Decluttering Happiness

You will not experience many bursts of happiness quite like those which decluttering brings. 

Sorry, let me rephrase that, decluttering on the day your children return to school. 

Or, better still, doing it with my dear friend Rebecca who is like a walking, talking shaken-up can of Fanta most of the time, but good Lord, give her a mammoth task like this and she turns into Martha Stewart… all Miss Strictypants, with her systems and her sticky tape.

She started slowly, so slowly in fact, that I thought she was just here for the banana cake, but by the time I returned from my exquisite 6 minutes of procrastination in the bathroom, she had macheted through four piles of junk that consisted mainly of scribbled phone numbers without names, a forest of paper showing my youngest sons attempt at circles, a bajillion of those magazines that fall out of Sunday newspapers, the ones that promise you 12 weeks to a bikini body starting October, but you only get around to reading them in July, when all you you want to do is drown in a vat of mashed potato. She removed cookbooks whose insides had never seen the light of day, and assured me that there was no need for the 4,000 tea lights I scored in the IKEA “as is” section. People, these are just the wee little innocent piles that live on your bench, the ones that day by day become a mini His and Hers Petronas Towers. They were no match for her.

And then she started on the bookshelf. She was ruthless. Allan keys, bobby pins, candles, coasters, dolls, DVDs (read: coasters), lego, plectrums which make Steve feel like a six-foot-one, bald, well-fed Keith Richards, photos, snow domes, usb sticks…gone, all gone.

Then the kitchen: 

“When was the last time you used these crab-claw-shaped crab claw crackers? Hmm? Never? Say goodbye.”

And on it went, but look at this:

I can now put my hand in a cupboard and know that my fingers don’t run the risk of being lopped off by the blades of 7 redundant food processors, and my fetish for enamel colanders is sated by my new lust for clear space. 

Decluttering brings great happiness because it makes you feel lighter. There are less things to lose, to find room for, to rearrange, to be frustrated by, to dust around, to make decisions about. 

Note to self: Buy less crap. And every 5 years, get yourself a Rebecca.

(Bloody hell, here she comes again!)

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Does Hair Make You A Great Leader?

Have you ever noticed that it is the strange patterns that appear in life that sometimes bring the largest laughs. The other night it was pointed out to me that the leaders of USSR/Russia alternate from a bald headed leader to a full bodied coffiured figure head.

Strange but true.

Take a look for yourself and allow that little grin to creep into a smile. You know what I really love about this – is the multi tasking aspect!

I can get a political lesson on past and present Russian leaders whilst still managing to fill my already cluttered mind with some more hysterical but useless facts!




UnknownCalling all Russians with a full head of hair – there is a spot for you as the next president! Only those with a thick luxurious locks need apply –  COMB OVERS will not be accepted as hair coverage.

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The Annual “Down the Toot” Barbie

Now, I’m not one to dissect and examine the emotional entrails of any person, place, thing or event.

Nothing kills happiness quite like pinning it down and defining it.

Who am I kidding…there is nothing better than a tweezers-in-the-ingrown style debrief. Don’t you remember those days? You sat there in the wee hours with your best friend, armed with only nail polish and 3 day old banana cake as a whimpering  answer to your whopping hangover, taking apart every  nanosecond of the night before, bottling the magic by talking about it. Incessantly.


That’s what the Annual Down The Toot Barbie does to me. It makes me want to yak about it for days. But there is no mystery to the joy this time. Just a great bunch of friends, some chops, lots of beer, and enough bore water to keep 13 children exceedingly happy. So happy in fact, that apart from their squeals of delight and guffaws, we didn’t hear one, “he hit me” all day. No “i’m hungry”, no “why does she have more than me?”
My kingdom for those days!!!



The ADTTB is an ever evolving beast however. I have a husband, who every year around October, thinks it’s a stellar idea to get himself down to the sale at Clark Rubber, and buy “just one more” blow up pool, only two inches deeper than the previous one. And why fill a mere 50 water balloons by hand,  when it could be 200 because of the whizz bang water balloon filling device found on ebay.






All this aside, there is not much like sitting under a gigantic olive tree, having a kidney-squelching laugh with good friends, telling stories, repeating stories, loosening the top button, eating some more, backyard cricket, a kid that goes home with bruises courtesy of the slip-and-slide/palmolive combo, the water fights, the alpha males round the bbq, and of course those chops.

