Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bake bake bake...

What is there to do on a cold wintry weekend?

Yesterday we walked the coastal trail from Mentone to Ricketts Point (not that far but considerable for a 5 year old) collecting shells and sticks along the way. Rock pools were a source of great delight for my 5 year old in her new gumboots! The joy in something so simple, so natural - just priceless!

A wintry day at the beach is one of life's hidden wonders! There were only a handful of us brave enough to venture out, but that just added to the feeling of doing something special. We greeted the few beach goers we encountered with a knowing smile or nod! Like we shared a wonderful hidden secret.

During the week in my normal search of the internet for new and wonderful organic/natural products I found a fantastic website which had a recipe for Morning Glory Muffins ( Saturday's batch were so wonderful and nourishing that I made another batch today to freeze for school lunches! Just call me Martha!

The wonderful Earth Bound Farm also has a recipe book that I have ordered - The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook - full of what looks like delicious, organic, seasonal food. The muffins are full of fresh organic apples, pineapple and carrots and make you feel good just looking at them.

I finished the weekend off by inviting a couple of girlfriends over to do some "baking". Living on my own (with the lovely Lucy) I tend to be lazy and eat the same thing over and over. Solution - bake and freeze. Today my house was full laughter, good company and the aroma of chickpea curry, veggie lasagna and muffins.

The only other thing that would have made this blast of winter absolutely perfect would have been a fire to sit in front off, alas I don't have one of those, but I can dream!

Sunday, April 19, 2009 closing

I'm sitting at my computer aching in spots I didn't know existed. We shut one of our children's wear boutiques yesterday and have spent the last two days with my sister and brother in law stripping out the shop.

We did it much quicker than we thought we would and it was incredible that what took us years to get up and running could be demolished in under 48 hours. The hours labouring over projected financials, countless visits to France to meet and deal with our Franchisors, negotiating with the real estate agent for what we now know was a lousy deal and the many hours spent trying to grow the business was all gone in an instant. We were left with a big cavernous, dusty and very empty shell.

My sister asked as we breathed in the dust removing the flooring if had been an enourmous failure. I had to think about that one. It was a failure of sorts in that it didn't meet our expectations - but were our expectations flawed? It was a failure in that it didn't meet budget and led to a nasty falling out with our third partner. It was a failure in that we never quite met the needs of the clients in the area.

As a business in it's own right though, one might argue that it wasn't a failure. Like all new businesses they need time to "grow up". Two and a half years is possibly not long enough to establish itself. We also needed to "grow up" as managers and owners of a retail business. We now know a lot more about running a business and will use these skills to better manage our other shop in Port Melbourne.

The improving status of the Port Melbourne shop could be attributed to lessons learnt in Hawksburn. Without the shop in Hawksburn we wouldn't have had the chance to get the good retail site in Port Melbourne.

While we now find ourselves still hugely in debt I don't think our business venture in Hawksburn was a failure. It has strengthened my relationship with my sister (although at times it didn't feel that way), it brought out the best in our parents who also pitch in to help along with a plethora of other friends, it has allowed my sister and I to travel to France numerous times and it continually challenged us to think out side the square and operate very much out of our comfort zone.

So as we contemplate the next step I am optimistic and feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders with one less retail site to manage. My workload will be reduced and I hopefully won't find working part time as well as running the business as much of a chore. Maybe we might start enjoying it, and if some of that "love" can be injected into our business we might see it grow and meet some of our original expectations after all.

Friday, April 10, 2009

What I love...

I did some exercises yesterday as part of a book I am reading and reviewing for work (Spiritual Business). I had to list 40 things I love......I started slowly but was surprised once I started, how easily lovely and wonderful things filled my mind...the purpose of the exercise it to remind ourselves of the things we like rather than always focusing on those we don't.

On my list were; the smell of cut grass, the beach, my daughters laughter, my home, shells, warm weather, flowers, the colour green, chocolate, olive oil soap, lavender, candles, Christmas, coffee out or at home, smell of the ocean, rock pools, nature, jasmine, good food (a bit too much), things that please my senses, Barwon Heads, bushwalking (not that I get to do much of it), essential oils (orange and lemon burning at the moment), a cold crisp charddy,......the list went on.

It was an enjoyable and worthwile exercise and supported my quest this year to take each day at a slower pace and to appreciate the moments a little more.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Contemplating the serenity

Term one is over - I can't believe I have been a "school mum" for a whole term already. It is April and the year seems to be flying by.

I'm sitting here on a dreary Sunday afternoon contemplating the quietness of my home. Lucy has gone to a friends house for a sleep over and I am experiencing something I haven't for a long time - quiet, and not just for an hour or two, a whole evening of serenity. No organising dinner, tidying up after a very splashy bath, arguing over bedtime and going to sleep. Quite a bizarre notion for me but one I will realish as it doesn't happen that often.

This afternoon I received confirmation from a friend that she and her husband were splitting up after years of marriage and having two young children. I spoke to her during the week and tried to assure her that she and the children would be fine and possibly better without the ongoing tension and I did something I haven't done for a while. I wrote a letter.

I wanted to send her some guided meditations as I thought she needed to find some time just to zone out and didn't feel I could just send the cd. I found my writing paper (in the back of the cupboard) and wrote some hopefully supportive words. It reminded me of how we used to communicate with friends and I found it a bit sad that we no longer write like we used to. There is something more personal about a handwritten note or letter than an email or facebook post.

I reminded her to appreciate what is good in her life right now. By focussing some of her attention on the good things - her beautiful children, her lovely warm home, her wonderful supportive family, her beautiful beachside suburb, her friends - hopefully she can find some energy and strength to deal with the hard couple of months ahead.

While I look around my warm house now I appreicate so many things - including the current peace and quiet. By tomorrow I will miss the noise and constant 5yr old banter.