Why You Need To Stop Wondering ‘What If’

Life is filled with rewarding moments and hard choices. It is rarely predictable and often when you feel like you are on-track, a curveball can easily have you questioning everything all over again.

Let me put this into context. The reason this post came about was because I was recently asked for an interview ‘where do I see myself in five years?’

The difficulty was that although I have visions of what I think I would like my life to look like in five years, at the same time, I am forever also plagued by the question ‘what if?’

In five years I hope to still be enjoying my job, climbing that corporate ladder, writing and getting some work published, travelling far, and happily married.

However I also have visions alongside this of living the best domestic life I can. Living in a rural cottage, with goats, chickens and dogs to add to our existing furry family. I regularly take time out to bake, cook and create wholesome rustic meals that we share as a two (maybe even three if we have decided to start a family by then). I sit at the old farmhouse kitchen table writing away and pouring my thoughts into a blog, book or something bigger. Oh and my cottage is filled with William Morris patterns, because a girl can dream right?

But then five years away is a long time, and although this imagery of life in my early thirties seems pretty wonderful, it’s then very easy to throw in the dreaded curveball of ‘what if?’

What if I wanted to do all this but in a different country? What if we do get a dog and all these animals, could we then still travel as much? What if we start a family and therefore the writing and career goals need to change? What if my career takes me on a different path?

As soon as I start thinking about this, I can’t help but feeling a little unsettled and worried.

It’s great to have a five-year plan, and to focus on your goals, but life often doesn’t go accordingly to plan.

But then, I look back and think what did I expect to have achieved by my late twenties, five years before now?

If I am being honest, I couldn’t have really predicted the outcome. We are settled in and have bought a house in a city that until four years ago, I had never visited. My job is hugely different to what I thought it would be, in a great way. I have visited countries I didn’t even have on my bucket list, and decided against places I did. Oh, and we have two cats when I always thought I was only going to get dogs.

Part of me definitely thought I would feel by now that I knew what I was doing at all times, a proper ‘adult’. To be honest, I don’t think that this ever feels like the case for anyone. If it does for you, please let me know how to get there!

What has remained fluid however is my longer term priorities, hopes and dreams. I still live minimally, write often, travel as much as possible, spend quality time with my wonderful husband, friends and family and I work hard and enjoy the career path that I chose to follow.

Although life certainly doesn’t look like I predicted five years ago, I am very satisfied with the shape it has taken.

Five Years Ago

Perhaps a lesson here is that as long as whatever you decide to do, as long as it doesn’t detract from your happiness, and contributes to one of your main priorities, it doesn’t matter ‘what if’.

There’s always going to be the unexpected, the curveballs, the ups and downs, but at the end of the day, that’s what makes life a journey rather than a race to have it all at the end.

For now, I am happy to just be a passenger on this journey as long as in five years it delivers me to the destination where I still write, spend time with my family, get to travel, and have a pretty decent career.

Visions are fantastic, but sometimes surprises are all that little more exciting.

 

 

 

 

Seven Simple Things I Appreciate Right Now

As life goes by so quickly, it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the chaos of feeling busy. Often I find myself counting down to my next deadline, adventure or concrete plans, and forgetting about the simple and minimal moments that make up a standard day.

To combat the sensation of blinking and it feeling like half a year has gone by, I try to focus on the little things I appreciate each and every day. Yes, even those grey and slow days, that make my life what it is today.

So here are 10 little things which I find enrich my day to day. They make the small moments memorable, and each day feel like a success.

The feeling and smell of newly washed bedding

Nothing feels better than sinking into warm, freshly washed bedding at the end of a long day. The softness, the smell, the cosiness. If I have had a hard week, I take a minute to just appreciate this feeling rather than wishing the days away.

Having time to write

I write my blog because I just love to put pen to paper (or fingers to keypad to be precise). The feeling of words flowing and ideas joining up is something I will always appreciate. Time slows down when I curate and write, allowing me to enjoy my day that little bit more. Although I have been lucky to have several people read my posts on a regular basis, I would keep writing even if I had no audience.

