Thursday, March 5, 2015

Insourcing....what is it again?

I'll be in Venice in 121 days. I can't wait.
But I wouldn't be going if it weren't for my insourcing habits. Sure we could take out a second mortgage or give the credit cards a flogging, but we're a bit past all that. At our age, it's cash. And we can either afford it or we can't.
So. The way we manage this is by cleverly doing as much as we can to live our comfortable (some might say 'luxurious') life, in-house, so to speak. Each day, we either consciously or sub-consciously make decisions about what we eat, wear, buy and plan for. Wherever we can, and if it's humanly possible, we then try to recreate that food, purchase, planned activity or whatever, at home.
We once loved eating out in luxurious restaurants. We'd go once a month or more often if we could find a babysitter. At that time, it was important to us as a couple, as we had a disabled son and a toddler, and it was the only time we got alone together. We spared no expense on those outings as we felt we deserved a treat.
As time wore on though, we tired of the over inflated food and wine prices, and reasoned that as we're both pretty good cooks, who had learned a thing or two over several years of dining out, that we could probably recreate our favourites at home. It became a bit of a fun challenge, actually. We were already insourcing renovations, landscaping, and many other activities, so this was just one more step.

Pannacotta with raspberry coulis...why not? Slow roasted Rib Eye on the Bone or Rack of lamb with oven baked figs and honeyed feta...yes! Pan fried barramundi with beurre blanc...a cinch. Citrus tart served with mascarpone and blueberries...any day, just ask me. Once we realised how inexpensive and easy these meals were to have at home, we sacked the babysitter, who was actually the largest expense of all, and started to enjoy sharing beautiful food in-house, with our children and our friends.
 So on that ambition, we succeeded.

 Our next goal was to make home more like the luxurious restaurants and hotels with their sumptuous furnishings and lush landscaping, by the addition of chandeliers, indoor palms in gorgeous pots, and oversized floral arrangements in glossy vases, a garden full of interesting plants, and an entertaining area of which we could be proud. More insourcing please. Ten years worth actually. Only now, are we approaching completion of that dream, with the addition of a new BBQ deck (clever husband built this), a new fence (built by clever husband and some friends), and a little levelled and grassed area where we can play Bocce, Badminton, Skittles, or allow a place for our dancer daughter to rehearse and choreograph to her hearts content. Thankyou to selves for much patience and hard work. Outsourcing that lot would have been a number with lots of zeroes following it.
These things, individually are within everyones reach, really they are. Pinterest and the many talented bloggers out there who share their projects for us to copy, make it easier than it once was to create a look in order to mimic the styles we admire. You can do a course too, on just about anything these days from building a fence or a retaining wall, to refurbishing a chandelier, although really if chandeliers are your thing, they're not that expensive these days. Me? I want a HUGE chandelier...and they don't come cheap...unless I refurbish an old one!
We have some beautiful art purchased in London (that's what we decided to buy as London Buses in miniature or Buckingham Palace teapots for us! Again, small decisions reap long term rewards), some treasured pieces of fine furniture sourced over years of antique restorations in my younger days, and plenty of vintage silverware and crystal. The vintage linen, silverware and crystal gets a daily airing, as we set the table restaurant style every night. 
Hanging a framed painting, either your own artwork, your childs or one you've bought, setting a beautiful dinner table, saving for furniture that will last you more than five years, or buying it second hand as I did, and restoring it, which is enormously satisfying in itself...these are little things that anyone can do to enhance the day-to-day living experience.
Even if you don't have (or like!) vintage crystal, linen and silverware, it costs nothing to throw a clean sheet over your dinner table, lay out your crockery and cutlery prettily, and whip up some serviettes from fabric remnants. A centrepiece of  tealights in a coloured glasses, and some greenery in small bowls can really make the table look lush. These things all help you feel like you're really living luxuriously, and place no pressure on the budget or bank account. Often we've found that the dining out experience is really about those little touches, and not about the food so much at all!
The advent of dozens of DIY programmes, magazines, blogs and books, means that you don't have to buy ready made anything-at-all these days and yet we all do it. Ready made meals, ready made rooms, ready made kitchen packages including the soup ladle and the strainer, ready made bedroom furnishings and ready made beautiful picture perfect children and pets...or just about! There's someone out there to advise you on everything from wedding planning, to gift purchasing. Heck, they'll even do it for you, if you like! Then you get to have the same wedding, home, pets, and gift the same items to your friends as everyone else...what fun....NOT.

