“Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury - to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”
Albert Einstein

Saturday 29 March 2014

The sewing box

I have now successfully made it to 3 months of not buying anything new and have simplified my life greatly. I am slowing culling my useless possessions and finding space in my life for whats important.

Not being able to buy anything new makes you think about what you have and how you can make it last longer. Lately I have found myself mending items of clothing and being less ruthless when just chucking something out. If its unwearable or broken it usually ends up in the bin and as it is not donated either this is a waste.

New buttons, fixing zips, sewing up hems and seams are not hard things to do, it just takes the right tools and a little patience. If you have never sewn a button on something I suggest you give it a go. Its probably the easiest thing you will ever do and is so useful.

When I was younger I was fascinated with my grandmothers sewing kit, its where all the spare buttons ended up, all the off cuts of material where chucked in there too even old film canisters (I never knew why, but they are a great way or storing pins). All of the things in there where useful and often brought my favorite clothes or soft toys back to life.

What you need to create you first sewing kit:-

  1. A box or container - now remember you don't need to buy this, any old box will do as long as there are no holes or ways for pins to escape it will be fine.
  2. Scissors - try and have a dedicated pair to sewing as using them around the house makes them blunt and they will not cut fabric as well as they should.
  3. Pins, Safety Pins and Needles - you can pick these up from any two-dollar store. 
  4. Pin cushion or container - remember a film canister is great for this, or you can make your own pin cushion with some fabric but making a ball with off-cutts and putting a piece of material over the top and securing with safety pins.
  5. Thread - good quality thread is a must, it will ensure those buttons won't break off and its easier to sew with. Get the standard colors, white, blue, black, brown and beige to start off with.
  6. Seam Cutter - is a little tool thats used for un-picking thread. Its good for those mistakes when starting out.
  7. Measuring Tape - a roll up one is a good idea.
  8. Buttons - Keep a variety and always hold onto any you find or get with new clothing you can keep them in a small jar inside your sewing kit.
  9. Hem Tape - Can be used as a quick fix before a night, all you need is an iron. 
  10. Lighter - burning the end of certain material melts and fuses it together. Just be careful.
Check out my little DIY sewing kit and sewing area its slowly growing and fixing my favorite items of clothing and making them like new whilst saving me money.

If you make a habit of buying things you do not need, you will soon be selling things you do. Filipino Proverb.

Stay Simple.

Sunday 16 March 2014

My visit to Eco Village

On Sunday I went along to a guided tour of the Eco Village in Currumbin Valley. I wanted to check out what it was all about and see how things where different than any other housing estate. I had heard both good things and not so good things through people so I wanted to go check it out for myself. 

On arrival the Eco Village had a very relaxed feel about it. A cafe welcomed us that was quite busy with both residents and visitors. We met our tour guide and took a seat in a shady area under a big fig tree. He gave us the low down on where the idea of the Eco Village came from and how it all works.

The first thing I noticed about the village was that there where no gutters on the side of the roads, the reason for this is that 1. Its an expensive architectural addition, 2. All rain water is designed to run off to the grass, and 3. They have built the roads to ensure that any excess of water either by rain or flood is washed down into catchment tanks or small gullies and ponds then washed downstream into the Currumbin Valley. This was very clever! Another thing that I noticed was there where only a small amount of fences dividing the houses. I thought this was strange but on closer inspections of the property and the houses its more aesthetically pleasing and is not a worry at all. The land is so spacious!  

All of the rainwater water for each house is kept in separate tanks and there are even specialised fire fighting tanks per house. All houses have solar power which is offset and results in a very small electricity bill and each house has gas as a backup which is known to have a lesser carbon footprint.

A large recycle centre is in the making and also a bed a breakfast. Eco Village has the vision in the future to have its own mall with a baker, various stores and doctors surgery making it more of a community village environment. There are many residents that work from home as hairdressers or architects for the community as well. 

