Welcome to the beginning of December, the commencement of Advent, and for many people a very full and busy festive season.
If you read my previous post, you'll know that overwhelm and December used to go hand-in-hand for me. And unless I am very intentional and mindful about it all, that definitely seems to be the default for this time of year.
But it doesn't have to be.
I'm not saying the festive season isn't busy and possibly stressful and emotional. But we also have a lot of control over how this season looks for us and, if it applies, our families.
It all begins with deciding in advance how we want it to be.
Would you humour me for a moment?
Please pause, take a breath and consider the following questions. Perhaps grab a piece of paper and jot your answers down...
What do I love about the festive season?
What small rituals/traditions are important to me?
What is it about this time of year that really fills my soul?
What stresses me about this time of year?
What do I want to say yes to?
What do I want to say no to? (and please remember that you are allowed to say no!)
What are the small ways in which I can care for myself this month?
Now that you have your answers to these questions, pull out your dairy/calendar and look at the month ahead.
- Have you made time for the things you love? Perhaps it's baking or catching up with old friends for drinks or making gifts or reading certain books with your kids, visiting family or people significant to you or volunteering with a certain charity. Book those things in now. They're what matters.
- Are there things on the calendar that you need to get rid of? We can't always say yes to every single invitation or expectation. Once your calendar is as full as you're comfortable with (remembering to fill it with the things important to you, not the things you feel socially obliged to do) you have total permission to say so. You won't be able to do everything and please everyone, the sooner you make peace with this, the happier you'll be.
- Have you booked in some self-care? Time to look after yourself has to be created, not found. A night in, a long bath, a day when you turn your phone off, a late night candle-lit cup of tea when everyone is in bed. It doesn't have to be elaborate or time-consuming. Just a moment to do whatever nourishes your soul.
Here's to a calmer, more joyful December.
CALM + BRIGHT
A week-long series beginning at the start of December & Advent.
Simple thoughts and inspirations for a calmer, more joyful festive season (and a calmer, more joyful you!)
Because what better time to enjoy small rituals, embrace simplicity and find beauty in the everyday than at Christmas?
Simply sign up for one week of simple, gentle, daily inbox reminders on how to avoid overwhelm this December.
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.
Little Nourish and Nest is finally here!
These are the things I have loved as a Mama myself, or things I have wished existed.
And to celebrate this new collection we had a gathering a few weeks back with some local mamas and creatives and a whole lot of little ones.
We gathered picnic-style, drank grapefruit mimosas and endless cups of tea while the little ones ran free.. our kind of Monday morning!
Thanks to everyone who joined us and to Mel for the delicious cakes.
Shop the collection here.
It is always such a thrill when an idea that has long been swirling around in your mind comes to fruition.
Our delicious organic teas used as the base for cocktails, creative seasonal food paired with each cocktail and a mix of people ready to gather and celebrate warm Spring evenings and the beginning of the party season... this combination of sumptuous elements combined to make the Tea Cocktail Party!
A collaboration between Nourish and Nest and Reay's Place, it brought together such a fabulous mix of people. My favourite elements of all our gatherings are seeing people catch up, others meeting for the first time, guests laughing, connecting, relaxing and smiling across the table at one another. This event was no exception but with the added bonus of live music and an impromptu dance floor too. Love.
It was everything we had imagined and more. Thank you to everyone who came.. I hope you're inspired to try and mix a few tea cocktails yourself or at least enjoy some iced teas this coming Summer.
Our newsletter subscribers will be receiving the recipes to our Tea Cocktails in our next hit of inbox love. Not a subscriber? Easy fixed. Just head over to our homepage and sign up in one simple step.
Subscribers receive our full-of-goodness seasonal newsletters, special discounts and are the first to know about events and new goods of ritual. It is definitely worth joining the tribe!
Call us biased, but we think this is really going to be the Summer of the tea cocktail. Need some tea to make your own at home? Shop our delicious, refreshing range here.
Special thanks to Garry & Nicole Reay and their gorgeous staff for looking after us, Event Lighting Hire for the lights, Sasha Crofts for the photos, Marissa Walsh for the styling and Kenny & Amanda for serenading us.
It was in the small everyday decisions and simple acts that she began to craft a life she loved, one she didn't need to escape from.
We surrender our power when we choose the narrative that we'll only be happy, content, fulfilled, enough... 'when'.
When we're laying on the beach in Fiji, cocktail in hand, when we have a home that looks like the pages of an interiors magazine, when we have a circle of friends that support us daily and never let us down, when we have a partner, when we have a partner that initiates a grand romantic gesture every week, when we can have eight hours uninterrupted sleep a night, when our children behave themselves for more than four hours in a row, when we lose five kilos, when we're completely on top of our anxiety, when, when when...
'When' leads us down a never ending spiral of discontent and misery. We never arrive and thus we are never truly satisfied and at peace.