If you want to shop, how about setting your sights a little higher than the local fare. How about saying 'let's save up for a shopping spree at Harrods in London'. Or Printemps in Paris, or Macy's New York, or the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney. If I want a shopping hit, I head to The Brisbane Arcade in the city where I live. It's a bit more special, I have a lovely lunch, and I feel like I've had a real treat, rather than just 'going shopping' as a leisure activity. I don't always buy something, but I certainly enjoy the experience more that trawling the local shopping mall.
Learn to love the experience of dining at home, of shopping to feed your family well, of cooking new and interesting dishes for breakfasts and lunches, as well as dinners. It can all be a treat for the senses, a luxury in itself, if you go about it the right way. The more you do it, the less you'll feel the need to fritter money away on the little budget thieves like takeaway latte's (shudder), cheap handbags, and discount costume jewellery. Learn to cultivate a preference for quality over quantity. Save for a few of the finer things in life, even if you start small.
My first trip to Paris was a revelation. It cured me forever of wanting to shop in the local mall, drink bad coffee and wear cheap jewellery. The experience of travel, opened my eyes in ways I could not have imagined. I had travelled of course, but only as most Aussies do, to New Zealand, Fiji, and the Australian! Paris. Now that's a whole new ball game.
I know it's hard, when everyone else is doing something that contravenes your long term goals. But try just saying 'no...we're saving for Paris', or whatever your goal is, and be firm. They'll all be green with envy when you come back with that new little treasure you picked up at Printemps.


  1. It's not about how much money you can squirrel away or what you can acquire. The art of (living) is to keep a good heart.

  2. Anonymous, how I wish you had left your name so I could respond to you personally. I actually agree with that wholeheartedly. This is part of the art of living a giving and generous life, and having a good heart. If we are wise with our money, we can afford to be of good heart and give generously to others. We have a severely disabled family member and part of our 'squirreling' is to ensure that he is well provided for when we leave this mortal coil. I have today some very sad news that a friend of 30 years, who is just 49 years old and has sons and a daughter similar in ages to mine, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last night. She was like me, and made sure that she lived life to the full, travelling, caring for injured wildlife, and working with the disabled. She left this Earth with no warning. If this were to happen to my husband and I, our greatest fear is that our son would not have resources to live the life to which he is entitled, to which we are all entitled. After my Mum died of Ovarian Cancer, my specialist told me that he could not assure me that the same cancer would not take my sisters and I as there is a genetic predisposition. He said our best line of attack is to do all the things we want to do, so that if faced with a terminal diagnosis, we can face our Maker with peace in our heart that we had a life well lived. That is what I am doing. Thankyou for your comment. Mimi

  3. What has happened here Mimi is that you have chosen the nicest thing this person has ever said to publish and so no one is any the wiser about the shocking stalkerish and nasty content that you have been getting. Everyone would be shocked!
    However I know. When you are posting happy and uplifting things people dont always know the struggles that have been there to overcome and all of that. But it takes a pretty sick person to weekly post personal and dreadful and personal comments. So you have done well to stay cool I think!
    Now that you know who it is I hope you might think about taking action?
    Anyway dont let it derail you. I said to you once that the world has terrorists who want us to stop living our lives and if we do they will win. Similarly stalkers and nut cases can have the same impact but we mustnt let them or we all will be silenced. Some people live to make the world a lighter place and some people live to make it a darker place. The darkness does not like the light! Thats my theory :)
    Another thing I unfortunately learned by a slightly similar experience is that bullies are cowards! Proven by they way they stay anonymous or change their online names frequently etc. It doesnt paint a good picture of their character at all!
    Stick to planning your dream holiday. Your Mum would be proud. Love

    1. Thankyou Annabel. I believe Mum is watching over me and IS proud. I have to wonder at someone who clearly thinks they have 'a good heart', posting weekly negative comments to a blog that they clearly don't like, and that is shared in the spirit of encouragement and happy ideas. I have to wonder at someone who knows nothing of my life or my family and friends posting anything at all if my ideas are not in line with their own. I hope they feel proud that they've shared their nastiness on a day when I have lost a friend, and some darling children I know, have lost their adored Mother. Well done Anonymous. Perhaps if you stop by again, you might actually leave your name and a link where we could peer voyeuristically into YOUR life and leave a trail of similar nastiness. Rest assured that your barbed comments will not gain a second airing here. You can comment to your hearts content, but if it's negative, I won't be publishing it. Thankyou to Annabel, and all of my lovely blog friends who share their generous hearts and spirits here. I appreciate your contributions so very much. Mimi xxx

  4. I find it to be the height of irony that 'anonymous' feels that way. Clearly, he/she does not possess a 'good heart'.

    My first visit Mimi, and I'm impressed. Your writing, your thoughts and your eloquence stand out and shine through my iPad screen like a beacon of light on this cold, bitter morning.

    How sad about your friend. I'm so very sorry. I read the poem, and it's a beautiful tribute. (I hope you don't mind my pointing out that one verse was repeated twice.)

    Thank you for the inspiration you have provided for me today. I will be back.

    1. Hello Doreen and thankyou for stopping by. I so appreciate your lovely comment today. And thankyou for your condolences. It is hard to lose a friend, someone who opened their arms and their heart to me and my sons when we were very alone in the world. She has swept home to her own Mother and Grandmother where I know they have welcomed her with the same open arms and open hearts. May she rest gently until she is reunited with the rest of her family, many years from now. I am pleased and touched that I provided inspiration for you today. I look forward to a further sharing of gentle ideas....Mimi xxx

  5. Lovely post. I'd love to join you at your 'restaurant,'. The menu sounds wonderful. Have a beautiful trip!


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx