Friday, June 9, 2017

Motherly Advice...Auditing your Life #2...Writing a (Rosy) Life Manifesto...

Writing your own Life Manifesto is like declaring a Mission Statement for yourself. Big companies have them to keep them focused on what is important. Why shouldn't we?
 In my post the other day, I discussed auditing your life, and the first step towards that, is to determine where your passions lie. In really focusing on your passions, you are then able to strategically plan according to your priorities for happiness, contentment, and life fulfillment. This is so important, and I guess you're not surprised when I tell you that statistically speaking, very few of us ever manage to do this successfully. We certainly plan financially, but we don't plan for our happiness and contentment. What a sad state of affairs.
So how do you go about doing this?
How about starting with the relatively simple task of listing the three things most important in your own life. Not that of your family, or your partner. YOUR life. Nobody is looking over your shoulder. Be honest. And don't say 'family'. In this context, love of family is a given.
My primary passion (family aside who are of course number one above all else as we have already agreed), without doubt is cooking and food. Since the tender age of four, when I collected hens eggs and cracked them into cupcake batter, and fashioned rosebuds from fondant at my Nannas side, I've adored being in the kitchen. Cooking for me is not just about producing food. It's about family, creating memories, honouring loved ones now lost, and nurturing body and soul. Let's condense that into a single idea...
Number one lesson: I love to cook
Eating has to be a creative and visual feast too. The presentation of the food for me, has always been just as important as the taste of it. Depending upon time constraints, my success with that has fluctuated, but for sure, I like things to look lovely. And that doesn't apply to food only. My surroundings must be visually soothing and beautiful too. And most of the things I enjoy doing such as going to the theatre, ballet, creating costumes, and gardening, are also very visual pursuits.
In one sentence...
Number two lesson: I am a Visual person who craves a creative life and a space in which to be creative.
Yet another passion, is roses. This too, goes back to living with my Grandparents as a 4 and 5 year old, because they lived closer to the country school I attended. Can you believe that I walked to school alone at that time? I had to go along a dirt road, through Mr Nettings paddock, past a beehive, and back onto a small bitumen road to get there. The magpies would swoop down and peck at my head, I'd have Mexican stand-offs with gigantic (well, they seemed gigantic) bearded dragon lizards on the path, and I'd waste a lot of time patting the Netting dogs through the fence when I got to the other side of their property. All this time, I'd likely have a single rose stem, wrapped in a tissue, then in foil, to give to the teacher. She'd put it in a little bud vase on her desk, and I'd feel very special for having brought it for her. Thankyou Nanna. I too, am now a Nanna, and so much of the grandparent I have become, is wrapped in my memories of her. And she's been gone for 46 years.
Nanna grew amazing roses. Yellow ones, white ones, pink, red, and lilac. Back in those days, they all smelled glorious, and I suspect my lifelong love of them is something that connects me with her.
I've made crepe paper ones, dyeing the crepe paper in delicate pinks first, as seen at the top of my post.
I use organic, unsprayed, dried rose petals often. I decorate cupcakes with them....

I grew this one successfully, then the bush died. Sigh.

Thwarted by my one bloom wonders, I make do sometimes by embellishing gift cards with vintage gift wrap embellished with old fashioned roses...

Here is another that rewarded me with several lovely blooms last Summer, then promptly gave up the ghost. Thankyou pretty apricot was fun while it lasted...

Now these two are my favourites. I don't recall the name of the yellow one, but the crimson one with the yellow centre is a Kleopatra, and it's still there. It has never repeated it's initial flush of grapefruit sized blooms, but it does reward me with smaller ones from time to time.

I made a divine rose scrub from those two...

Packaged in little amber jars with a bamboo spoon attached, they made lavish gifts for a few friends.

Can you see how pretty the rose petals are inside the jar?

My petite roses bloom. In fact they're blooming now. But much as I love them, they are not my favourite.

My Kentucky Derby rose surprises me regularly with a single intensely perfumed red rose. I nearly missed this one as it was poking it's head through to the outside of our fence!

My point is, that I am not brilliant at growing roses. My lovely husband buys me roses regularly to make up for it, but frankly it's not the same as cutting even a single rose from your own garden. Not that I'd say that to him. I appreciate the gesture.
I'm not half bad at making them from fondant, as you would expect having learned how to 54 years ago.

And when roses from Husband get a bit long in the tooth, I love hanging them upside down to dry, in order to use them in pretty vignettes like this...

Or to sit them atop celebration cakes..
Those edible rose petals bought from a specialty tea shop, get used to top slabs of melted white chocolate too. Packaged in cellophane bundles, these are a glorious gift...

And when all else fails, I can embroider them on chain store garments for my Granddaughters so all is not lost...

