To all the people out there

When Giac and I decided to move to New Zealand, the most frequent comment we got was: Oh, you guys are so brave. I wish I could do it.
I would awkwardly smile and respond with something on the lines of, Oh yeah, you know, we just needed a change, and New Zealand looked so awesome, so.

The truth is that people telling me that they wish they could do what I was doing annoys me a little bit. I know some other people might actually be proud of receiving the same kind of comment, but for me it’s like they are putting me in a privileged position and it makes me feel uncomfortable.
I mean, it’s not that Giac and I got invested with some sort of angelic omnipotence that allowed us to fly overseas. Before making The Big Decision, we considered every aspect, weighed every option, spent months and month researching and making sure we had everything covered. When we got married we asked for money rather than presents, so yes we did receive some financial support, but we also worked hard and saved up to make our dream come true.
I’ve always been the odd one among my friends and family members, I’ve always liked travelling and moved abroad for the first time ten years ago (Jesus), so I guess nobody was actually that surprised when I announced I was moving to the other side of the planet.
But what I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to be a superhuman to pack up your stuff and go. You just have to want it.

So to all the people out there: you can do it too. Giac and I are not some special almighty gods, nor we are in a particular privileged situation. We are just normal people like everyone else. The only difference is that we dream big. We don’t accept things as they are: when we don’t like them, we change them. But we don’t use any of our superpowers that people might think we have: we just work hard to live the life we want.

And you can too.

How to let go of things

A little while ago I wrote a post about minimalism which I was very happy about, however I realised that since posting it I’ve kind of changed my position around the subject. I still believe that minimalism is not necessarily about owning two t-shirts, but more about realising what’s important to you and surrounding yourself with possessions that make you happy rather than weigh you down.
When we moved into our Wellington apartment I felt satisfied with the amount of things I’d kept from London. I thought I actually needed all of them. However, over the past months, I’ve been feeling the need to downsize even more, and now not a day goes by without me going through my wardrobe and trying to get rid of one or two items.

I have to say it’s been getting easier and easier for me. However, as many other wannabe minimalists, I also have encountered the dilemma of the infamous bunch of things I’m emotionally attached to. My Grandma’s wool jumper, too big and itchy to wear; a pile of books I haven’t read yet and probably will never read; some prints stashed at the back of my wardrobe, because I don’t have enough walls to hang them; a bunch of old toys and knick-knacks that sit in a forgotten box, gathering dust. Basically, a whole lot of things that I never use or wear but that I feel too guilty to let go of.

In view of possibly travelling and/or moving at some point in the future, I decided I want to simply have less stuff. So here is my piece of advice I myself am trying to follow to let go of things.

  • The three piles
    If you have done even the tiniest research on how to become a minimalist, surely you’ve heard this one before. Gather your possessions and make three piles: things you keep, things you chuck, and things you’re not sure about. (This really works.)
    Now, you want to focus on the Things You’re Not Sure About pile. This is where I put all the things I’m emotionally attached to. Once they are all gathered, I make sure that this pile is hidden out of sight: under the bed, in a storage room, in the garden shed. If after a month I haven’t thought of or reached for any of those items, they get moved to the Things I Chuck pile, and they are out of my life.
  • Associate bad memories to things
    When it comes to something that I clearly don’t need or use and I do want to get rid of it yet I’m afraid I would miss it, I try to associate a bad memory to it. That way, I end up actually not being able to wait to get rid of that particular item, because why would you want to keep something that brings back sad memories anyway?
    (For me it normally works to associate ex boyfriends to stuff. If an ex boyfriend gave it to me, there’s no way I’m gonna miss it.)
  • Everything can be replaced
    Finally, if you do get rid of something and end up missing or needing it, remember that you can just get a new one. And if you think you really want that particular thing because it had an emotional value, try to dissociate the emotional value from it and see the item for its functional value instead. Do you miss that particular vase that your great-grand-auntie gave you? Surely you can find something else to put your flowers in. And the fact that you still remember your great-grand-auntie’s vase means you haven’t lost the memory of it.

Life updates & hairy legs

Good morning lovelies, I just thought I’d post a little update on what’s going on with my life because things happened and I need a recap – mainly for myself really, to be able to look back and remember that life is good even when things don’t go according to plans.

So, last week I had to leave my job. Again. (I must say I’m getting pretty good at it.) Long story short, this time the problem was that the whole working situation was getting a bit shady and I wanted to get myself out of it before getting into trouble. I believe I made the right decision.
But obviously this means I’m jobless again, and back into the game of job hunting. I thought I’d be stressed and frustrated, however –surprisingly- I’m not. I guess I’m quite enjoying the time off? I don’t know what it is, what I know is that the moment I walked away on my last day, a plan formed in my head.

I’m going to take this with philosophy. I’m not going to waste my time applying for jobs that I don’t really want. And I’m going to be honest and real with myself. What is it that I’m really passionate about? Books, writing, veganism, Zero Waste, dogs.
Great. Then I’m only going to apply for jobs within those areas. And if there are no jobs within those areas, I’m going to make one.

That’s right.

