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Feeling overwhelmed? There’s a lot going on out there. The media are going crazy about local and world events and many of them are pretty depressing. I’ve met a lot of people who avoid media altogether because of the misery being reported, but as someone who likes to know what’s going on – I do keep up-to-date with everything that’s happening out there.
Then there’s the daily grind. Us modern consumers have a lot to do. I admit that there are many days, I stay in bed before getting up, bracing myself for the day. I still get this feeling despite the fact that I consider myself an organised person with more time on my hands than other mums I know and many of my readers who are full-time working parents.
In light of the above, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and this is natural. Our to-do lists are massive and the physical energy busy consumers (and especially parents of young children) experience can leave a person feeling like it is all ‘too much’.

Here are 10 ways to feel less overwhelmed and feel a greater sense of calm daily

1. Attack one job at a time

My to-do lists are huge – especially with running a site like the Savings Room and producing products. I use a CRM for recording everything but I still use a little card daily for the little things. I write the main stuff I have to do each day on the front of an index card. Then I put only one item at a time on the back of the card. I flip the card over when that one thing is done and cross it off. Attacking one job at a time greatly reduces stress daily as you won’t be looking at a huge and confronting list. This is also a nice way to watch the little accomplishments happen as the day progresses.

2. Aim low

OK. My favourite ‘back of my mind’ expression is: ‘Aim for the stars and the moon won’t seem so far.’  This has been a bit of a life mantra to me. But as I’m getting on in life, I’m starting to aim lower on a day-to-day basis and not trying to do too much. If you aim lower – you will take the pressure off a bit and enjoy your day more. You will also not get too disappointed if things don’t go as plan. In fact, if you really want to feel less overwhelmed enjoy a day of ‘no expectation’ and you will feel more relaxed immediately!

3. Halve your pace

It is true. Haste makes waste. If you go slower you will get small jobs done better and won’t have to go back over things. You’ll also notice you will get things done within the same timeframe. If you were feeling overwhelmed, this is a quick way to calm down instantly.

4. Stay organised

Stay organised and use systems to stay on track. Learn how right here in the Savings Room. The Savings Room is in fact one big room full of ways to be a more organised person. So stay in the room and you will soon unveil the secrets to a calm life. I believe being organised is the core concept in saving time, money, sanity while becoming much less overwhelmed.

5. Run a tidy ship

Become organised and avoid feeling overwhelmed by using effective systems and you will run a tidy ship. By that I mean your home will be cleaner and as result you will experience greater clarity daily.

Here are five more quick tips for feeling less overwhelmed

  1. Breathe deeply
  2. Learn how to live life using bulk actions. Cook in bulk. Run errands in bulk. Group like items together.
  3. Enjoy a digital free day. Digital and online life can and does give people information overload. Take a break. Put your phone on your bedside table and go for a nice walk out in the sunshine without it.
  4. Clean as you go. Stay an extra two minutes in each room before leaving and keep on top of your housework.
  5. Learn to delegate and get good at it. People are more helpful than you think and they will actually take pleasure in seeing you less stressed out. They will see the value in helping over time.

Feeling overwhelmed each evening in the kitchen? Consider taking a look at Freezer Meals. You won’t have to cook each night of the month, nor wash pots or pans. Also visit my store for a large ran of products for helping you to become more organised.

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Life is full of pressure and it is easy to get tired, complacent and grumpy in the whole scheme of things. People are put in our path to test and try us everyday of the year. Whether a stranger has yelled out their car window at you or a rude in-law has chucked a hissy fit or ignored you completely in your own house – there are ways of rising above unkind behaviour and to stay happy and focused on the positive in 2015.

Ramblings from a life lived

Be tolerant

There are a lot of people in the world who will try to put you down and make you feel small. This may happen numerous times during the course of a year and many times in your lifetime. Rather than bark up at people who make you feel this way – understand that really, what these people are projecting and making you feel – is actually the bitterness and sadness they feel inside.
Rather than get angry with such people – feel sympathetic. Be grateful that you don’t wake up each morning this bitter or even as them.
Instead, show them what nice actually is. Whether this person has never been shown kindness or they’ve allowed life to make them bitter – you needn’t be affected by their emotions and actions. As a minimum be super happy in front of such people – even if you feel you are faking this happiness.
Happiness is infectious and if nothing else – your happiness will drive them crazy! Perhaps they’ll get so annoyed they might even laugh at you. At least a laugh is better than a sour face right?
Job done. Walk away.

