010/11 it related to my husband’s health issues (now resolved thanks to a wrong diagnosis) and then I used my teaching and school expertise to blog for families and teachers in 2012-2014. In 2015 I simplified into the blog it is now and I write about any topics of current news interest, personal interest and to help families and or community.

 

 

I have so many wonderful blog favourites that make me smile.  What are the 3 that brighten your day, plus one that we may not have heard of before?

Blogs I always read:

Woogsworld – Kayte was probably one of the first bloggers I ever met and I read her blog as I have become known to her and would count her as a consistently good and topical blogger. She has been very kind to me over the years. We call each other Mrs W.

Maxabella – again Bron has been read by me for years and she respects my views on schooling and education and I like that!

Clairey Hewitt – Clairey doesn’t write often these days but when she does it is always worth reading. Insightful.

One you may not know:

Aboutteaching.net by an Assistant Principal in Sydney, this blog provides insight into the daily life of a teacher and school administrator.

 

My Art Space

 

The Random Roundup…… just for a bit of fun.

 

Which do you prefer?

 

Beach or Country.  Beach.

 

Pinterest or Instagram.  Instagram.

 

Cheese or Chocolate. – can there be a dead-heat?

 

Flats or Heels.  Flats.

 

Black & White or Colour Photography.  Colour photography.

 

Cool or Warm Weather.  Cool weather.

 

Fruit or Veggies.  Fruit.

 

Early Nights or Night Owl.  Night owl.

 

Tv or Radio.  Radio.

 

Comedy or Drama.  Comedy.

 

Denyse blogs daily, highlighting her posts with some beautiful photography of what makes her days special. Visit at Denyse Whelan Blogs To Connect.

 

If you would like to share what your zen is all about on The Zen Files, or what you’re dreaming of via What’s Your Dream, contact me on  lisa@zendesigns.com.au

 

Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.

Also joining Maxabella Loves , Life, Love & HiccupsA Life Less Frantic and Boiled Eggs + Soldiers for the Weekend Rewind.

 

10 Things That Make Me Happy

 

10thingsThere’s a fabulous hashtag doing the rounds on Instagram, asking you to list 10 things that make you happy.

I posted mine yesterday and have been looking at others that are being shared. I love that everyone has really thought about this, and the lists cover a wide range of happiness.

I’ll put my list here, and hope that it may inspire you to think about it, and share as well. If you do share on IG, use the hashtag #10thingsthatmakemehappy and tag me @zenlisalee, so I can see your happies.

Putting some thought into what brings a smile to you, is also a really good way to think about gratitude in your life. And I’m sure we all have more than a few things to be grateful for.

 

1. Being inside and cosy when it’s raining.

2. Library and coffee shop dates with Bella.

3. Mastering an artistic process.

4. Long, talky lunch dates with John.

5. Seeing the bottom of my laundry basket.

6. Brainstorming with clever, creative friends.

7. The look on my dogs faces when we hit the beach.

8. Waking up before the rest of the household.

9. Finding a fabulous seaglass haul.

10. Spotting random wildlife on the school run.

 

What would be your top 10?

 

Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.

 

Let’s All Play Nice

 

french bulldog! I love how these little dogs sprawl out belly first on the ground, so cute! Limited Edition French Bulldog Tee

 

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At the exact time that I should be celebrating this blog’s 3rd birthday, I’m kind of thinking “Is it time to give it all away?”.

I usually just cruise along, writing what I feel at the time, and enjoying the fabulous community that I consider myself lucky to be a part of.

But a few weeks ago I received an email from a reader saying “What are you trying to prove, by being nice to everyone? No-one thinks it’s genuine anyway.”

Wow, harsh much?!!

I think I’m lucky to receive some really nice messages of thank you and interaction from readers, and I’m all for conversation. Not all of it is lovely, some is good constructive criticism, and I look at that as a good thing.

This one was a kick in the guts.

Usually I just roll with whatever comes my way, and carry on. But these two sentences threw me. I felt embarrassed, and wondered if everyone else thought the same; that I was being a total try-hard, and being fake nice to prove that I’m a good person.

When I started this blog, I had not much of a plan. I just wrote what travelled through my head, and mostly still do. My favourite posts are the ones where I learn more about the people I like to read. The Zen Files and What’s Your Dream? interviews always make me happy, because to me, sharing is a really positive thing.

