chronicles of a bespoke, simple, adventurous life

Category Archives: vision and goals

Spring into it



I love this saying from Leo Tolstoy, because it’s SO true.  Spring magnetically pulls me forward and has me renewed in faith.  Weather in Auckland at the moment is warm, clear and crisp and from September 1 I’ve felt a little different, more ignited.  I mark my seasons entries by the equinox which is September 22, though regardless I was so chomping at the bit that I heralded it in on the first!  I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and a new lease of space has been granted my person and plans, it’s all rather curious and exciting.  Thank you Spring I say!

Of plans and projects I have a bundle to keep me busy, focussed on – work, home, love and creativity (the small stuff!).  Though given experience too many on my mind means nothing moves forward, so I’m lightly holding them all with love.  And tending one garden bed at a time, a new approach for me which I’m finding a lot more enjoyable.  And doable.

I’m also right in the throws of making a Zine on creativity which I’m really excited about and can’t wait to share, heres a pic of the draft cover – its all to do with living with heart!


I hope this Spring time finds you well and engaged in a little forward momentum.  What project or plans have you got your gaze fixed on?  I’d love to hear xx

Image credit: Good Magazine, Sept/Oct 2013 Issue.


doing a personal stock take + getting my citrus on!

This week there is no regular ‘my week of alchemy + hustle’ post.

‘Why’, you all ask in gasping shock and horror (i joke).

Because I realised I needed to do a little stock take of where I’m at, of what I’m doing to get where I need to go.  Thats the beauty of committing to a weekly ‘check in’ after a few weeks you start to see if your moving or not, it forces you to evaluate if your on track, off track……..not even on the track.  And I’m a bit of all three at the moment……a bit of all bloody three!

So I shouted ‘ENOUGH ALREADY’ things don’t feel right, I need to recalibrate.  And I did a wee cleanse of my space and things – put things into ship shape order and burnt some mandarin oil.  Yes I did.


The power of smell to refocus and clarify works a treat for me.  And for countless others I might add.

So next week I’ll let you know how my stock take went.  And I’ll share the deets on how you can do a stock take.  How you can check if your on track to kicking some of your personal goals.

So until next week I shall be bathing in the glow of my mandarin oil haze + getting on down and dirty with ‘what I’m doing to make my dreams my reality’.  You know, that small thing.

Love and light x



Hello to you and 2013….heres what’s coming up!

Hello to you (I say rather meekishly and mightily) after an eleven week incommunicado absence from writing on this blog.  I last posted on the Alchemy of Hustle near three months ago from New York, at the tale end of my 30 day American adventure.  Luckily the places, faces and food of the States has not faded from my memory and I have juicy stories and pictures to share from that fabulous little big trip which will include posts on New York, San Francisco, Sonoma, Santa Monica, San Luis Obispo, Carmel by the Sea and maybe a revisit of my original post on the crazy Las Vegas.

After the United States holiday I put on some big pants and made some grown up decision’s…….as a result I now find myself living in a new country – my old home town of New Zealand.  After eleven years of living away (six of those in my last home of Sydney) its rather novel, new and fabulous being back.  And it feels right for now, but more on that later.

Taken on my morning walk between Milford and Takapuna Beaches.  It is one of my favourite places in the world and makes me smile.  ALOT.

Taken this morning on my walk between Milford and Takapuna Beaches. It is one of my favourite places in the world and makes me smile (ALOT). It is where I was born, raised and currently live……a full circle of sorts.

2012 was a year full of dips and some delightful highs with bold lashings of change, and all that hard yakker has paved the way for a ‘stand up and be counted’ 2013.  I’m excited with a side order of meekish nerves, truth be told.  Stand up and be counted means building up The Alchemy of Hustle and my own business.  It means creating and living the life I want in the style and way I want over different geographical terrains.  It means implicitly trusting and believing in myself and the tremendous powers of community, hard work and the universe.

In short I’m getting my serious on about The Alchemy of Hustle and giving it a lot more energy. This year will also see the inclusion of ‘Others Stories’ where I ask others how they created and sustained lives doing what they love.  I’ll be sharing their learnings, journey’s and tips with you.

I’m brimming with loads of ideas and inspiration (thanks in no small part to the fantastic Blogacademy workshop I attended in New York).  I hope you enjoy the upcoming posts and pictures of inspiration to support you on your paths of brilliance.

Love and light  and welcome to the New Year of 2013 and the Snake.

How to get your mojo singing ‘Hell to the Yeah’

Truth be told I’ve been trying to get my mojo to sing loud and proud for an age, to middling success.