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My bedtime routine

I am a big fan of a bedtime routine for adults. Every night I go to sleep four things remain consistent. Lavender sleep spray filling the air, a silk eye-mask to allow myself to really slip into deep sleep, storm or rain white noise sounds playing, and absolutely zero phones or laptops near the bed or used half an hour before.

I appreciate this routine, as sleep is a big deal for me. Each night, I take time to reflect on the day just passed, and focus on what I want to achieve tomorrow. A good nights’ sleep sets me up to be the best I can be in order to achieve my goals.

Cuddles with my cats

Nothing makes you appreciate life’s little moments more, than a cuddle from your furry friend.

A good book

I just love getting lost in a good book. Recent one’s I have read which I couldn’t recommend more include:

  • Into Thin Air
  • All The Money In The World
  • Homo Deus
  • One Second After

The smell as you open up a new book. The anticipation of adventure, and the opportunity to immerse yourself into somebody else’s world. When life feels chaotic, I try and stop, read, and reflect. It puts a lot back into perspective.

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Cooking

When you have had one of ‘those days’, cooking is a great way to take back some time and create something brilliant to turn the feeling around. Fresh vegetables, the smell of combining delicious spices and aromatics together, and of course, the finished result that you get to savour and enjoy!

I know this helps me appreciate the days in between the big events in life, as I still regularly think about good meals I have cooked and how to make them again on a daily basis!

Recipes I am loving right now include (click to open):

Falafels – served with a fresh side salad

Lentil Dal 

Thai Vermicilli

Potato and Rosemary Focaccia – served with homemade soup (tomato and chilli pairs really well!)

Tending to our indoor garden

Last year, my husband started to sneak home with a new houseplant on what felt like a weekly basis. Fast forward and we have an orchid, two peace lillies, a Lemon Plant, Tomato Plant, Chilli Plant, Two Bonsai’s and several succulents all inside our small abode. Not to mention the giant leafed half tree in the bedroom which is almost taller than me.

At first, I was a little overwhelmed with all this greenery, however now I love to tend to them, water them and watch them grow each day. I really appreciate our little indoor greenhouse and the simple pleasure it gives me as I try my best to keep all these plants alive!

What simple things do you appreciate on a regular basis? Please share in the comments below.

 

Stop Living Perfectly, And Start Living Authentically

It’s too easy to fall into the trappings of living a ‘perfect’ life, a ‘busy’ life. Ensuring you are ticking off all the widely accepted milestones of success we aspire towards as a society.

The perfect home that looks like it could feature in an interiors glossy magazine. The job title and promotion you’ve worked towards for years. Pristine clean housekeeping skills, a fantastic and full social life. No time for anything because you’re so ‘busy’. The list goes on.

I know when I have been falling into the trap of trying to live perfectly instead of authentically when I start to feel detached from doing the things I really love. The things that enrich my life and make me truly happy. Not the material things which bring status, a short-lived burst of happiness and can easily be one-upped by the next person living more perfectly than you.

When I actually start to feel too busy, too stressed or too overwhelmed.

If you take five minutes to reflect over the last week, do you feel that you have been filling each moment of your days with things you truly enjoy? Things that really make you happy?

I have been so detached from living authentically recently I have not written a blog, article or content in over three weeks. I know my day to day priorities are not right when I can’t find time to do the things I enjoy the most.

I can sense if a person is living authentically because from the moment I meet them, listen to them, follow their updates on social media, they all feel so happy, true and refreshingly real.

You know the kind of person I am talking about. The person who knows what they enjoy in life, and they live with these priorities in mind.

If you are feeling that you are a little overwhelmed, too busy to fill your days with the things that matter to you, or in a bit of a rut, the steps below might help you get back on track.

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Work out what your five main priorities are

You can’t make sure you dedicate your time and energy to the things that matter if you don’t know what they are. Take ten minutes to list everything that makes you seriously happy. I am talking huge grin, gets you out of bed in the morning, contagiously happy.

