Blogging Goals

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So judging by my 8 month absence, my last post Stopping Shopping really meant Stopping Blogging?! Apologies for that, life has a way of slipping by if you don’t make plans and prioritise tasks and sadly blogging has definitely been pushed down my list this year.

During the last few months I have been making changes and focusing on my Vintage Etsy shop which has been both exciting and rewarding. On the other side of things I have also been dealing with annoying health issues.

For the last five years I have struggled with a serious of health concerns including thyroid disease and the onset of chronic migraines.  Suffice to say watching your weight fluctuate autonomously and experiencing chronic pain has not been fun but recently I feel I have finally gotten on top of things with new treatments and really exciting results.

My blogging plan is to well, blog! I  have an abundance of ideas for posts and really want to get stuck in! I am also thinking of changing platforms but will update more when the time comes.

See you around this little corner of the internet soon!

 

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Stopping Shopping: Or How to Be a More Mindful Consumer

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Over the last eighteen months I have gotten into the habit of just buying something if I liked it/ was bored/ was unhappy. Have a weekend without any plans? Go shopping!

All that this has really achieved is filling up my home with stuff, some fabulous, some poor quality and other items useless or hardly worn. Trends have always and will always change, vary, double back and start again.

I simply don’t need to have the latest of everything.

Is it coincidental that recently lots of trends are very me and I am in such a shopping mood? Or are the two things linked? Have there always been trends that suit me and I just haven’t felt the need to shop so much?

Yes, currently pink, or should I say ‘blush’, is having a major moment both in interiors and fashion but I have always worn pink even when it wasn’t fashionable to do so, and pink has always featured heavily in my home. Just because it is now fashionable does not mean I have to go overboard!

Recently during a conversation about furniture shopping, a friend made the point that our parents (baby boomers and early Gen X’s) and their parents alike would have deliberated, researched and saved for some time before decking out their homes with new furniture. They would have happily used the mismatched hand-me-down’s before making their purchases. We (late Gen X and beyond) happily replace our big ticket items when they’re no longer fashionable or, dare I say “Pinterest-worthy”. Now of course this doesn’t apply to everyone but it is not an unfair assumption… industries are built on it.

I think society’s obsession with image driven social media is a player in the rise of consumerism. I know personally I follow and watch bloggers and Youtubers “unbox” their latest “hauls” and ogle over their stylish flatlays featuring their newest “must have” acquisitions. Their six figure subscriber counts indicate I am not alone. Which really just leaves me asking myself “do I need any of this?”.

Let me give you an example, Anthropologie currently stocks a white and gold set of ceramic, hedgehog cup measures*. Whilst they are beautiful I have a very durable stainless steel set that have seen me through years of baking. Why do I want the hedgehogs? Well they’re 1. New, 2. Cute, 3. This seasons go-to metallic detail. Let’s be honest, stainless steel just doesn’t pull the Instagram likes the way gold does.

So what does this all mean?

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I have had the epiphany, I have fallen down the rabbit hole of Instant Gratification and am ready to get out (my brand new Kate Spade purse is relieved, and pink, but you knew that already…). Firstly I have, as is the tradition with these things, admitted I have a problem and by telling you am now accountable.

I have unsubscribed to shopping emails (Bando, I miss your emails already) and have plotted out a savings budget to see me through the year. I have put a temporary hold on my shopping habits and have entered a hiatus until June which marks the start of ‘Birthday Season’ in my family.

When I get the urge to shop or think of something I “need” I write it down in a Shopping List note on my phone. This list forces me to categorise items into Essential (think deodorant and probiotics), Non Essential (currently this includes a steam cleaner and a yoga mat), Saving Up (DSLR camera) and lastly Birthday Wish List (books, plants, Bando EVERYTHING). This system clearly highlights what I need (not much) and what I want (too much).

I have organised my wardrobe** and thanks to my recent shopaholic tendencies have a well-stocked collection of clothes including basics, workwear, fitness and fancy items as well as shoes and hats for all occasions. Unless those space suit ‘Outfits of the Future’ finally come into vogue I won’t need to shop for fashion this year.

I not only want to be a more mindful shopper for me, I want to be a more mindful giver as well. This year, instead of buying more and more stuff for my loved ones I am making a conscious effort to buy and make gifts that are meaningful such as photobooks of shared memories, potted plants or vouchers for experiences. Something they can enjoy which reveals I put more thought into it than a quick trip to the local Westfield.

