Category Archives: Lifestyle

Embrace Change

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people don’t like change, let alone to embrace change. For many people fear of the unknown is what makes change scary.

Chris and I have always liked change.  We love the excitement of new challenges and a new environment. It always amazes us that people will actually do a job they hate or live in a place they don’t like because the idea of change is too hard.

Doing a job you hate? embrace change

Doing a job you hate? Embrace Change.

Good health and happiness are linked so if you aren’t happy with your life, embrace change and live life on your terms.

House Sitting, Our Latest Change

A few months ago we decided we needed a change of scenery. We did think about selling the houseboat but since we have only had it a couple of years and would like to finish renovating it that wasn’t an option. What to do?

Our son suggested house-sitting, he said friends were doing it and loving it. We went on-line and registered with a house-sitting site and stipulated South Australia as our preferred option. We haven’t seen much of S.A. and thought this would be a good way to do it.

Embrace change, house sitting a cat

House-sitting usually involves pets and right now we are looking after two cats. We are close to the ocean and are able to walk by the water every day. It is also hilly so plenty of cardiovascular exercise which is all good. After this we head off to Port Lincoln for three weeks, a big property with dogs and cats so should be fun.

We are now booked for the rest of the year and have had to turn people down. We have met some lovely people and seen lots of places we would never have visited. Pets are a bit like grandchildren you just enjoy them and hand them back when you leave.

Change The Small Stuff

Of course change isn’t always about the big stuff, sometimes small changes can make a difference. It could be something simple like changing your diet or daily exercise routine.

Healthy eating to avoid high pulse rate at rest

Healthy Eating

Most of the time life is pretty much the same old, same old and that goes for everyone. It is important not to get bogged down in routine so life becomes stale and boring.

Being open to change also means you can cope better with all those speed bumps that life throws in to upset the best laid plans.

Chris and I tend to do things on the spur of the moment and sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t.  Our attitude is though, if you never go, you will never know.

Embrace Change Check List

However that doesn’t work for everyone, so if you feel like making a change but are feeling unsure ask yourself these questions.

  •  Where will I be in five years time if I don’t do anything?
  • What would I really like to do?
  • Am I happy with my life?  If you are asking these questions, then you are not!
  • What would I like to change?
  • Who else do I have to consider?
  •  What can I do to improve my quality of life?
  • Am I prepared to make changes?

check list to embrace change

Take the time to think things through so that you can minimise the risk and maximise the chances of everything working out the way you would like it to.

Making changes might mean stepping out of your comfort zone. To overcome this, focus on the benefits and positive effects to strengthen your resolve.

Common Fears

Some of the most common fears related to change are.

  • Changing jobs.
  • Moving House.
  • Starting a relationship.
  • Promotion at work.

fear of moving house

The key to making major change is planning, if you are organised and take care of the details everything will go smoothly.

Don’t let fear of change inhibit your potential, if it is a choice between stagnating or moving forward, embrace change with open arms.

How To Lift Your Mood

How can you lift your mood?  Right now I am in the enviable position of being able to instantly lift my mood by gazing out over a panorama of hills and ocean.

However it occurred to me that not everyone is so lucky and wondered just what you can do when you are feeling a little bit sad or down in the dumps. With that in mind I have put together a few strategies that may help to blow the blues away and lift your mood.

This isn’t about clinical depression, that is for the specialists, but everyone gets a bit down at times and if it happens too often it might be an idea to nip it in the bud.

Happy Nuts

As part of our regular diet Chris and I eat what we refer to as “Happy Nuts” more commonly known as Brazil nuts.  Brazil nuts contain Selenium and research has pretty well proved that depression or negativity is linked to low Selenium levels in the body.

Lift your mood with Brazil nuts

Happy Nuts

The required level of Selenium is a fine balance and one or two Brazil nuts a day is all you require. . A good diet that includes foods that contain Selenium is a safe way to maintain the correct level.

According to Dr Josh Axe the top ten foods that contain Selenium are.

1. Brazil Nuts
2. Yellow fin tuna
3. Halibut
4. Sardines
5. Grass fed Beef
6. Turkey
7. Beef Liver
8. Chicken
9. Eggs
10. Spinach


The body produces a chemical called Serotonin which is linked to depression when the level becomes too low.  One of the key ingredients needed for making serotonin is Tryptophan.  By eating foods that contain Tryptophan you can produce more Serotonin. It may sound a bit like a chemistry lesson but it is further proof that good health and a good diet are linked.

