Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I have no qualms about re-gifting.

But I want to understand why people find it so irksome and embarrassing. Is it because they don't want to seem stingy? Or is it because it's not a personalised gift?

I don't understand the fuss, really. Someone gives you something you don't need or like. You say "thank you", you pretend you like it, then you keep it and store it for the rest of your life because re-gifting seems rude and you don't want to offend the Giver.

This is illogical to me.

Why not give it to someone else, who will like it, use it and not WASTE it.

It's the thought that counts, right? Yes, I have received your thoughts of love and generosity... and now I can move the gift along to someone who will actually use it, and I don't have to store it. I have stored the warm feelings on the inside :)

Things I have re-gifted:

1. Books - If I already have it, I'm not going to keep it just to not offend!

2. Jewellery - It's such a personal thing with jewellery. Even Husband gets it wrong sometimes ;) I usually ask someone if they want it.

3. Perfume - I don't wear perfume anymore.

4. Baby stuff - too small or double-ups.

5. Platters - I got given 17 platters for my Engagement party. I don't need 17 platters!

6. Dessert wine - Too sweet.

7. Purse - Not my colour. Too small.

Now, the problem with this post is that from now on, all the gifts I give to my friends, they are going to wonder if it has been re-gifted!!

Special thanks to my friend Marinka for post idea.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Travelling with Two Undies: is it possible?

Image from practialhacks.com

I love travel packing lists.

I am always reading them and dreaming about a 6 week train trip across the Darjeeling in India.

And this leads me to...travel underwear! I came across a few people recommending ExOfficio underwear on Travel Forums.

Their tagline is: 17 countries. 6 weeks. One Pair of Underwear. Ok, Maybe Two.

I've ordered one on ebay to give it a trial run. I'll keep you posted.

You may think this is crazy, but really, how many do you wear at any given time? One. And how many spares do you need? One. Wash one, wear one. One plus one is Two.

P.S Husband thinks I'm absolutely Mad for going to Korea with two undies. I never said that I was Normal when we got married ;)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Minimising Toys on Travels

Image from wired.com

I am aiming at taking three backpacks so I will work towards minimising toys to take on this trip:

1. A small bag of lego for my son (aged 5). It will amuse him (and his Dad :p ) for hours. (1)

2. Colouring-in books, writing books, pencils, textas and stickers for the plane trip. (3)

3. I am considering taking the ipad to play games, look at photos & videos, listen to music and stories. (1)

4. Bedtime friends: a little dog for son, and a doll for daughter. (2)

5. Books: as they are heavy, can't take too many. And I would like to bring back some Korean kids books. So I might take 6. 3 each. Plus a kids Bible. (7)

6. I like the idea of taking fly swats (clean & new!) and a couple of ballons to amuse the kids at airports if we have to wait. They can play badminton. (2)

7. A small collection of kitchen things e.g. tea set. They like playing "house" and "restaurant". (1)

8. Torches: not exactly a toy, but still very useful and it's fun to play with light. Packing extra batteries. (2)

Total no. of items: 19.

Yikes! It's not very Minimal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Minimising your Toiletry Bag

Image from styleceo.com

The best thing I have bought to take on holidays and weekend aways is a Nalgene travel kit. I think I got the tip from onebag.com (see my post here).

You squeeze small amounts of shampoo, conditioner, and sunscreen into these little travel bottles, drastically reducing the size of your toiletry bag. Sure it's a little bit of a hassle doing this, and labelling the different bottles (actually I enjoy this), but it's more of a hassle lugging around a giant toiletries bag that is the size of a small suitcase.

You can purchase these travel kits from camping stores. I got mine for about $12.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Minimalist Medicine Kit

Image from addons.eventscripts.com

I remember reading about a backpacker who was on the road for some months, she had two film canisters (remember those?) as her medical kit.

In it she had something like 2 safety pins, 2 asprin, 2 Imodium tablets, and 2 bandaids.

As much as I would like to travel lightly like this (!), I cannot, as I have a little family to look after.

Packing for 2 weeks trip:
Panadol & Nurofen (plus Dispensers)
Bandaids & Antiseptic cream
Panadol (adults) & Cold & Flu tablets
Paw paw ointment & Saline
Safety pins & Tweezers
Hand sanitary gel

There are other things I could pack like scissors, gloves, instant cold pack, gauze pads and tape. But I'm going to Korea and you can get most of those things there! I just want to travel light, and to get-by until we can get help if there's a more serious injury.

For now, lots of Winnie the Pooh and Transformer Bandaids will suffice. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kids clothes: WWAMD (What Would A Minimalist Do?)

One thing you have TONS of when you have kids, besides a TON of plastic toys, is clothes. You do need more than the "normal adult range" obviously, with mess, play dough, paint, spillage etc. But you also don't need triple built-in wardrobes in their rooms to stock all their stuff!!

This is, what I think, is a good amount for my kids. If you have younger kids, you might need a few extra.

