Monday, October 17, 2011

My happiness recipe.

The other day we were driving from Carnarvon to Coral Bay. The girls were watching Peter Pan in the back and my farmer boy and I were just sitting and driving in silence. Watching the world go by. Enjoying the scenery. Each in our own little world. All of a sudden I was overcome by an enormous wave of happiness. It came from nowhere and left me smiling and full of love and life in its wake.

I wanted to acknowledge that feeling. Grab hold of it. Turn it over and look at it from every angle. I wanted to keep it.

I got my farmer boy to get out his phone and I dictated my recipe for happiness.

This recipe is a work in progress. Its ingredients can be substituted and switched around. It is a thought that I really want to hold on to and make a reality when we get home and day to day life takes over.

Love where you live.

Before we left home we spent six months designing and decorating our caravan. We painted the walls, changed the cupboard latches and floor, got the couches covered and I sewed the curtains and the bed covers. The result is that we created our perfect little cozy home. I love it. It makes me happy every time we pull our bed down from the wall and I see the covers I made, it makes me proud every time someone comes in for the grand tour, it makes me comfortable and happy.

Our house in Daylesford does not make me happy. We bought our house because of the farm it sits on. A couple in their 70's built it and I call our house the Copper-art house. Do you remember those ads?? I feel embarrassed when people come over and I never feel comfortable with the layout or style.

When we get home I want to make big changes to our house so I can be happy in it. I want to start with pulling up the white carpet (in a farm house!!) and move on from there. I want to feel happy at home.

Shake up the routine.

It's so easy in life to get stuck in a routine in order to keep things moving to schedule and get the most done. But routines are hardly inspiring or fun.

While we are traveling it is easy to keep things interesting and fun but when we get home I want to remember to mix things up a bit too. Eat pancakes for dinner, pick the girls up from school and go for a visit to the lavender farm, leave the caravan packed and go for overnight trips to the coast and to Melbourne and to be a tourist where we live.

Love the ones you are with.

Whether it's my farmer boy, my parents, my best mates, my siblings or my them. Feeling and expressing that love is a pretty great way to bring on the happiness.

Hug and kiss, write love letters, give prezzies, whisper sweet nothings, practise random acts of kindness, realise how lucky I am to have that person/people in my life.

Love is lovely!!

Remember how lucky you are.

I am not hungry or scared or cold or in danger. I have choices and opportunities. I know it's all relative but it still puts things in perspective too.

Be brave and change.

Some things are simple, while other changes take time and courage. But it is so worth while in the end.

You can do it.

Do I want to write a book, write up and sell my patterns, sew more clothes for myself, go on more road trips, learn silver smithing, preserve more of our autumn harvest for winter, learn photoshop....Well why don't I?

Now that we've done this trip, I feel braver. I feel like we can change our lives around to fit in more of what we want to do as well as what we have to do. I feel like we are less stuck now. Like we have options. We can do it. We will do more of the things we want to do. And that makes me happy.

Be social.

At home I am often so caught up with my lists of all that I want to achieve that I sometimes forget to have a life. When we get home I am going to continue the social life we have enjoyed on the road, I am going to have dinners and parties and farm festivals and lunches and bonfires. And we are going to accept more invitations too. I feel like our kids are at an age now where we can socialise as a family because sharing our life with friends makes me happy.

Indulge once in a while.

I know what makes me feel good about myself and makes me happy. A warm jacket, a great haircut, a trip, a long distance phone call, stripey tights, beautiful food, op shopping, some new fruit trees, private time with my lovelies, a walk, baking, time to sew, lovely yarn, an adventure, books, music, films...

Get active.

Even though it is often hard to get moving in the first place, it never fails to lighten my mood and get those happy hormones pumping.

I need to ride my bike, grab my ipod or a friend and a go for a walk, pump up the music and dance, swim, run, skip, hike, hop...

Eat well and drink lots of water.

Feeling good on the inside is a great way to feel good on the outside.


The last ingredient on the dictated list that farmer Bren emailed to me from his phone is his own addition; 'write a hippie self help book!' I get that this post might come across like that, but we are on the home straight now and I still have the luxury of time to think thoughts through and analyse my life from afar, so that's what I'm gonna do.

