Minimalist February | Shoe collection.

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Following on from my previous post on my simplified wardrobe, here’s the last piece of the puzzle: shoes! I know I only have 6 pairs of shoes so I probably should’ve realised this earlier, but getting them all together to take pictures was the first time I realised that they’re all monochrome/grey except for the wellies! I remember as a teenager, my shoes were almost exclusively grey. I had an aversion to black (look at me now, teenage me!) and white poses the problem of always looking dirty, (which I’ve now largely embraced) whereas grey was the perfect balance. It goes with everything, which is probably why I subconsciously decided it would be my colour scheme for shoes. I know many minimalists apply this to their entire wardrobe, but I couldn’t do that myself. I need a bit more variety than that. But for shoes it works perfectly.

I will point out that while these shoes are perfect for 99% percent of my activities, I do borrow the odd pair of my mum’s for certain occasions such as weddings, interviews, or random days when I just feel like a change. Like I said, it is quite rare, and if we weren’t similar sizes I’d just make do with mine, but ain’t nothin’ wrong with sharing it around sometimes!

Similarly to the wardrobe this is my winter collection, but it’s almost identical to the summer one, except that I wear the boots a lot less and add a pair of sandals and flip flops into the mix.

key: (e)= ethically made (v)= vegan

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BOOTS:

  1. HUNTER wellies in red (e)(v)– new (1+ year ago)
  2. TOPSHOP suede heeled boots in black – new (4+ years ago) (similar)
  3. Wills Vegan Shoes dock boots in grey (e)(v)– new (<1 year ago)

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SHOES:

  1. Dr. Martens 3-eyelet shoe in black (e)– new (8+ years ago!)
  2. Superga classic shoe in white (v)– new (<1 year ago)
  3. Vivo Barefoot running shoe in black (e)(v)– new (<1 year ago)
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Minimalist February | Simplified wardrobe pt 2.

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If you thought the stuff on my rail was literally all I wore, then you’re either as gullible as me (read: very) or optimistic. Those are what I wear on a daily basis, but there is a vital part of the picture missing.

Say hello to the cheeky chest of drawers. It homes all the things that can’t be or shouldn’t be hung up! Let me take you through it all…

  1. Underwear + swimwear: 4x bras, 1x sports bra, 3x vests, 3x tights, 10x socks, 5x various sports socks, 2x slipper socks, 7x knickers, 1x bikini, 1x swimming costume
  2. packing cubes + smart stuff: 6x packing cubes, 1x formal dress, 1x formal shirt, 1x formal trousers
  3. Sportswear: 3x shorts, 3x joggers/leggings, 1x jumper, 1x softshell jacket, 6x quidditch jerseys, 2x running tops, 2x base layers
  4. 1x spare set of bedding, 1x spare towel, 1x spare set of pyjamas
  5. Seasonal stuff: summer clothes (to be revealed later on this year), Christmas jumper

That’s it, not super interesting, but I know it’s always intriguing for me to see other people’s set ups (partly out of nosiness, partly because it’s useful to compare their approaches in order to work out your own). As always, numbers don’t matter, and it’s useless to strive for a number or hold yourself to someone else’s standards; I just put the quantities of everything for transparency’s sake 🙂 Have a good day!

Minimalist February | Every day make-up

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Hello friends! This is gonna be a smug post (sorry not sorry) because I’m so happy with my teeny weeny make up collection! Disclaimer: I’m not a big make up person anymore. Some days I go completely without, some days I just whack a bit of lippie or eyeliner on; I rarely use all of it at the same time. So that helps massively.

It suits where I’m at right now, basically. When my last mascara ran out, I thought maybe I wouldn’t replace it; it’s my least-used product, and seems a waste to spend money and resources on something I don’t use very much. But I have found that on the odd day when I do want it, I really want it, and nothing else really does the job. Maybe one day I’ll stop using it, but for now it’s there. At least the little LUSH bottle means it matches all my other mini things, and comes in glass 🙂

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In a soap dish for perspective 🙂

