Highs & Lows

air plant crochet poufs

Wow, what a week and a half! It’s been tough lately, my body hasn’t been feeling up to scratch and I’ve aggravated some existing muscular-related issues that’s caused some epic migraines. Last Thursday, I had to drag myself home from the train station and collapsed into bed at 9.30pm, because my right temple was hurting so much.

It was killer. And a massive life pooper. I wanted to blog, work on the redesign, list up more products on the Etsy store, crochet… so many things! But I simply didn’t have the energy to do any of it. I just wanted and needed to sleep. So last week was a write off, sorry guys for being MIA.

I’m determined to restart the engines this week. Start off fresh and get the energy up all around, who’s with me?

Given I’m in a bit of a penseive state of mind, I have this urge to get all frank about this thing called blogging. And what makes me continue doing it.

I think deep down, all bloggers have their low and high periods. Sometimes you love it to pieces and get all warm and fuzzed up with all this amazing inspiration exploding inside your mind. Other times you hate it and wished you just didn’t have to deal with its existence. Know what I’m talking about? It’s okay, I’m the same. And it’s not the end of the world. I don’t think this makes you a ‘bad’ blogger. This is perfectly normal. You’re always going to have highs and lows with everything: relationships, hobbies, business ideas, food preferences… why would your blog be any different?

If you find that you dwell in the lows more often than the highs, then maybe that’s a sign that something’s not quite right. Maybe what you’re blogging about isn’t the right topic for you. Maybe other life events are affecting you and it’s just bad timing. Or maybe blogging itself isn’t for you. At the end of the day, you might just need a helping hand to work through it. Don’t be afraid to ask for it.

So I’ll admit that one time last week, I was stuck in one of these negative periods. If only for a few minutes. This doesn’t happen very often, so I normally get to the reason before I let it drag on emotionally. Plus I know that I get too pumped up too often about the blog. All the positive feelings completely outweigh the negatives. By heaps!

Gareth has been recently claiming that I love my blog more than I love him. Someone’s definitely jealous right there. But seriously, hearing him say this made me realise how much it’s true. I do love it. This blog is my soul, my feelings, my ideas, an extension of my passions… and everything in between.

At the end of the day, I love it. I love blogging.

Helarious is just over two years old and I’ve never been more inspired and excited about it. I don’t have plans to pause blogging any time soon, so you’ll be seeing more of me around town guys.

And seriously, you there, thanks for reading. I’m touched every time when you make it all to the end and I don’t even know that who you are. (Another reason why I love the Internet). But really, it’s awesome people like you that make blogging that little bit more special :)

To cap it all off, I hope you all have a lovely week, filled with inspiration, love and laughter!

x Helen

PS. I crocheted these air plant poufs in the photo above last Saturday. I am so in love with them, they are adorable even if I say so myself! They’re addictive so I plan on making more and listing some up! What do you guys think of them, I’d love to know!

30 Before 30

Today at dinner, I realised that I’m slowly growing older and turning into a middle aged woman! (Thanks Gareth…) That’s so crazy considering it only feels like “a couple of years ago”, that I was on study exchange living in Paris…. and procrastinating studying for uni exams…. and living at home.

Time sure flies by and as you all know, I love making lists and goals every year. So I think it’s high time that I make a more challenging one: 30 things to do before I’m 30.

30 before 30

My original inspiration for this list came from a fellow blogger friend of mine, Theresa. She did hers a while ago and also provided an update on it last year! (I think it’s time for another update T!!)

….and okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve had this list for about a year now - it’s just been living in my blog drafts and I’ve been slowly adding to and changing parts of it. So that’s why you’ll see some of them have already been done, in the past year. I’ve been scared to make it ‘official’ by posting it up, since it means that you can point to it and ask “Helen, have you done this yet?" - eek, that scares me…. but I got over it! :)

So I’ve got 4.5 years before I’m 30 and by the end of it, I’d love to say I’ve…

1. Done a floristry course

2. Mastered modern calligraphy, to the point where I can create flourishes and styled lettering without hesitation! 

3. Created an awesome video from scratch, with music

4. Come up with a cool idea and built a website or app for it 

5. Made a grand cake with fondant + decorative floral art

6. Learned to ride a bike and am able to confidently ride on bike trails/roads (in progress)

7. Swum 1km freestyle, without stopping

8. Got an effective fitness regime that I stick to and practise regularly

9. Visited Japan

10. Maintained my french language skills and finished reading at least one of my french fiction novels I originally purchased in 2009/10.