I'm writing this just outside our caravan in Coral Bay. The girls are all of playing with friends. Farmer Bren is sitting beside me strumming his ukulele. If I look over to the left I can see a bunch of grey nomads sitting in a circle chatting and if I look to the right I can see the most magnificent beach I have ever seen. This place is paradise. It feels like such a great time and place to be writing this post. I feel happy.

So how does this sound to you? Do you have any more ingredients to add to my happiness cake? Do you believe in the happiness recipe? Do you bake your own? From where you sit right now can you taste it?

Happy happy! x


  1. Beautiful recipe, full of life, love & happiness!
    I will add icing tonight, with having brownies & a glass of red for dinner. While gazing at the picturesque sunset on our prairies :)

  2. A wonderful list, just wonderful.

    I would add 'look', always carry a camera, hold a hand whenever you can, walking with Dog and the perfume of wet eucalypts!

    Happy travelling!

  3. I agree with everything you said pretty much. I think I am living the happy life I always wanted. It is really important to me to have my house looking how I want it to look, I walk in now- with the new extension and think- I love my house. I think it does imapct on your mood if you don't love where you are. The three rules I think I try to live by were told to me in my favouirte book: too Soon Old Too late Smart by Dr Gordon livingston. he says in order to be truly happy you need:
    1. someone to love
    ( be it man or beast)
    2. something to do ( be it work or hobby)
    3. something to look forward to ( be it holiday or watching children grow) I think I have all three. I largely suspect you do to.

    We socialise a lot, ( when are you coming over?) probably have people over for dinner at least 2 times a week and go to anohter house one night a week, it is really importnat to us, csharing food with people in our lives is one of my favourite things.
    And next year I am going to learn photo shop too! xx

  4. Sounds like a great recipe! I'm going to start baking up some happiness as soon as I get up in the morning. (It's almost midnight right now.)

  5. ... and I absolutely agree with the hand holding. Holding Busys hand or Chefs hand is my favouirte thing.

  6. ps. Your house sounds like ours and I take your point about wanting to change it! We started with the carpet ( bilious green) and replaced it with terracotta tiles. The difference for me was astonishing. I have painted a couple of walls in my favourtie colours too and that has helped while we save up to remove the orange 1980's kitchen! Good luck with your house changes too!

  7. Sounds good to me! If it were my list I would need to put this in a prominent spot in my happy house so i don't forget it in those times I could go "off course".
    And it looks like you have lots to look forward to when you return from this caravan adventure. Love hearing about it.

  8. Sounds like a great plan for a happy existence. Coral Bay is gorgeous, isn't it? My brother and his girl can't leave- they have been there for a year now! xK

  9. A stunning and insightful post, Kate. It's my pick of your travel ones. I'm so delighted for you that you have found the time to gain some headspace and tune into what you really want out of life.

    It's not a dress rehearsal. This is our one shot in the locker.

    I wish you only the best in making those dreams come true. J x

  10. Wow - great post Kate. Full of love and wisdom.

  11. Hi Kate.

    I just wanted to pop in and say that I love your blog. I check it regularly to see what you and your family are up to. I live in Perth, I am a mum of 4 and I love to crochet. I admire you so much for the journey that you are taking with your girls and I too hope to follow in your footsteps one day with a road trip. Hope you enjoy the rest of WA, it sure is a beautiful part of the world.

  12. Fantastic post Kate. I think so many of us need this recipe, and I think you have hit the nail on the head. We are in the same sort of predicament, just not knowing what to do with the rest of our lives, we are restless but reading your recipe, I realise we have all we need, we have each other and we need to just learn to enjoy that and live in the moment more often. Sure the house isn't one we would choose and we dearly want more land but hopefully that will happen one day, in the mean time we should just make our house our home and enjoy what we have.

