Paint by numbers. Rock by Casbah. Work by music.

Routine. Pattern. All words I struggle with. Actually tell a lie, the words are fine. It’s the concept.

From my About page you’d have read (you’ve read it and liked it right?) that my lovely Nan used to give me boiled sweets at night. Most kids were brought up to clean their teeth and get to bed. Oh no. Not my Nan. To hell with routine she thought. Let’s have some lovely boiled sweets. Aww Nan bless you!

So. Routine is understandably an alien concept to me. But. I have found a key. In fact none of this is new. But playing music while doing a must-do task somehow messes with your tired mind/body/spirit and says… “Come on let’s do this!” Paint by numbers. Work by music. Doh!

Here are some of my favourite tunes. I don’t pretend for one moment to have a mature or sophisticated taste in music. But. They help fire me up to do something! Usually things like housework. And they are a useful way to time yourself. That sounds nerdy right? Ok here they are.

So I’ve shared some of my get up and do it music – what’s yours?

Have a brilliant day,

Melanie

Pampering minimalist style

I am a recovering spendaholic. I once owned 17 foundations. What. The. Hell? So the beauty industry is a seductress to me. Does your skin feel drier as you age? *Touches face and nods* Have you lost that glow? *Looks in mirror and nods* Fancy losing another £30? *Um* and so on.

But trying to walk the minimalist path can be difficult when it comes to pampering. Buy experiences not stuff. Check. Sales targets and upselling. Oh for the love of God. Now if you love x product and it brings you joy then hell it needs to stay. But if you fancy some free pampering then read on.


And by the way. If someone had said to me 5 or 10 years ago I’d have coconut oil in my home let alone as a beauty product I would have laughed. Cook with it? No you must be kidding it’s full of saturated fat. Put it on your skin? Um are you for real? And now look… Just look!


image

Yesterday I rediscovered this video. It’s by Lisa Eldridge a well established make up artist. The good thing is that throughout she says that to do this facial massage you don’t need to buy any special products. You could use olive oil or a cleanser. How refreshing to watch a YouTube video and know you are not being manipulated by marketing men/women. Is that just great?

So. Please give it a go. It is free and your face will thank you for it.

Have a brilliant day,

Melanie

Holidaying at home

I saw this magazine cover and it made me think. Don’t worry I was sitting down at the time. It’s the National Trust magazine and normally it can take me a while to read these things. Now the clutter is slowly (glacial at times) becoming less I get to see the good stuff like this more. And sooner. Yay. Are you loving my polka dot tablecloth?

image

So this made me think of how minimalism is paving the way to the good stuff but it also made me think about our modern concept of holidaying. And how at times this can feel like the Jones are there – just there – over there. Can you see them? Talking at length about a holiday off of the tourist trail.

I think we can easily forget what is on our doorstep. Literally. If you are lucky enough to have some outside space. A garden. A roof terrace. A local park. A beach even. Why are we defining holidays are things that need a passport? And damn this definition with its ‘especially’ bit *shakes iPad* (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/holiday).

I think travel is great. New experiences. New people. New food. The epitomy of getting away from it all.

But. I think if we adopt a definition that a holiday can only involve a passport or extensive air travel then that’s a bit limiting. Spare time or leisure time full stop is holiday time. If you only have a few hours spare and not weeks – it’s still time off. So. Let’s make our homes that refuge and seek out spaces to holiday at home.

Have a brilliant day,

Melanie

Extras

⛵️ Did you like the poorly lit photo? More photos in the blog? Yes / No / Look Melanie I really don’t care?

🌿 You can read more about the National Trust here:

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk – I’m not sponsored to write this. I just really love what they do.

Kondo challenge: clothes inventory (the results!)

Yesterday I made a start on this challenge:

So my challenge today will focus on gathering together and sorting:

1. Clothes – since the last declutter I think some of my clothes may be looking a bit battered now. I’m pretty good at the one in so one goes out rule but I think I need to look at everything I have. 

I smugly reported both that I had previously hit the magic number of 40 items of clothing and I knew I was pretty good at applying the one item of clothing in = one item of clothing out rule. Oh really? Let’s read on and find out about that.

Why bother with all this? Well I’m lazy. And when you own fewer items you have less to wash, iron, store and/or possibly ignore. The whole thing becomes easier. The stuff you own you use. Clothes that are often overlooked become rarer. That sounds good right?

So here’s the inventory for clothes:

16 x T shirts

10 x cardigans (damn essential for a cold office)

7 x jumpers

7 x work tops

4 x thermals (the joys of living in Britain..)

19 x trousers

So that little lot equates to 63 items. So. Ok not bad. However I have noticed that having more stuff has been a pain. Washing has piled up and so on (apologies if you get the illusion I am a lazy mare because I use the word illusion quite wrongly – I am indeed a lazy git).

So in the true spirit of simplifying today I will:

* declutter 13 items of clothing (I’ve already found 2 knackered jumpers, 1 fading t shirt, 1 tired pair of trousers… And a partridge in a pear tree. I may have made that last bit up. Then that declutter still leaves me at 50 items of clothing. If I can be even more ruthless I will!

* tackle boots, shoes and trainers.

Have a brilliant day,

Melanie

Interesting stuff and don’t forget to like this post before you leave!

Watch Tim and his guerrilla style packing

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

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.

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