To help you out, I have listed my top five:

  • Spending quality time and making memories with my husband, cats, family and friends
  • Having time to write
  • Travelling and seeing as much of the world as possible
  • Reading
  • Putting my health first

Ensure you put in time to work towards these priorities each and every day

I know you’re busy. We all are. But we should never be too busy to fill our lives with the things that truly matter to us. Imagine looking back over the last month and not being able to pick out ten key moments you really enjoyed. You won’t get that time again. So make sure you’re putting aside time for the things which really matter to you. If you don’t have the time to do that, look at what you’re doing instead and see if it really needs your focus.

I feel happier, more content and more wholesome when my days are spent on my priorities. So I need to make sure I spend more time doing just that. If reading a book for twenty minutes a day comes over a perfectly clean house that actually, people don’t really care too much about, I am happy with that.

Realise it’s okay to do nothing

Too often when we are feeling overwhelmed or a little burnt out, it’s because we haven’t actually taken any time for ourselves. Time to just be. Time to do nothing.

If you are feeling that you haven’t had the time to do the things you love recently, take a reset day. I still struggle with this concept, it feels wrong to nap, read when there’s decorating to be done, or just go away for an evening when I have a mountain on my to-do list. But I am getting better at it.

Review your goals and what you really want

Regularly we don’t feel like we are achieving in life because we haven’t ticked off an impressive goal recently, or invested in something to show and share with others.

It’s too easy to fall into the trap of creating false expectations for yourself. The need for a new promotion at work, not because you want it, but because you think that’s a sign of success. The need for the latest model of car even though yours works perfectly. Don’t look back in twenty years’ time and wish you’d spent your money, or your time differently. Get rid of false expectations, live only in a way that makes you happy.

At the end of the day, we are all too worried about how other people perceive us, when in reality, we should just be focusing on how we perceive ourselves.

If you can say that you make conscious choices each day which allow you to get the most out of life, make you happy and allow you to work towards your main priorities, that’s all that matters.

Where your weeks are filled with more memories, moments and experiences than ‘must-do’s, checklists and chores’.

And that’s living more authentically, rather than a standard tick all the boxes perfect life.

And that leaves me with one of my favourite quotes:

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How Successful Are You?

Take a minute to think about three people in your immediate life who you view as successful.

People you interact with and hear from on a regular basis.

What would you say defines their success?

If you had asked me this question four years ago I would have said the below:

  • Doing well in their respective careers, climbing that job ladder to the very top.
  • Financially successful with a beautiful big home, new executive car, flash gadgets and designer clothes.
  • Those who looked ‘perfect’
  • Regular exotic holidays.
  • Popular, influential and inspiring.

Looking back now, I feel a little ashamed that I used this kind of criteria to judge a person’s success in life.

However it’s hardly surprising that I had this view when I lived in a society where media, publications and entertainment have subscribed and represented these values as the ideal standard.

Today I did a quick internet search for tips on how to be successful.

The number of female magazine websites which appeared telling me how to buy this, wear that, say this, do that, in order to be a success is shocking. Not one said spend the time doing what makes you happy. It was material, aesthetic, career and relationship based.

Now let me ask you another question.

 Do you feel successful?

If the answer is yes, go you.

If you answered no, is it a true reflection of the reality, or because of the expectations you’ve set for yourself that you’re not meeting?

How many of your negative feelings come from false expectations of yourself?

Expectations of what a good job, true happiness, and real success looks like. Expectations you’ve repeatedly told yourself. Always wishing you were doing something differently.

You’d be successful if you could just get up at 6am each day. You’d be successful if you could get that next promotion. You’d be successful if you could just stop eating so much sugar. You’d be successful if you had that new flash car.

These are all things you’ve convinced yourself are necessary. Requirements you have created for yourself to achieve before you can feel successful.

However the reality is, if we always strive for expectation. If we aim to meet the false cultural ideas of success. If we compare ourselves to others. We will never feel successful. We will never be truly happy. It’s a trap, and it’s never ending.

Now there’s nothing wrong with having material items you truly enjoy. But buying things mindlessly to show you (and let’s be honest, others) your success will not make you happy. You’ll always want the next best thing.

There’s nothing wrong with climbing the corporate career, as long as you are not doing it at the expense of long hours in the office instead of hobbies and experiences that truly make you feel fantastic.