I’m also a little bit proud of The Blog Roll, another way I can find out about writers in my community. I just don’t see how it’s such a bad thing to promote others, if you love what they do.

Naturally it was anonymous, so I don’t know if it’s from a regular blog reader, fellow blogger or bored soul looking for someone to bring down. Either way, it really made me think that maybe I should re-evaluate if I should be blogging.

I’m spilling here because I’ve dropped off the blogland radar over the last few weeks. I’ve really missed being a part of it all, but kind of struggled with putting anything out there. Now I’ve given myself a shake and decided that if this is what I enjoy doing, why shouldn’t I just keep going? I figure it’s easy enough to steer clear if I bother you that much…..just don’t read.

I know this whole thing probably sounds a bit sooky, but working from home, it’s sometimes hard to get feedback, as you would in a traditional workplace. When I decided a few years ago, to base my business from home, I didn’t consider the fact that you don’t always have an instant sounding board. I guess maybe I rely on the online world, and it’s opinions, more than I thought.

I don’t have advertising on either blog because I want to be able to write what I choose, and love the freedom of that. I hope the joy doesn’t disappear for me, and figure I’ll just keep dawdling along as I have been.

 

Wow, that all felt very heavy, and I hate that I felt the need to write about it, but you know……

 

In other news: I’m working on a design project that hopefully isn’t too far away, and has had me staying up until ridiculous hours. But isn’t that the best, when you can spend hour after hour building something that you just can’t wait to share?!

 

Anyway if you’ve read this far, bless your cotton socks, and thank you. Hopefully, my future posts won’t be quite so indulgent.

 

Linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Also joining Maxabella Loves , Life, Love & HiccupsA Life Less Frantic and A Quirky Bird for the Weekend Rewind.

 

Old? Not Me!

 

 

can't wait for my little girly to have her first birthday!

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In 2 days, I’ll turn 51.   Fifty-one.   FIFTY-ONE!!

When I was a kid anything over 30 was old, and I couldn’t even imagine myself getting to that ancient number. Then as I got older, the numbers got less important. I never actually felt like I was ageing, just adding more years to my count. Now it feels like time is standing still, and I just am what I am. And I’m pretty happy with that feeleing actually.

You know how it is when you’re little? There’s no way you could ever be a mum, in charge of someone else’s life, making important and responsible decisions. But it just seems to creep up on us; one minute you’re deciding which shoes would survive the muddy fields of a music festival, the next you’re driving your 12-year-old daughter to high school……HIGH SCHOOL!!!

The wonderful thing is that as the years add up, I don’t feel any older. I’m not saying that physically I don’t get a bit creaky, because some mornings I’m a little dusty. But in myself, I still think I can achieve anything, and push myself to do just that.

I think I’m lucky that the most important people in my life help keep me young. John is 9 years my junior, but absolutely the more grown-up out of both of us. Yes he’s hopeless when it comes to being tidy, or the day-to-day household routine, but pretty fabulous when it comes to financial stability and all the responsible stuff. So I still get to be as silly as I need to be, and still know that someone’s looking out for me.

Having a child in my late 30s has also helped, I think. While many women are coming into their grandparenting years at this age, I’m still doing all the little kid things, and I love it! Bell and I spend some beautiful times together, and how can you not feel young when you’re giggling and playing? Youtube comes in handy for some crazy inspiration too.

So yes, the numbers may be getting on, but I’m happy to say that I feel as youthful, hopeful and enthusiastic as I’ve ever been. I’ve had quite a few cool adventures up to now, and plan to have many more in the future.

 

Are you concerned about getting older or do you think age is just a number?

 

Linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Also joining Maxabella Loves , Life, Love & Hiccups, A Life Less Frantic and Land Of Zonkt for the Weekend Rewind.

 

What’s Your Dream? // Lisa Jane Humphries

 

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The Art Of Joy is a big part of the amazing dream Lisa Jane Humpries is working towards. And the best part of this dream is, she’s all for making life a whole lot better for others.

 

What is your most incredible dream?

My incredible dream is to build a beautiful online hub where those who are most in need of connection, hope and support will feel loved and not judged. I am actually dreaming about a beautiful real-world space too, where people who are in need of connecting and support are welcomed and safe, it looks like a big old white beachside home/safe place..

My experience with trauma, anxiety and depression has shaped my life in so many ways and I believe that it is my deepest calling and purpose to be a shining light of hope and light for others who are facing these challenges.

 

Do you think it’s attainable?