Source: My Wonder List

Do something nice for someone

We live in a cold hard world. Bad things happen to good people and bad people have good stuff happen to them. Life can be and is unfair – but that’s life.
If you do something kind you are putting kindness into the world – like sweetener into a cup of tea or a cake.
If you don’t do something kind today – the day will simply be – less sweet and enjoyable.
Note: Not saying you should fill your day with a heap of sugar – just speaking metaphorically.
Get my drift?

Source: 2 BP Blogspot

Be less materialistic

Consider who and what you are without your material possessions. Have you spent time developing a personality? Are you funny? Are you kind? Do you help others out?
Ask yourself this:
If all your material possessions were taken away from you today – what and who would you be without the things you have and the veil of materialism and stuff that is part of your daily life.

Source: Inspiration Feed

See the beauty in little things

In the summer of 2004 my hubby and I removed ‘us’ from the world we knew so well (a life in the inner city) and went and lived in the Australian outback. We had nothing and no one but each other. What we discovered were more enhanced and amazing conversations, the stars, the kindness of our neighbours, the beauty of nature and pleasure in small things like watching a person walk by or the joy in a bunch of silly jokes.
Oh and Emus…they were fantastic to watch instead of traffic lights!

Source: 40 Media Tumblr

Find your awakening

This was a true awakening that lives with us to this day. If you look at life less its material stuff and in the little things and moments that matter – you will also be less judgmental and have a fairer opinion of others who don’t ‘have as much.’
At the end of the day, if you are trying to live up to ‘the Joneses’ – the only person you are competing with is yourself. What will happen is that you will only attract people in your life who are also competitive ‘live-up-to-the-Joneses’ types. Such friends are actually far too busy and self-interested to care about what car you drive or mansion you live in anyway – because they’re busy running on the same self-defeating materialistic treadmill.
To put this differently: If you base your life on material wealth and you lost it all today – what would you have left? Would your family or relationships still be intact? Would your friends still want to know you? Who would want to know you? If everything else is still in tact – you are the definition of true success and you have it all. Congrats!

Source: Love This Pic

Good people still value people

Underneath the rush of all the commercialism and materialism out there – good people (the one’s you should seek out and get to know) still value the intrinsic beauty of people. There’s nothing nicer than a wink, a cheeky smile, a joke that makes a room of people laugh, or a tear that evokes emotion in a friend. Though it’s still great to have nice things – there are a lot of amazing, interesting, creative and kind people out there who’ve got more to offer you than the shallow existence of the pure race for material wealth.

Source: Etsystatic

People are put in your path for a reason

After my father passed away my mother relayed a nice thought to me, which has stuck over the years. I had gone through a bad experience and my mother said to me ‘Sometimes people are put in your path to help you change direction.’ I love this thought – because many times the people in our lives who give us the most grief become what feels like a test. We learn from these people – about ourselves and what we like or dislike about our lives and ourselves even. They make us question who we are and what we’re doing. Next time you have an experience that is not ideal with a person you don’t like consider the positives. This person probably has much to teach you about life and how you personally deal with situations. If you can overcome the emotion evoked by the person in question – you will have learnt some valuable life lessons in facing your emotions front on. The challenge presented by this person could change your life path forever and in a very positive way.

Source: 40 Media Tumblr

120+ ways to be a nicer person in 2015

Here’s a gorgeous collection of ways to be nicer and to show more compassion and kindness in 2015.
Follow Savings Room’s board Budget Breakfasts – Kale Smoothies on Pinterest.

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One of the best days I spent travelling involved a visit alone, before I had children or a hubby, to a large perfume shop in Paris. I can’t remember the name of it now but if you do visit Paris the best perfume shops are clustered in the first arrondissement (near the Palais Royal and Opera) and also on Rue des Frances-Bourgeous in trendy Marais. Actually I spent so long sniffing and spraying myself in this amazing haven for a girl (I think I was in sniffville for at least three hours) that the security guards actually started following me around. By the end of my time in this store my nose for perfume was both ‘expert’ and confused. Note: I’m pretty sure that people who passed me on the street in Paris afterwards were pretty confused too. I smelled amazing to me anyway!
The experience in Paris was delicious, delightful and very memorable. I was particularly taken by the men’s cologne section. Yuuummmeee. It just showed how much humans are driven by scent.

