How to have the best Christmas ever

I started reading all my old posts about Christmas and realised that I have actually said everything I want to say, so let me link to those posts.

Easy Christmas decorating

Lower your Christmas expectations especially with social media

The Christmas Card controversy

Keep Christmas simple but meaningful

Clever gift ideas for Christmas and throughout the year

and last but definitely not least, my favourite Christmas post ever!

Create the perfect Christmas… for you

What does the “best Christmas” look like for you?

Tell me all your questions and I’ll answer in the comments.

Which is your desert island item of make-up?

1303 M and kids best-009

I’m sharing my make-up “routine” today to show you how I keep it simple and easy, which saves me lots of time.

  1. After my face is clean, I use Olay complete care day fluid (moisturiser). I’ve tried others (I’m not sure why!) but I always come back to this one so I’m not messing around anymore. It is light, non-greasy and goes on very easily. More importantly, one bottle lasts me 6 months and only costs R90.


2. Then comes Garnier BB cream. I love this one. I’ve used another Garnier one before that left my face too oily but this one is perfect.

3. Maybelling eyeliner

4. Cheap eyeshadow on my light eyebrows


5. Lip liner – once you start you can’t stop using lip liner. It really keeps your lipstick on longer. I prefer a pencil and usually use a house brand one from Clicks. Pictured is the Smudge brand, and the Essence one, and there’s a Yardley retractible liner there too but that one’s broken already with only two applications. I think I probably have too heavy a hand.

6. My favourite lipstick is currently Rimmel’s 066 Heather Shimmer (they have two Heather Shimmer colours – I found that out the hard way!) followed closely by Yardley’s Nude long-lasting colour

And that’s it. Nothing earth-shattering but it makes me look like the best natural-looking version of myself 🙂

This is not all my make-up – I have 8 other lipsticks; some are “summer” ones, others are spares for my work bag, etc. 🙂

If I could take one make-up item to a desert island, it would be lipstick. What would your item be?

This is my previous post on make-up – I see not very much has changed 🙂

5 ideas to keep Christmas simple but still meaningful

Christmas gifts |

We had a really simple Christmas this year and it honestly didn’t feel like we lacked for anything.

  1. I didn’t put out all the “decor” – I only decorated til it felt like enough
  2. I don’t think many people in Jhb went away like they normally do because the shops were crazy busy right to the end… and I am not a lover of crowded shops anyway, so there’s that too.
  3. The post office didn’t have stamps (I wish this was a joke – it’s not) so I sent Christmas cards to 3 people because I had 3 stamps in my wallet, and handed a few more out to friends that I saw over the last two weeks.
  4. Normally I make a ginormous amount of biscuits (cookies) or sweet treats and “run around Jhb” handing these out to friends. No more. I made just enough for the 3 friends I was seeing.

Christmas gifts |

Here are a few things that we did quite unintentionally, which is precisely why I’m writing them down so I’ll remember for next year:

1. Resolve not to buy any new gift wrap and use up any paper you haveChristmas gifts |

I’m someone who saves gift bags (for what, I don’t quite know – it’s not like I’m going to 50 parties a year) and of course, I have that thing for pretty stationery so I have a good selection of gift wrap, gift tags and ribbons.

I said to D in front of the kids that we are not buying a single roll of wrapping paper – there is plenty in this house, probably enough for the whole street.

And then I walked into a store about 3 weeks ago and OH, such beautiful paper which I automatically reached for and put in my trolley (cart). Kendra (6!) then reminded me, “Mummy, you said we’re not buying any wrapping paper this year”. I tried to reason with her but she made me put it back.

You may think gift wrap has to be Christmassy but we started with some leftover Christmas wrap, and then used all the red/ orange paper, and then the green ones.

2. Make your wrapping process easy

Christmas gifts |

If you have to buy paper, buy a package of 20 standard flat gift bags. I didn’t buy these green with white polka dots for Christmas this year but they were in my stash. I like to buy these in a size that’s quite versatile and definitely big enough for a book.

I also had a similar pack of smaller green with white stripes. Those were great for the smaller gifts like packages of sweets/ chocolates which are a rarity around here.

Mostly everything fitted into these 2 sets of standard gift bags which thrilled me. But the best part was the time saved. Slipping the gift in and adding two pieces of Sellotape, tying a ribbon and writing a gift tag = under 3 minutes.

I did set up a gift wrap station – even that sounds too glamorous – basically, I dedicated one desk to wrapping and set out the gift bags, sellotape and gift tags all in one place. Done.