Absolutely its attainable! It is within my own career experience, life experience and abundant passion to achieve this dream ..I will make this a reality!

 

How long have you been holding onto this dream?

This dream has become more and more clear to me over recent years as I have learned more and more about myself through Motherhood, my own relapses and a string of life events, alongside my own healing and growth.
It has also been through my blogging that I have realised just how many others are suffering in silence, sitting behind their keyboards aching for hope and human connection in their own darkness and times of need.

 

What will it take for your dream to become a reality?

My blog and passion project ‘the art of joy’ was the first step for me, establishing an online presence and space for my vision to take shape.

The next step is my enrolment in the Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy! I have just received my course materials and am beyond excited to equip myself with the skills and certification that I need to make this dream come true and be of the highest service to those in need.

 

Who are the people that  encourage you the most?

I am actually finding that other bloggers and friends made through our online communities have become my greatest supporters.

My family and friends are also very accepting and supportive of what ever it is that I choose to do however on a daily basis I find the most extraordinary support and encouragement in the beautiful online spaces that I carefully choose to inhabit.

 

Who inspires you, and makes you want to chase your dream?

I am constantly inspired by ordinary people who overcome their own trauma, heartbreak, set backs and the worst that life throws at us. Women like Rosie Batty who lost her son in the most horrific domestic violence circumstance, yet picked herself up and committed her life to this cause and those in need.
Also the not so ordinary such as Audrey Hepburn and Angelina Jolie, celebrities who have made the most of their privileges and become a voice for those most in need.

 

I love Lisa’s beautifully positive outlook and the plans she has in place for the future.

 

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You can find Lisa here: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest.

 

Linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT.
Also joining Maxabella Loves and Life, Love & Hiccups, for the Weekend Rewind.

 

A to Z of Zen. G Again

 

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The Gs of zen really got me thinking this week, which is always a good thing, I think. Adding these to my G list of 2 years ago.

 

Get - Get over it! Everyone, and I truly mean everyone in the world has bad things happen to them throughout their lives. If you’re out there living, you’re going to come across stuff that happens, and it may not always be positive or pleasant. But dwelling on it and letting it get you down does no good to anyone. Sure you may need help processing some situations, so do that. But don’t keep replaying the bad over and over in your head, it will do nothing but bring you down.

Maybe you can find some good in there somewhere, a lesson learned along the way. Then again, maybe it was just bad, and the best thing is to move on. If it’s something that can’t be changed, going over it and torturing yourself is nothing but trouble. Move on and start enjoying the good in the future.

 

Graze - We’re often told (depending on who you’re listening to, and what’s trendy at the time) that it’s good to graze with our food. Yes, I’m definitely a grazer, but I also like to do it with other things. I usually have more than one project on the go at any given time, and I love the challenge of it. It can get a bit tricky, keeping it all separate, but it just makes me get a bit more organized.

Some days I feel like putting all of my energy into one thing, then the next day I’ll be over it and onto the next. The best thing about this is that it never gets boring and I’ve always got something different to work on. For me, grazing is great, try it if you haven’t already and see what you think.

 

Gather - Do you start each day running late and scrambling? If you do, you probably feel frazzled most of the time and never seem to get on top of anything. Running around and trying to catch up with appointments, dates and your whole timetable. This is the perfect way to burn yourself out and put your life into a spin.

A little extra time in the mornings to gather your thoughts and sort out your day will pay off in a big way. Work out how much extra time you would need to make your morning routine run smoothly, and your day, week and life in general will be so much more harmonious.

 

Grief - Sadly, grief affects everyone at some time in their lives, and we all deal with it differently. Some people are very public and vocal with their grief, and that’s how they work through it, while others could dream of nothing worse than putting their feelings out there for all to see. It’s not up to us to force others to share their grief, but we can subtly be a support. Sometimes just a quick communication can be the perfect distraction at a painful time, and much appreciated.

If you know someone who is going through a hard time, but isn’t the type to ask for help, reach out to them. There’s never a bad time to be a good friend.

 

Glitter - I’ve said it before, and still stand by my long-standing dislike of the microscopic shiny stuff. Ever since Bell was little and fell in love with craft, glitter has been my nemesis! Those little test tubes full of it, spilling out and coating everything in the house, were the stuff of nightmares for me. Thank goodness she moved on to paint pretty quickly, even though it was messy, it didn’t linger long after it was packed away. And don’t get me started on those hats in the party section of the supermarket; she tried one of those on once, and I was washing it out of her hair for weeks!