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If you ask me now what I define as being successful I would simply say:

  • Happiness
  • Ticking off the long term goals and experiences that matter to you
  • Doing what you love

For me, the people I see as successful are those who are happy. Those who spend their time doing things that make them happy. Things they will look back on when old and be glad they spent their time doing it.

Spend your time doing what you value, doing what you enjoy, and developing yourself. Spend your time with loved ones, with friends and family.

Take a moment to appreciate everything you’ve already done. Write it all down. Embrace it.

Discard the false expectations of success.

Then I can guarantee you will feel successful.

Stop Being Defined By Your Things

If I asked you to think of two to three material items on your wish list right now, which you think would make your life a little bit better for one reason or another, could you?

A luxury watch, a designer handbag, a new television.

Now think how or why you think they’d enrich your life.

That new designer watch. Thinking honestly, what makes it different from a well-crafted non-luxury timepiece? It’s the branding. The lifestyle associations which come alongside it.

A bigger television. Is it to enjoy your films in better quality, or just because when it comes to TV’s, we’ve been repeatedly told bigger is better? It becomes a home status symbol, a ‘keeping up with the Jones’ mentality.

A luxury branded handbag. Probably as well-made as a hand stitched leather bag you could find for a third of the price. However they come without the logo. So how would people know that you’ve got THE coveted bag of the season if it’s non-recognizable? How do people know you’re doing well in life without the branding?

I have been guilty of this thinking. If we’re being honest, you may have been too.

However if we started to see material goods for what they really are. Tools to help us in our daily activities. Things. Stuff. We stop coveting them all so much.

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Seeing Things For What They Really Are

We need to realise that those designer shoes might bring with them a certain lifestyle association and may impress our friends, but they won’t bring true happiness. Unless you’re enriching your life and focusing on the things that truly matter to you, you will always be wanting more. As soon as you have those shoes, you’ll be coveting the next bigger and better thing.

Trust me, I subscribed to this lifestyle choice and getting the material things I thought I wanted never actually resulted in lasting happiness. I just kept on living a cycle of comparing myself to others.

I now buy only out of need rather than want, and before purchasing I always ask myself three questions.

Am I buying this because it is necessary and has a purpose in my life?

Have I chosen this particular item for it’s quality, or for the status it provides?

Am I buying this to impress others?

It’s surprising how often just by asking those three simple statements, things get returned onto the hangers, or removed from my online basket.

Just last week I almost bought a blender costing five times as much as one with better reviews, because it’s currently seen as ‘the’ blender to have.

Thankfully I saw some sense before completing checkout.

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Try it yourself

A small exercise for you to do this evening could be to walk through your home and ask those questions retrospectively about what you own.

Here they are again:

  1. Did I buy this because it is necessary and has a purpose in my life?
  2. Have I chosen this particular item for it’s quality, or for the status it provides?
  3. Did I buy this to impress others?

See if you can learn anything about the reasons behind why you buy, and be honest with yourself.

Since I have placed less value on my things, the only change I have noticed is that I have more money, time and focus for the things which actually do truly make me happy.

Writing, travel and being with loved ones.

I might not buy bags with designer branding anymore, but I have a long-lasting leather satchel which has travelled with me to four countries from what I have saved by adopting this mindset.

I don’t have the biggest TV, best car, biggest house or biggest shoe collection compared to my friends and family.

But I am not defined by my things. Instead I define my success on two little questions.

Am I actually truly happy, and am I spending my time on money on the things which really matter to me, and me only?

 

 

 

Minimalist Insider: 4 Personal Questions About Appreciating Life’s Moments

Too often we let the day rush by without taking a moment to stop, think, unwind and appreciate the wonderful little things that it has contained.

At the end of 2016, I took part in this fantastic yearly review exercise published by one of my favourite bloggers, Anuschka Rees.

It is a really valuable collection of 50 questions to inspire you to appreciate all the big and little things that occur in twelve short months.

Though, by early Spring, I have found that I have slowly started slipping into a routine of letting Monday become Friday without much thought for the in between.