To get things hip hop moving along I spent a couple of days at the first ever Blogcademy in New York city.  It was hands down one of the best things I’ve done to move my ideas forward in a really long time.  The BEST.  I think I may have a choir of mojo about to sing Hellalujah.  It got me thinking about how we get our mojo’s to sing…..I’ve jotted down some ideas at the bottom of this post if your needing a wriggle on.

Two gloriously affirming days hanging out with 29 other fabulous bloggers at the direction of three superstars of the blogosphere (and all things individual expression) Gala Darling, Nubby Twiglet and Kat Williams.  And lets not forget the superstar of photography Lisa Devlin.

I was plunk in the middle of a master mistress class and it was amazeballs!

The alchemy of hustle is all about living your joy and passion on your own terms and these women were rocking right out on that, they are alchemical hustlers in the truest sense of the title.  They are tap dancing on the head of their passionate reason for being, and it is a glorious site to behold*.  Unabashed, unadulterated full expression of self with the added bonus of making a very successful living from it.  Is there no other holier grail than that?  Well for me there’s not, its my life’s work.

The workshops style and delivery were perfect for the way I learn.  Informal, packed with awesome content (from lessons learnt, tips, the basics, what works, what doesn’t etc) and with loads of space for Q&A.  I came away learning SO MUCH about all things blogging and how to make my blog  fabulous.  I am inspired with a game plan = ignited.  And unexpectedly I learnt about the power of really living my mojo, singing from my own voice full time (not part).  Over two days I soaked up the authentic voices of our teachers and it unconsciously washed over me and settled into my psyche.  Seeing somebody else rocking it out prompts your subconscious to say “hey, why not join in”?

The other surprise gem has come from the community that has sprung to life and that is continuing to grow.  A big nugget shared was the power of community, collaboration and support and the life these bring to our work, ideas, inspiration and selves.  It’s the relationships that make the difference.  I am loving being a part of this community.

Blogcademy graduates on a high after finishing the workshop. Photo taken by Femke Leemans.

So if you’d like to get your mojo singing ‘Hell to the Yeah’ you could try a few of these:

  • get clear about your joy/passion, what you want to do.  this is a good read if your a bit murky.
  • feel more, think less
  • get your vision up where you can see it, it helps keep the main thing, the main thing.  I wrote about how to make a vision board here
  • start dabbling or dive right in, there will never be a perfect time (because there is no such thing as perfect) there is just now
  • build your community – meet other like minded peeps for fun, inspiration and ongoing support.  Veronica Varlow who attended Blogcademy wrote an awesome post on how to build community here
  • get some steer and support on how to make it happen, I just found out about this fabulous woman/firestarter.  want more than just a book/online resource?  a life coach can be an incredible resource for creating change or a mentor could be your thang
  • make self care a priority, good food/sleep/balance/water/friends/fun are all part of the equation
  • learn from the best, ask questions from those that have done it……soak it up (trust me it is priceless gold to be in conversation with people who are successfully singing from the top of their mojo’s lungs – see Gala, Nubby and Kat’s links above).
  • be yourself, its a fruitless task being anybody else

What gets your mojo singing loud and proud?

*My description of these fabulous woman may to some sound a tad gushy, it is not.  I write with authenticity and honesty on the things and people that genuinely inspire and motivate me (and shining a flood light on powerful woman is a good thing, I feel).  Seeing individuals doing their thing/joy and being truly themselves is powerful, it is a massive agitator of change and enhancer of mojo happiness. I found that out this weekend in bucket loads.

driving forward

to be driven

and to respond to your own voice*

your needs, calling, longings….

she can be a challenging road

maybe more so because….

theres not that many companions on it when you skip jump out of the well trodden lane

not so many in their volume

confirming that your choice is okay

that you’re okay,

but it’s the right road (well, for me)

it feels a bit unsure at times, quite a bit

and theres much stumbling

and wobbly wheels in amongst the drive forward

but theres a drive and the direction is north

and I’m happy with that

* your own………maybe at first it doesn’t sound like your own voice

it calls into attention your uncomfortableness

the agitation of your despondency

rubbing away like salt in a paper cut

uncomfortable, but not unbearable

so you can have a conversation for awhile

maybe longer than you want, than you need……….change delayed

but interestingly

change is such an oxymoron

patient as a doting grandparent

and as ready as a raging bull

An incredible Creme Brule with a glass of local sticky (Healdsburg, Sonoma) accompanied the writing of ‘driving forward’

30 days in America

This post was written three days ago…..

As I write, I am shooting through clouds on my way to Los Angeles.  I am four hours and forty minutes away from touching LAX tarmac and travelling for 30 days in America.   For the next three weeks I’m road tripping through California then shooting over to the east coast and living in New York for nine days.  Excited I am.