  13. This is gold. Not hippie or anything else, just honest and pure and obviously heartfelt. I'm printing the words out and putting it on my noticeboard - it's good to have a recipe handy when things get a little muddled or you find another ingredient you want to add. Thanks so much. Nic x

  14. Oh Kate pass the tissues. I'm so ecstatic you've found it NOW!
    It took me till I got to 50 to find happiness that kept me blissfully happy and with an inner peace. Everything I'd been searching for was right here, in me! Someone asked did I find god. I said no I found me.
    Then taking my first trip OS this year unleashed a new round of happiness in me.
    It's like I'm on some kind of overload, I get so emotional (like I am right now) and so gratefully happy with who I am, what I have and everything around me.
    So a resounding Yes. To me it sounds like you've found it. You have all the ingredients right there with you. Yes I do believe in the happiness recipe. Yes I bake and/or make my own happiness. From where I sit right now I can taste it ... right now it's salty tears of happiness for YOU and Me ♥♥♥♥♥

  15. The simplicity of acknowlegement that you are truly happy has made me happy today.
    Cherie was crying at your thoughts but im tearing up at her's!
    I guess I hit halfway in between somewhere there, x

  16. I think I need to copy and paste this.
    Happiness baking here has been a bit hit and miss of late. Need to review the recipe - and use some of your ingredients!
    Thanks the "hippie self help".
    Where do I send the cheque??

  17. A fabulous recipe for happiness! And remember to be thankful everyday as though you have already achieved it all! It's been about 7 years since my last visit to Coral Bay. It looks absolutely stunning, I can feel that beautiful calm and stillness emanating from those photos. Wish I was there right now!

  18. Your recipe is very much like mine & it surprises me because I haven't just spent the last few months dragging around a caravan & chasing the sun. ;)

    For the last little while I have actually made the concious decision to be happy & have incorporated so much of what you have written here into my life that right now it makes being unhappy seem impossible. I know that I will be again at some point & I know it's inevitable & part of life, but I feel like this time, this restorative period of living in the moment & recognizing joy when I feel it, will make me stronger for those sad times, will help me weather them better.

    I'm glad that you wrote this, I hope that people read it & share it, I hope that people really take in what you are saying & realise that they too can be happy. They have what it takes, it doesn't have to be hard & well, it's bloody awesome. xx

  19. Devine photos - makes me happy just looking at that beautiful beach. Really like this post and I love that little dress on your youngest - did you make it and if so - did you have a pattern ? Making things makes me happy - and that dress has inspired me to get into the fabric stash.

  20. My recipe is pretty similar but I haven't written it down. The 'love where you live' strikes a chord with me as we are just starting the long journey to turning our house into somewhere fabulous to live. Good luck with yours!

  21. If you have no objections, I want to copy some of this and keep it. On a beautiful walk yesterday I tried to put into words something like this to Big J. It is foremost in my mind a great deal of the time. Thank you for sharing it.

  22. This is the best recipe Kate! We were on our way to bed the other night & I had that happy feeling, it was comforting & overwhelming and nice. I was telling hubby about the sudden wave of 'happy' and how lucky we are, our gorgeous boys all cosy warm & safe in their beds, having my beautiful man beside's good!

  23. I love your list Kate.
    Do you know, (in a good way), sometimes I feel like you have got inside my head and worked out a way for it all to tumble out and make sense in words :)

    That list is so close to home for me. I've thought about the exact same things so much when we were away from home in the hills. Right down to the carpet!!! (we have cream. stoopid, stoopid choice with little kids in a house surrounded by the bush.)

    A happiness cake. I'm baking one as I type. Thanks for the recipe Kate xo

  24. I would add - always have a dream - if you haven't got a dream you have nothing.

  25. Love this post! I have been stalking your blog for a while now and this post made me want to comment. First ingredient "love where you live" I can not agree with you more. We're unhappy and have been for ages. We want to move, we like our house but we don't particularly love the suburb. Most people would think we are nuts because it is a "good" suburb but it is wrong for us. So, we just recently decided to move to the country EEEK. So terrifying!

    Anyway, something else I've been thinking about is learning to knit now before winter comes so I can make myself something fabulous!!!