It was time to readdress, re-evaluate and remind myself of the discoveries, excitements and adventures of the first quarter of 2017. However rather than sitting down and bullet pointing it all like I did as a year-end project, I have decided to do a weekly series of four questions and answers.

I will post some of them online, if you enjoy reading them, in the hope that it inspires you to slow down, take a deep breath, and remember all the wonderful things that have happened in what, without reflection, seemed like a merely average week.

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Credit: anuschkarees.com

So, with the view of looking back across 2017 for the first post. Here we go:

  1. What one event are you going to tell your grandchildren about?

It would have to be our recent adventure across West Coast USA. We kept a diary each day to remind us of the stories behind the experiences we have in memory, and often captured on film and photos.

The warm desert sunrises, the fresh sea air of San Francisco and Lands’ End, the crisp wines of Napa Valley and the throbbing of our feet as we hiked, walked, ran and wandered through four different but incredible cities.

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  1. If I had to describe the start of 2017 in three words, what would they be?

 Warm, Rewarding & Mobile

Warm, because I have felt warm and content with our day to day life.

Rewarding, because so many wonderful things that I have been lucky to experience or worked hard for have occurred.

Mobile, because I have rarely spent one week in the same city since the start of the year due to work or travel, which is something new to embrace and understand.

  1. What new things did you discover about yourself?

I discovered that after years’ of being unable to sleep on transport, I could sleep like a baby on a long-haul flight thanks to the wonders of meditation, lavender spray and a hardy eye mask.

That I can suffer really terribly from writers block, which came out of nowhere at the start of the year, and disappeared again of it’s own accord.

Podcasts are something I can enjoy, I had just not found the right one. For anyone looking to get into them, I would wholeheartedly recommend Serial, The Black Tapes and Lore.

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4. What single achievement are you most proud of?

Personally, it would have to be finally finishing my book (watch this space) but honestly, I am so proud of all that everyone around me is achieving at the moment. My husband, friends and family are all doing amazing things.

So there you have it, the first in a series. I would love to hear your reflections on 2017 and would find it so interesting if my fellow bloggers, writers and readers followed the same weekly challenge and shared their stories!

If you don’t feel like committing to sharing your thoughts regularly, instead just take the time to appreciate the big and little wonderful things that have made you happy in the last year, and be aware of the things that have detracted from this sense of wellbeing.

It will help you be mindful of what to prioritise, and what, if anything, to let go.

Minimalist Mothers’ Day Present & Gift Ideas

Too often we gift because we think we should, because there’s that obligatory expectation to deliver a hand-wrapped token of love for whatever occasion is marked on the calendar that day.

I used to gift without thinking. Sometimes, I hadn’t even considered what use the recipient would get from my present, or the meaning behind it.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, there comes another time where we will want to treat those we love to show our appreciation. However we shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that an expensive material item is a fair exchange and demonstration of our love for one another.

Take this Mother’s Day as an opportunity to spend time and make memories that will last a lifetime. Much longer than a set of luxury bath bombs or overpriced flowers that won’t outlast the week.

If you are looking for minimalist gift-giving ideas but are unsure where to start, this list might give you some inspiration…

  1. Go on an adventure

Does your mum love to walk, explore and get lost in nature whilst on long peaceful rambles? Pack up a picnic, choose your trek, and go for a long wander together. This quality time together will give you chance to reconnect and really catch up.

  1. Take her for a meal

If your mum is perhaps not the outdoorsy type, or the forecast doesn’t look too great, why not take her for dinner. Book a table at her favourite restaurant and treat her to a course or three of her favourite cuisine!

  1. Bake her a hamper of goodies

If you are pretty handy in the kitchen, why not bake up a hamper of delicious goodies for your mum to enjoy. She will appreciate all the effort you have put in. Perhaps even more so if you add a bottle or two of gin to the wicker basket before tying with a ribbon!

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  1. Subscribe to a magazine or gifting service

Does she have a favourite hobby, or perhaps she loves trying new makeup or beauty products. Why not sign her up for a subscription to a home magazine, recipe collection or beauty delivery service? This way, it’s a gift she can keep enjoying for months after, and you can even talk about each month going forward.