Some foods that contain Tryptophan are.

1. Eggs
2. Cheese
3. Salmon
4. Tofu
5. Nuts
6. Turkey
7. Lamb
8. Pumpkin Seeds


Incorporating more of these foods into your diet may help you to feel happier and more positive.
Many people will be aware that Tryptophan helps to induce sleep, which is probably why it is easy to become comatose after eating Thanksgiving dinner. Nothing to do with the wine at all!!

Lift your mood with sound sleep

This may not be a bad thing since sleep plays a big part in how we feel. Lack of sleep has been linked to depression and mood swings. Going without sleep for short periods of time won’t have a noticeable effect on your health but over time it can cause major problems. Deep restful sleep is when the body heals and rejuvenates itself so it is crucial for health and well being.


If a good night’s sleep eludes you try to nap during the day. Instead of watching television put on some headphones and listen to soothing music, meditation or hypnosis tracks. If noise and distractions are a problem, invest in a set of noise cancelling headphones, they are amazing.  When we lived aboard “Reliance’ our sailing boat, we used them to do away with the noise and stress of howling winds. We just pretended it wasn’t happening!!


Regular exercise can also have a positive effect on your mood. Exercising helps the body to release endorphins which make you feel good. It also releases happy chemicals such as Dopamine into your brain which also lifts your mood. Many athletes talk about a natural high after a bout of training and its not hard to see why.

lift your mood by walking

Exercise can take many forms but at the end of the day a good brisk walk in fresh air will suffice and if you can do it in a clean environment so much the better.


Colour and environment will also affect your mood. There isn’t much you can do about your workplace but you can make sure your home makes you feel good especially if you have a stressful job.

Get rid of clutter and surround yourself with things that bring you joy. Some colours are naturally depressing while others are soothing and tranquil. Don’t underestimate the impact of colour in your life, experiment and see what has a positive effect.

Add color to lift your mood

Lastly add a little colour to your wardrobe, avoid too much black or dark and sombre shades. A splash of colour can help to lift your mood and gives off positive vibes which attracts others.

Smile and Lift Your Mood 🙂

Remember life is not a dress rehearsal, so smile and be happy. Smiling is the easiest and quickest way to lift your mood.

Colour Art Therapy

I’m not usually one for following the latest trends but I have to admit that I am now well and truly hooked on Colour Art Therapy, probably better known as “adult colouring in books.” It seems to be all the craze now and like everything once you notice it you see it everywhere.

Colour Art Therapy

I first saw them a few months ago and I wondered what it was all about but then didn’t think anymore about it. When I mentioned it to one of the ladies I work with at the charity shop she said she had bought a book and was really enjoying it.

Colour art Therapy, the pencils

Colour art Therapy, the pencils

As it happened, shortly after our conversation a big bundle of coloured pencils  came in as part of a donation so I bought them. I then went to a newsagent and chose a colouring  book. There is a huge range available some of which are very intricate, any doubts I had about it being for children were well and truly dispelled.

I have just written an article on the benefits of exercises for a healthy brain and thought I would give colour art therapy a go.


The whole colour art therapy thing is marketed as a relaxation tool which also stimulates the brain areas related to the senses and creativity.  Apparently by concentrating on a straightforward task that allows complete creative freedom, the body and mind become more relaxed. It is also a form of brain exercise which is what interested me in the first place.

The Colouring Book

The Colouring Book

Chris and I generally do all our chores and errands in the morning, have a fairly late lunch and relax in the afternoon. We have a small room at the stern of the boat which catches the afternoon sun and makes it quite warm in the winter.  We usually spend a few hours relaxing before dinner, I play scrabble and catch up with my magazines and Chris does Sudoku and plays chess. Colour art therapy has now become part of that routine and I have to say I find it very relaxing.

Not Artistic

I always enjoyed colouring in as a child but I was never artistic and was never able to make colours work together. The adult colouring books are in a different league altogether, if you have an artistic streak or an eye for colour the sky is the limit. One popular magazine ran a competition for the best picture and the results were stunning. Some people really do have amazing talent enabling them to turn something ordinary into a work of art.