Here’s a little attraction trivia

I did hear once that the two biggest male / female attractions are:

  1. Scent
  2. Sense of humour

So if you are standing at a bar sporting a delicious scent and telling a joke – your chances of securing a mate for life are higher. Yes, they are…

Source: Beer Sign on eBay

Source: Beer Sign on eBay

While I’m on the topic, and since it is Christmas soon (hint hint blokes) I thought it only fitting to share this list by Stylecraze.com of the Top 10 French perfumes for women.
Drum roll…

Top 10 French perfumes for women

  1. Nina Ricci
  2. Givenchy
  3. Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne
  4. PacoRabanne Lady Million
  5. Guerlainldylle
  6. Theirry Mugiler Alien
  7. Chantal ThomassOsez-Moi
  8. Lancome Tresor
  9. Lolita Lemicka Si Lolita
  10. Chanel coco Mademoiselle

Of course there is an incredibly large array of perfumes on the market now and enough to put your nose into overdrive if you happen to do what I did and venture into a large perfume store.

Stick to my one rule when it comes to perfume!

In Australia there are some great ways to save on perfume especially if you stick my mantra, which is this:

Never pay full price – ever!

See below for some of the best ways to save on your favourite perfume or cologne, or on a gift for a loved one.

7 delightful and delicious ways to save on perfume

1. Shop online at clearance sites

Shopping online has many benefits, in terms of saving cash. This method is great if you already know which perfume you prefer. As you would already know, you can score great deals online. Clearance sites, such as Perfume Clearance Centre, deliver up these savings without you having to physically search through shops and boutiques to find the bargains. The scouting is done for you.

2. Watch for specials

When buying online always keep an eye out for specials. Savings between 35-70% can be made. Greater savings can be made by purchasing overstocked items and even tester bottles and samples. Fragrances are often include top name brands offered at discount prices. Many designer brands often have online stores where the prices are heavily discounted.

3. Sign up to mailing lists

Sign up to mailing lists of your favorite perfume stores and brands. This way you can get all the latest can specials and coupon offers as they come out. Make-up departments in larger stores will also often send updates and notices to customers. Check online and at designer perfume counters to sign up for email notifications.

4. Watch out for imitations

Be aware that many so-called “discount” stores sell imitations of the real thing. Look for stores selling the real thing – not fakes. Check the details of your purchase before buying. Read reviews online. Buying imitation and discounted perfumes can be unpredictable. While some imitation fragrances can be OK, others are just wrong – in the smelling sense!

5. Buy perfume on Boxing Day and give gift cards

Buy fragances after holiday periods to grab further savings. Malls and designer stores many may prices that are reduced after Christmas, such as at Boxing Day sales. Kiosks also sell discounted perfumes although, generally, you’ll find off-brand and discontinued items. It is also possible to find great deals before Christmas, as many fragrance manufacturers are looking to profit during the pre-Christmas rush. Note: Buy gift cards so your recipients can benefit from Boxing day sales too!

6. Use miniature bottles

Miniature bottles that fit into your handbag, as well as perfume oils are also a great way to save. Perfume oils are available in small pot-shaped containers that are easy to carry, so you needn’t worry about carrying larger bottles that could break in transit. Miniature bottles are also a great way to ‘walk around’ with your new fragrance before investing in the larger bottle.

7. Read reviews and get primed for bargains

Use forums, social networks and shopping review sites to learn more about your purchases. Use the power of all those savvy minds out there in cyberspace! Get the scoop on the latest and greatest by keeping your eyes and ears primed for bargains!

Do you know of ways to save on perfume? Be sure to leave your ideas in comments below.

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Women are pretty easy creatures to please. No seriously. If you are a man and you are reading this – I’m about to let you into a little secret.
Come in close, because this is it:

Women love flowers!

Now you might think you know this already – but if you really want to please a woman, simply give her a bunch of flowers. Some men think they have to go to extraordinary lengths to please a woman. But I am here to tell you this is incorrect. By giving a simple bunch of flowers to a tired wife or mum, you’ll get mileage out of this little bunch of happiness for months.

Giving flowers is easy

Further, it is very easy to walk into a store and buy a bunch of flowers and deliver them to a loved one, and it is even easier to jump online and order them. Literally, this is a five minute job that will keep on giving for months, years even (see my reasons below outlining why women love flowers so much.) Where to go? Well, I live in Melbourne and if you do too, places like Fresh Flowers do Melbourne flower delivery, as well as other major cities. If you have a low budget also consider a simple bunch from the garden – if your garden is a flourishing and giving one!
It still amazes me what a simple act giving flowers is and how often these precious blooms of joy are overlooked as an easy way to show gratitude, love and kindness.