Let me take you through my collection…

  1. LUSH ‘The Kiss’ lip balm – My brother gave me this for my birthday 2 years ago actually! Initially I wasn’t too keen on it; being quite militantly anti-plastic at the time, and not thinking I suited bright lips, I used it rarely- if at all- until a few months ago. For whatever reason, it has now become an essential! It’s really nice and moisturising, and adds a subtle but noticeable colour to my lips, I’m sold 🙂 When this runs out I reckon I’ll buy a lip tint that comes in a tin or see if I can refill this container with a homemade concoction.
  2. LUSH ‘Eyes Right’ mascara – This is my second bottle of this particular mascara. My first lasted about a year, (see my review here) then I tried my hand at making my own out of activated charcoal and other ingredients to reuse the bottle (see here). In the end, it irritated my eyes, and didn’t last nearly as long as the LUSH one, so for now it’s the best option for me. It took me a while to get used to the consistency and short brush, but I’m not into heavy mascara anyway, so this one is perfect 🙂
  3. Eyebrow powder and brush – In order to whittle my collection down, I removed one shade of a cheap eyeshadow palette into a tin to use as eyebrow powder. It was pretty much all I was using that palette for, so it makes so much more sense to now only have to use this tiny tin. When it runs out, (which will likely be in a few months) I can either refill the tin with bulk cacao powder which is basically the same colour, or purchase this eyeshadow refill pan which has the benefit of being compacted so that it’s not so easily wasted by putting too much on my brush. By the way, the brush is from Eco tools, gifted to me by my mum and cut in half by me 🙂 (similiar here)
  4. LUSH ‘Lust’ solid perfume – I think I bought this perfume about a year and a half ago and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! It’s the perfect scent for me: heady, a bit like incense; sweet, but not sickly. Some days I just rub a bit on my neck, others I go a bit nuts a rub it behind each ear, on my wrists, behind my knees, in the crooks if my elbows- What can I say, I’m obsessed! Despite my ridiculous usage, it’s still only about a quarter depleted! The only annoying thing is that for some reason LUSH have decided to change their packaging for this and gone for a smaller glass jar with a plastic lid. Literally have no idea what was wrong with the tin…
  5. Eyeliner pencil – I got this eyeliner pencil in a chemist a long while ago. Like years ago. I used to be more of a liquid eyeliner fan because it’s more precise, but I used to keep a pencil for smudging purposes (priorities haha). Since trying to be more eco-friendly, I’ve ditched the plastic liquid eyeliner pens and made do with just a pencil. But I’ve learned that if you keep it sharp and practise, you can get a neat, thin line. Also when I occasionally want it to look more gel or liquid-like, I only need to hold a lighter a few centimetres away from the end and it softens enough to get a bolder look! (see the ‘2-in-1 eyeliner’ section of this post) Boom. Multifunctional.

Thanks for reading!

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My make up in its natural habitat (the pink candy stripe bag)

5 Things this Monday.

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As it’s Minimalist February on my blog, why not have a themed 5 Things this Monday! Here are 5 things I’ve read recently on the topic of having less…

  1. I myself have an attachment to books. But I recently had a purge of my personal collection, only keeping a select few, as well as ones I haven’t read yet (which is waaay too many!) I love this post though, because it explains so simply and perfectly, that the joy of books isn’t in their ownership. Give it a read, I know you want to!
  2. The Ethical Unicorn’s first post on materialism and her discovery of the impact of having so much stuff. It’s so refreshing and relateable to hear someone who’s just unpacking the ‘unwritten rules’ that life throws at us.
  3. The writer of Near-O Waste shares the ways her life has been simplified since minimalism. Yeah it means that she makes little changes that move her away from the zero waste ideal, but it’s all about having perspective, and not beating yourself up. Striving for zero waste can be a faff, and stressful. But if you can minimise that with a compromise, then that’s great.
  4. Next up, is a Youtube channel I discovered recently. Ashlynne Eaton has a really sweet personality and I love her humble style. The focus of her channel is minimalism and intentional living, which is a nice term that encompasses all sorts of causes such as environmentalism and ethical shopping. Her videos are not too heavy, but still inspiring and entertaining- I’m obsessed 🙂
  5. Finally, why not another Youtube channel! The Minimalist Ninja is quite a different channel. She has been a minimalist for 4+ years, and so she has an awful lot of experience and advice. She breaks things down into bitesize topics and is very sincere and considered when it comes to why she decides to do things which I like.

Hopefully that’ll keep you going until my next post 😉 See you soon!

Minimalist February | Pitfalls and misconceptions about minimalism.

If you haven’t guessed from the title of this post, I’m going to be posting with a focus on minimalism this month. And where better to start than by defining the term! (can you tell I’ve been a student for too long? Killer essay starter right there..) You probably have an idea about what minimalism is by now. I don’t blame you, it gets bandied about a fair bit these days. Here are 3 misconceptions about minimalism and 3 pitfalls that people can fall into when trying to achieve it.