I was surprised how time consuming it is, I often spend an hour and only manage to complete a small section. I am also getting better at colour co-ordination so I hope it is doing something for my brain. Our boss at the shop is big on colour blocking; keeping colours together in graduating shades and it is surprising how difficult it is.


As  the pencils I bought at the charity shop didn’t have a big colour range I decided to look around for some new ones and I figured there would be a good selection in one of the main stores. Boy was I right, there was a huge selection of books and pencils many of which were in gift packs, and I was spoilt for choice.

Colour Art Therapy

Colour Art Therapy

It really bought it home to me just how popular colour art therapy is. My one book will take forever to get through so I don’t need another one just yet but I was very tempted, they were all so beautiful.

Who would use colouring in?

I should think this type of activity would be good for people who are bedridden or those who can’t get around too well and it is suitable for male or female .The nearest thing we had to anything like it when I was young was, painting by numbers. It was popular for a while and I remember my father trying his hand at it, of course they never looked as good as a picture painted by an artist but some of them were quite good.

There are a lot of people who don’t have much artistic talent but still like to try their hand at something and colour art therapy fits the bill nicely. I suppose like most trends it will run its course but I have to say I am enjoying it while it lasts.

Easy Gardening

It has taken a while but I have finally discovered easy gardening. When we first moved aboard “Roma Pearl” I had visions of a glorious riot of colour blooming from pot plants on the front deck.

After years of living on a sailing yacht I was excited about having real plants that would stay in one spot.
Off we went to the hardware store which has a large gardening section. We arrived home with several plants, gardening tools, pots, compost, plant food and a couple of nice baskets designed to hang on the rails. I set to with relish and soon had a colourful display out the front.


Being new to the area we had no idea that it would be so windy or that the prevailing winds would cross the front of the boat. The poor flowers lost all their petals and were very definitely not happy. Hanging baskets on the rail were out because I had to tuck them away in the lee; this meant placing them on the side decks. Now of course we couldn’t even see them!

Not so easy gardening. Wind Swept and Sun Scorched

Wind Swept and Sun Scorched. The only Survivor.


Next problem was the sun, South Australia is very dry and when the sun shines it is hot, in fact during summer it can reach 40°c.(104°F) Now as well as being blown away the flowers were being fried.


A neighbour kindly told me that I wouldn’t need plant food if I used river water, and I soon had proof of this. It is not hard to see why since the river is crammed with fish and bird life. It is likely this is what they are bottling and I’m buying as fertilizer!

A few months ago our son and his partner came to visit us and when they left they bought us a pot plant as a thank you gift. It is a bromeliad and normally they don’t grow very fast but the river water obviously agrees with it because it has trebled in size and needs re-potting.

Easy Gardening is Cut Flowers in a Pot

Cut Flowers in a Pot

Easy Gardening Idea

After losing several plants I became a bit despondent and decided to give the whole idea away. The vision of a “cottage look” as you approached the boat was gone.  However the next time we were in the plant section of the hardware store I suddenly had an idea. I realized that all the plants are reared under shade cloth which means they are used to protection.

The back deck of “Roma Pearl” is covered in by a sunroof and only gets full sun for part of the day, it is also protected from the wind most of the time. The room overlooking the deck is our sun lounge and dining area. Soon after moving aboard we replaced the windows with full width, floor to ceiling glass doors which afford us a lovely view over the water.

Out Of The Wind

Out Of The Wind On The Stern Deck

I decided this would be the perfect spot for my plants, shaded from the sun, protected from the wind and best of all, in full view when we are using in the room.  The front of the boat is as bare as ever, the vision of the “cottage look” as you approach the boat is gone forever.

Cut Flowers In A Pot

So back at the hardware store where I bought a whole lot of plants advertised as “Potted Colour”.  At around $2 a pot it is cheaper than buying cut flowers, and that is how I treat them.
I buy a new set as the old ones get passed their best. They last a good while and when they are finished I get rid of them and donate the pots to a charity that needs them. Using this system we can enjoy colour all year round and have a variety of different inseason plants.