You may think I’m a little bit overboard with my hate of the much-loved craft staple, but it’s just the one thing that seems to never go away, once it’s out in the open.

But….. I love the idea of something sprinkling and spilling, to mark a celebration and make you smile. So, I’m working on an idea to spread a little bit of happiness around, with the joy but not the mess. I’m still sorting out the details of how I want it to work, but I do know it will involve my Zen Notes. It’s one of those silly ideas that started with a “what if?” and has kept tapping away in my mind. Stay tuned to see what I come up with.

 

Does glitter make you a little bit nuts too, or is it just me?

 

Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF.

 

 

Let’s Talk About You

 

rotary phones. I would get so excited if I got to use one of these instead of a push button for some reason.

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So here I am, asking for favours again! Thank goodness I hang out with such a fabulously generous bunch of people (that’s you!).

One of the things I most enjoy about blogging is the variety of stories for us to enjoy.  Bloggers are naturally good sharers and I’m constantly inspired by what I read. Whether it’s something they’ve always wanted to achieve, and are giving it a really good go, or how their life’s journey has lead them to where they are now. These are the things that I can easily get lost in.

I love being able to share these thoughts through my series, The Zen Files and What’s Your Dream?. The trouble is, I  struggle with finding the time to contact everyone I would like to grill, because the list of amazing writers I want to know more about is extremely long!

I also  have an equally extensive wishlist for my other blog The Blog Roll, and this is when I start asking for your help.

If you would like to join in with any of these interview series (or all of them), I need to hear from you. Let me know which questions you would like, and I’ll send them for you to have a look at.

You may have contacted me ages ago, received the questions, but haven’t had the time to get to them. If you think it’s too late to do it, but would still like to be involved, please go ahead. We all get busy and things get pushed aside, believe me, I’m the worst! I’m happy to resend them if they’re somewhere in your email inbox, but you’re just not sure where.

Let me know, either in the comments here or at lisa@zendesigns.com.au and I’ll send them out to you. The same if you have any questions about either RAOZ or TBR, hit me with them.

And if you’ve previously been a part of any of these interviews, but would like to share on one of the others, I would love to hear from you as well.

You may know of another blogger who hasn’t heard of this, but would be just perfect. Please feel free to pass this on. And if the urge to share this on social media is just too strong to resist, I honestly won’t mind (cheeky much?).

So once again, I need to say how much this beautiful community brightens my days, and makes me realize just how much good there is around us. Thank you for being so very generous, and spreading some good karma, by putting yourself out there.

 

 

Linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Also joining Maxabella LovesLife, Love & HiccupsA Life Less Frantic and for the Weekend Rewind.

An Interview With Bella

 

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Today Bella turns 12 and I can’t believe how crazy fast the time has gone, since she was born! It feels like 5 minutes ago that we were bringing this tiny, brand new possum home for the first time. A little bundle who seemed so fragile, I was scared to do much, because I might break her.

Now she’s almost as tall as me, and definitely not fragile.

I’m so proud of the person she’s growing into; confident and opinionated, but also one of the most creative and empathetic souls I’ve ever met.

A little while ago Bron shared some questions to ask your kids, and I’ve done just that. It took some pestering, but I finally got her to spill. Lots of ums and ahs along the way, but I’ve edited where needed. I’m proud to say she makes up words as needed, as do I.

I can only imagine how her answers will change over the next 12 months.

 

What do you like most about yourself right now?

I like that I have good friends and family in my life.

 

What do you think your job will be when you grow up?

Something to do with design. An art or dress designer, most probably art.

 

How do you like to spend your time?

Painting canvasses.

 

What’s your favourite subject at school?

Indonesian. Art and music are next.

 

What do you think will be different about the world when you are grown up?

Definitely technology, because it’s developing fast. I think there’ll be more voice activated things.

 

Who are your best friends and why do you like each other?

Kezia and Phoebe, because we can all be funny and understand each other’s sense of humour. But we can be serious with each other too, when we need to be.

 

What do you think mum and dad do at work all day?

Dad works on computers and talks to people, does paperwork, and sorts everything out in his warehouse. And Mum makes our house feel nice, and feeds us and cleans things, and does things for the people and pets in our house.

 

What’s the most important rule that you know of?

Treat people the way you want to be treated.