  26. I just gobbled the whole thing. And now, as Abby Eddie used to say, I am as full as a stuffed olive. Scrumptious! xx

  27. What a beautiful list Kate. and yes all so true.
    And being loved and loving is wonderful, hugs make the world so much a better place.
    And for the record. I love you. and am right now sending a big bug xo

  28. Hi Kate, just wanted to say that your posts never fails to tear me up a little! I think you are spot on with your recipe. The only thing I would like to ad is "acceptance". It is not always possible to love where you live at the moment or what you do for a living. And I think we just have to accept that, because happiness is possible anyway, of course!
    Love and light to you and your family!

  29. Love it. I'm feeling it. Got that one marked for future reference when I get off course. xx

  30. I was watching an interview on Compass last night. Peter Cundall..the gardener..was being interviewed. He was in jail once and yet said that he had a day of perfect happiness when his jailers handed him a bucket of soapy water to wash his cell down with. As he scrubbed that cell, he felt totally happy 'cos he had something to do! Happiness is taking the time to appreciate something good about 'now'. If we never stop in our day to think about it maybe happiness will go unrecognised. I loved your post..and that beautiful clear water..yummm!

  31. Wow you inspire me!
    Us city folk so often get caught up in the day to day, and forget to slow down and enjoy life.
    I've been enjoying spending a lot of my time with a young family. Picking the eldest up from kinder sometimes. Feeding the baby while mum cooks dinner. Playing at the park with middle child.
    Not something single people often fill their time with.
    But I'm glad I do.

  32. Hey Kate
    Sounds like your travels are bringing you guys a heap of joy!!
    I'd add the sun and little bit of warmth to my cake.... only because today is the first day in yonks that we have had much - And I'm feeling a whole lot happier for it!!
    Travel big
    Mika xoxo

  33. Yes yes and yes to all of the above.
    Lately I have been feeling stuck in a rut, and so I have resolved to do many of the things you mentioned, starting with my own social life.
    We have been inviting people over, I have started repainting my copper-art kitchen cupboards, I've taken up running again, we are acting like tourists in our own town, making sure to enjoy things and remember how lucky we are.
    That beach looks astoundingly perfect, soak it all up Lady!

  34. Love, love, love this post have given me a gentle reminder to just live in the moment.
    A great recipe for happiness that I am sure I will check back on from time to time :)


  35. Sounds like good advice to me!!

    I love that you are getting so much out of your trip. Sounds like it's been one very worthwhile holiday.

  36. Kate, that post spoke so loud to me.... did you write it for me? hahah, the house is something I can so relate to - since our move - I feel i have all those other bits and pieces happenning - but the house??? It is an aesthetic nightmare!!! I am going to come back to this and read it when that dark blue angel shows up on my door step again! Love to you xx Rach x

  37. I agree with yardage Girl..I'm going to print this out and keep it in my planner.. You, your family and the way you are living your lives is inspirational... I have been living in a house in Oxford, UK that I have never felt at home in...I always say, 'One day...' but I have been living here for 27 years...maybe one day has come at last... Thanks for letting us come on your journey with you xxx

  38. Love them all, but my favourite is 'remember how lucky you are'.
    I try really really hard to focus on the positives. Even though crappy things happen, I'm still so lucky to have the life that I have. It still surprises me how many people complain about small things that don't matter. There's always a bigger picture and that cloud always has a silver lining!
    I'm just not so sure about loving the one you're with (as my companion is Mr Limpy Houdini Dog).

  39. It reads like you've got your mind in the right place. Your trip could have been a lovely, relaxing holiday but it seems to be that it's been all that and sooo much more for you!!!
    I'd love to share what you cook up with your recipe.
    Ab xxx

  40. I feel like we're just starting to cook up our recipe now. So many new starts make them less special i'm afraid. I so wish we had family support. But if i was honest, i don't think we've ever had it. Takes its toll gradually. I think I'll be happy one day, when I can trust that people won't hurt me. The damage my mother has done really runs deep.

    Jeez - deep stuff here Kate!XXXX

  41. Thanks for the list - I have bookmarked for future reference. And you've made me decide I need to write my own list! Yours is a great starting point for me to branch from :)

  42. By Jove I think she's got it!
    Your holiday is sounding like a very cathartic experience Kate. Lovely!
    When we moved to our new house 5 years ago we changed a lot of it before we moved in because I knew it would be hard to do once we were in here. Our house is a concrete block home so I feel like its a toilet block, however with lots of our personal touches and a beautiful outdoors I have forgotton that minor are right Home is where the heart is :-)

  43. Brilliant, awesome and inspirational.
    You are so blessed to have come to this wonderful list when you have plenty of time to put it in to and yours will all benefit so much from it.

