When we choose to align ourselves with the seasons, we learn to seek and embrace all that is good about each particular time of year.
Sinking into the season at hand allows us to welcome the particular pleasures that only this season provides. When we're focused on escaping or evading the season, we miss out on the small joys.
How do we align ourselves with the current season? I believe it begins with presence. Before we can find and create everyday beauty, we need to be present with the everyday in the first place. As fabulous as a mid-Winter tropical holiday can be, it's not always an option and even if it is, it only provides a temporary fix. We can choose to be present in the season at hand (which is currently Winter here), to not try to escape it but to instead immerse ourselves in it and find the treasures that it has for us.
If however, we focus on all that we don't like about a season (something many of us are more inclined to do during Winter), we miss the beauty and opportunity that await us.
So, let's embrace Winter. If you find yourself at home more than other times of year, why not learn a new craft or skill or immerse yourself in books that make you want to go to bed early? Cook with seasonal produce, make some mulled wine for the end of a cold day or have a picnic with friends complete with a thermos of something hot.
Winter can traditionally be a time for introspection, for inner work. Take the time to think, to journal, to come out of the darkest season of the year with a little more strength and grace than you had when it began.
And as so often happens.. what we learn from nature, serves us in the course of our lives. What we learn from embracing the different seasons of the year teaches us a lot about living well through the different seasons of our life.
Some seasons of life are easier to love, just like the seasons of the year. But that doesn't mean there aren't joys, wisdom and beauty to be found in each of them.
Simplicity looks different to each of us and changes throughout the various seasons of our lives.
But whatever our lives may currently look like, it is profound the difference it can make to our days when we begin to look at situations through the lens of simplicity.
And what better time to seek simplicity than during the busy festive season?
Embracing simplicity can be as easy as asking yourself throughout your day:
Of course, there is busy-ness that is realistically unavoidable during the festive season (and every season) but we can seek to not overcomplicate these things that do need to be done.
Tradition can be a comforting and bolstering part of our festive season but we needn't be afraid to change things up a little if those traditions cause stress and pressure.
Whether it is having conversations with family or friends about alternatives to gifts or a kris kringle style set-up if present buying is spiralling out of control, simplifying gatherings by getting everyone to pitch in or just not trying to cram in an unrealistic amount of things into our days.
How can you embrace simplicity today?
Every year without fail, I would find myself sitting in the waiting room of a doctors surgery a couple of days before Christmas. Tonsillitis was the usual unwelcome visitor but some years my body threw in some other kind of virus or infection just to keep things interesting.
This began long before I had children and the cycle only really stopped a few years ago. Whilst the malady may have differed, the cause was always the same. I was simply exhausted. Burnt out, run down, knackered.
Not just due to being busy at work, but because I was thoroughly overwhelmed. You see, I love festivities - people, parties, events - and get pretty excited about all the opportunities to make and cook and entertain that the festive season provides. Now these are all good things of course but I found that I couldn't say no to ANY of it. On top of all that, I would put highly unrealistic pressure on myself that Christmas was going to be *perfect* and that I had to have any unresolved issue in my life (or mind) fixed and and tied in a neat little bow by the end of the year.
Yep, no wonder my tonsils gave out.
When I started to embrace simplicity in my life, which was essentially the beginning of Nourish and Nest, I started applying those principles to Christmas too. And it really, really helped.
Especially once I had three children on the scene, I realised I wanted them to have beautiful memories of this time of year, not of a manic woman who was too frazzled and frantic to enjoy it all.
The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind of projects and events and plenty of hard work, up until the last two weeks when I experienced the rather humbling back-to-back visits of both a nasty infection and the flare up of a neck injury. I just got back on my feet after feeling quite poorly with the infection when I was laid out again with a seized up neck and a considerable amount of pain to go with it.
It was a timely reminder of the importance of self-care, especially at this time of year, and of being intentional about how we spend these celebratory seasons. What really matters, what really doesn't and how to be present and joyful and content throughout it all.
So, for my own good, I have put together a little series for the first week of December - Calm + Bright. I need it and I thought I would share it in case you do too. Think of it as a week of daily ideas and inspirations for enjoying small rituals, embracing simplicity & finding beauty in the everyday this festive season.
Want to join me? Simply sign up below and you'll receive your first e-mail on December 1st.
This month I am:
Relishing... the true beginning of Autumn. The beautiful light at dusk, the refreshing crispness in the air, pumpkins in my garden and the freshness that comes with a change of season.
Reading... The Little Book of Hygge. Consider me officially on the bandwagon.
Listening to... A Seat At The Table by Solange
Watching... Borgen. There is definitely a Danish theme going on here.
Burning... our 'Autumn' candle which fills my house with the aromas of chai tea, sweet pear and mandarin.
Harvesting... butternuts pumpkins! It is the first time we have grown them and they taste incredible (and do well despite neglect - win!)
Eating... pumpkin soup, roast pumpkin salad, mashed pumpkin.. (see above)
Making... candles in our three new aromas. They're finally here and I can't wait to share them. More on the blog in the coming days and you'll find them in our online store next week
Planning... on attending this dreamy weekend.
Working on... a really exciting project for Nourish and Nest.. to be released next month. I can't wait to share!
It has been a little while between drinks but I am glad to be back in this space and looking forward to sharing some fresh and exciting things here on the blog this year.