 

What do you know how to do that you could teach me?

Lots! Indonesian, music like guitar and piano, and everything about technology.

 

Why do you think kids go to school?

So they can learn and get into university, and secure their future.

(OK, so she has been listening to us)

 

What is your favourite outfit to wear?

Singlet and shorts and my purple thongs.  Not long shorts, short shorts! And sometimes with my hair up in a plait or in a headband.

 

What makes you really cross?

When people that are mean, get their way it makes me angry.

 

What do you think is the worst thing that could happen?

The sun blows up, the world ends and everyone dies. Because it would be very dark and cold, and it would be very slow.

 

What makes you feel proud?

When I do things and people congratulate me, because I did it well. Yep, I feel proud when that happens.

 

What makes you happy?

That’s a hard one! When everything is perfect and everyone gets along and good things happen. Walking the girls at the beach too.

(The girls are our dogs, Lola and Lulu)

 

Which of your nicknames do you like the most?

Bell.

 

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you lately?

Holidays, because there’s no homework, and grade 7 is stressy, and the holidays are worry free. Playing with my friends and dogs.

 

Why do you think women wear make up?

To make themself look prettier than they are. Especially if they’re mean people, because people will see past the mean stuff and think how pretty they are.

 

What do you do when you feel sad?

I cry and I cuddle Vi, and yes she doesn’t like it, but she’s very fat and squishy and I like it.

(Vi is our huge cat, Violet)

 

This interview actually turned into a big discussion about many things along the way, and I’m so glad I recorded it, to go back and listen to over time. She’s a bit of a crack-up, my girl, and we have many laughs together. I’m crossing my fingers that’s something that never changes.

 

Happy birthday to my beautiful Bell. You’ll always be my baby, no matter how grown-up you are  x

 

Linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Also joining Maxabella LovesLife, Love & HiccupsA Life Less Frantic and Lila Wolff for the Weekend Rewind.

 

A to Z of Zen. F Again

 

Justin Timberlake #Camera #MusiciansWithCameras #Photography http://www.pinterest.com/elbern08x/musicians-with-cameras/

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When I made my list of zen F words (you know what I mean) last time, I came up with lots! So this time around I kind of panicked a bit that I wouldn’t have any to share. But once I started thinking about it, a few popped into my head. See if you can add any important ones I’ve forgotten.

 

Flood – You can be the most balanced and in control person in the world, and still have an occasional flood of emotion. Don’t try to fight it, just go with it. Yes, it’s wonderful to always be on track and know what you’re doing and feeling, but life doesn’t always run like that. It can be an awesome energy to tap into, and amplifies not only negative feelings, but also the positive. Make the choice, and work on those positives.

 

For - What’s it all for? You get up in the morning, do whatever it is that fills your day, then go to bed at night. Day in, day out, same old stuff. Really, what’s the point of putting any extra effort into anything you do? Blahhhh……….

Snap out of it, you’re doing it all for you!

Yes, it can get boring living with a routine, but sometimes that’s just the way it has to be. It’s up to you to figure out a good way to shake it up, and bring a little excitement to your days. Get out of bed a bit earlier and go for a walk somewhere you don’t usually go. Find some new recipes and try one every day for a week. Choose a tricky hobby and work on it until you’ve mastered it. We only get one go-around at this life, and doing things for YOU is mighty important, just keep reminding yourself whenever you start to wonder why you should even bother.

Fix - Some things we can fix, and some we can’t, it’s just a reality we have to accept. Instead of dwelling on the downside of this, see if you can find a lesson in it. Without getting too new-agey, we really are presented with challenges to make us stronger, and if you can push through and come out the other end, more often than not, you’ll be stronger for it.

But having said that, if you hold onto broken things because you just know you’ll fix them one day, make a move: either do it, or chuck it!

Fail - Are you a perfectionist? If yes, good on you! Doing your best and striving for a super result is a great quality to have, and will no doubt take you far. But, fear of failure can be crippling if you let it take over, and stop you from trying new things. Everybody fails at things throughout their lives, and learning to use that to your advantage is a big win. Yes, you will fail sometimes, but you will also achieve. You’ll push yourself that little bit harder to get a good result, and that will go a long way to making you a stronger, more capable person.

Look at your failures as a learning experience, and celebrate them as one step closer to where you want to be.

 

Fun – This is simple. I said it in my previous F list, and I’ll say it again, even louder; have FUN!