3. Use up all your old Christmas cards

Same story here, except I stopped buying Christmas cards about 3 – 4 years ago. Yes, I had that many. Last year I bought one pack of 8, and I did the same this year. We have 4 cards left now (and a gazillion gift tags) so I will have to buy some more cards next year.

4. Buy gifts at the grocery store

I only went to one store to do food shopping and I got some gifts (clothes, sweets, chocolates, stationery) all in the same place. If you’ve got a plan, you can get it all done in the same place, or online. Design Mom had a post a few weeks ago (that I suddenly can’t find) about gifting things like pretty cleaning supplies, etc. I don’t know if it’s just the people I hang with, but I’m quite sure those wouldn’t go over that well. Still, the concept is the same. Easy gift-giving for the win!

5. Don’t get family photos done

Usually we get annual photos done in Oct/ Nov. This year our photographer couldn’t fit us in so we still have not had “professional” family photos… and I feel no pressure to get them done now.

So we used to have this pressure to get the disc back to print and send these photos to our families and friends. No photos, no pressure 🙂

This may not work for you, but it worked for us.

Tell me, friends, what were your good ideas (unintentional or not) that made Christmas simple for you?

{Living intentionally} A simple Christmas

Before I start today’s post, let me quickly point you towards my apology at this post. Go have a read and then, don’t hesitate to book your place!

make it count workshop |

For the past couple of years, I’ve done an elaborate (for me!) Advent Calendar with 25 activities for the kids.

Granted, I’m clever so a lot of things we’d normally do would still go on the calendar, like buy presents with Mummy, buy presents with Daddy, put up Christmas tree, etc.

I also put up easy things to give us a breather like “go for a drive to look at the lights”, a really low-key, 15-minute activity.

A simple Christmas |

But this year our weekends have been really full and last weekend, I just thought about it and decided NO.

None of this crazy.

I took a piece of paper (not even a cute printable!!!) and wrote down what I want from Christmas – carols at a local shopping centre, and at church, make some Christmas biscuits (gingerbread men), do presents and a few cards, and maybe two crafty things if I’m inspired.

The children and Dion then added to this list things like watching a move at the “theatre” (Connor), and watching a movie at home while eating popcorn (Kendra), going to see the lights, and decorating the house and tree, and doing some secret shopping with each parent.

That’s it.

A simple Christmas |

That’s our little list for the next 25 days.

Best of all? We already crossed off two of those things this past weekend because the carols at the shopping centre and at church were early this year.

  1. Decorate house and tree
  2. Carols – shopping centre
  3. Carols and Christmas play at church
  4. Make gingerbread biscuits
  5. Wrap presents
  6. Make some cards for people we will see
  7. Drive around and look at the lights
  8. Movie – theatre
  9. Movie – home with popcorn
  10. Do two Christmas crafts with kids (did one already)
  11. Christmas shopping with Mummy
  12. Christmas shopping with Daddy
  13. Christmas service at church

I love simple Christmases.

I share this not to impress you or for you to feel sorry for my “poor kids” 😉 but to inspire you to let things go that you may be doing just because you think they should be done, or because you’re comparing yourself to your real, Facebook or Instafriends.

What are the must-dos on your list this Christmas?

PS if you’re wondering where my monthly goals post is…. I’ll do that post on Wednesday.

Are there any tolerations you need to deal with?

Each and every time you walk by something in your home and think, “I really need to sort that out” it drains your energy.

Last year a friend mentioned that she got some extra shelves installed in her kitchen and it changed her life. I instantly thought of my annoying shower door.

It wasn’t broken but it got stuck (probably from age – we’d been in the house 7 years and who knows how long the previous owners had it) daily, would pop off its rail, we’d pop it back in and then have a shower.

Super annoying.

Well, when I heard about my friend and her “changed life” I phoned up a company, got them to come replace the door, it was done within TWO days and we’ve been having happy shower days ever since.

Amazing how something so small can make such a huge difference to the quality of your life and your happiness.

By the way, that’s called a toleration and is one of the sections in this month’s resource.


This month’s resource

Simplify your life


Simplify your life is a 10-part e-course and will walk you through a number of important lessons.

Most of us have a very real need to simplify our lives.

It’s no wonder, really, because these days we have so many things competing for our time, attention and energy.

If you feel a craving for some simplicity, this e-course might just be for you.

Please take a look at the information page and see what you think.

I know this will help you!