11. Worked whilst living overseas for at least a year

12. Perfected making macarons (in progress)

13. Gone on a yoga retreat of minimum 3 days

14. Got a mortgage

15. Tried out acupuncture image I had ~6 sessions for my back and neck issues, but it didn’t really do much for me. Willing to try again with a different acupuncturist, if anyone has a good rec!

16. Fixed up my neck/upper back/shoulder issue, long-term (in progress)

17. Built up this blog, Helarious, and have been featured somewhere that I admire

18. Got a tattoo

19. Sold something I’ve made at a market image Lime Tree Bower terrariums at Lonely Hunter markets in December 2013!

20. Built a wooden table all by myself

21. Got a pet dog!

22. Completed at least five courses online, on anything (in progress 1/5 - Calligraphy on Skillshare)

23. Successfully grown tomatoes from seed image Now I just need to grow big, fat ones!

24. Gotten back into using my sewing machine regularly

25. Begun learning how to play a musical instrument, like a guitar maybe?

26. Met up with the best friend in the flesh, somewhere! image Earlier this year for her wedding in Sydney!

27. Managed to do an unsupported wheel pose in yoga

28. Found at least one charity that I’m passionate about and give back somehow! image Room to Read via initiatives at work, and the International Humanity Foundation where I sponsor a Kenyan girl.

29. Gone on a sabbatical, lasting for six months minimum

30. Built up Lime Tree Bower and have products in a retail store

Wow. So many big dreams and wishes… this is probably crazy but you gotta start somewhere right? 

My aim is to provide an update once a year where I reassess what’s on my list and check in with progress.

What would be on your list?

Image credit: Unsplash

Head & Heart

head and heart

Last month was a major blog changer. I spent quite a bit of time leaning into this blog. One of the outputs from that exercise resulted in the creation of a new post that I had originally captioned Helen’s Highlights.

Like I mentioned in that post, I yearned a more personal touch from the blogging world and this was my attempt at doing my part in the blogosphere.

Since publishing the first edition of it, I was so happily surprised by the amount of positive feedback and enthusiasm received from readers and other bloggers. Thank you guys!! I didn’t expect this and it was humbling to know that you guys liked to read what I had to write and share.

One of my goals this year is to collaborate more online. In particular over the past two months, I’ve become increasingly amazed at the talent and kindness of other creatives and bloggers who openly share their thoughts and art. This has really inspired me to give back and be even more involved in the blogging community.

So I’ve done away with my original name for this personal series. It’s no longer Helen’s Highlights (yep, it was pretty corny, I’ll admit) and I’ve renamed it: 

Head & Heart.

What is it in a nutshell?

"A monthly capture of my feelings and doings, in the raw".

And this is where I’d love for you all to join me in this! Make it a habit to stop once a month, reflect on the passing of the past 30 days and reveal a more personal side of yourself on your own blog.

Let’s keep each other accountable and build more community, whilst finding more about what we’re all thinking and feeling amongst the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.

The idea is simple. Post your version of Head & Heart within the first seven days of each month. What to include within:

  • What I’ve been grateful for
  • What I’ve been thinking about
  • What I’m excited for
  • What I’ve been doing
  • What I’ve been reading
  • What I’ve been spending money on

You can have a look at my first ‘version’ as an example.

I’ll include one of those link-up tools at the bottom of my post at the start of each month, where you’ll be able to add a link to your post. So we should eventually have all of them in the one spot, it’ll be grand!

I do hope you’ll join me! :]

x Helen

Helen’s Highlights | April 2014

This weekend, I finally took some time out to sit down and clear my head about a few things. This blog is one of my passions and I love spending time on it, but lately I’ve felt like I’ve got so much going on in my head (bloging tasks, post ideas) that it’s about to burst.

I decided it was time to take action: I wrote down everything that was in my head. I then listed out the types of posts that I currently blog about, how they fit into my passions and then areas that are missing that I’d like to start up. Simply the process of going through this routine helps me evaluate priorities and come to realise what is missing and what I need to start doing. By the end of it, I had a plan that got me really excited - oh and also the catalyst behind the birth of this new monthly column: Helen’s Highlights.