Some options could include:

BirchBox – A monthly beauty subscription service that delivers beautifully designed little boxes of goodies to your doorstep and just £10 a month.

The Lifestyle Box – a collection of gorgeous vegan goodies, sent to you once a month for just £10 plus P&P

Pact Coffee – The name says it all, and great for caffeine lovers to try new flavours! Plus it starts at just £6.95

London Tea Club – If you know someone who likes a cup or two, this is a great gift that keeps giving and you can set up your own personal profile to get the tea you’d love to taste.

The Willoughby Book Club – If your mum loves nothing more than to escape into a good book, this could be the perfect gift for her this year!

  1. Take her to a show

Does she want to see a certain play? Or perhaps a band she loves will be touring soon? Mother’s Day is a great excuse for snapping up a couple of tickets and putting a date in the diary to spend some quality time doing the things she loves! Cinema, Ballet, Rugby…the options are pretty endless.

  1. Get creative

Use this opportunity to really get creative and express your inner talent. Is painting your natural talent? Paint her a canvas of somewhere you both love, or her favourite place in the world. If you are good with words, write her a note capturing all that you love about her and are grateful for.

  1. Take her away

If you are feeling very generous, why not take mum away for the weekend. Rent a cabin by the sea, or give her tickets for a spa hotel break. Somewhere you can both truly unwind, spend quality time together and make memories for years to come. A weekend away in Spain can cost the same as a quality pair of earrings thanks to budget airlines and AirBnB, and what do you think you will be talking about in five years time?

  1. Just be there

Too often we gift because it’s a way to show our love and appreciation, however most people will agree that on any occasion, being with the people you love trumps an expensive material item opened alone.

If you are low on funds, rather than posting a candle and card, grab some food to go and bottle of wine, and go spend an evening of quality time with mum watching her favourite films or just reading books in the company of each other.

Get out the old photos, have a laugh over memories, and make sure she knows how much you appreciate her!

If your mum would love a well-thought out material item, obviously don’t discredit that option either. However, make sure what you do is influenced by her and showcases your appreciation. Don’t be a victim to last minute panic buying and showing your love materially!

A gift that encompasses being there to share quality time together, with something she loves, will go down a treat! 

 

 

 

Minimise Your Makeup Collection And Feel More Confident

I found it easy to minimise my wardrobe, and still rotate 33 items on a regular basis for a refined capsule, functional collection.

Same with my possessions. Deciding to unclutter my home, drawers and shelves was an easy decision and I wouldn’t ever go back.

Even though I had lived with less for years, I still had one incredibly cluttered, expensive collection that was eating away at my happiness without me even realising.

My makeup collection.

I was so easily taken in watching hours of YouTube tutorials, seeing two for £30 offers on the counters of departments stores, and concepts that a new lipstick shade could improve my whole look for a night out.

There was always something I needed. Perhaps a new highlighter would help hide my naturally round face. A different eyebrow shade would make my penciling in look more natural and defined.

For someone who had managed to avoid the traps and pitfalls of gratification buying for a long time with clothes, I was blind when making the same mistakes with beauty products.

I realised that this was an issue when I looked at my ‘capsule collection’ that I had organised six months ago, and it had already doubled.

Now I don’t think this would have been a problem if it had doubled because I had found new staple products I love. Or if I had developed a yearning for makeup artistry.

But this wasn’t the case. The drawer was filled with new lotions and potions that I had purchased quickly, without much thought, and with too much hope behind.

I sat down, and looked at all the products in my collection to work out why this was happening again, and the answer was simple. Lack of confidence.

A lipstick had been purchased recently on a work trip to London when I had envied the bold matte lip I kept seeing across the capital. I wanted to emulate this look myself so I purchased this gorgeous Bobbi Brown dark brown shade.

It didn’t, and no longer does, suit me.

It was purely an impulse buy, driven by envy and admiration.

A bronzer sits almost untouched in the drawer after I had seen a famous Instagram blogger use in one of her videos. Even though that post was sponsored, I had to agree she looked amazing with it on, and I wanted my face to glow like that.