Here’s a little flower story you might enjoy

Random bunch of flowers from a stranger

Some time ago I lived up in the country – Stawell to be exact, near the Grampians in Victoria. It was a peaceful day, shortly before Christmas and my family and I were venturing up the street window-shopping. My mother-in-law, Bev, had joined us and had taken the family out on her daily hunt for the perfect Macchiato.
Well, unfortunately Bev didn’t find her perfect coffee in this little country town, but while walking down the main street in Stawell a surprise was unfolding.
Out of the blue, a man simply walked up to my mother-in-law and gave her a bunch of flowers. Bev blushed and went shy, like a sheepish schoolgirl receiving a love note from a boy.
She was absolutely delighted by this random act of kindness and asked the man – why?
The man responded that every year, around Christmas time, he gives a random stranger a bunch of flowers and I can tell you that my mother-in-law hasn’t stopped talking about this experience since.
Now here’s where the magic of flowers really happened:

Because flowers keep on giving

Bev decided that this was such a simple and wonderful act that she would pass on this joy to another stranger. Now, every year at Christmas, she goes to a florist with my now 9-year-old son. They purchase a beautiful bunch of flowers and my son randomly gives this bunch of flowers to a tired looking mum or an older lady or just someone my son picks randomly at the mall or down a street.

The lesson flowers have given my son

This has been wonderful for my son. He learnt that giving brings joy, that women love flowers and he’s discovered the pure happiness that can come from brightening a person’s day. He’s also learnt the fun that exists in a surprise and a spontaneous and random act.
My son learnt these valuable life lessons all because of this lovely stranger in the country town of Stawell – a place we no longer frequent, but which we now have fond memories of because of this man.
Over Christmas lunch my mother-in-law continues to retell the story every year at Christmas, along with my son’s tale of who the lucky recipient of the flowers were this year.

Flowers are wonderful because they

  1. They reflect who we are
  2. They help to stop time for a moment
  3. They make us feel special
  4. They give us memories of the person who gave them to us
  5. They brighten up a room and a home
  6. They smell delicious
  7. They make a person’s heart sing
  8. They are beautiful to look at
  9. Simply – we are deserving of them
  10. They remind us of how fragile life is

Flowers for different occasions

My favourite flower is the Gerbera. My husband has always given me Gerbera’s so they remind me of him. They reflect us as a couple. We love big, bright and bold happy colors and we love a laugh. There are plenty of types of flowers out there including Carnations, Chrysanthenums, Gerbera’s, Lilies, Natives, Orchids, Roses and Tulips.

Here’s a super quick guide on flowers for different occasions

  1. Weddings – Go for seasonal flowers, pale and delicate
  2. Anniversary – Go for a flower that fit’s a person’s personality
  3. Birthday – Go for bright and happy
  4. Christmas – Pointsettia’s are popular or Christmas Cactus
  5. Valetine’s Day – Roses of course!
  6. Funeral – Gladiolas, White Carnations or White Daisies
  7. Get Well – Give bight cheery flowers like Gerbera’s

Do you have any great stories related to giving or receiving flowers? If so, please share them in comments below.
Like a great cake?

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Summer is a fantastic time of year and my calendar is filling up quickly. People around me are getting ‘sneaky with it’ and while I’m busy writing in the Savings Room, they are getting their social lives organised. My more savvy friends are ‘getting in quick’ and luring me in with quirky and interesting invitations in snail mail, sneaking in late night SMS messages and calling me at odd hours (like around dinner time) so they can lock in dates and events. I had better get organised and fast if I want to hold the little Christmas soiree I have in mind, but I fear my mates have beaten me to it.
Yes – summer is here and the game is ON!
Let the fun begin….

But in terms of relaxation (as opposed to partying!) here’s a little of what summer means to me

  • Sitting on the beach with a fabulous novel
  • Hanging out on my banana lounge in the garden with a book while the kids play
  • Going camping with friends with an intriguing autobiography
  • Reading wonderful stories to my children in our spare time
  • Sharing my favourite books and authors with friends and family
  • Reading self-help books to build a more awesome me
  • Learning new skills via DIY books, blogs, videos and magazines
  • Soaking up inspiration for my own passion, which is writing!

But reading a novel or great book is not only good for relaxing and learning. Did you know that reading has long lasting effects on your brainpower too? According to a recent report by the ABC, reading is saving your brain in many ways.

Here’s how reading is saving your brain

  • Reading is a very complex task that requires several different regions of the brain to work together.
  • We don’t use the same neural circuits to read as we grow from infants to adults. So our brains are constantly changing throughout our lives.
  • Reading can improve the “connectivity” between the various brain circuits that are essential to understanding the written word.
  • Reading a good novel can keep that enhanced “connectivity” working for days, and possibly longer, after we have finished the book.

