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A Successful Day Starts the Night Before

I am a firm believer in night and morning routines. I do not stick to my routines consistently but I am trying to build towards that.

This blog speaks only about what works for me personally; it is a work in progress. Each to their own.

Getting enough rest the night before is key to how my morning starts.

It sets me up for a productive day and in the case of Sunday evenings it sets me up to start the week the way I want to.

My morning routines have evolved and changed over time as my life-situation, job and location change. For me personally it is unrealistic to have a morning routine that stays the same indefinitely. For example I wanted to add a yoga practice to my routine every morning, so something had to be moved around to accommodate that, but it was a conscious decision and I deliberately thought about what changes I needed to put in place to make it happen.

Also I have a lot of things on my list to achieve over the next couple of months (a deadline for my novel among them) and to be honest I’m feeling the pressure. There is only so much time in the evening, especially if I want to keep a consistent bed time. That is very important to me.

Some additional items may have to be incorporated into my morning routine which may force me to drop some other items. That’s just the way it is.

The point I am making is that it’s ok for routines to change and evolve with your lifestyle.

Yuval Noah Harari stated that consistency is the playground of dull minds.

This is a statement that holds true in life and I think it is important to consider. Spontaneity is the spice of life, but I don’t think this applies to morning and evening routines. At least not in my case. I need the discipline and consistency at the start and end of the each day.

Routine, in my opinion, is the key to discipline. Discipline is the key to achievement. Achievement is a stepping stone towards happiness.

I like to start my day early. The ideal morning (weekdays) starts at 4:45. This ties directly back to the point of this blog. There is no way I would get up at 4:45 if I am not winding down by 9pm the night before.

That doesn’t necessarily mean going to sleep at 9. Winding down means no screens, low level soft lights only and reading until I’m tired enough to go to sleep. I also like to meditate for 5 minutes to get into a relaxed mindset. I usually lie down in the ground with a bolster between my shoulders.

Also in summer I found it really nice to leave the lights off and just read until it was dark enough that I could read no more. I didn’t do this very often but it was great for a break.

The lack of screen time before bed is the most important thing for me. Screens are a curse and I spend far too much time on them, but not after 9 (earlier when I can) and they do not come into the bedroom with me.

Going back to the mornings, as I said I like to get up at 4:45.

I leave my phone in the living room so it forces me to get out of bed to turn off the alarm. Getting out of bed is half the battle. Also I don’t use regular alarm bells or chimes, I like natural sounds like bird songs.

Alarm clocks are available that gradually light up the room, simulating sunlight. I would like to try them out but haven’t yet. If I do I’ll make a post on it. My phone is in flight mode from the night before so I am not distracted by or tempted to check incoming alerts.

I start with fifty min to an hour of yoga followed by breakfast (outside on the rooftop in summer – click here for Theresa’s recent blog). This is followed by a few small tasks (wash dishes, shower, journal etc) then 20 min meditation.

When I’m stretched to my limits and my routine isn’t working for me I’ll cut the meditation to ten minutes but I get the best out of meditation after the ten minute mark.

This takes me the guts of two to two and a half hours, but I like to take my time and not rush with anything. Years ago I used to get up at eight o’clock and leave the house at 8:20. I was just setting myself up for a stressful day by rushing around in the morning. Now, my aim is to start slow, like a cold blooded lizard, and warm myself up to the day. Ease into it.

So at the moment my schedule is all over the place and I have not been sticking to my routines. It has shown clearly in my state of mind as I’m highly stressed.

It’s very important for me to stick to a routine when things get tough. To keep consistent items in place, especially meditation. Beginning today, I intend to get back to my routine. Yes, it may change and evolve over the weeks, but if it does it will be thought out and deliberate.

I will write a follow up blog in one month to let you know how it goes and let you know if it has helped my stress levels and state of mind.

Peace

George

Returning Back to Teach Yoga after Baby

It is almost 16months since our baby girl arrived into our lives. She is the funniest little human. She has shown us a whole new appreciation for life. Getting this far has been a huge learning experience and we are continually learning every day. Naively I thought I would be back practising yoga much earlier and teaching much earlier than now. Although my body has been ready, my mind wasn’t. It’s incredible how my whole thinking changed to focus entirely on the wellbeing of our child & family. It was the only thing I could focus on, and to be honest that’s all I wanted to focus on.

