Our Journey

Our Journey

I’ve always found inspiration in the developing world where the pace is slow and the people have so little. Usually it’s the strength and resilience in the women that I admire the most. However on a recent trip to Central America I have been changed forever by a group of children – many of them teenagers!! In fact the most respectful, thoughtful , smart, gentle and happy teens I’ve ever come across. Not a lick of attitude amongst them! “Who are their parents?” you ask. No parents, just an amazing organization and a lot of love and structure. As many of you know each summer [...]

Why I created HipMum

Why I created HipMum

I believe women in general are extraordinary, but mothers (not to blow my own trumpet) never cease to amaze me. As the proud mother of four incredible little people (ages 11,9,6, and 4) I understand the meaning of selflessness. Like most families, there is never a dull moment in our house. I’m constantly wishing I had more time to spend with each child and more time to myself. And I wish my bathroom felt less like a highway! Regardless of whether we’ve chosen to work from home, climb the corporate ladder, start a business or stay home with the kids – mothers are the busiest [...]

The Hairdryer

As I was packing our entire life into 5 suitcases I learned that American Airlines had a new policy about overweight luggage on international flights. No longer was it a price per pound but a whopping $150 for any bag over 50 lbs. After balancing my luggage on our bathroom scales I was facing a hefty cost of $750! Needless to say, all suitcases were reopened and during the lengthy process of elimination I said farewell to my hairdryer and straightener.

Had they made it to Nicaragua I now know they would still be sitting the suitcase unpacked. It’s way too hot here to blow dry hair and way too hot to even care about it. Most days it’s pulled back into a pony tail to eliminate the sweat pouring down the back of my neck. Sorry to say hairdryer I don’t need you in my life anymore.



There is no television in the house we’ve rented and I love it!! It is a refreshing change not to have the constant battles with my nearly 4 year old son who would spend his life in front of the TV if I let him. Instead he is playing outside with his sisters, chasing bugs, reading books, swimming in the pool and exploring. We have a point system in our house and the big reward is watching a DVD on the computer – and what a big treat that is.

For the first time in many years, I am going to bed way before midnight – in fact because there is no TV I am often in bed reading a book by 8.30pm which means I’m asleep by 9pm. No more staying up late watching recorded episodes of the Bachelor, American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance. Although watching these shows feels like eating candy to me my body is getting something that I haven’t had much of since having kids – sleep!!


I knew before arriving that, like most houses in Nicaragua ours did not have a dishwasher and with 4 kids, I’ll admit, I was concerned. Our dishwasher in Chicago was the epicenter of our house – often running twice a day unloading it felt like ground hog day. I decided to look at the cup half full and announced that in Nicaragua we will have 3 dishwashers: named Jordi, Andie and Matty.

We have a rotating washing up roster for the evenings where someone washes, someone dries and someone clears the table – it works stupendously and here’s why.

In Chicago we had an entire draw full of kids cups and another full of kids plates. Therefore my kids would have a drink, dump their cup in the dishwasher and an hour later when they were thirsty out came another cup

totaling a minimum of 12 cups at the end of the day amongst the multiple plates bowls etc.


Here in Nicaragua my kids each have one cup, one bowl and one plate. If their cup is dirty and they need a drink, they wash their cup. Like most things about living in Nicaragua, washing up is simple and something we all do together.  I can honestly say I do not miss having a dishwasher. It makes me realize how complicated we make life when we have disposable income.


A crazy schedule

How I do not miss the crazy schedule we had in our previous life. No more taxiing kids to ballet, gymnastics, music classes, soccer and the rest. No more feeling like a chicken without a head running around in circles trying to keep up with status quo. For the first time in a long time, I feel truly connected with my kids. Nothing is urgent or rushed here in Nicaragua and life is spontaneous and allows us to enjoy what the day brings and each other.


A playroom full of toys

Only when you live without do you realize how little is needed. Not once have my kids thought about or asked for the toys we left behind. What’s amazing is how creative they become when they have less. More make believe play, art with recycled trash, cooking in the kitchen and exploring outdoors. Less stuff also means less mess and that works for me. My new motto: KEEP LIFE SIMPLE







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  1. Tess said...

    You are my hero!

    Oct 26, 2011 at 1:43 am
  2. Annie said...

    Truly amazing. So much food for thought here. Santa will be removing the 20 plastic ikea plates, cups and cutlery from my home. He will give each child his one and only set of crockery in return. I am also sorely tempted to trash each and every toy in the home. A tv cabinet which closes over the TV (out of site out of mind) will be on the xmas list too. Bless you for embarking on this journey and thank you for sharing. Happy Halloween.

    Oct 26, 2011 at 4:31 am
  3. HipMum said...

    Thanks Annie for your comment. It’s been quite amazing to discover that the kids have not missed a thing and even more refreshing that they don’t even think about buying toys. I guess it helps that we’re not surrounded by stores full of enticing stuff.
    Simplicity really is blissful.

    Oct 26, 2011 at 7:06 am
  4. HipMum said...

    …and you are mine Tess. Big love xxx

    Oct 26, 2011 at 7:10 am
  5. Lee said...

    Wow! I just discovered your blog and it’s truly inspiring. This sounds like a dream life. I really admire you for following your heart and taking such a bold step with your family. I look forward to reading more.

    Nov 09, 2011 at 12:03 pm
  6. HipMum said...

    Thank you Lee for your comments. I feel really blessed.

    Nov 09, 2011 at 9:53 pm

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