Eco Village has a very strong sense of community, they believe in a sort of "what goes around comes around" philosophy. If someone needs a lawnmower, a baby sitter or a lift to the airport there is an internal online forum where residents can post what they are after or have to swap/sell and someone will quickly be there with a response in an hour or two. They seem to have a strong sense of trust.

The community feel continues as we started to walk around and check it all out. Rather than having huge homes with lots of wasted space they have modest sized homes and large common areas with a pool, meeting hall, commercial kitchen and playgrounds, they even have their own library and large outdoor pizza oven. The community area and the commercial sized kitchen are designed to accommodate visitors as the houses are not that big.

As for the houses, there are no huge slabs that are first laid down to build, only one small one that is used for the garage and another small concrete panel that is used for heating/cooling. This concrete is polished and is seen as a panel of flooring inside the houses. In the summer its cool and in the winter the sun heats it up and keeps you cozy. A lot of architectural magic has been put into the houses. Most houses face the north and no concrete or bricks are used on the east and west sides, this is for both temperature regulation and the breeze. Most windows are not perfectly transparent as they are made from an eco glass that assists with the temps too.

Majority of the materials in each house are recycled, in the house we inspected there were recycled floor boards, rail tracks used in the awnings and recycled tin buckets used outside as outdoor light fittings, most of which are LED. Eco concrete has been used around the village which is made from fly ash which is a material with is left over after the combustion of coal. I was astounded by how green, simple and minimalistic this place was. 

Most houses grow their own food and there is an abundance of chickens too.

Mind you there are some downfalls, there are no dogs or cats allowed as this effects the environment and the wildlife. There are guidelines that are to be followed when building and it is quite expensive to buy a block of land or house at the Eco Village. Body corporate rates a quite high too. Although in turn the levies you pay give you a part share in some of the common property that surrounds a house within a group of other houses. So you have a say in how that land is looked after and what it is used for, which I think is pretty cool.

Check out some pictures of the Eco Village.

The Entrance
The common area and pool
The common area and communal pizza oven
An Eco Village home
An Eco Village Home and Common Area
The Currumbin River that runs through Eco Village

If you get a chance I recommend going and checking it out, it has definitely given me some ideas on minimal houses, eco friendly architecture and ways to open up a sense of community. If only the whole world was like Eco Village.

Stay Simple.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Greening Products

Ok greening products is the name I just made up for green cleaning products, pretty clever hey! Haha

In this post I wanted to show you guys how many cool green and eco friendly cleaning products there are. You would be surprised what is on that supermarket shelf right next to the the stuff your mum has been using since you can remember.

There are  2 great ranges of earth friendly cleaning products that I LOVE using, Earth Choice and Eco Store. Both are available at Woolworth's and both are very well priced, even cheaper than the alternative in some cases. They both have a huge range! You can get the greener alternative of almost anything from laundry liquid, to hand soap, to all purpose spray and wipe, even body wash and shampoo! All you have to do is take the time to look for it, but once you know the brand you won't be able to go past it next grocery shop.

So why use Greening Products?

The range is huge
It's well priced
They strive to use recycled packaging that is biodegradable
The companies use renewable products for a sustainable future
They sell larger quantities of product meaning less packaging and cheaper for you
It's plant based so it is ok to go down the drain and is ok around pets
It's grey water and septic safe
The products are cruelty free and vegan
Using them makes a difference and feels good.

The products contain NO

Sodium Laureth Sulphate
Cocamidopropylbetaine (gosh that words long)
Cocamide DEA
Synthetic dyes and

It's a choice that is better for the planet and better for your health. It cleans exactly the same and smells really good too.

This week I am giving away a prize pack with some of my favourite ecostore cleaning products and suskin skin care products (including rose hip oil mentioned in my previous blog - why my skin feels so awesome) so you can try them for yourself! RRP $42!