 

It’s only now I feel ready to go out for a few hours on my own without having to bring the baby. Recently, I have started to leave her in the safe & capable hands of her father. It was extremely hard for me to trust anyone with baba even with George. He probably takes care of her better than I do but I still could not leave her for too long without worrying. Thank goodness that feeling of separation is now passing for both of us. Naoise loves spending time with her dada. It great for their relationship and for my mental health too. I can go out for a couple of hours and not feel anxious or worried. It’s so nice.

 

With the above sense of freedom, I have been focusing on getting back to my practice (currently one class a week in a studio and a daily morning stretch sequence 10-15min). To prep for teaching, I have been watching YouTube videos of classes to help revise postures and cues. In addition, I listen to my teachers in the studio classes on how they cue, form a sequence and take note of their general theme of the class. My old teaching manuals have been part of my nightly reading and I always have a yoga book as part of my daily reads.

 

I have spent time at night putting my class sequences together. Focusing on what I would like the students to feel during and after class. I’m definitely still trying to find my unique style so I like to observe other teachers & note what I like so I can add to my class in a way that feels right for me. Not copycat but more inspired.

 

After I have created a sequence, I write it out shorthand on flashcards and then practice it at least twice before the class. I memorize the sequence and repeat it over and over so I feel prepared and as a result confident going into the class. I have created playlists in Spotify for my classes and generally keep the music to instrumental. I prep my clothes, water and props well before the class so I can grab and go as I leave home. It can be hard sometimes leaving as baba may want extra cuddles or needs my attention before I go. I always give myself extra time so I won’t be late going to teach. I need to arrive at the studio somewhat relaxed and have time to set up the room (lights, props etc.).

 

I’m so excited to be back teaching yoga, it’s something I really love and believe in. I am hoping to gain lots of experience teaching over the next few years. The year 2020 has been crazy and now more than ever we all need yoga in our lives. Making time for ourselves to wash away feelings of stress, anxiety, fear and replacing them with confidence, empowerment, hope and love.

 

I hope you found this helpful.

Thanks for reading.

 

Theresa xx

Living in a One Bedroom Apartment with a Baby

It has been just over the year since our little baby girl joined our small family. We are living in a one-bedroom apartment. We live in Kitsilano in Vancouver where rent is crazy, apartments are small but the outdoor spaces are amazing. We decided to save money by not moving to a 2-bedroom apartment but instead remain in our 1 bed which is two blocks away from the beach. With the extra money saved we put towards investing in our future plans of owning our own business.

Once we knew we were pregnant we decided we were not moving. We began to research how people live in small spaces with children. We wanted to prepare our apartment to ensure our decision to remain there worked with a baby. From research online and through social media accounts like 600squarefootandababy we learned that living with a child or children in a small space is completely doable. We embraced our decision and got down to the hard work of selling everything we didn’t need, passing on items that were taking up space, going through every drawer, cupboard, shelf, basket and press to ensure that we were only keeping what we really needed and loved. Basically, we did a Marie Kondo throughout the whole apartment before the baby arrived and before I got too pregnant;-)

For me, this kind of work is so enjoyable and I’m in a happy place sorting and organising. I love it. By the time our baby arrived we actually had way more space in our apartment than we did before. Our space is constantly changing, for the first year we all slept in the same room, as I’m still nursing and the baby was still waking in the night for a feed. It made sense for our family that our bed and her crib remained in the same room for the year. Baba had larger toys such as a playmat and activity centre in the first year but since have been given away to another family. We tried to limit the number of baby things in our place as they take up so much room. Instead, I focused playing with her on the floor, tummy time, books, interactive smaller toys and had the activity centre or play mat to place her when I needed to get things done.

It’s just over the year since our girl arrived. We have moved out to a sofa bed in the living area and the baby has the bedroom. We sold our bed and furniture and created a Montessori type room for the baby. She has a floor bed and the room is quite minimal with lots of space to explore and play. We keep her toys to a minimum and have signed up to Lovevery which delivers age-specific Montessori style toys every 3 months. This means we don’t have to worry about picking toys and it keeps her toys to a manageable amount which doesn’t take up space. We have given away toys she has outgrown. Our home is very fluid in that respect, toys will come and go, we do not hoard them for the next baby, we let friends borrow or we give them away.

It is important to us not to have clutter; our home feels bright and spacious even with the baby’s items blended in throughout. We have created a space which works for all of us. I struggle with mess, clutter and overcrowded spaces. I need order and things to go in their place. It has taken a few trials to get to where we are now but we feel we have reached a happy medium we are all happy with. Baby has her play areas which don’t take over our living space and we have a home that feels good for us to sit and relax in at the end of the day.

