Do you make time for hobbies?

Does any of this sound familiar:

I don’t have time for hobbies. I work full time and commute for hours. My friends/kids/pets/work/laziness come first (delete as applicable).

If we repeat things often enough we can begin to believe the hype. That we can’t do X because of Y. And well don’t even get me started on Y. And so on.

Doing a hobby doesn’t have to mean acres of free time or free cash. But I can find myself caught up in the hype. Not realising that hobbies can help create space for us to think clearly. Like… doh!

I got a current craft project out at work during lunchtime and was inundated with people asking ooh what’s that? I swear it got more attention than if I was flashing around a new smartphone. Interesting stuff don’t you think? I didn’t do it to get attention (honest) and even did my best to hide my wool stash in my craft bag (guerrilla style crafting). Camouflage jackets and night vision goggles are available at all good outlets…

I really need to do more hobbies. And not be afraid of being seen as a nerd. So what if I like arrow word puzzles… Nerds of all countries unite! So what are your hobbies?

Have a brilliant day,

Melanie

@BookWriteHer

Minimalism and treats – inventory time

I have worked exceptionally hard this week. I am exhausted. I deserve a treat. There I said it. Ah shite. Back to little Ms Consumerist. On the way home from work I suddenly found myself looking for a treat. Perfume. You like perfume. Get some nice perfume. It’s on offer at the chemist (drugstore). Mmm. I have 3 perfumes on the go already. Perfume doesn’t last too well. No. Not perfume. *sulks*

Mascara! I need mascara. The one I have is a form of torture when I remove it. I would very easily and comfortably tell all state secrets for a smidge of relief against that damn mascara. A need! A need! Yes it ticks my minimalist box. Oh hurrah. Oh. But. Wait. I wanted to make that a planned purchase. Buying something recommended by Lisa Eldridge (a make up artist). Oh, yes. I buy things planned. So no sorry mascara not today. *shakes mascara*

I am a recovering consumerist. The difference now is that there is a thought process, an algorithm that interrupts my consumerist brain. The sums are:

💄 So do I need this? Very easy to say this quickly. Don’t rush this.

💄 Is this a planned (researched) (considered) purchase?

💄 How many of these do I have already? And that is where this latest exercise comes in.

I added up all the make up I own and then made a note of it on a list. And like the wonderful Christine in these videos I will keep this list in my wallet to remind me what I have. Thanks for the inspiration Christine!

Christine in 2012 – her honesty is both brave and brilliant:

And her fab progress to 2014:

Yes I worked hard this week. Yes I do deserve something. So I’ve booked up for some spa time. Experiences not things. Especially not things I already have lots of. Do you feel the need to treat yourself?

Have a brilliant day,

@BookWriteHer

Make up inventory 2015
Lipsticks x5
Lip glosses x3
Lip liners x3
Blushes x2
Bronzers x4
Highlighters x3
Eyeshadows x4
Eyeliners x7 (all black…)
Mascara x1 (grr)
Brow products x3
Foundations x5
Powders x2
Concealers x3

The clutter breeding program

Damn. It.

I have taken my eye off the decluttering ball and the house is showing it. A couple of busy days and lazy days have meant I’ve not been as ruthless.

Here in the UK the General Election is coming up. There are local pizza companies with offers. And estate agents want to provide a free valuation. Yes this means a barrage of leaflets through the letterbox on a daily basis at all different times of the day *shakes fist*

This is just one area of clutter that I am not addressing. Read. Recycle. Done.

I am also having a problem with books. I think I have started about 3 or 4 and not finished any of them. So they are living in the ether residing not where books should live *shakes book*

There are other problem areas too. But. The good thing is that areas I have rigorously worked on are keeping clutter free. The dining table is a sacred place. It’s for dining! Who knew!

The positive thing is that knowledge is power. I feel so uncomfortable with stuff piling up around me. I see this as a positive step in my path towards minimalism. Too much stuff affects how I feel. I don’t think I’ve been so aware of that link as I have now. I’m also aware that the clutter breeding program is underway and I need to take some simple steps. So. Every time I leave a room I will take an item with me to bin, recycle or put away.

Have a brilliant day,

@BookWriteHer

PS: The green green grass is still doing well! You know. In case you were wondering.

https://bookwriteher.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/using-stuff-you-have-the-grass-is-greener/

Are random acts of kindness… random?

Life is weird. You can bumble along getting happy or angry with life. I had a cocktail of both today but thankfully I’m ending today with happy. So happy.

Driving home today I noticed a girl standing by a bus stop. Nothing unusual. I then spotted she had a cat carrier with her. What happened next I can’t quite explain.

Without hesitation I turned the car around, pulled up near the bus stop and asked if she needed a lift home. She gave a very British immediate default response of “No thanks.” What is it with us Brits we can be so busy being polite that we can get in the way of what we want. So I asked if she was sure with the cat and everything. And said where I was heading if she was anywhere nearby. As she then climbed into the car I spotted the cat looking at me, checking things out. I also thought I heard the girl say that someone had just had a go at her. I quickly changed the subject and we happily chatted about cats on the drive home. Before I knew it the cat had quietly tucked herself into the back of her carrier and quietly fell asleep. All was well.