Seven weeks ago I decided to give up the lease on my flat (of five years that I adored) leave my routine and comfort zone and go on an adventure.

The plan was to submerge myself in an exotic voyage, a joyful messy mash up of difference.  Submerged in otherness.  India fitted the bill perfectly except for the wee minor detail that I can’t eat a lot of lentils, rice, gluten and dairy.  So my 90 day voyage of discovery in Asia became 30 days in America.  I laugh too.

I cannot tell you how hard it was to hand in my lease.  I am serenely joyous with my decision now, but in the lead up I was pacing the outer margins of my courage, and then some.

You know when you can have too much of a good thing, when the routine is so deeply engraved that change has a long way to surface.  That was me.  I realised that if I didn’t cut the ties, change it up and leave my safety blanket I would more than likely wake up in five years time and very little would have changed.  That thought alone pushed me through a canyon of unexpected fear.

The propeller for all this change didn’t spontaneously manifest over night, I had been nursing my levels of discontent for quite awhile.  Simply put, when I’m about to pop my clogs I want to know I lived a life of joy doing what I love.  At forty I haven’t done that yet so I thought I’d give it a go.

In my trip I’ve created open space away from what I know, outside of routine to connect to my joy’s of creating, writing, travel and food.

I’m going to be blogging about my travels if you’d like to come along for the ride a little…..

The Gift of Change

I found this piece of writing by Marianne Williamson (excerpt from her book The Gift of Change).  I’ve had it tacked to the side of my fridge for years though haven’t read it for an age.  After my post about the challenge of change I found myself looking for it.  Randomly.  And bingo it delivered the goods, just what I needed to read.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

“It isn’t easy giving birth to our spiritual potential.  Spiritual labour can be very arduous – one holy instant at a time when we give it up, surrender, soften, don’t care if we’re right, forego our impatience, detach from the opinions and prizes of the world, and rest in the arms of God.  But the end result is the love of our lives.  We begin to feel free at last of past hurts, able to fearlessly love again.  We begin to exhibit the maturity and strength that were lacking in our personalities before. A new energy emanates from who we are, and others can see it too.

All of this is very simple, which is not to say its easy.  The spiritual path is not a matter of growing more metaphysically complicated; it’s a process where we actually grow simpler and simpler, as we apply certain basic principles to everything we go through. We don’t learn love, which is already etched on our hearts; we do, however, begin to unlearn fear.  And with every change we make from blame to blessing, we pierce the veil of illusion that separates us from the world we want“.

creating change

Before jumping out of bed this morning I’ve been giving my mind and spirit muscles a wee stretch.  You know that  big long satisfying stretch you do to shake off sleep, that transforms you to ‘awake’ and on?  Well this is kind of similar though it looks to shake off/look at the ‘something’ thats not sitting right, thats creating a bit of drag in your slip stream.

I woke up this morning with a hangover from the weekend, actually from the last week or two.  A hangover of can I do this, can I consistently turn up to the change I want to create…..can I create and live my vision?  Some days I run at my goals/dream/vision with the determination and power of an Olympic athlete.  Others I bring the gusto of a pyjama wearing, dvd watching, snack eating, newspaper reading……..aged care resident.   The divide between the two is Grand Canyon in proportion with Miss Consistency a no show.  Well I lie, I consistently morph between vibrancy and lethargy.  Yes I consistently do that.  And to be honest lethargy is the clear contender for most tickets sold.

I have grand plans/vision.  They are sprawled before me out on the lawn like a bountiful picnic.

My vision includes living my joy – doing more of the things I love, being with love and in love, turning up to the world with humour.   Simply – abundant love, joy and laughter.  And yes I’ve had a wee nibble but theres been no paper plate on my lap groaning under the weight of potatoe salad, fresh bread, ham and mustard.  There is alot of untrodden green lawn between me and the bounty.  And possibly less than I realise (but thats another post).

This past weekend I’ve been a bit fluey so one could excuse recluse with a side order of lethargic.  But today I’ve woken up with the realisation formed from the last couple of weeks – the old pattern, routine and behaviours don’t fit anymore.  Dammit, but more importantly yay!  Now I’ve known for an age they didn’t fit.  I’ve known in my mind – logically but was still able to turn off logic, recline and forget when I so chose.  But this weekend my body, spirit and soul got it and theres no going back when you hit the trifecta.

You know when you’ve grown out of something, exhausted the joy?  When your needs are not being met.  What used to be a wonderful treasure trove of retreat and security is no longer, you keep on doing it but it doesn’t provide the hit it once use to.  Instead, when your in the old behaviour / action your present to what your not living, what your not allowing in.  You have big black rimmed magnifying glasses on with laser beam awareness flooding out through the lenses.  You don’t choose to wear them but you find them on your face and there near impossible to get off.

