Writing detailed posts on new destination discoveries, long haul travel tips and the perfect minimalist gifts have been my go-to for a long time now. Four years’ ago I started Minimalist Insider as a way to invest in one of the things I love the most. Writing.
I am still pleasantly surprised that people like you keep coming to read my posts, and so I like to keep refreshing the types of content I share, even though the long form articles will always be my bread and butter. Last year, I launched the Extraordinary Ordinary series, and recently I have started to share and publish free travel itineraries based on tried and trusted trips I have taken.
From this month, to celebrate four years’ of writing, I am going to start sharing my M Insider monthly roundups; you guessed it, on a monthly basis.
So what is this new feature, you may ask. Well, worry not reader, I am here enlighten you.
M Insider will be a collection of things that at this moment, I think are truly brilliant. It might be a new destination, an ingredient I can’t believe I haven’t cooked with before, or a travel app that has just gone and made life abroad so much easier.
Don’t worry, you won’t need to read this whole introduction for the following M Insider Monthly Roundups, I promise in future editions to get right to the good stuff you’re here for.
So without further rambling. Here’s the first instalment of the M Insider Monthly Roundup, looking back on October 2019.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
This is a must-read, must-buy for anyone looking for a witty, clever and surprising book. As the days get colder, reading inside snuggled on the sofa becomes a very appealing weekend activity and for that, this novel is the perfect accompaniment. I often enjoy a book, but it takes something incredibly special to fill me with fear as the pages left slowly dwindle and I realise this moment of enjoyment will be over soon. If you read anything this winter, make it this.
Snapseed by Google – Photo editing app
We’ve all been there, in a picturesque moment with the lighting, landscape and weather all aligned, and realised we only have our trusty mobile to hand to snap the shot. Take the photo, follow the rule of thirds and all that jazz, but then later open it in the Snapseed app to refine it before sharing, printing or posting it. It is easy to use, has fantastic features, and best of all, it’s free.
The best website for people with pets who need reliable and wonderful people to take care of their furry family and home whilst they are away, or for people who love animals and want the perks of free local accommodation for their next trip. It costs £80 a year for membership, but then you have the ability to apply and stay in, or apply for and host, as many sitters or places as you need. I wrote a much longer blog about it all here. But really, if you’ve not checked it out yet, you really should.
Curio Audio News
When you want to keep up with the latest news from reputable sources, but finding and reading them proves time-consuming, you need the Curio app. It lets you listen to audio-snippets of news stories, journalism and cutting edge content from many different publishers such as the Financial Times, Guardian and Monocle. My recent favourite listens have been ‘What We Can Learn From People With Beautiful Minds’ and ‘We Have The Tools and Technology To Work Less and Live Well’. You can download the app and give it a try with ten free listens. Anything more, you do need to subscribe, but I personally think its well worth it. It allows me to keep up to date and discover new things whilst multitasking thanks to it being in audio format.
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse
This oil is multi-award winning and a firm beauty favourite for a reason. I use it on my skin, my hair and as a fragrance. A little goes a long way so a 100ml bottle lasts me months. It smells divine, and really helps with my naturally dry skin. Moreover, it keeps the humidity at bay for frizz prone hair. Win win.
Red Lentil Soup Recipe
Nothing says autumn more than a good soup. It’s the season for breaking out the blender and discovering the amazing flavours of a wholesome and hearty broth. One of my personal favourites is a red lentil soup. The Goop recipe here is great as it’s vegan, filling and slightly spiced (I usually add a little more curry powder than the recipe dictates).
Weekend break – Grindelwald
If you want to get away and experience good hikes, cosy chalet restaurants and views you’ll never forget as you stand under the face of the Eiger, then you need to head to Grindelwald. In this cute Swiss town you can embark on endless walks in the mountains, take cable cars up for incredible views at dizzying heights, and also take part in some serious adventure sports if you feel like it.
The nearby Murren and Gimmelwald are also well worth a visit if you have the time, and both are car free towns so make for great outdoor bases away from the bustle of the city.
Perfect Winter Scents – White Company Candles
I have a serious love of White Company homeware. Their bedding is unbelievably soft, their pyjamas cosy and neutral and their candles smell incredible. Which is why every Winter I look forward to lighting their famous Winter Signature candle on a cosy weekend night in. It smells of everything wonderful about this season. Cinnamon, oranges and that smoky wood scent that instantly makes you feel like you are in an old cottage hibernating for the winter. If you are looking for a good gift that keeps on giving this Christmas, look no further (and get one for yourself at the same time!)
A rich pasta dish, with simple flavours, goes a long way. There’s something delicious and comforting about a big pan of rustic ingredients thrown together with a thick sauce and carbs. Recently, I have been making pasta with different variations of the grain. One particular favourite is Chickpea pasta. For those in the UK, Ugo makes some great fresh and stored variations. Oh and as a bonus, Chickpea pasta is usually gluten free and vegan (but check the label just in case). For me, it’s a great alternative to whole-wheat pasta that’s easy on digestion and well-balanced.
Lumley Castle – perfect winter retreat
As the evenings get darker, it’s time to pack a bag and escape for the weekend to an old country house or castle for lazy mornings in four poster beds, delicious classic winter food and drinks by the fire. Lumley Castle in Durham is a great place for all the above. Oh, and it’s dog friendly. The library bar is a great place to unwind and warm up after exploring the grounds and nearby countryside. The restaurant food is fantastic, and you can choose to stay in the old castle itself or the modern courtyard rooms across the way. For the experience you get, I would really say that the hotel is very reasonably priced.