If we hide behind 'when', we shut off the myriad of beautiful possibilities that lie behind simple moments during the rhythm of our days. Let me tell you this, there is magic in a ordinary day, when we stop to see it, when we choose to craft and create our lives as only we can. When we start right here, right now, with who we are and what is available to us.
And perhaps, we also surrender the possibility of a life we're truly in love with when we give too much power to external factors in our life.. like social media.
Since I was a teenager, I have loved the Eleanor Roosevelt quote,
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
It rocked my world when I first read it and it is something I still think of regularly, often in relation to how we interact with the media... social media in particular. We lose the magic in our every day when we defeatedly believe that forms of media rule our lives.
Social media makes me feel like a failure.. everyone is in the Greek Islands, everyone is out doing amazing things, achieving their goals with glowing skin and incredible friends that never forget to invite them anywhere.
When we allow the things that we choose to look at and engage with (and remember lovely people that we choose to look at these things in the first place!) to make use feel inferior, or to believe the lie that we'll only be happy 'when'.. we miss out on so much beauty and joy that is right here under our nose all day long. And it often impedes us from creating a life we love.
There are very real limitations that many face physically, mentally and just... logistically. Different seasons in life can have their own beauty and restrictions. Many people have heartbreaking challenges in their lives that are beyond their control. But perhaps we don't give enough weight to all that we do have control over.. all that we can change and create and craft.
The interconnectedness of our world is pretty incredible. I have friends around the globe.. some of whom I've met traveling, some I've met in the online world and social media allows us to glimpse into each other's lives and connect and relate and that is amazing.
Social media has allowed Nourish and Nest to reach people who would have never connected with our brand otherwise. I stumble across inspiration for travelling, cooking and generally being a nice human in this online world, events and projects and ideas and stories that I would have never known of otherwise and I am thankful for it.
But being connected with what hundreds or thousands of people are doing daily through social media can be a bit of an overwhelm too. I have to put some rhythms and routines into my life to make sure I'm not scrolling the grid all day, staring at other people's moments when I should be living my own. I don't want to be just watching other people's lives.. I want to be consciously and intentionally creating my own life. Day by day, moment by moment.
For me, when I feel that overwhelm creep in.. I make a few choices. I choose not to start or end my day with social media and focus on following accounts that inspire or interest me. I have at least one social media free day per week and try and disengage with it when I am on holidays.
Maybe those kind of boundaries are a no-brainer for you or maybe some mindfulness around how you interact with social media would be helpful for you. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to how we engage with the online world but we all definitely need to take responsibility for how much time we spend scrolling through other people's lives as opposed to how much time we spend creating a life we love.
If you are allowing the way you consume content to keep you living in the land of discontent.. may I gently and lovingly suggest that you take back your power and remember that you are designing your life, day by day, moment by moment?
What do you want more of in your life? What do you want less of? What are the small acts and rituals that could punctuate your day with joy? You are incredible and (as Mary Oliver so stunningly puts it) this is your one wild and precious life.. what are you going to do with it?
We had a little team trip to Bali almost 2 months back and while we were there we took the opportunity to hold one of our Tea Gatherings, island-style.
We drank Island Green tea on arrival, followed by an edamame hummus (that we still talk about regularly!) Then we moved on to cassava splinters with mango chutney paired with English Breakfast tea and edamame falafels with tzatziki and Settle herbal tisane.
It was balmy and chilled and miles away from our last Tea Gathering when we were nestled in the mountains and gathered in front of the fire. But the elements were still the same.. people relaxing more with each round of tea, connecting and laughing and making new friends. Tea really is universal.
For those who have asked, we're planning another Tea Gathering in Canggu next Winter. Subscribe via our homepage to be in the know.
Thank you to The Slow, can't wait until we're back again.
As promised, here is a glimpse into the enchanted afternoon that was our recent Tea Gathering. Nestled in the mountains, we sat at a communal table in front of an open fire and partook in a modern day tea ceremony, Nourish and Nest style.
Seasonal flora was strewn down the table and of course, there was candlelight aplenty. It was particularly special seeing people connect across the table, in the glow of our candles, having not known each other before they walked in but feeling the ease that a cup of tea and relaxed space can bring.
Nicole from Reay's Place nourished us with what can only be described as an afternoon tea degustation, with each course paired perfectly with one of our teas or herbal tisanes.
It was the first gathering we have hosted in quite some time and it was nourishing to the body and soul. It was also a beautiful reminder of why these events are such an important part of Nourish and Nest, so stay tuned for what we have planned for this November.
Thank you to Nicole and the team for the food, Marissa for styling, Sasha for the photos and our beautiful guests for spending the afternoon with us.
P.S. Nicole's date and walnut scones with maple butter were an absolute hit and she has kindly shared the recipe with us. Perfect for special Winter afternoons! If you'd like to receive it, make sure you're signed up to receive our newsletter via our homepage.
Scroll down for more photos xx