Keeping toys, books, clothes to a minimum and really using all of these things to their full capacity is how we create space in our home. We love the outdoors and prefer to have as much time outdoors with the baby as possible, therefore there is less need for big distraction toys.

Our move to the living room from our room has been so easy. We don’t miss our bedroom at all. We only ever went in there to sleep. Now it’s a playroom & bedroom for the baby. We are now in there so much! We love it. Our closet is in this room and all 3 of us have our clothes stored there.

Living small means, we are constantly double checking if we need it before we purchase anything pre-loved or new. It’s a great way to shop as only items we love or really need to enter our home. Keeping our home clean is also easy as we have minimal clutter and everything has a place so nothing really gets out of hand. Therefore, our weekends are spent on things we love doing and not house related. This for us is the best part of small living. So far 1 year in we stand by our decision of remaining in a 1-bedroom apartment and believe it was one of the best decisions we made for our family. We live in a space we love and our baby is so happy. What more could we want?

For anyone thinking about living in a small space with a child or children start looking at everything in your space and ask if it is necessary? Does it make you happy? Do we need it?

Start creating space in your apartment by doing the work above. Wait until after the baby arrives before you make a big decision to move…. chances are the baby will sleep in the same room as you for at least the first 3 months. Prepare your space in advance so you set yourself up for success. It’s a lot of work but so worth it. Your life will change for the better. You will spend less, waste less, use what you have and care for what you have. We highly recommend this way of life but we totally get it’s not for everyone. Be sure you are comfortable with small space living, do the research, go see a family living in a small space and how they make it work. If it’s not for you, then it’s not for you. No pressure;-) If you have any questions about living small please feel free to reach out.

Thanks, so much for reading,

Chat soon,

Theresa

Road Trip – Part 2 – The Rocky Mountains

Hi All,

I’m continuing from where I left off in Part 1. If you haven’t read that yet and you’re interested you’ll find it here. You can also read Theresa’s recommendations for travelling with a baby.

Day 8 Saturday – Valemount to Jasper – 122km

We were hoping that the COVID restrictions would lift before we hit the Rockies but they hadn’t. So far we have been using private campgrounds because the Provincial parks are all closed but there are no private campgrounds around Jasper, Banff or Lake Louise because the whole area is a National Park.

We assessed our options. We could drive to Jasper and stop overnight on the roadside along the Ice fields highway to Lake Louise but I was worried that we would be asked to move on as the road is opened to through traffic only. It is unlikely that the police would come knocking on the window of our RV in the middle of nowhere in the dark of night but we don’t take those chances due to the risk of a nuclear meltdown and subsequent fallout from the small baba being moved in the middle of the night.

We decided to divert and not drive through the Rockies which I was disappointed about but we would check out Jasper before turning back – then Brainwave – Hotels are open. A hotel tonight in Jasper and a hotel tomorrow night in Lake Louise and we stay on our planned route.

The approach to Jasper is beautiful, the scenery slowly got more and more spectacular as we got deeper into the mountains then out of nowhere we were blown away by the view of Mount Robson – the highest mountain in British Columbia at 3,954m.

Excuse the quality of the pic, it’s taken through the windscreen

 

We were lucky enough to see a mother bear with her cub along the road

Jasper is an amazing town. It sits quite happy nestled among the snow-capped peaks as they look down on the town through clear fresh air. It is touristy but not manufactured like some ski towns I have visited. I took the below pictures in the iPhone filter noir because I like how the snow and clouds stand out.

On arriving in Jasper there is an RV parking lot located here which is a great place to take a break and decide on your plan of action or take lunch. The parking lot was empty but I think outside of COVID times that would be different.

We could have parked the RV up in any of the quiet residential neighbourhoods and spent the night but we stuck with the hotel plan. We decided on the Lobstick Lodge. It was great but hot at night time. The heat wasn’t on, just warm rooms, luckily they provide a fan. There is a breakfast place close by but we didn’t bother with that because Theresa makes an EXCELLENT breakfast.

That evening we went out for dinner – it’s so good to see restrictions lifting and see restaurants opening. We went to Earls. We sat inside but the views of the mountains from the patio are amazing.