I have used the two oblong planters from the hanging baskets and they hold up to four plants each. Right now they are full of Begonias, Sweet Williams and Snapdragons. They thrive on the river water and are a lovely splash of colour on the back deck. That really is easy gardening.

Indoor Plants
easy gardening indoor plants

Maidenhair Fern My Indoor Success

Buoyed up by the success of this project I bought an indoor plant for the lounge. I bought a Maidenhair fern and I planted it in one of those self watering pots. I’m thrilled to say it is doing well, plenty of new growth and looks very healthy.

Every so often I stand it on the back deck in the early morning sun and spritz it with a spray bottle, the rest of the time it is in a spot away from the sunlight. Two indoor plants are about the limit because we don’t have a lot of room but there is something very tranquil about living plants.

I am calling my system easy gardening because there really is very little to it.  The pleasure we get from the flowers far outweighs the amount of effort it takes to look after them.

Moving On

We are moving on again!

No we are not changing our boat this time, but we are moving on. Here’s why.

I’m ashamed to say it has been awhile since I’ve thought about writing a blog. Those of you who have been regular visitors to our website will know that last year we sold our yacht “ Reliance” which we had been living aboard in North Queensland and moved on to a houseboat in South Australia.

Moving on, Cruising the Murray River

Cruising the Murray River

It was a great move which a year on we don’t regret at all. Although we are in a marina just off the Murray River, we are surrounded by water and still enjoying a peaceful lifestyle.

However things have changed

a bit in regard to what we want to do in the future. When we moved aboard our houseboat “Roma Pearl” the idea was to spend a good bit of our time out on the river.  In a way, we now realize, we were still thinking in terms of being on a boat and moving about as if we were still cruising.

Next year Chris and I will have been married 50 years and for about 45 of those years our dream was to live aboard a sailing yacht and go cruising, particularly the Great Barrier Reef. Everything we did was centred on that goal and our children grew up on and off boats from babies.

“Reliance” was our fourth boat and finally we got to live our dream. It isn’t  surprising then that after all that time, even having sold her, and bought “Roma Pearl”,  that we were still thinking along those lines.

Over the last few months we have come to realize that although we love living aboard we aren’t to bothered about going out on the river.  So that leaves the question if we don’t want to spend most of our time on the river what will we do?

The obvious answer is

that we need new goals. In order to move forward we have to let go of the past and after so many years that wasn’t easy to do. We decided the thing to do was to write down the goal which we had achieved and put a big tick next to it. It was a physiological trick but it had a big effect and now we are excited about our next challenge, we are moving on.

Some people might say at aged 70 why do we need to do anything but it is important to have something to aim for and the energy and drive we need will help to keep us young. We do have a nice lifestyle but we have decided we want more.

Moving On

Like a lot of people we have a great desire to travel but we want to do it in comfort. We have never taken a holiday on a cruise ship but we would definitely like to give it a try.

Cruise Ship

Cruise Ship

The river boats in Europe look fantastic as does a train trip through Canada and that’s before we seriously start looking!! It seems that if money were no object, we could spend the rest of our life travelling.  Well who wouldn’t?

For some years now Chris has been interested in working from home on the computer, and although he has managed to do it at a certain level,(enough for us to go cruising) the time factor has always been a problem.

Now is a perfect time

and using our own advice on “How to set  goals” we have made our master plan. To create the sort of wealth we need to fund our new lifestyle won’t be easy, but Chris has found the vehicle he will use and for the last few months we have been moving towards our goal. Although it swallows up a lot of his time at the moment, he is really enjoying the challenge.

Moving On

Moving On

A healthy lifestyle

has always been important to us and with Chris spending a lot of time on the computer we have been more disciplined about exercise and diet. After the big blowout at Christmas, which was great, we are back to a healthy regime.

Recently stone fruits have been cheap so we have been having poached fruit with our cereal for breakfast. This last week we have been enjoying ruby grapefruit since I bought a big bag on special. I did some research on foods that are good for the brain and was surprised to see that turmeric rates very highly. We don’t normally have it in our cupboard but I bought some and have tried sprinkling over different foods.

We tried it on boiled eggs at breakfast and it works well, Chris needs all the help he can get with all this brain work he is doing, and we need to be fit for all this travelling we intend doing.