2 year old girl:

6 tops
6 bottoms
4 jackets
4 dresses
10 undies
6 singlets
6 socks & 3 stockings
2 pyjamas (plus warm suit for cold winter nights)
1 swimmers
3 hats
3 shoes

I have a very generous friend who has three daughters. She gives me all her stuff. And I have a few friends with daughters 6 months younger than Miss M. So the clothes keep getting passed on. Awesome! For my pocket and for the environment. Double win.

It IS nice to buy NEW quality clothing for kids, but at the end of the day, for me, mess is more important to make (in learning, in playing, in trying new things), than looking good and clean in new clothes. And I think I would fuss way more if they had expensive clothes :)

So my personal preference is good quality second hand clothes.

5 year old boy:

6 tops
6 bottoms
4 jackets
10 undies
10 socks
4 singlets
2 pyjamas
1 swimmers
2 hats
3 shoes

All of this fits into a small set of drawers I picked up at Vinnies for $20. If I had time, I would paint it and paint the insides of the drawers in bright colours. e.g. your socks go in the red drawer, your shirts in the yellow drawer.

But at the moment, I'm embracing the "shabby chic (eco)" look.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Simple Camping Recipes

We have been camping now for three years with littlies. Every time we go, I try to simplify the food. Lots of canned soup. Still, it is absolutely fantastic to wake up to a pancakes breakfast one day and bacon & eggs on another. So we must take those!!

Bacon & eggs
Pancakes (with lemon & sugar)

Simple sandwiches - jam & peanut butter
Ham & pesto sandwiches

Nice cheese, rice crackers
Tiny Teddies (special treats for the kids) & marshmallows
Apples, Passionfruit, Canned fruit
Nuts, dried fruit
Milo (chocolate milk)

Spaghetti bolognaise - freeze the sauce from home (or use jar)
Sausages & BBQ Lamb
Canned soup
Instant curry or jja jjang sauce with rice

salt & pepper
tomato sauce, olive oil
tea & coffee

wine, juice, milk, UHT milk

Something about the fresh air and being out in the wilderness...Everything tastes absolutely delicious and you eat a lot more than usual!

Camping pics

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Minimalist Camping

OK, technically, camping is not exactly Minimalist.

However, I would argue that when you are camping, life suddenly becomes very very simple. You are not busy. You are not going out to cafes and restaurants. You are not shopping. You are not checking your emails. You are not driving a car. You are not going anywhere!

You are There, and you are enjoying the green space, eating simple meals, and spending Time with your loved ones. Lots of time!

Life is pared back and simple.

You are swimming, sleeping, looking up at the stars, starting a camp fire, reading a book, having a cup of tea and playing with your kids.

So yes, you have LOTS of gear to pack. But that minor point aside, once you are there, it's Simple. So I would say that camping is a Minimalist Holiday.

This is our packing list: (thanks to the Saunders Family).

tent, bunks, sleeping bags, sheets, cot
table, food cupboard, folding chairs
buckets, cooking gear, gas lighter, wine tumblers, containers
scourer, paper towel, tea towels, dish liquid
hammock, picnic blanket
frisbee, ball, cards, beach toys, tea set
walkies, mobile

Day clothes, hats, jumpers
swimming bag, swimmers, floaties, beach towel
thongs, sneakers

2 toiletries bags
sunscream, toothbrushes, soap
bath towels, wipes, nappies, plastic bags
first aid

Car trip
drink bottles, sandwiches, nibblies
pillows, bedtime friends

Of course, we look completely dishevelled by the end of the two weeks. But we are refreshed, energerised and have created some amazing family memories. That's why we love it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Minimalist Travels

Image from Hypebeast.com (Japanese mountaineering backpacks: hobo)

I'm heading for a short OS holiday at the end of the year. I wonder if I can do it with four backpacks. Actually, it's gotta be three. One large for Huband, one medium one for me, one small one for the 5 year old.

I can't imagine my 2 year old girl carrying too much!

We are not swimming/beaching so that eliminates swimmers and bulky beach towels. And thongs. And it's mild Autumn weather so I won't need thick jackets and coats.

This is what I will be taking:

3 shirts, 2 pants, 1 jacket
3 undies, 1 pyjamas
3 socks, 2 shoes

5 year old boy
5 shirts, 5 pants, 2 jackets
7 undies, 1 pyjamas
7 socks, 2 shoes
1 hat

2 year old girl
5 shirts, 5 pants, 3 jackets
7 undies, 1 pyjamas
7 socks, 2 shoes
1 hat

shampoo, conditioner, comb
toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
contacts, solution
glasses, sunglasses
facewashers, hankerchief, towels
nail clippers, deodrant, paw paw
cleanser, moisturiser, sunscreen

Bible, book, notebook, diary, pen
camera, charger
wallet, cash
passport, travel documents

Kids related
water bottles, snacks
nappies, wipes
pram, cotton wrap, cot sheet
medicine kit
toys, books, games, bedtime friends
colouring in books & pencils & stickers (for the plane trip)

I wonder if I can fit all this into three backpacks.

And as much as I would like to pack for Husband, he tells me he is a grown man and can pack for himself. :)