 

Fame - These days, the whole world seems to be obsessed with celebrity. With social media making it so easy to put ourselves out there, it’s easy to become preoccupied with how many people we can reach and how much attention we can attract. I wonder if fame is really all it’s made out to be, and is it worth all the hassle that seems to go with it? We hear a lot about the amazing lives famous people lead, but at the expense of my privacy, I don’t think I’m missing out on a whole lot of goodness, by being ordinary.

Would you like to be famous, or are you pretty content with your lot?

 

Lining with With Some Grace for FYBF.

 

 

 

The Zen Files // Tash from Gift Grapevine

 

It’s been way too long since we’ve been nosey via a Zen Files interview! First one back is Tash from Gift Grapevine, a fabulous space full of gift ideas for all ages.

 

Rotto - my happy place

 

Please tell us what your blog is about and why you started it.

Gift Grapevine is all about inspiring gift ideas for babies and kids, the latest trends and toy news. Nothing’s for sale, just great ideas for when you are thinking “what do I buy a X year old?!” There’s also the odd gift memory flashback and kid’s book review.

After having my two tornadoes, I realised our house was bombarded with toys of the soft and fluffy variety. I counted 51 stuffed toys when I got them together and of those, I only purchased 2. Stuffed toys can be fun but the majority of them just gather dust. I thought it would be great to have a place where people could find ideas for practical and affordable gifts for babies and kids (that aren’t soft and fluffy!). All ideas are gifts I love to give, or would love to give.

 

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What does “zen” mean to you?

Zen to me is all about peace, calm, quiet and absolute focus – something I rarely get to practice or enjoy! I’m usually running around madly trying to do a hundred things at once. I really need to start taking the time to focus or at least meditate for 10 minutes a day. Let’s start with more sleep. That will do!

 

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What’s something you do just for yourself, that makes you feel whole?

I play hockey. It’s an activity I do just for me. I love running around, chasing a little white ball and playing with a fantastic group of girls. It makes me happy and feeling happy makes me feel whole. It also feeds my competitive nature and counteracts the calories I consume from the wine I drink.

 

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Who is the most zen person you know, and how can we be more like them??

That’s a tricky one! To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I know a zen person. Everyone seems to constantly be “on”. Switching off is a hard thing to do these days with so many distractions and messages being thrown our way.

 

Is your blog what you thought it would be when you first started it?

In a way, yes. I’ve managed to get lots of gift ideas out there as well as posts about my childhood gift memories and other fun stuff. It’s been a lot of work but I’ve had some lovely comments and followers. I still have so much more to share and learn. The blogging community has been incredibly welcoming and supportive, especially to a newbie blogger like me.

Finding out that my blog has helped someone find a gift to buy their daughter/nephew/grandson makes me happy. That’s the reason I started this! Supporting local Aussie businesses is another bonus. There are some insanely talented artisans out there designing and making great baby and kid’s products.

 

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I have so many wonderful blog favourites that make me smile, what are the 3 that brighten your day, plus one that we may not have heard of before?

Just the four? That’s like asking me to choose which family member I love the most! Three that regularly brighten my day are Hugzilla, Life Love and Hiccups and Mummy, Wife, Me. All awesome and genuine ladies who write great posts that have me laughing, smiling and nodding my head in agreement.

In Hugzilla’s case, her posts have been known to make me laugh-spit wine at my computer screen (I do most of my blog reading at night with a wine in hand).

Pinch Me Beautiful is one to visit if you aren’t already following. Bec started blogging at a similar time to me. She’s friendly, crafty, creative and takes beautiful photos that make me want to move to a beach house on the east coast!

 

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The Random Roundup…… just for a bit of fun.

Which do you prefer?

Beach or Country. Beach

Pinterest or Instagram. Instagram, although I can see myself falling further into the Pinterest rabbit hole!

Cheese or Chocolate. Chocolate

Flats or Heels. Flats

Black & White or Colour Photography. Colour

Cool or Warm Weather. Warm

Fruit or Veggies. Fruit

Early Nights or Night Owl. Hoot hoot… Night Owl

Tv or Radio. TV

Comedy or Drama. Comedy

 

If you’re looking for some gift inspiration, or simply need some loveliness to look at, pop over to Gift Grapevine and see what Tash has to share.

Linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Also joining Maxabella LovesLife, Love & HiccupsSonia StylingA Life Less Frantic for the Weekend Rewind.