My purpose in writing today was to share some things that are inspiring me right now, but sitting in front of my laptop this morning all I feel is Summertime Sadness. It’s that tough time of year here in Melbourne…Aussie Winter. Most of you who live in other parts of the world probably think, Aussie Winter…how bad can that be? You all still wear shorts and go to the beach right? Wrong…that is a myth. I seriously used to think that before I moved here from the UK nearly 15 years ago. They never wore overcoats on Neighbours and Home and Away so it’s never cold right? Wrong. Sure we don’t get serious cold..what I consider serious cold as a Northerner (Northern Hemisphere) anyway. Yes there are days you can go out without a coat…but it is mostly bracing beach weather, not sunbathing at this time of the year.
The thing I find the hard about Winter here in Melbourne is that it is so BORING! To be fair the city do their best to try to cheer us up with Winter distractions, but there are no traditional events like Halloween, Bonfire Night or Christmas to break this season up. For me it feels like living 3 months straight in the doldrums, with only the joys of the end of Financial Year tax time (end June) to spice it up. I know I am being a whinging Pom, but keeping your mindset on track at this time of year is so much more challenging, don’t you think?
When you live in the Northern Hemisphere Christmas lights add sparkle to those dark Winter nights. We are brought up on the idea of cosy nights in front of the fire and festive parties as you work towards the end of the year. It’s socially acceptable to hibernate. It may even snow…though when it actually happens its more nuisance than magic. January in the UK is tough and I don’t miss that at all. January is why we all move to Australia!, but we have tactics to deal with it. Us Brits live for the hope in our Summer holidays…we know we aren’t guaranteed hot weather, maybe a week when Wimbledon is on if we are lucky, so we book a trip away. We give ourselves that thing in the future to keep us going through those chilly Winter days.
Here in Australia everything happens at one time of the year….Aussie Summer (December-February). The school year ends in December, so everyone takes their Summer holidays in January & December so booking a holiday is SO busy and SO expensive. We really only have the choice to holiday in Australia, because the rest of the world is bloody freezing. Christmas is right in the middle of the school Summer holidays, so we have to get past that before we can finally relax into Summer. In Australia the 1st of February feels like our New Year, when Summer officially ends and the schools go back, still in the middle of Summer. Yes we may still get a few 40 degree days and the kids are going back to school sweating in their uniforms at 30 degrees at 8am, but Summer is officially over. Back to life.
If you are through the school years you may be lucky enough to squeeze in a holiday in the beautiful Aussie Autumn (my favourite Aussie season), as long as you don’t get caught up in the worldwide goal setting panic mindset for the New Year and manage to ignore that pressure to be a better, more productive, more acceptable version of ourselves this coming year. Taking a holiday at this time of the year is a real act of rebellion as you of course risk potentially ruining your prospects for the whole coming year because you are behind the goal setting deadlines….just me? Haha
Cashed up Aussies holiday in Winter…June-September. They/we swap the chill and short days for a short break living the European dream…whilst the whole of the rest of Europe also on holiday. Right now my instagram feed is torturing me with constant images of Insta friends in Rome, Athens, London or Lisbon….10 countries in 2 weeks. You can do the whole of the UK in two days right? The rest of us are left behind to watch while the world is living their best lives from afar. It really does feel like we are spectators watching life go on on another planet. All of our overseas friends are so busy having fun they don’t even have time to stay in touch or perhaps its more likely that the time difference feels even more isolating at this time of the year.
Despite these feelings of jealousy I am finding ways to keep my energy up and staying inspired and creating. Rainy days are the perfect excuse to hide out in the studio and today is July 1st! So we are one month of Winter down and the days are getting lighter again. We also got tickets to go see Tay Tay!!
Here are some of the books, podcasts and TV shows that have been keeping me company. If you are off on a European adventure this Winter I hope you have an amazing time. I plan to be there next year…better get saving.
I have been meaning to read this book for so long, after hearing it mentioned often by others. Now feels like the right time of year x
An intimate, revelatory book exploring the ways we can care for and repair ourselves when life knocks us down. Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered. A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May’s story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters and sailing arctic seas. Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season.
As one of the key themes behind my painting is the beauty in imperfection this felt like a must read...and it was x
'A truly transformative read' Sunday Times STYLE
Wabi sabi ("wah-bi sah-bi") is a captivating concept from Japanese aesthetics, which helps us to see beauty in imperfection, appreciate simplicity and accept the transient nature of all things. With roots in zen and the way of tea, the timeless wisdom of wabi sabi is more relevant than ever for modern life, as we search for new ways to approach life's challenges and seek meaning beyond materialism.
Wabi sabi is a refreshing antidote to our fast-paced, consumption-driven world, which will encourage you to slow down, reconnect with nature, and be gentler on yourself. It will help you simplify everything, and concentrate on what really matters.
From honouring the rhythm of the seasons to creating a welcoming home, from reframing failure to ageing with grace, wabi sabi will teach you to find more joy and inspiration throughout your perfectly imperfect life.
Good Podcast Episodes
Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus - with Jane Fonda
Loving this newly discovered podcast where actor Julian Louis-Dreyfus interviews and learns from the wisdom of these iconic older women. Listen here
We Can Do Hard Things - Glennon Doyle - The Bravest Conversation We've Had: Andrea Gibson
Glennon's podcast is fabulous every week, but this episode definitely makes you consider life. Listen here
Diary of a CEO - Steven Bartlett - How to let go of the past, connect with the present & expand the future with Yung Pueblo
Great chat with the wonderful author of the book 'Lighter', Yung Pueblo. Listen here
Diary of a CEO - Steven Bartlett - Ex-Google Officer Speaks Out on the Dangfers of AI - Mo Gawdat
WARNING: INTERESTING BUT CONFRONTING - when I first heard the trailer for this episode I left it for a day I felt able to listen. I didn't know whether to share this, as definitely a confronting conversation between two people whose POV I respect, but perhaps we need to know. Listen here
The Mel Robbins Podcast - How to hack hunger cravings using science
Mel is another weekly go to podcast for me. This episode clarified for me a lot about how the different we eat might be affecting us. Listen here
Been loving all of these x
Absolutely loved the Pierre Bonnard Exhibition currently on at the NGV Melbourne. So much colour to lift the spirits this Winter. Details here