Simple pleasures

farm

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”  ~ John Burroughs

Are you suffering from Broken Robot Syndrome?  If so, I have some ideas to help you heal, and to reconnect with yourself and the world around you.

Life doesn’t have to be complicated to be satisfying.  In fact, most of the things that I enjoy cost little or nothing. Down here at my farm I don’t need to look far to indulge in some of life’s simple pleasures. A glass of fresh orange juice from fruit grown in our orchard, or a simple salad with ingredients straight from the garden.

Juicing oranges

A long hot bath after I’m tired and muddy from a ramble through the paddocks.

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Fresh flowers – from a friend’s garden or my own – in jars, old vases and teapots around the house.  These ones are actually weeds and vegetables gone to seed…

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Lying in bed on Sunday morning, leafing through one of my seed catalogues, dreaming about what I will plant for the next season’s harvest.

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The feel of soft green grass beneath my feet as I sit on a lawn chair under a leafy tree, throwing the ball for the dogs to chase.

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Sitting on the veranda having cups of tea with friends.

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Time with a needlepoint project. (Have you signed up for my 2013 Creative Challenge yet?)

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Listening to a favourite CD as I do the washing up.

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A really good coffee and time for writing. Okay, I admit that empty plate did have a fantastic Chausson aux Pommes on it from one of my favourite French Patisseries at one stage…

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Watching the new calf frolicking.

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The main ingredients for simple pleasures are these: Slowing down, Awareness and Appreciation.  You might be surrounded by things that could give you pleasure but you won’t notice them if you’re always working, worrying, constantly updating your status on facebook, tweeting, texting, surfing the web, or ear glued to the phone.

Today and in the week ahead I invite you to take a deep breathe, slow down, unplug and pay attention to the world around you. What nurtures you?  What feeds your soul? What can you do to bring these simple pleasures back into your life.

Feel free to leave your ideas for simple pleasures below, where it can inspire and nurture others here in our community too.  Wishing you some simple pleasures today, Nicole xx

A little piece of Europe…

This beautiful fresco of Provence by Liana Sofia Tumino

 “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”  – Henry Miller

Australia is a long way from anywhere.  You don’t just pop across the border to another country on a Sunday drive. You can’t be anywhere else in an hour or two’s plane flight.

So when I feel like travelling, I visit places where the food and the atmosphere transport me.

One of my favourite haunts is a little place in New Farm, Brisbane, called Chouquette. It’s a French boulangerie patisserie with wonderful coffee and a tantalising range of pastries, cakes and breads.

Since my first trip to Europe in 2010 I have come to appreciate Chouquette even more. It really does does feel European, it is well supported by Brisbane’s French community, and I have often sat and listened to the melodic French hum of chatter around me and imagined myself to be in France.

Of course the other bonus is that it opens at 6.30am. Perfect for an early riser like me.

I like to take my journal or even my small laptop, grab a latte and a Chausson aux Pommes (puff pastry filled with apple), and do some writing. Cafe writing is another of my favourite things. Writing can be such a solitary pursuit, and when you write in cafes not only are you reconnected to the world – there is the added bonus of someone else doing the cooking, and the dishes!

You really need to see what’s inside this gorgeous creation. Nom, nom, nom, the things I do in the name of blogging…

There are many sweet treats to buy as gifts for friends, or bribes for myself. And their bread? Their bread deserves a post of its own! (And that’s a winner of an idea for me because I get to go back again. All for you, dear reader…).

There is something magical about a place that feels transported from another clime. I love to soak up the French atmosphere, and be reminded of my travels. The sense of being somewhere other than Australia also pervades my writing. I’ll sometimes go to Chouquette if I am thinking about certain characters or scenes because it seems to help get me into the right head-space. Some breakfast, some words on the page, a loaf or two of their fine bread for my basket as I am heading out the door and it’s always a wonderful start to my day. Au revoir  ♥ xx