New Zealand is the best place to be if you want to start your own business. I’m not talking about setting up a whole company (although you totally can), I’m thinking more about maybe starting an online business, or making my writing more professional, or selling my art.
And look, I’m not afraid of saying it! I’ve always been mega paranoid about disclosing my passions and being honest about what I believe I’m good at, but let me tell ya, those days are GONE. I love how I managed to overcome my fears and finally be able to express how I actually feel about myself.

I feel I’ve grown a lot in the past months, and I’m really starting to like the person I’ve become. I might be broke and jobless, but I know what I want from life. And I’m less afraid of talking about it. I don’t feel ashamed of saying I want to be a dog sitter because I worry that people might think it’s not a “real job”. Who cares? In fact, I’ve also been giving remarkably fewer fucks.
I found this video yesterday and I realised, this is exactly what I’ve been doing for months, without knowing there’s a theory behind it! Needless to say, Sarah Knight is my new idol.

I guess all I’m trying to say is that I’m not going to let my lack of employment bring me down. I have a bunch of ideas, and I feel confident and productive. I know I am a worthy, overall nice individual and something good is going to happen to me. I am lucky and grateful to be where I am. Life is good, no matter what.

On a different note: I have hairy legs and the world hasn’t collapsed yet. But this post is getting too long already, so I’m going to update on my not-shaving situation another time. For now just know that it feels amazing.

Make Your Own – Face Cream

Good evening fellow readers, forgive my absence but I FOUND A JOB so now I have a little less time to plan my blog posts as well as way less energies to concentrate. But here I am now, with a shiny recipe on how to make your own face cream.

Disclaimer: I have dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin (yay). It’s always been super difficult for me to find a good face cream because all the anti-acne creams tend to make your skin even drier, and all the creams for dry skin don’t do anything for your pimples. So I did some research and designed this cream specifically for my skin type. Therefore it might not work for you!

Disclaimer #2: This recipe is 100% made up by me. I picked the ingredients and tried to mix them together. I am not a doctor nor a dermatologist so you’re more than welcome to try this at home but don’t blame me if something goes wrong.

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  • Coconut oil (optional)
    I thought I’d use coconut oil as a base, but I wouldn’t if I could go back. I already use coconut oil to wash my face and it leaves my skin very moisturised, so I don’t really feel the need to add more oil when I apply my face cream. Plus coconut oil makes the cream excessively oily, considering the second ingredient is shea butter. Don’t get me wrong: I still think it works great, however next time I make this cream I probably won’t use coconut oil.

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  • Raw shea butter
    It’s probably a better idea to use this as a base instead. Shea butter is a great moisturised for dry skin, it has a very thick texture and it absorbs quickly. I’ve used shea butter-based creams before and I really love the consistency and the smell.
    Buy it here.

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  • Jojoba oil
    Jojoba oil is known for its moisturising properties (on skin, hair, everything! I use it in my homemade shampoo as well), and it’s gentle on sensitive skin.
    Buy it here.

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  • Castor oil
    A naturally astringent, castor oil helps pull impurities from the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, and it acts as a barrier against the outside world’s harsh conditions, something you really want if you live in a place where you have nothing in between the sun and your face (hello New Zealand). I’m not sure about SPF, but it’s good to know you have some sort of sunscreen in your daily moisturiser.
    Careful: castor oil is very thick so you’ll only need a small amount. (Also, it smells like death).
    Buy it here.

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  • Vitamin E
    It’s never too early to start fighting those wrinkles. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which means it helps preventing tissue aging. Whoo!
    Buy it here.

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  • Witch hazel
    You’ll find witch hazel in a lot of face toners because of its soothing properties. My skin gets irritated easily and witch hazel is supposedly great for nourishing dry skin, as well as working as an anti-acne and fighting signs of aging.
    Buy it here.

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  • Zinc oxide
    Zinc oxide adds a little bit of sunscreen and helps fighting acne, too. It comes as a grainy powder but it is solubile so it will dissolve as lomg as you make sure you mix it in properly.
    Buy it here.

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Because I live in the middle of nowhere I had to buy all these ingredients online. I used iHerb (USA based) and GoNative (NZ based).
GoNative gives you the option to add a comment before placing your order, so I asked them to please use as little padding and packaging as possible, and to draw a unicorn on the box. They are now my favourite shop.

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iHerb was excellent in terms of delivery (it took less than 10 days to deliver from the States to New Zealand – trust me, that’s good), however I couldn’t find a way to ask them to minimise the packaging, so everything came in the usual styrofoam padding.

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The whole point of making your own face cream, beside knowing exactly what’s in it and customising it to meet your specific needs, is obviously to stop buying creams and body products that come in a plastic container. So when it came to purchasing the ingredients, I opted for the products that came in a glass container rather than a plastic bottle whenever I could (only coconut oil, castor oil, witch hazel are in glass, unfortunately).
The good news is that I’m pretty sure I can make multiple products out of the same ingredients, which overall are going to last me longer than a regular face cream. Also, I’m going to reuse the containers, and when it’s time to buy them again I’ll either reconsider the packaging, see if I can refill them rather than re-buy them, or I’ll just buy them in glass jars next time I’m in London (there’s much more variety there).

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