It didn’t, and because I have naturally very dry skin, it just looked caked on and awful.

Once again, suckered by marketing and the need to emulate the confidence and looks of someone else.

Minimised collection, boosted confidence

So today I am making a promise. I have minimised my capsule beauty collection for a final time, and here is what it contains.

I know my makeup routine well, and I can complete it in just fifteen minutes each morning. Every product works well with my skin tone, complexion and dry, sensitive skin.

I have a few key pieces I know will instantly boost a look for an evening event or date night.

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However something bigger needs to change. I need to understand that buying a particular lip shade, trending eye colour or concealer won’t suddenly change the way I look and feel overnight. It might give me confidence if it works but I need to be confident without all these products for it to have a real effect.

Buying makeup products for the hope that they change my look and improve my life in some way is the same mistake I was making with clothes years ago. I used to be convinced that a new dress and shoes would be the key to feeling amazing on a night out. It wasn’t.

For the next year I won’t be adding any new products aside for replacing my core collection as it runs out.

I will also work on the thing that makeup has been trying to unsuccessfully mask for the last 15 years, my confidence, and stop comparing my looks to the models and bloggers out there who look flawless on a daily basis.

Minimising your possessions helps you identify what really matters to you, and put worth in your true priorities, not material objects.

So minimising your beauty collection should help you realise your own true worth and confidence, without twenty layers of cosmetic support to help you.

If you, like me, can think back to a time recently when you have bought a product because of how it looks on someone else. Because you thought it would completely change your look. Because you thought it would boost your beauty. You might need to do the same.

Cull the cosmetics, and be mindful of your own natural worth and beauty.

 

What is Hygge? A Minimalist’s Guide To Living Happily

Picture the scene. You are at home, snuggled in your pyjamas in front of a toasty roaring fire. You have a glass of your favourite tipple at your side. Candles are lit, and are the only noise is the wind blowing outside. Your evening is spent reading a good book, with good company, under a furry warm throw.

This feeling of contentment, of happiness and everything being more meaningful. That’s Hygge (pronounced hue-gah). Put simply, it is a word to define that warm cosy feeling we all get when everything is just right.

Since living minimally, I have spent the last few years trying to live with purpose. To ensure everything I do is aligned to my priorities. All that I invest in materially and through time is done to enrich my life.

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This is why I think that the Hygge trend that is currently sweeping across Britain is something we should all embrace. I have written countless times about how we are neglecting our happiness by subscribing to a busy lifestyle. We are so consumed by goals, driven by plans. Never satisfied with our achievements as someone else has that bigger car, better holiday or expensive phone.

Slow down, prioritise your happiness and spend your time doing the things you will enjoy. Experience the moments, stop ticking off the boxes of to do lists, relish life.

Hygge and minimalism go hand in hand. They both value a meaningful live above all else. They put value in experiences. They are about removing routine and restrictions in order to achieve more.

It is about enjoying the happiness you have, and living in the now, rather than continually pursuing the next best thing.

How else do they pair up? Well, you can certainly invest in items to create a more hyggeligt atmosphere, but you can’t buy Hygge. You can’t purchase that feeling you get from being happy and content. If your atmosphere isn’t right, priorities are not right, and time is not spent right, an expensive candle and luxury fur throw isn’t going to fix that.

So, I guess you are wondering, how do I make my life more Hygge?

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Embrace A Hygge Home

Fill your home with candles, as creating a snug and cosy atmosphere is a great place to start. Candlelit rooms instantly feel warm, romantic and inviting. Invest in one’s with scents you love. Personally, my home is filled with Vanilla candles I have made or sourced locally because this scent alone reminds me of home and happiness.

Keep your spaces minimal but with purpose. If you reduce the clutter, and keep what is necessary you can ensure that your spaces will remain comforting and relaxing. If you have too much going on in one room, it will be hard to relax. Plus, we all feel most content in a clean environment, and a minimal home is much easier to keep dust free.