Remember that driving east into the mountains you transition to Mountain time (1 hour ahead)

Day 9 Sunday- Jasper to Lake Louise – 232km

The unfortunate thing about the national park being closed is that we had to do this drive in one day. There are so many campgrounds along the way and I would imagine that the hiking and backcountry camping is amazing. For a road trip, it is out of this world. Literally driving through snow-capped mountains with absolutely breathtaking views at every turn, passing turquoise glacier-fed lakes, raging rivers, sharp, powerful snow-capped peaks and huge glaciers. I have never seen anything like it in all my travels. It is one of the most beautiful drives I have ever made and the highlight of the trip so far.

I am so glad that we stuck to our planned route.

We got another up-close look at a black bear lumbering along the highway minding his business. We slowed down to get a pic, making sure there was nothing behind but did NOT stop or get out. These animals will literally tear you to pieces (slowly) if they take a notion.

Lake Louise is tiny. There is not much of a town to it but lots of trails and a ski resort. The lake itself is beautiful and sits under the watchful eye of the Fairmont Hotel. I would love to stay there sometime but it was still closed due to the COVID.

We stayed at the Lake Louise Inn, reasonably priced and close to lots of trails. It’s a ten-minute drive to the lake and a six-minute drive to the ski hills.

View of the mountains from Lake Louise

View of Lake Louise from the Fairmont frontage

Day 10 Monday – Lake Louise to Radium Hot Springs – 131km

You might wonder why the town is called Radium Hot Springs. I think there are some thermal springs in the area. Oh yes, there are and they look quite nice too but they were closed. I assume the hot springs is the big tourist draw in this town but we didn’t miss out by not visiting them. The town is so nice and there are lots of trails in the area.

The campground we stayed at was an easy walk along a nice trail to the town (ten minutes) and sat at the bottom of a valley. The Canyon RV Park is tidy, well-manicured and has a nice creek flowing through it.

We walked into the town and then headed out the highway towards the hot springs for a walk. It doesn’t sound enticing walking along the highway but there is a path all the way and stunning views of a waterfall and the canyon towering over the road.

Further past this canyon we saw five mountain goats making their way along the cliff. These are bighorn sheep, the ones you see with the huge curving horns but the ones we saw were females with shorter horns. We met a shotgun sporting park ranger on the walk back who told us that there was a dead sheep on one of the trails which would attract predators so the trail was closed.

Day 11 Tuesday – We spent two nights at Radium Hot Springs, generally taking it easy.

Day 12 Wednesday – Radium Hot Springs to Fort Steele – 128km

We took a detour through Kimberly on the way to Fort Steele. It’s a great little town with nice restaurants and shops. It was so quiet. I am guessing that’s not the case in high season as there is a ski hill nearby.

The main reason I wanted to stop off at Fort Steele RV Park was to check out the heritage town but unfortunately, it was closed due to the COVID. It looks absolutely amazing and there is an old-style heritage hotel you can stay at. We took a walk in any way but couldn’t see too much as it is fenced off.

The campground is nice but there’s not a whole lot to do unless the heritage town is open so we moved on the next day.

Day 13 Thursday – Fort Steele to Fernie – 95km

Fernie is simply amazing. I love this town. I could live here.

We stayed at Fernie RV Resort which is about half an hour walk from the centre of town. There are nice stroller-friendly trails into town along the river or you can walk through the quiet residential areas. 

There are also decent hiking trails close by where there are regular moose sightings. 

The campsite has full hook up which means you can use the City water main rather than refilling your water tank every day. It’s really spacious and so well looked after. There’s not much shade though and it got really hot.

We walked into town in the evening and ate at The Loaf. I got a great burger with very average fries but I think that may be down to the fact that it was only their second day open after the COVID. Theresa really enjoyed her food so overall I would recommend it.

Day 14 Friday – Fernie

We learned a lesson with our RV this morning waking up to the cold. We were out of propane, the heat works off the propane and there is no gage in the living area of the vehicle. This isn’t a big issue if there is a propane refill close by as a lot of gas stations do refill but the nearest one to us was forty minutes away – we also didn’t have gas to heat water for tea so we had our breakfast and headed out for propane.

If you were in real difficulty I think there is a way you can hook a propane tank up to your RV. We ran out after almost two weeks of steady use, using the heat every day, the fridge and the gas stove. Yes, the fridge also uses propane so good thing our food didn’t spoil.

I’d recommend checking it every week based on our usage. There is a gage on the tank where you refill it. Apparently, it is an offence to fill a propane tank more than 80%. 

 

That wraps up Part 2. I will post the final section from the Rocky Mountains along the Crowsnest highway to Vancouver in two weeks time.