The comfy nooks and crannies of retreat from your authentic self  no longer are comfy, they’re more like pointy jagged rocks (not a place you want to spend time in).  Well I’m there.  And I know I’m joined by half of the global population, I am not special in my experience of this.  Its called being human and being at the coal face of change.

And I love it by the way – the power of transformation and the joyful gifts it can deliver.  I clicked recently that it is not ourselves (true self) that we seek to transform, we are perfectly imperfect.  It is the adapted selves and their behaviours and the solicitous affairs they hold with doubt, limitations and blocks.  Well, thats where the light of change is focussed for me.

Stretch over, faith and hope restored.  Nothing like a wee bit of writing aka distance to give me perspective.  The distance reminds me to take it all lightly and with humour, I am but a grain of sand in this cosmos.  I have two arms, two legs, health, shelter, food, family and friends.  All is good. I wanted to share though because I reckon loads of people could relate in some way. And thats the point of this post for me, to remind myself that ‘this’ isn’t about me, I am no different to anybody else.  I do not ‘have’ something that is incurable and immovable, I am human and this is change.  And getting on with the business of it is all thats required. With a truck load of laughter, compassion, love and delicious food of course.

I would love to hear your stories of change.  Of a new energy your creating into being in your life………do share.

making it happen (fake it till you make it)

making it happen (fake it till you make it)

A mate of mines got a saying “you gotta fake it till you make it”.

This usually enters the conversation when we’re talking about making a big scary change which requires the taking off of comfortable pants and the venturing into the new.  The change is generally anchored around a dream or goal, and I don’t know about you, but being clear on ‘what it is you want’ can be an achievement in itself (well it was for me).  So here I was glowing with the flush of victory at gaining clarity on my future direction when it peevishly dawned on me that vulnerability (my favourite of emotions) along with the need for a good pair of steel balls was required to make things happen.  I say peevishly, because I was side blinded by my victory at ‘getting clear’ and thought I was on the home run (running away from needing to dig deep again). But I digress.

Me, you, people and the whole ‘starting something new’…..what an interesting dance.

For some, starting something new is no sweat.  I find I need a bit of a run up, swaddled in courage and confidence.  You know the things that can start coming up, we’ve all been there…… start asking yourself ‘can I do this’, ‘am I good enough’, ‘I don’t have enough time’, ‘I don’t have the skills’, ‘what will others think’. The catalyst for needing steely balls swathed in a veil of vulnerability can be; starting a new business venture, going back to study after an absence, telling someone you like them, starting out in a new industry, dating when your a bit rusty, starting a new hobby, a work presentation.  The list is endless.

And back to faking it………I stumbled across  this gem of a post by Sarah Wilson, about faking it till you make it, about just starting with what you’ve got. And my friends saying went ‘ping, ping, ping’ in my neural jungle of a brain.  The lights were on and I was home.  So I have now included the ethos of ‘faking it’ to my hustling strategy for living my creative life of joy.  

If your feeling like you need a bit of inspiration to start something new, and your maybe waivering in confidence and thinking ‘where to start?’ click the link to read Sarah’s post.  And be inspired like I was, by one of the most famous *alchemical hustlers* – Michelangelo of all people. Now there’s a man with balls (read on).

Oh hello Spring, what are you going to bring?

Oh hello Spring, what are you going to bring?

Today is the first day of Spring*, diddly ding ding!

It brings out in me all things; new growth, new beginnings and/or opportunities and getting down to some good old fashioned hard work on the projects that matter.  It’s such a fertile time of year.

What are you going to do with your Spring? What projects, intentions or goals have you been saving up ready to unleash on the mystical fertile powers Spring brings?  It’s a magical three months and you’d be surprised at what you can create, start, turn around and change.  If you’ve been putting something off this is the perfect time to jump in and take it on.

My Spring menu includes:

  1. Annual Spring Clean of the house and contents, I just love clearing out clothes I don’t wear anymore, books I don’t read, sorting through the pile of paper/bills……..getting my house and affairs in order.  I love the feeling of knowing the house is cleaned out, cleared and ready for some new energy.
  2. Immerse myself in creating and writing
  3. Continue giving the love to my body – all things well being and self care.
  4. Be courageous and venture out into new experiences

So make the most of the next three months, if you snooze through these babies you’ll wake up and it will be all things Christmas, then New Years and then 2012.  And that’s all good and all, but don’t forget the power and the gift of Spring……three months of a fire cracker of new growth or some good old fashioned clearing out and getting clear with where your going…..if you want it.

*and for my Northern Hemisphere readers (and thank you very much to the two of you by the way, I hope Dublin is treating you well) its hello to Autumn for you!