Embracing simplicity

One of the things on my 36 things lists is to live a simpler life.

It is hard.

When I first wrote that, I meant materially. But I’m learning that it’s also a life of no drama, ease and flow and simplicity in routines and commitments.

My natural impulse is to see, like and buy.

I used to justify it that because I declutter regularly, it’s okay to keep buying but really this has got to stop.

These days I am consciously taking time to think more about whether I really want those things, why I’m buying them and most important to me, where they will be stored.

On the bright side, the new fashions just don’t do anything for me – I don’t like the look of the skinny jean (I have a big bum), none of the tops have even caused me to stop and give them a second glance so it looks like my wardrobe will be lovely and uncluttered for many months to come.

Which also ties into the “have only clothes I love and that look good on me” point on my list.

What does embracing simplicity mean to you?

What does living a simpler life mean to you? – GIVEAWAY

I realised that I haven’t had a giveaway for awhile so………

Since one of the items on my 36 things list is to “live a simpler life”, I’m giving away not one, not two, but THREE Simplify your life ecourses.

(please be gentle with me – the sales page is TERRIBLE but the ecourse is good)

The ecourse is still available for sale for $37 but it will soon* only be available as part of a bigger product set.

*I don’t know when soon is but all the updates and changes are on my goals list for October.

Yes, even my products get decluttered!

How do you enter?

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what living a simpler life means to you.
  2. Tweet about this giveaway
  3. Write about it on facebook

(you’ll have to come back and comment about the tweeting and the facebooking :))

Women, this is your month.

In South Africa we celebrate women with a special public holiday on 9 August every year.

This year I decided to celebrate women the ENTIRE month.

So I’m looking out for things every week to inspire you, motivate you and help you to live your best life.

Like this call on ways to take care of ourselves better.

I’m signing up and it’s such a steal that I know you’ll join me too.


Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself

There never seems to be enough time and all the magazines ask you to do things like exercise an hour a day, fresh squeeze your juice, and meditate 20 minutes morning and night.

We all want to be the best we can be, so what are some simpler, less time intrusive ways we can take care of ourselves – body, mind and soul?

Join Beth Dargis on this content-rich call with ideas for making time to take care of yourself, feeling more energetic and centered, and getting rid of the guilt. Practical ideas, not “no real person has time for that” ideas. You will also have time to ask questions for your own personal situation.

You will also get a pdf workbook so you can engage with the ideas that you connect with most.

Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself call, recording and workbook is only $7.

Sign up below to register for the call, recording and workbook.

(Make sure you click to confirm the email, so you get the phone details.) )

P.S. I don’t get commission; I’m telling you about this because I think it would help you (and me :))

3 ways to live a simpler life

I’ve shared before that my theme last year was simplicity.

Well, I soon realised that living a simpler life was not going to just happen.

This is what worked for me then:

Re-examine your goals regularly

Regularly can mean monthly for some people; for me, it means weekly as I get sidetracked very easily if I don’t keep reminding myself of what’s important.

Every week I’d look at my life map (I need to do a blog about that) and see that big, bold word on the top of the page – SIMPLIFY.

And when I saw a hectic schedule, I’d ask myself, “is this representative of the simpler life I want?”

Make the tough decisions

My good friend, Beth, and I held a call last year called 5 steps to a saner, simpler life. I was the co-host and yet I probably wrote 3 pages of notes myself.

I loved that call for many reasons but the best reason is this:

She shared that we often think we have no choices when the choices are tough but we always do.

E.g. You have too many time commitments and think you can’t get out of any. Yes, it’s a tough choice and even harder to tell your kids no, we won’t be signing you up for 3 after-school activities but it can be done!

Fix your environment

On a more practical level, let’s talk about simplicity with material goods (stuff).

If you want to get out from under the clutter, you’ve got to start making different choices.

When I work with clients, yes, we organise but more than that, I help them to think about the behaviour patterns that led them to the state of discontent in the first place.

If you keep buying things you don’t need, then stay away from the shops. If you don’t go to the mall, you can’t shop.

I had a really bad habit of buying info products a few years ago.

The bad habit was not in the buying of the products; it was bad because I wouldn’t  use them and they’d all sit on my hard drive doing nothing.

I actually joined Beth in a Spending Fast one month. Once I was half way through an internet transaction before I realised, “hey! I’m on a spending fast” so I stopped and then put a post-it note on my credit card so I’d stick to my resolve.

What is your definition of a simpler life?

Is this something you aspire to?

What are your best tips for living simply?

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