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Misconceptions:

  1. You’re not allowed to have a lot of stuff– minimalism means different things to different people. Yes, it generally means having less items overall than the average person, but if you really like shoes and all of your pairs make you happy- keep them! Ditto books or Star Wars memorabilia (I don’t know what you’re into!)
  2. You have to like white EVERYTHING– it seems that when you search online for minimalist interiors, the vast majority look very similar: white walls, neutral/white furniture etc. I think the reason is that it attracts light, and highlights the lack of objects which is enjoyable for a lot of people. However, this is just a general preference, and by no means is the right or the only way to do things.
  3. Minimalism relates only to possessions- I have to admit I’m finding the slightly less tangible side of minimalism quite tricky, so you lucky people get to watch me struggle with that this month! But you can apply minimalism to technology, your diary, cooking… Practically anything. It’s about paring it down to only what you need, only what makes you happy. More on this later 😉

Pitfalls:

  1. Racing to the finish line– by this I mean trying to clear out your belongings in one fell swoop. Yes, some people find that this is the way to go, and prefer to just have it over with, but I am of the opinion that it can’t hurt to take a little time. This is because sometimes when you’re too hasty to chuck things away, you might find you’re making way harsher decisions than you need to in order to achieve your desired amount of belongings. This could lead to disposing of an item you actually cherish, or the dramatic increase in space in your home- both of which can cause you to want to buy more to fill the emotional or physical void. As far as I’m concerned, it can’t hurt to take your time. If you declutter a space, then a week later you’re still not satisfied with it then by all means work on it again.
  2. Focusing on numbers– you’ll find a lot of blog posts and videos out there entitled ‘my 30 item closet’ or ‘this man lives with only 102 belongings!’ and it’s easy to get fixated on the numbers, thinking they are obviously doing it better than you. But you know what? Fore some people it works, and that is their ideal amount. Others need more and there’s nothing wrong with that. I would recommend focusing on how much is ideal for you, regardless of what anyone else is doing.
  3. Not addressing your emotions- Items are inevitably going to make us sentimental, and thinking we can plough through regardless is unrealistic. For me at least, shopping is emotional. I do it when I’m bored or feeling low. Keeping things makes me feel safe, and sometimes it represents a time or person in my life I care about. It’s not as simple as getting rid of things. Sometimes you need to deal with some baggage first (yay.) But it all leads to a place of being more in touch and in control of your emotions (genuine yay!)

Stay tuned for more minimalism this month. Thanks for reading!

1 Year On: North Face Duffel Bag

So I received this bag as a birthday present from my boyfriend last year. I researched a whole heap of brands and bags and decided that this one really suited my needs. I had travelled with only carry-on a few times up until this point, using a large rucksack which stuck out so far on my back I would accidentally take people out in stations and on the street (woops!) so it was about time I invested in something a little better. Other than that I wanted something waterproof and durable, and what I ended up with seems to be doing a good job!

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Price:

RRP is £95 but I shopped around in the January sales and got mine for approximately £60 which I think is fair for such a good quality bag. It is definitely possible to get a 50 litre bag or suitcase for cheaper, but like I said, I think it pays to spend a little more.

Durability:

A year on, and I must have used this bag at least once a month on average. It honestly looks identical to the day I got it (minus a few dirt marks). The material is so sturdy and strong that It could hold some seriously heavy weight and not struggle. Every part is working perfectly, reinforced, and made from indestructible stuff. Even down to the mesh pocket on the inside of the flap; I’ve ripped a few of those in my time, but this one’s going nowhere!

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Verdict:

Due to the tubular shape of this bag, I no longer turn around and nearly kill someone! I much prefer travelling with this bag to my previous turtle-like existence.. The padded backpack straps are comfortable and there are so many other little handles on it, for lifting it up and moving it around. It almost seems excessive, but they’re very useful! From reading reviews of previous versions of the base camp duffel bag, it sounds like they’ve listened to feedback and thought of everything. It’s a simple, practical design, but done well. I’m very glad I invested in this bag 🙂

No Spend January | Week 2 round up.

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So this week 2 has been a considerably more pleasant experience! I mean it can only go up from forgetting that you’re actually doing a no spend challenge! Anyway, I’m letting go (if I say it that makes it true, right?!)

Saying that, it was my birthday on Wednesday (23, would you believe!) Obviously that meant a few presents. I got such practical but still fun gifts, thanks family! Sewing supplies from my siblings, a couple of basic tops from White T-shirt Co. from my parents, to replace the bobbly, rubbish ones from H&M I’ve had for years 🙂

Other than that, I’ve noticed myself feeling the urge to shop when feeling down. I’ll add that to the list of situations which seem to trigger my spending, like boredom, and being paid haha! Also, I think a social media + email purge is in order. Even just a few emails or Instagram adverts about January sales are enough to make me feel like I’m missing out on some mysterious bargain!

In more positive news, I’m feeling super satisfied with my wardrobe. I’ve pared it down to the perfect size and I love all my items. It’s taken me a good couple of years since I started this journey and without the temptation to buy anymore clothes, I’m getting the chance to really appreciate them! Nothing can seep into my consciousness if I can’t even see it 😉

Just a short post this week, but I’m feeling optimistic about the remainder of  January 🙂 Stay tuned for another post in the week!