  44. Yep, I had tears in my eyes (especially after reading Cherie's comment) & a smile in my heart. I am printing this out & living by it from this moment on. I have a pretty damn good life but fail to see this a lot of the time- I'm always too tired, too busy, too frozen by something but I've just got to really start appreciating what I have & making the most of life! Thanks Kate- thanks for sharing your insights & inspiration xx

  45. I really need to get more social and drink more water and exercise more.

    But, still I too am pretty happy lately. It is a wonderful feeling and worth remembering for the times when I don't feel quite so happy.

  46. Oh Kate I would certainly love for you to write a crafty/foody/living the good life kinda book! beautiful heartfelt goals!

  47. Ah you're radiating joy. You should write that book wise lady.

  48. a wonderful post, a wonderful list. I sometimes make a happiness list but I just have to keep adjusting it as it doesn't work out

  49. That's so awesome! And you are so right! xx

  50. oh you are fabulous! saving this for when i'm feeling stuck in the future. :)

  51. I am going to print this recipe out and stick it to the wall. I feel the same and I just want to say that you are very inspiring and YES please write that book!

  52. Oh yes, this is fabulous, i just did a post on not loving where i currently live & how it's stopping me from being my best, me!! So instead of stopping, i'm just plotting my way out. Sounds like your home needs a lot of lipstick, why not stay in the caravan & renovate as simply as you can, then move back into a home you will love & be proud of!!
    My husband is in danger, back at war, so i'm doing my best to live happily with good things, so i have zero complaints when he calls. We'll all get there Kate, we will & be the best 'us' we can be!! Love Posie

  53. deciding on a change, then acting on it. we did, a sea change - the best decision we ever made for our little family. now we have decided on another change, and are busy planning. this makes me happy.

  54. Great list, we send on to my friends, we all need reminders on happiness. Don't forget to add a little bit of patience, a fair bit of understanding, acceptance and forgiveness and a really big dose of humour!
    Totally understand the copperart house, we are slowly removing all trace of mission brown and pine cladding in our 70s mud brick, one room at a time.

  55. You sing it, girl. Awesome post. Add to your list: print out this whole blog to read when you're 80. Happiness remembered. I gotta do that too. Lots of love xxx

  56. OK I'm crying, can't say much more than that right now.

  57. oh good god woman you have hit the nail on the head!! I've turned down a high power pressure job today that once would have been my dream to keep working in a job I love with a whole lot less pressure and more fun. The lure of the gold coin nearly dragged me back BUT life can be better than that.

    Oh..and if you don't love your house...woman you had best get the reno book out and a paint brush!! EVERYONE should love their home!! Look what you did to a trusty old van!!

  58. You are a remarkable woman, Kate. Talented, smart, wise and generous. x

  59. Well done you, I think you're amazing and look that water, how could you ever be blue?

  60. This time last year we were in Coral Bay on our family trip just like you are doing. Your photos bring back so many happy memories. I must say a trip can be life changing. It has helped us live in the moment, be clearer about what we do and don't need.It was great.
    Now we met a great old grey nomad in Coral bay. He had a man bag, he said it was to put his prosthetic leg, his hearing aide and his teeth in when he went for a swim! Enjoy

  61. Kate this post is AWESOME! What a lovely recipe for life and a reminder of what's important...most of what is important to you is important to me too! SOOOO glad you have included Coral Bay in your trip. You will never ever forget the beauty of such a little known secret oasis! I can remember being there some 15 years ago and I can still remember the beauty and seclusion.

  62. Hold onto this post, keep it close, it is something big! A gamechanger maybe or a mantra when you return home...

  63. I love this post Kate! All so very, very, very true. Yes.

    Katie x

  64. I've come across from Maxabella an wanted to say thank you for a wonderful post - it's just what I needed to read x


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