(Source: ABC Report)

Here’s an interesting fact that might surprise you in our digital age

According to recent research the Daily Telegraph recently reported that 95 per cent of Australians under 30 said they preferred the hard copy book format over their digital versions. Apparently while Gen Y’s are still hooked up to their digital devices, they are actually the highest percentage of those surveyed to prefer physical books over reading a book on digital. The 2014 survey, which canvassed the opinions of almost 20,000 Australians, found that overall 92 per cent of respondents in all age groups preferred print books to e-books.
(Source: Daily Telegraph)
If you are looking to do the same this summer and invest your time in a great book here’s my list:

8 fabulous books to save your brain and kick off your summer reading list!

Book 1: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize
AC Grayling, the chair of the prestigious literary prize said The Narrow Road to the Deep North was ‘profound and often harrowing’ and that it is an ‘extremely powerful book’.
August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever. This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.
(Synopsis Source: Bookworld)
Read more

Book 2: Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned’ by Lena Dunham

Lena Durham delivers an insightful, smart and at times outrageous book of essays of her experiences growing up. Not that kind of girl is everything you expect from Lena and more, it will have you gawking (‘did she really say that?!’) and laughing out loud.
For readers of Nora Ephron, Tina Fey, and David Sedaris, this hilarious, poignant, and extremely frank collection of personal essays confirms Lena Dunham – the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO’s Girls – as one of the brightest and most original writers working today. “Not That Kind of Girl is hilarious, artful, and staggeringly intimate; I read it shivering with recognition.” – Miranda July From the acclaimed creator, producer and star of HBO’s Girls comes a hilarious, wise and fiercely candid collection of personal essays that establishes Lena Dunham as one of the most original young talents writing today. In Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one’s way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself to a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told.
(Synopsis & Image Source: Bookworld)
Read more

Book 3: I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai

*Winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize* In 2009 Malala Yousafzai began writing a blog on BBC Urdu about life in the Swat Valley as the Taliban gained control, at times banning girls from attending school. When her identity was discovered, Malala began to appear in both Pakistani and international media, advocating the freedom to pursue education for all. In October 2012, gunmen boarded Malala’s school bus and shot her in the face, a bullet passing through her head and into her shoulder. Remarkably, Malala survived the shooting. At a very young age, Malala Yousafzai has become a worldwide symbol of courage and hope. Her shooting has sparked a wave of solidarity across Pakistan, not to mention globally, for the right to education, freedom from terror and female emancipation.
(Synopsis & Image Source: Bookworld)
Read more

Book 4: Amnesia by Peter Carey

Amnesia, Peter Carey’s first Australian novel since True History of the Kelly Gang, moves between the critical dates of 2010, 1943 and 1975 to ask the most vital question of the past seventy years: Has America taken us over? How did a young woman from suburban Melbourne become America’s Public Enemy number one? When Gaby Baillieux releases the Angel Worm into the computers of Australia’s prison system, hundreds of asylum seekers walk free. Worse: an American corporation runs prison security, so the malware infects some 5000 American places of incarceration. Doors spring open. Both countries’ secrets threaten to pour out. Was this American intrusion a mistake, or had Gaby declared cyberwar on the US? Felix Moore – known to himself as ‘Australia’s last serving left-wing journalist’ – has no doubt. Her act was part of the covert conflict between Australia and America.
(Synopsis & Image Source: Bookworld)
Read more

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

We’ve got something to celebrate,’ Rosie said. I am not fond of surprises, especially if they disrupt plans already in place. I assumed that she had achieved some important milestone with her thesis. Or perhaps she had been offered a place in the psychiatry-training programme. This would be extremely good news, and I estimated the probability of sex at greater than 80%. ‘We’re pregnant,’ she said. The Rosie Project was an international publishing phenomenon, with more than a million copies sold in over forty countries around the world. Now Graeme Simsion returns with the highly anticipated sequel, The Rosie Effect. Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are now married and living in New York. Don has been teaching while Rosie completes her second year at Columbia Medical School. Just as Don is about to announce that Gene, his philandering best friend from Australia, is coming to stay,
(Synopsis & Image Source: Bookworld)
Read more
If you love summer be sure to become a citizen at Bookworld to receive major discounts and get the Cheapest price in Australia on books! Reap the benefits of saving your brain and your wallet while grabbing some fabulous summer relaxation!
Do you have a great book you’d like to add to our reading list? Be sure to submit your ideas in the comments below.
Happy reading!

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