All you have to do is either head over to my Instagram page, follow me, share the competition picture and tag @cullthecrap OR send me an email via my blogspot page about what products you are using at home (green or not) and if you prefer the greener alternative.

The winner will be drawn in 2 weeks time. Best of luck!

Stay simple.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Love outdoors and adventures? Try Geocaching!

Last week whilst searching the net for the location of an apparent haunted railroad tunnel (weird  I know) I stumbled across a new hobby. Geocaching! You may or may not have heard of it. Its very similar to orienteering and is a real life treasure hunt with more than 6 million people playing along and more than 2 million hidden treasures.

Its hard for me not to get over excited telling you and type this in capital letters but this is the coolest thing since sliced bread, ok..... and a tad geeky.

First of all you get the App on your smart phone - search geocaching. There is a free one and one that is a premium service and costs about $10. Once you have created an account name your off! Your smart device will use its GPS to locate you and show where you are in the world, it will then show you any hidden treasure that is nearby. Now when I say hidden treasure what you are looking for is a "geocache" which is a container containing a log book for you to sign to show that you have found the location. Now it sounds easy but let me assure you there are people out there that take this very seriously! There are anything from large buckets with "trade items" to tiny little "nano-caches" that can be hidden extremely well, I found one the other day that was a fake bolt underneath a park bench attached by a magnet!

Once you have navigated yourself to the location there are also hints available and photos if you are really stuck. If you are super clever there are certain caches that have riddles and questions that need to be answered that uncover the coordinates to the next cache. 

Here is one I have found.

The best things about this hobby is that its free, your outdoors locating some awesome places and its really fun finding the caches. It was originally designed to take people to great travel destinations. See where you end up!

If you want to learn more check out the videos on the Geocaching website.

Remember to subscribe for future adventure updates and follow me on instagram @cullthecrap

Stay simple.

Saturday 8 March 2014

Vintage fashion finds

This weekend I had a very close friend get married and had a few out of town visitors, one came all the way from Scotland. She has been following me on my journey and knew that I may of been having a hard time not buying any new dresses. So she got me a gift! 

Not only is this a new dress for me to enjoy but a vintage re-worked item that is re-made from original vintage clothes. Check it out. 

The label is Loving Youth and it is available in stores at Top Shop and ASOS Market Place where used, vintage and re-wored items can be bought and sold. I love it! 

Stay Simple

Wednesday 5 March 2014


This week I took myself along to a meditation class and I have to say it was not as easy and relaxing as everyone makes it out to be. I was thinking I would be taken off to a magical land inside my mind that would look like the clouds and I would feel a million dollars after. Although I am assured that this can happen it does take time as I have now discovered. 

Day to day life gets us all down at some point or another. Our energy levels drop and the daily grind can really take it's toll, both physically and emotionally. You may not even know you are stressed or anxious until a point where it may effect your health in a certain way. Think headaches, back pain and even being a grouch.

Now I believe that everyone's experience is different when meditating, as the purpose is to focus on ones feelings and step away from the constant doing and movement of life. Firstly we had a quick chat about why people meditate and how it helps to simplify ones life, then we got comfy and shut our eyes and examined how we felt at that particular point in time, almost scanning our body for strain or any other feelings we may have. We  then practiced breathing and really taking notice of the breath, this was hard for me, I never realised how little breath I have. I felt like my breathing and lung capacity improved by the end of the session. We also attempted to meditate while not moving for a period of time, now this sounds easy but not moving an inch is hard, especially when you are noticing how your body is feeling and thoughts that are distracting your breathing. Once time was up I did feel very calm and I was not in a great rush to make that first move, which is a good sign I hear.

Despite how challenging meditating was for me, I can really see the benifits, it's that escape that ones mind needs, almost like a reset button or a 1Up in super Mario cart.

Let's just say I will be heading back to this class and letting you all know how I go.

Check my instructors page out if you like Try Try Less Be More.

Stay simple.