I have given this recipe so many times, but here it is again, in indelible ink:

Chops, preferably frenched cutlets
Dried Oregano
Whack all these together (don’t be scared of the salt! What’s one hardened artery between friends?)

You don’t need to marinate from the night before, just sprinkle on the s, p, and o just prior to cooking.
Do not, under any circumstances add oil prior to grilling, otherwise you’re just frying them.
Place the chops on a super hot barbie, the grill, not the plate.
Leave them alone!!!!  Don’t prick, poke, or pat! Turn them over once the underside is well-seared. Take them off once the second side is well seared.
Squeeze loads of lemon juice over them, and eat hot.

7 hours later still sitting there, under the olive tree – after a second round of lunch and our skin nice and crispy from the sun our thoughts turn to next year’s Barbie and how we will do it all again!



And on the ‘Tena Lady” Scale of Happiness (even with the Slip and Slide Injury) – this day still rates a 9.5. It is going to be a tough one to beat!


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Oh! Suivant or What Next!

I figure, that if we promised to get into mind bending culture and undies wetting laughter – then there is probably no better place to start than French Panotmime/Circus!

And so it came to be that the Dimitropolous Family (minus Steve) – and the Adamson Family (plus Grandpa) headed off to the National Arts Centre to see ‘Oh Suivant’.


What we didn’t realise was that some of us attending were actually going to be performing in the said production and when two members of my family were picked randomly to carry out roles I certainly felt like maybe this was a sign.

Should we run away with the French circus?……or  maybe I’m taking my dream of returning to France anyway I can, just a little too far!

But I digress – this one hour production of what can only be described as circus brilliance – was captivating for both adults and children. Max (aged 4) was mesmerised and he has learnt to multi task, perfecting his clapping skills whilst tenuously shifting his weight back and forwards to stop the theatre chair from closing up on him and swallowing him whole.

Definitely worth taking the children to – as it allows their understanding of theatre and mime to develop, whilst they are laughing their heads off.

I warn  you though – there will be many occassions when you will have to whisper to your kids – “don’t even think about doing that with my dining chairs”.

We later found out that the duo performing were from Belgium and they spoke Dutch – but perhaps they refrained from using Dutch words to name the show as they have a nasty habit of using far too many letters in their words. (See example below)


Or perhaps it is the simple fact that it pays homage to the true French craft of theatrical circustry. (A far less important point than making fun of the Dutch language.)

We followed up a wonderful performance with a trip through the War Horse Puppetry Exhibit and learnt that the International ‘Don’t Touch Symbol’ that is used by the National Art Centre


means something totally different to my daughter, Sari aged 5.  As she played with one of the exhibits she repeatedly told the young boy behind her  “No Pushing …..See!!!” and pointed to the sign – apparently you can touch away to your heart’s content – as long as you don’t push!



Some shadow puppetry and some very scary ventriloquist dummies later – a bunch of tired – but extremely cultured children – wandered to their respective cars and made the trip home.

On The TENA LADY Scale of Laughter – this day rates an 8 out of 10.

(A really reasonably priced hour long show – suitable for the whole family and playing till the 27th January)


TOMORROW – It’s off to Tootgarook for a quintessential Australian backyard BBQ – bores and babes, slip and slides, water balloons and plenty of great company.

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Sing Hallelujah! C’mon Get Happy

For too long New Year’s Eves have come and gone and the resolutions right along with them!

Enough with the Intentions – we are getting serious and turning this into a Project!

This year – two women – who have only recently emerged from the fog of motherhood and raising young families – have decided to live life to the full – to experience all that the world has to offer them – to take not just a bite from the apple, but the whole damn piece of fruit.

Like it or not – these two women are getting happy – or are going to do some serious damage to themselves trying.

Whether it be traipsing around exhibitions or playing competitive Totem Tennis, 2013 is the year for us to have new experiences and we want you to come along for the ride.

Follow us on our quest to fit as much mind altering culture and underpants wetting fun into 12 months.

We welcome your comments and suggestions on any activities and practices that you feel may bring us happiness and we will try our hardest to put it into action and report back from the front line.

We will also post upcoming activities that you are welcome to join us on as we fill up our souls and our calendars.

Our ideas on how to obtain happiness may not be the same as yours and you may not agree with our definition of happiness – but don’t run away – I’m sure you will find something to laugh about – and in turn bring you some happiness for 2013.

Bec and Helen x

P.S . The happier we get – the more spelling and grammatical mistakes we make. If there are any Rhodes Scholars out there – please feel free to correct us.


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