As we approached our destination I thought I can’t ignore what I thought this girl had said as she got in the car. I asked her if she’d been getting hassle when I offered her a lift. She said yes, how she’s often shouted out and called a skank. What? My heart sank. As she carried on talking she said that these guys had just said to her that they would kill her cat too. My sunken heart was weeping. I thought there were other people nearby when I offered a lift. I didn’t think anything of it.

So a random act of kindness, doing something I’ve not done before and without knowing it had whisked this girl and her cat home, to safety. How did I know to turn around and offer a lift? Are random acts of kindness actually random? Or somewhere deep inside every one of us do we have an instinct – similar to fight or flight – where if we listened a bit more we would connect more? Reach out more. Help others more. So. Who do you think could do with a helping hand? Trust your instincts.

Buying British is so hard or is it?

My passion for minimalism of buying only what you need has to be balanced with my want to buy British. However they don’t always conflict. There are everyday things I use that are what I need (check) and can be made in Britain (check). Yay.

Today I’m writing all about butter. Lazy butter. In the old days butter sat in a butter dish and like the short stodgy bottle of milk sat on the Formica kitchen table all day. Then refrigerators made things safer for us to eat but in the process made the butter hard. Hard to spread on bread and toast.

So the marketeers came up with spreadable butter. I still think the name needs a bit of improvement (soft butter?) but hey what do I know. What I do know is that the Red tractor symbol is an indicator that I now look for. It’s a red tractor with blue wheels but I’m not splitting hairs. Basically the Red tractor symbol (with blue wheels, ok I won’t go on about it) assures us consumers on a number of fronts from hygiene through to animal welfare. All the while being fully traceable back to UK inspected farms.

That at sounds good right? So my Buy British swop suggestion is swopping something like Lurpak for Country Life. Done. Remember buying British is so hard and so expensive – and um so easy right? I like the fact Country Life is cheaper too. So buying British can be about small baby steps. Just seek out the Red tractor (with blue wheels, ok this is the last time I’ll mention the blue wheels) as a guide.

Of course for international readers (hello) you can be justly proud to buy your country’s produce too. The principle is the same. Buying more locally.

This blog hasn’t been sponsored by anyone. However it is sponsored by my enthusiasm to buy British and my ridiculous consumption of butter. Other dairy or non dairy spreads are available (apparently) but if you use them I may not come round for tea. Just saying. So we’re clear.

Check out the face painting on one of the contributors to this video:

Have a brilliant day,

@BookWriteHer

Simplifying the garage. Round 2 *ding ding ding*

Last weekend saw the removal of the first layer of clutter from the garage. If you look carefully the garage clutter is not dissimilar to the Jurassic coastline. Seriously. Layers of stuff from different times. If you look carefully there are probably some fossils called Mybrokenchristmaslightfittingus. 

The last session unearthed stuff not being used such as grass feed. The grass is now looking just brilliant. This week was a bit of a random round. I was kindly reminded by Fred the Thread (https://fredthethread.wordpress.com) about fabric stashes and remembered one such stash in the garage. A friend had passed it to me and from day one I should have either said a polite no or passed it on immediately. None of the fabrics I liked and with the best will in the world I didn’t possess a sewing machine that can cope with very thick upholstery fabric.

This is the thing with clutter. It loves people who procrastinate even a tiny bit. So instead of making a decision there and then, being open and honest to the gifter – no instead I packed it into one of the Jurassic layers of the garage coastline. So simplifying and minimising isn’t just about looking at what you have. It’s about becoming an armed guard at your front door. Of course some stuff is fleeting, kids want balloons, hell I love ballons. But think about your tactics for stuff coming in. That’s just as important as sorting and simplifying what you have.

So this week’s treasures from the garage include some lovely flower seeds – bought with much enthusiasm before making their way to the garage. Some tennis balls. I love tennis and so these now sit with my tennis equipment (look at me I’m growing). And finally, the best treasure of all. Seeing the garage look a lot less cluttered. Let’s go treasure hunting, use our stuff and simplify our lives.

Have a a brilliant day,

@BookWriteHer

Using stuff you have – the grass is greener

Over the Easter weekend the garage was the subject of a declutter fest – removing a layer of clutter. There are many more to go but today I thought I’d report back on something interesting.

Using and enjoying what you have is a step towards minimalism. If you use up stuff you own – whether unused DIY materials, surplus toiletries or some unloved bottle of wine (if there is such a thing?) – you are reducing what you own. Stuff you have. Stuff you are storing and so on.

Two items remained unloved in the garage. Namely grass feed. I think the seed one was waiting for me to buy one of those distributor rolly things (my lack of knowledge of gardening astounds me…). Hence remained unused. Then there was another bottle of liquid grass feed. Similarly highly complex in needing a watering can with a rose fitting. This is the thing with clutter – it stops you doing basic things.

So the seed feed was used up on the back lawn and the front lawn (how posh does my humble abode sound) was fed with liquid feed. Still plenty left of that but at least it had seen the light of day. So today a local guy who pops round to mow the lawns (I’m very aware that it now sounds like I own a country estate) said something quite interesting. He looked at the front lawn and his immediate response was – have you used lawn feed, the grass looks so much better.

Well there you go. Scientific proof if ever you needed it – if you use the stuff you own it carries out the purpose it was designed for. I mean I understand this is groundbreaking. I mean come on! So the question is – what is sitting unloved in your garage, shed or bathroom shelf?

Have a brilliant day,

@BookWriteHer