Number three lesson: Roses, in all forms are an ongoing lifelong passion. This encompasses growing them, which I would love to improve upon, making replica roses be they from paper, fabric or fondant, embroidering them, and incorporating them into my décor and in cake decorating. Tied up in this passion, is one for all things French, and my memories of half a dozen trips to France are full of roses. Roses purchased at the corner stores, roses in the gardens of the houses in which we've stayed, and roses in the beautiful manicured parks and gardens of Paris and Bordeaux.
I don't know how to condense that into one!
Even though I have other creative endeavours, including dance costume design and construction, which takes up a lot of my time at the moment while my daughter is still involved in school dance troupe, those are my top three.
So now, I am going to write myself what might have, in my corporate life, been called a Mission Statement, but we're going to call it a Life Manifesto.
To write my Life Manifesto, I consider the following questions:
What do I enjoy doing?
How do I do it?
For whom do I do it?
What value does this add to my life and that of my family?
Here are my responses:
I love cooking and making life a visual feast. I enjoy having roses and French elements in my home, décor, and garden.
I do this by having a clean and tidy home with lavish décor that includes roses and elements of French life in fabric, display and colour.
I do this for myself, and to make a welcoming and memorable space for my family and friends.
Creating food that is as beautiful as it is nutritious, is such an important part of who I am, that I love my kitchen above any other room in the home.
All of this adds to a sense of unity and continuity for my family as it does for me. It gives us the satisfaction of knowing that life endures beyond ones Earthly existence, in the shape of memories and knowledge handed down from one generation to the other.
How do I now edit that down to a couple of simple sentences? It's hard! It has to be about 'doing' not 'having'. So if you're going to attempt this, think in terms of verbs, not nouns! Edit, edit and edit some more. Your Life Manifesto, should be no more than two or three sentences.
Mimi's Life Manifesto
To have a welcoming and memorable home that is a visual feast of French Life and Roses, where loved ones know that the kitchen is the hub of life, knowledge and family history.
What do you think?
I like it.

 I've now printed it out. Next step is to find a frame for it.
From this point on, anything that does not fit with my Life Manifesto, will not be entertained. Well, you know...I'm keen. It will, in reality, be a gradual thing. But one thing is for certain. Now that I have articulated my Life Manifesto, nothing will deter me from bringing it to life.
 I feel like this is the beginning of something exciting.
Will you join me in writing your own Life Manifesto? 


  1. I'm going to be thinking about mine today!!

    1. Penpen, let me know what you come up with! It's amazing how focused this can make you! Mimi xxx

  2. Oh Mimi your manifesto is just so you! Will do one for myself once home. I have another four weeks yet of our Quintessential America road tour. Learnt and saw so much. My manifesto will no doubt include more travel! Lynda

    1. Thankyou Lynda. I bet your American tour has been as life changing as our French one was! I'd love to hear more. Mimi xxx

  3. Oh my goodness, Mrs. Mimi. There is so much to love about this post. I've known of families who make Family Mission Statements and such but I've never incorporated anything of the sort into my own life. And now with only have two remaining daughters at home, I need to figure out my manifesto for sure. It's going to be tough. There is so much that interests me. A top three kind of makes me nervous. lol But I love yours and I love your demonstration of how you arrived at it! And I also love the description of your journey to school as a wee tot. :) <3


    1. Dear Melinda, this is a wonderful way to refresh your ideas of where your life is at. Now that I have my manifesto, if invitation, a purchase, an offered, I do not accept that invitation, or make that purchase, or attend that event, unless it's essential to my manifesto. Of course there will always be exceptions, but on the whole, my life revolves around my home. So this is a good one for me :) Love, Mimi xxx

  4. Thank you for a thought provoking post. Thank you also for making me realise that I am not marking time waiting for things to get better. By going through this process I realised that we are moving along and that the goals I set ten years ago have come to fruition and I need to future plan.
    Jane's current manifesto;
    To have a home that is a haven of learning and of colourful joy, where abundance is shared and adventures, both large and small, are sort out and lived.

    1. Dear Jane, yes new plans are an essential part of life. Life is over all too quickly, and it's part of being at peace with things, to make the most of it, I think. I love your manifesto Jane. It sounds like you. Mimi xxx

  5. I need to work on a manifesto for my life, other than just take life as it comes.
    I love Jane's manifesto.
    Today despite me wanting to be on the Champs Elysee people watching and drinking champagne, DH and I have had a pleasant afternoon buying some seedlings for my community garden plot and then drinking sparkling wine while I baked a loaf of sundried tomato and olive bread, butternut snaps and a butterscotch self saucing puddings.
    So my manifesto should probably be "just enjoy the life I have at the moment".

    1. Dear Margaret, walking the Champs Elysee sounds divine, but lacking that opportunity, the alternative sounds perfect too! I love your manifesto. Mimi xxx

  6. Mimi, I loved everything about this post, most especially the roses! I LOVE ROSES. This has been so very thought provoking and elicited so many wonderful memories of my Nana. She would go for walks with a scissors in hand and if she saw a rose in someone's garden that she passed, she would knock on the door and ask if she could cut a slip. Then she'd bring it back to her little garden, place the slip in the ground and cover it with a mason jar and after a while she had a new rose bush. My Mom had a love for white roses and filled her garden with every species of white roses that I think ever existed including climbing ones. The love of roses is in my genes.
    I'm still working on my manifesto. Thanks for the nudge. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, I LOVE ROSES! Gardens were once like that weren't they. A culmination of what the neighbourhood grew. My Nanna could name the gifter of each of her plants. It was wonderful. I hope your manifesto is a fitting reflection of you, Cookie. Mimi xxx

  7. You are so brave, and your manifesto is beautiful. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen|Our Hopeful Home


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