Now I quite possibly will slip up and find myself amongst the white walls and curated shelves of my local Country Road*** petting the pretty silk blouses and drooling over the stack of striped tees and that’s ok, I am only human. I WILL however, learn from my mistakes and carry on.

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I am hoping these changes will lift my mindset out of this “Must Have” lifestyle I have wandered into. Of course I will continue reading and be inspired by interior design magazines and lifestyle blogs and I will no doubt still spend far too much time on Instagram and Pinterest.

But if I learn nothing else I hope it is to not let greed cloud inspiration, creativity and my personal style.

Please let me know if you have set yourself a similar goal or have attempted a similar change in your lifestyle. I would love to hear other perspectives!

Alicia

* In a recent trip to Anthropologie I carried these babies around for a good 10 minutes before putting them back. I was VERY proud of myself.

**I realise this is all sounding very Marie Kondo and must note I haven’t read her semi-religious tome. As of now I am unable to purchase it so it will either go onto the Birthday Wish List or perhaps I will get all 80’s and borrow it from the library.

***My absolute favourite store where in 2016 I proudly moved up the loyalty scheme ranks because of my exorbitant spending. Seriously 60% of my wardrobe is Country Road and I can’t tell if I’m happy or ashamed about that (awkward face emoji).

Quinoa and Spiced Chicken Salad

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This is the ultimate trans-seasonal salad that feels like a proper meal regardless of the weather. You have protein, carbs, good fats and flavour galore from the fresh herbs, juicy veg and wonderful warmth from the spices all in one bowl.

Think of this recipe as a blueprint you can easily create different, fun flavour combinations with. Some of my favourites include;

  • Swap the chicken for grilled, sliced mushrooms cooked with garlic and chilli
  • Crowd in more veg such as warm broccoli, snow peas and grated/spiralised carrot
  • Add in some fresh, homemade pineapple chutney (recipe coming soon)
  • Trade the spinach for massaged kale or rocket
  • Take your chicken on a globe trotting adventure by swapping the spices for –
    • Chilli, soy and toasted sesame oil
    • Garlic, ginger, lemon and honey
    • Fresh Basil, garlic and balsamic vinegar

This salad also travels well and is super tasty chilled, fresh from the fridge. Perfect for packed lunches at work.

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Pretty Pursuits

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It’s Friday eve, we’ve nearly made it guys! The sweet smell of the weekend is in the air and to tide us over I have some photos from my recent trip to the Sydney Flower Markets.

I have the honour of being a bridesmaid for my wonderful friend Mel whose wedding is in August next year. Our first bridesmaid event was a fun weekend of wedding dress shopping (we found THE ONE) and a very pretty trip to the flower market for inspiration.We’re planning on buying the fresh flowers for the wedding and making our posies ourselves.

One wintery Saturday morning, a car load of chatty girls set off to explore the winter floral options on show at the colourful and chaotic markets… We were not disappointed.

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Happy weekend xx

 

Etsy Shop Update

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Hi guys,

My Etsy shop, Earle May Vintage has been stocked this past weekend with a collection of vintage maps, bar cart goodies and a few other bits and pieces I have been collecting for some time.

As a vintage lover (there is a thrift store beside my local coffee bar so obviously I go vintage shopping regularly) I hope the Earle May Vintage collection goes to good homes and is used and admired for years to come.

Happy shopping,

Alicia xx

Bathroom Renovation – It’s All Coming Together

We have been sans shower for almost a month!

It feels like luxe camping where we have to jump in the car and drive to our (very kind) friends house to shower every evening then head back to our super dusty home. Boy, I can’t wait until the room is finished because renovating is sooo dusty!!! But really I am enjoying watching our plans turn into reality day by day.

I thought I would share some during photos with you of our bathroom renovation. I have loved coming home from work every day and peering into our bathroom as it changes from scary 80’s, mouldy nightmare into a gorgeous monochrome beauty like I had dreamed of in my Bathroom Moodboard Post.

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The shower area with the handheld shower head. We have two large shower heads coming from the ceiling that are to be installed after we paint.

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The Ikea Godmorgon vanity with a ceramic double sink.

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Turning 27

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Little blonde me and my childhood bestie, Bindi. The only reason she let me sit on her was because she was tied up and looking none too pleased about it!

Someone over 30 will sigh and roll their eyes when I exclaim I’m getting old.

If you ask someone under 25 they will agree with me. 27 IS OLD! It’s nearly 30 which is nearly 50 which is nearly 80. I am basically turning 80 tomorrow!!

Tomorrow I will be more late twenties than mid twenties and NOWHERE NEAR early twenties. My grey’s will continue to expand their hairy real estate and my early morning, pillow face wrinkles will loose the word ‘pillow’ and just become regular old wrinkles.

But if I am being totally honest with myself I think I am ok about getting older. I haven’t achieved all I had planned to at the age of 18 but looking back at 18 year old me she was scared. I am not.

Yes I could be fitter and read that pile of books beside my bed. I could be more spontaneous and save more money but I can only do what I can do (which today turns out to be watching the Kardashian’s and eating Caramello Koala’s whilst sprawled out on the lounge).

Who knows what the future holds. All I know is I am surrounded by awesome people who will help me when I need it and forever make me happy regardless how grey haired and wrinkly I get (which hopefully isn’t too much…that is why we spend so much money on skincare right?!)

So wherever you are I hope you have a wonderful week and if you see yourself in the mirror give yourself a high five because you’re doing great.*

Alicia xx

*Just check first in case someone is watching – Last week I was sprung Snap Chatting with the puppy filter in the car… It was a bit embarrassing!

 

 

Banana Chocolate Breakfast Bread

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Containing no gluten, dairy or refined sugar my banana bread is incredibly filling and energy packed to help you kick start your day or give it a 4pm boost.

This recipe started out as the banana bread in Madeleine Shaw’s book Get the Glow. Over time I have made some changes because well, I‘m not the best at sticking to a recipe.

At home it has become a Sunday ritual to bake banana bread ready for a weeks’ worth of breakfasts for myself and my partner (he is NOT into healthy eating but absolutely loves this recipe, helpful to know if you’re trying to convert a sugar monster!).

This recipe is super easy you just whizz everything up in a food processer and pop it in the oven, just what a Sunday afternoon of meal prepping needs. The result is a very dense, moist and rich loaf that will really fill you up.

Please be sure to tag me on Instagram @aliciajohnston5 in your banana bread recreations and let me know what you think!

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Bathroom Renovation – Moodboard

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The bathroom renovation is in full swing around here with builders, tilers and tonnes of dust traipsing though the house everyday for the last two weeks.

There was no doing things in halves when it came to the bathroom. We have gutted EVERYTHING including the walls and ceiling as they were asbestos. All fittings and cabinetry have been taken out and we currently have a completely clean slate with which to fill with some very gorgeous pieces.

As the bathroom is very thin (I can touch both sides with my arms outstretched) it was really important to maximise the feeling of space so white subway tiles with white grout will cover all walls allowing the walls to recede and the room seem larger.

For flooring some very fabulous, large format, charcoal grey, hexagon tiles will cover the floor. I was so thrilled to be able to afford the floor tiles as they were WAY over our budget until a helpful 50% off sale came along!

I decided on a very modern style for the bathroom with a slight Scandinavian feel implied though the details such as a Design Letters Cup as the toothbrush holder and some cute Ferm Living bathroom accessories.

Our home is very midcentury vintage with a white, grey, black colour scheme and accent colours of duck egg blue, pink and small splashes of yellow. The bathroom will definitely be following along with these colours but with a more modern edge.

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Our bathroom does double duty as a laundry, pre reno this was done very poorly (see this Bathroom Renovation – Before post) but we want to be more savvy with the space and are turning our large linen cupboard into a laundry cupboard complete with washing machine, bench space, laundry sink and storage space.

Having a functional mini laundry is something I am really looking forward to. I guess there is no hiding the fact I’m getting old!! haha

We are still a few weeks off the finished product and I have a list of products to source (front loader washing machine, non-ugly laundry hamper) but just knowing our beautiful bathroom is slowly becoming a reality is very exciting indeed!

Alicia xx

Bathroom Renovation – Before

I feel this post requires a warning.

The images contained within this post will make your eyes hurt.

Now you can’t say you haven’t been warned!

Three years have almost passed since we signed the papers and bought our first home. While looking for a first home we had a wish list including must haves and dream items that our ideal home would include.

  • Hard wood floors
  • Renovated kitchen
  • Renovated bathroom
  • Outdoor entertaining area
  • Period features
  • Big backyard (for our area at least)
  • Space for a mancave
  • Fireplace

Our home ticked off a few of the items and had potential to fulfil a few more with a little saving and renovating. One of the most pressing (and expensive) projects on the wish list was the bathroom.

Every night I have showered at home in this mouldy, apricot bathroom/laundry nightmare in the last three years have involved me dreaming of our new bathroom.

Once you see the before photos I am sure you will understand…

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