Thanks for Reading,

Peace,

George

 

PS – If you interested in my new book – The Pagan’s Revenge – It is a historical fiction novel set in 10th century Ireland and it’s available on Amazon, Barnes and NobleAustin MacAuley and Bookdepository (Hardback, Paperback and E-Book)

 

 

 

 

 

3-week RV trip with a 10-month-old: What we recommend to bring

We had planned to go home to Ireland in June for a month but COVID put an end to that plan. Instead, we decided to rent an RV, Canadream and go travel around our province of British Columbia, Canada. An RV trip has been on our list of things to do for a long time so we decided to go for it. Our baby is just over 10months old, crawling, climbing & wanting to walk. She is a very active baby, because of this we went for the RV that had a little more space. The midi RV sleeps 4 adults and 2 children (really would not recommend that many people staying in it, perfect for 2 adults and 2 kids). The size was perfect for us as it gave our baby room to play and we could fit her travel cot in too, we use the Baby Bjorn travel cot. We bought this cot as it was super lightweight, neat & easy to assemble, excellent for travel.

Our baby only takes one nap a day, always in the morning, 3 hours after waking up. We planned our travel time while she napped. She is definitely not a child that will sleep when put in the car, she gets super bored & needs entertainment & movement. Cries instead of sleep! To avoid all that stress, we limited our drive time to nap time, usually about 2 hours. On days we needed to travel longer we stopped for lunch and had some playtime before travelling for another 30-60 minutes. We would take turns during this awake time to entertain the boss;-) This made our drive time stress free & fun. We definitely recommend planning the travel around your child and not the other way around. You will lose or go crazy with stress! We gave ourselves 3 weeks to complete a 30-hour round trip, we wanted to take it slow and go at our baby’s pace. We want her to enjoy travel so easing her in, we believe is best.

To say baba enjoyed the RV is an understatement, she loved waking up, coming into our bed and looking out the windows, she can stand and look out from there. So excited every day to do this. The campgrounds were all great to pop up her tent so she could have a bit more legroom, be outside & protected from the sun & bugs. We also had a picnic blanket (the waterproof kind) to unfold for cloudy days for her to play on, she always chose to sit beside it though! 😉

The items we brought for our baby and we would recommend are:

  1. Stroller, we used this for a high chair, a place to rest & for strolling around the towns & cities we stopped at
  2. Hiking carrier, we love to hike and this was an awesome purchase pre-used on Facebook market place. We used this a lot on trails during our trip and cannot wait to use it on our local trails too.
  3. Baby Bjorn crib, love this crib & baby sleeps so well in it. It unfolds & folds super easy, it’s compact & perfect for travel.
  4. Pop up tent to protect from the sun, we got the 3-man size as we all get in the tent, another great place for baby to play in the open, safe from sun and mosquitos. Great for us too. We bought it on amazon.
  5. Mec travel mattress, we placed the lightweight mattress inside the tent and baby love it, great for snoozing on
  6. Waterproof picnic blanket, this was great for having our take out teas on the grass after a stop off, great for baby to stretch out when we need to stop for a short time
  7. Ergo baby carrier, we used this a handful of times & probably would leave it at home the next time. Our baby feels too heavy in it as she is almost 11 months now.

The items we didn’t bring and would have liked are:

  1. A lightweight foldable high chair (not sure if they exist but will look into it), we used the stroller as a highchair to limit the amount of stuff to bring. However, with an RV you can bring all your luxury items as there is so much storage. Our baby loves feeding herself and our stroller doesn’t have a cross over shelf or table. Food got everywhere and feeding time would have been easier if we had a high chair. Saying that we managed fine without but I would bring one the next time. That’s the only thing I can think of that we would have liked to bring. In terms of the stuff we did bring, we used everything we brought.

Overall, I would say this trip has been one of our all-time favourite travel experiences. We have travelled all over the world & have experienced many different ways to travel. An RV trip in Canada is a must-do if you like to travel. The scenery, the campgrounds, the services, the food, the people, wildlife and parks all contribute to the best holiday & travel experience ever. We will cherish these amazing memories for the rest of our life, our first big holiday in Canada with our daughter has been an absolutely incredible experience. We are definitely going to plan another RV trip with her, thinking the East Coast of Canada next. Watch this space;-)

P.s George wrote his first novel which has been published if you like historical fiction go check out his book here.

Thanks for reading,

Chat soon,

Theresa xxx