Earlier this week, I gathered with a small group of fabulous women for a photo shoot for the Nourish and Nest range of Organic Teas and Herbal Tisanes. It was such a fun, refreshing, inspiring time and we finished with afternoon drinks in the garden.
It was a perfect late-Summer style of gathering and I will be sharing all the images in the coming days as well as some ideas and inspirations for gathering and celebrating the last of the balmy weather.
Sitting at the table and enjoying relaxed conversation (well, as relaxed as you can be when you're having your photo taken!) and iced teas got me thinking about all that is fabulous about this time of year. I am also aware of how easy it is to get caught up in always anticipating the next season and in doing so, missing what is in the here and now.
The end of every season is a time to relish in the goodness that is unique to that particular time of year. The awareness that seasonal delights may soon come to an end makes them all the more precious, be they Summer's balmy nights, Autumn's crisp mornings, Winter evenings spent fireside or the freshness that comes with Spring.
And so, as we find ourselves in late Summer, I am grateful for the particular pleasures of this time of year. One of my favourite aspects of this season is the ease with which we can gather with our friends. There is a simplicity to Summer entertaining - a blanket thrown on the grass is really all you need.
I am also delighting in the little things - my youngest babe naked in the backyard as she waters the plants, simple dinners based around what's in the garden (which is predominantly chillies at the moment - not that helpful for feeding children!) and the warm evenings that allow us to work on projects around the home late into the night.
Part of the Nourish and Nest philosophy is to align yourself with the seasons. It is so easy to always be looking ahead to the next season (in the cycle of the year and in our lives), to what is to come. To be 'here' physically but not mentally. But in doing so, we often lose our contentment and miss out on the everyday beauty and opportunity that surrounds us.
Whilst as a lover of Autumn I look forward to the season that is to come, I am also choosing to savour late Summer and all that it entails. I hope you are relishing all that is good in your current season - in the year and in life.
Image credit: Sasha Crofts
What's not to love about Spring? As I mentioned in my previous post, it is a time of year that seems to invoke a sense of possibility for me. There is a rejuvenating freshness that makes me want to breathe deep and feel grateful.
It was a real pleasure to work on the aromatic blend for our new Spring candle - honeysuckle jasmine, cherry blossom and lime blossom. It is a little bit of whimsy captured in a candle and I am enjoying burning it each night.
I thought I'd share a few behind-the-scenes photos from our Spring shoot (which took place long before Spring of course). Running Nourish and Nest mainly looks like a lot of time (usually solo) in my shed making and packaging and a lot of late nights in front of a computer screen, so photo shoot days are a particular treat. Along with my favourite dream team, I got to spend the day in a beautiful home (thank you Amy!), surrounded by an abundance of candles and flowers. I could think of many worse ways to spend a day!
Photography: Aaron Hughes
Model: Katelin Trollope
Styling: Chloe Skipp
Allow me to introduce our newest seasonal tribute - the Spring candle.
It is handcrafted from coconut and soy wax and scented with the sweet, heady notes of cherry blossom, honeysuckle jasmine and just a hint of fresh lime blossom.
Spring is the season of possibilities, of rediscovering the sensations of your bare feet on the grass, the wind in your hair and the slightly intoxicating aromas of fresh blossoms.
Our Spring candle captures those possibilities and allows you to embrace a little whimsy whenever you light it, wherever you are. Available in our online store until the end of the season.
Photography: Aaron Hughes
Model: Katelin Trollope (of Atolia fame)
Winter is such an opptune time to nourish your creativity. We naturally spend more time indoors during the cooler seasons and if we don't have some intentionality about how we spend this extra time in captivity we can end up mindlessly watching too much TV and restlessly longing for beach days and balmy nights to return.
Far better it is to embrace the possibiltiies of this season of cosy and invest a little time in learning a new skill, reigniting an old creative passion or gathering with people who nourish your soul (I have waxed lyrical about the idea of Winter gatherings here).
And if this creativity results in something beautiful to feather your nest with? Well that's all the better.
We have a Weaving Workshop coming up (more on that in a moment) but some other ideas to nourish your creativity include:
If you're a fellow Coal Coast local:
Getting along to a Wild Rumpus workshop.
Getting your bake on at one of the Mill Lane workshops.
If you live further abroad:
Doing an online lettering course, such as this Starter Class by Sean Wes (it relaunches later this month)
Signing up for absolutely anything held at The School.
If you're looking for something free:
There are options galore for getting creative via these gorgeous online spaces:
Now, to let you know about a little something special we have planned.
Part of the philopsophy of Nourish and Nest is to 'connect + create'. So it brings me much pleasure to be able to host a Winter Workshop that combines these two elements and helps people nourish their creativity (me included!). Nourish and Nest are hosting a cosy Winter's afternoon with the talented weaver Kirilee from Loom Loom Shake.
Want to come and connect and create with us? Simply register here.
Part of the philosophy behind Nourish and Nest is 'gather and celebrate' and 'align yourself with the seasons'. So, with these two ideas in mind, we have been dreaming for a while now of gathering fine folk each season to celebrate good company, good food and good wine.
The first of these seasonal gatherings that we will be hosting is 'A Winter's Feast'.
Talented chefs Garry & Nicole Reay have created an incredible Winter menu featuring local produce and matching wines. The dinner will be held at a private venue in the northern suburbs of Wollongong, with guests being sent location details prior to the night.
You can secure yourself a seat at the table here.