Furnish for comfort. Texture your rooms with practical but cosy blankets and duvets for the ultimate Hygge home. Don’t invest in lots of unnecessary extras. Instead, invest wisely in your furnishing choices to make your home a happy environment.

Ensure your rooms encourage socialisation. Have comfy seating, open plan living and doors left wide open to embrace that welcoming atmosphere.

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How To Dress Hygge

When at home, if you are anything like me, you will instantly change into your loungewear after walking through the front door.

Being at home is a time for relaxation, unwinding and comfort. Invest in clothing and outfits which encourage you to enjoy this time.

Think loose fitting cotton lounge wear, cosy slippers and knitted layers. Whatever makes you feel completely at ease.

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 How To Live Hygge

Think cosy, think simple and think happy. To hygge is to do whatever makes you feel warm and content.

Forget elaborate nights out, this winter is all about the evenings in with close friends and family.

Cook stews, use the slow cooker and enjoy warm chocolate cake in front of the fire. Whatever makes you feel good.

Embrace the colder nights by finding any excuse to layer up and spent time on the things which matter most to you. Be it writing, reading, blogging or baking.

As I love to spend my time doing things that enrich my day to day, I am totally welcoming this concept. More reading, less cleaning. And as I live minimally, this is totally achievable as there’s less to fuss about around the house.

So tonight I am making a huge pot of turkey chilli, lighting all the candles, and spraying the room with vanilla and lavender scents. I will sit in my cosy Cos layers under my big throw and I will be totally content as I blog, read and write.

How are you planning to embrace Hygge?

Listen to the people who tell you that you can’t do it

Think about the last time someone told you that you couldn’t do something. They might have been trying to give you advice from their own experiences. They might have been trying to protect you from an outcome they could only envision as a disaster, or they could have just been trying to manage your expectations.

Now think about the last time you told someone the same. Was it a friend you were looking out for, a family member you thought was making a rash decision, or a colleague who was taking on too much?

Throughout my life, one of my greatest motivators for success and achievement has been valuing the perspective of those who say I can’t, but going for it if I think I can.

Listen to the people who tell you that you can’t do it, but if you think you can, go for it. Smash their perceived barriers, impress even yourself. One of the best motivations for me is following my own instincts.

Believing in yourself is the stepping stone to being significant and being successful. Believing you can run that extra mile, believing you can live with less, believing you can make it to the top of your professional or personal ability.

You know what your priorities are, you know your strengths and you sure as hell know your limitations. So if your gut is saying do it, then go for it! Go ahead and do it.

Now success for me isn’t what it used to be. I no longer see financial status as a mark of success. A luxury car, heaps of material possessions and long hours which result in being able to purchase the former are no longer success criteria for me.

Life is too short for me to spend my money on a new car instead of making memories with the people I love. But that’s me, you might have a different outlook and that’s what makes us great as people. We are all unique.

Success is being able to do the things I love. Success is being able to contribute to my long term goals such as seeing the world, spending time with loved ones, and contributing to others. Success for me is smashing my professional career because I love what I do, not for the material bonus. If I didn’t love my work and spent 40 plus hours a week doing it, would I look back happily on these years of my life?

So right now being able to travel, spend time with friends and my husband and being able to blog and create the things I love means that for me, my life is a success. Since caring less about the material and cultural definition of success, I personally feel like I have achieved more.

Today I listen to the people who say I can’t and use it as motivation for making sure I can. Too often we try to coach people with well meaning concern, and limit their opportunities and ability in the process.

All in all, as long as we are doing something that contributes overall to making our life more meaningful, why on earth shouldn’t we try. If we fail, we fail. But if we don’t try and get told we can’t, we will never know.

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One of my all time favourite quotes is:

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” – Einstein

Now I am fortunate to have had some wonderful guides, mentors, managers and inspirations currently and throughout my life. They are always there to help you with your latest idea or projects. They push you to succeed for your own personal reasons.

However I have also known some nay-sayers. But you know what, I am grateful for them telling me I can’t, because it has only supported me to do better and know that I can.

So go forth, listen to the people who say you can’t do it, and show them you can. Live your meaningful life, and do the things that make you happy, and be successful in your own unique way.