I love how personal the nature of blogging is - you can talk and share about anything. Lately, I’ve been secretly yearning for a more personal touch from a lot of the lifestyle / creative blogs that I read. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love beautiful photos and creative ideas shared online (heck, this is what Helarious is all about), but I do think that a post from the heart and brains of the person behind the blog outside of the standard colourful DIYs and mouthwatering recipes, is a fresh read. Some folks that I think do this particularly well include Megan Gilger, Latrina McNeill and Kate Ulman - follow them if you don’t already, seriously. 

So this post is my version of what I’m looking for. It’s not going to be perfect, I’ll probably ramble some times and share too many useless things the others, but it’s all genuine me 100%: my headspace and my heart in a blog post, month to month. I really hope you guys enjoy reading it :)

What I’ve been grateful for:

  • My life right now. Living in Sydney, living well with accessibility to all the things I need to be happy and healthy. Sydney is such a beautiful city, it’s got the perfect mix of cityscapes, seascapes and woodland and the weather is fantastic when you compare it to a lot of other areas. I’m not living in my dream home or suburb but I’ve got all I need to keep busy and stay creative, plus having a car makes things incredibly easy. So I’m happy overall - sometimes the little things get the better of me in particular moments or days, but when I take a step back, I smile :)
  • Family love! Having experienced the death of a close relative for the first time earlier this month, it’s made me appreciate my family bonds so much more than usual. Quality family time is everything and I’ve spent basically half a month all up with them lately, which has just been so, so nice!
  • Not waking up everyday thinking about how I don’t want to go to work. I’ve had that feeling before and I can tell you, if it becomes a regular occurrence, you need to stop and do something about it. I haven’t experienced that feeling for quite some time and I am so grateful that I’m in a job that makes me smile.
  • David Wall. He is a massage therapist that I’ve just started seeing and whilst I’ve only had one treatment session with him so far, things are looking up. Finally!? I’ve been suffering on/off over the past several years with neck, shoulder and back issues that have all been inter-related. I’ve also seen countless physios and had too many massages to count, but nothing has helped in the long term. I gave up towards the end of last year but I decided to give it one more go after reading all the positive reviews about David - known locally for his myofascial release and wholistic massage approach. I’m not yet completely recovered but I’m grateful that things are looking up and for the next session I have with him later this month.

What I’ve been thinking about:

  • The Sydney housing market and whether it’s going to burst soon. Pretty please? We’re looking to combine-purchase something but the current ongoing rises in housing prices is absolutely insane. Everything is so overpriced. I know analysts are saying it’s going to finally calm down, but is it? And when?  
  • The Australian budget and the news that will come with it. It’s not going to be good and I don’t understand the constant obsession with being in a ‘deficit”. It’s not always a bad thing to have a little debt!
  • How comedians actually come to have their own talk show. Like Jimmy Fallon!
  • Whether my minimalist terrariums are not minimalist enough? I recently held a terrarium workshop for two and I was so surprised that they used only one colour to decorate their terrariums. The mini marimo terrariums I sell are also more minimalist then what I would normally go for, but it’s my best seller!
  • Joseph Gordon Levitt and his amazing résumé of skills

What I’m excited for:

  • Tulips season!! I’ve planted two sets of many more varieties to come. I’m seriously hoping to be covered with tulips this year!
  • A complete makeover of Helarious. I’ve been annoyed at the look and feel of the blog for some time now, little things here and there…. it’s time for a big change!
  • Winter is coming!! This equates to boot, woollen coats, thick scarves!
  • Adding more products to the Lime Tree Bower range. I’ve got a shortlist of ideas to expand the range and I can’t wait to get into it this month.
  • Having another session with David Wall
  • A new blogging collaboration with Kevin from Thou Swell

What I’ve been doing:

What I’ve been reading:

What I’ve been spending money on:

  • New bed linen - you know that feeling when you fall on some quality bed linen? yeah…..
  • A smart kettle with various temperatures for tea types
  • White polymer clay for some new shop ideas
  • New yarn to replenish stock and add more colours and variety! This happens once a year - I love it!!

Now, if you’re still reading this far, I’m speechless… thank you!! I didn’t use a shiny photo as a headliner to catch your eye and I’m not an award-winning writer either, so I’m particularly humbled that I’ve still got your attention! 

What are you grateful for? If you have a moment, take some time to reflect on your past month and let’s get personal together!