Review: Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2016)

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(Source)

Minimalism has slowly been creeping into my consciousness for a while now, but I just thought I’d warn you that I’m well and truly hooked and that you’re about to see a whole lot more from me on this subject!

Without further ado, I watched this documentary on Netflix and it really has inspired me. It starts off with this quote:

‘At a time when people in the West are experiencing the best standard of living in history, why is it that at the same time there is such a longing for more?’ Rick Hanson

And it’s true. I don’t think it’s just my friends and family that are sharing my enthusiasm for making a difference, it’s sweeping across the country and the world. In the aftermath of the crazy consumerism that’s exploded over the last 50 odd years, people have come to realise that it is lacking as a means of making you feel good in the long run.

In the fashion industry it’s gone from having 4 or maybe even 2 seasons a year (Autumn-Winter/Spring-Summer) to 52! That’s every week! You’re supposed to feel like you’re not ‘on trend’ so that you buy more. The abuse of garment workers means that the value of clothing is through the floor; you no longer need to wait for clothing to be unusable; it simply has to be unfashionable to deserve throwing away. And who even cares when it only cost £3, right?

Advertising has polluted every area of our lives. Bathrooms, films, taxis, doctor’s surgery… Advertising for children’s products has changed; it used to target mothers, but now it goes around the parents and straight to the kids. A large number of children have access to technology from as young as under a year old.

HOWEVER! People are beginning to realise that they might be being tricked, and that they have more options than they are lead to believe. And that’s where minimalism steps in. This documentary features The Minimalists, No Impact Man, and news reporter Dan Harris, among others, who share their personal stories of coming to the decision to live with less. I love how varied their stories are, how different their problems were, and yet they found an alternative way to live and now their motivation is essentially the same: to simplify the stuff that doesn’t matter and live more intentionally. It looks different for all of them, but it works.

I don’t want to go into a load of detail and ruin it for you! I would highly recommend seeing this documentary, even if you aren’t already thinking of being minimalist. It is a great insight into how some people live and encourages you to be more intentional in life in general. I did write down some quotes that I liked from the film though… Enjoy! Also let me know what you thought of it if you do give it a watch 🙂

‘As human beings we have strong attachment -initially in our lives- to people who are caring for us; sometimes it feels like those attachments spill over to objects, as if they were as important as people’ Gail Steketee

‘You can never get enough of what you don’t want’ Rick Hanson

‘I wish everyone could become rich and famous so they could realise it’s not the answer’ Jim Carey

‘Minimalism is not a radical lifestyle’ Non-hairy minimalists

‘We are not going to reach the environmental goals we are seeking whilst maintaining our current lifestyles. We’re going to have to give up a lot’ Unknown

‘The beauty of not being prepared for everything is that you are forced to call on others and they on you for favours/borrowing etc. You end up in community.’ Unknown

‘Because you can do anything you want you can potentially do everything you want, but to do everything you want you have to sacrifice things that really are important’ Unknown

‘You can’t force people around you to be as minimalist as you, or at all. You have to respect their choice.’ Unknown

Little things.

Today I thought I’d take a leaf out of The Beauty in Simple‘s book and share a list of small things that I am grateful for or excited about at the moment. I really love the fact that you can find beauty and value in the every day, mundane details and I’m trying to get better at it, so here goes…

5 simple things that have made me happy this week:

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  1. On Mondays I get the majority of my food from the market on my uni campus. I bought a beautiful baguette off a very nice lady who complimented me on my baguette-shaped cotton bag. My day was made and it hadn’t even hit 12! snapchat-3653081788801760395
  2. My worm bin finally arrived! Watching all the little wriggly babies settle into their new home and giving them their first load of food scraps was really amazing yesterday. I may have stayed there watching them until the very last one wriggled underneath the surface of the soil before I reluctantly put the lid back on… Expect a post soon about how I’m getting on with this new compost method! snapchat-6525766345540802439
  3. Having a cold really blows, (GET IT!) but since I’ve been using handkerchiefs instead of tissues, I don’t get that sore red nose thing that I thought was inevitable. Plus I keep them in this jar in my room, and all the colours and patterns look so nice together. snapchat-314470562345266043
  4. Today rounded off week 3 of my final year at university, (eek!) and whilst it’s pretty hectic, I’ve managed to minimise the things I take with me. I have one bag (a year ago I would’ve been rotating at least 3) one notebook and one folder for all my lessons. It is really nice not to have to empty and refill my bag and risk forgetting things, because I just carry it all around every day.snapchat-3383675782844297014-1
  5. Breakfast for me consists of jumbo oats soaked overnight in nut milk, 1 chopped banana, 1 chopped date, a handful of nuts and a sprinkle of vanilla/cinnamon. It’s filling, refreshing, yummy, healthy- I can’t think of a better way to start the day!