Friday Feelings | Is enough, enough? A case for minimalism.

The living room & Harry Potter world

(Our living room in the beginning of construction/overhaul – I’m not sure we’d even seen this much of our floor in a long while!) 

When I went to university I only took as much as would fit into my dads Volvo. I had my basics, a couple of books, dvd’s my kitchen and bathroom stuff and a couple of weeks of clothes.

For months, I never felt like I didn’t have enough. I didn’t go clothes shopping, I didn’t need to and although after a few months I shopped again and things changed as I went back to work (I didn’t work the first year of university, or the last) but I bought more, but never as much I have now, never as much as I had a teen but the reality of this story is this, I never needed for more, and I was happier, with less.

I’m bringing this up because Josh and myself are so sick of having so much stuff. We’ve just done over our living room, including the floor and as we went to put all our stuff back in the room, we refused to. Instead we wanted to chuck most of it out.

Currently upstairs in our house is a mess. I feel suffocated by all these things, now that I know how it feels downstairs with just a few things.

I’ve not gained happiness by having more stuff. Instead I’ve crowded myself more instead. I’m not saying that we are going to sit in an empty, minimalist house but we are certainly looking to have less, buy less and hopefully be happier in effect.

It starts with having a shopping ban on fast fashion in the home and on clothes but also on food and other little things, beauty products, make up. Actually focus the stuff factor to what I actually need rather than a lot of things to make myself feel better.

That money we save gets to go towards our savings again and our time gets given back to us as well. I for one am looking forward to seeing the white spaces in my wardrobe again and on that note, less time spent in shops and more time living.

The most interesting part of this is that prior to the last wedding year we had achieved this goal, we had been so focused on living over stuff and I’m sad to realize it didn’t stick properly. I’m not looking to downsize our house and live in a shoe box, live in empty rooms, true, current minimalism isn’t me either but its finding a happy in between, its finding true to us happiness in what we have and what we do.

As we go on this journey it will be interesting to see the little ways our lives change from now to living more simply, of course I will share it all here and I’m thinking it will of course re start in my wardrobe.

Fashion experiment | Marie Kondo’s shirts and sweaters storage

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Fashion experiment | Marie Kondo’s shirts and sweaters storage 

Marie Kondo’s book blew up last year and one of the things that I loved was her storage solutions. As I get dressed daily in the relative dark (thank you crazy early hour waking times) my wardrobe and by extension my bedroom is often a crazy mess of confused clothing come Friday morning.

However during the winter break we have done a lot to our house. One of which was reintroducing a drawer system to both of our wardrobes rather than shelves. With this in mind I wanted to find a way to keep my drawers organized even at six in the morning.

Here is my sweater drawer at the beginning of the week so you can see how it looked before. The method is uber easy and if you’ve ever worked in retail you’ll be a pro at the folding! Find the video of Marie herself showing you how to fold your drawer successfully here and now comes the more interesting part, will it last?

Will this be a good solution for other, long distance commuters? Only time will tell! Give me a month and I’ll probably give you a mess but lets see! For the last week at home its been perfect but lets see how this works out!

Five Day Holiday Capsule Wardrobe

When I was young, my mum created the best, most flawless holiday capsules ever. The key was always colour. Similar to my own colouring my mum loves good, earthy tones and so her holiday wardrobes were and are always compact whilst perfectly remixable, aided by great colour choices.

Layering I realise is also pretty key to having a great, successful wardrobe so I have made sure that everything is really remixable and works in a range of combinations, more so that even the five days I need them for!!

Every capsule needs a dress in my mind, this one is great because worn alone with leggings or tights, a nice necklace and a blazer can be worn to dinner or during the day with a chambray shirt and cozy scarf which makes this a relaxed cozy must!

A great flippy skirt worn with leggings and boots is my all time fall/winter favourite. For my body shape its easy to get the flippy skirt wrong but with this one where it has that stronger structured faux leather end means it holds its own shape wonderfully pulling itself away from your body to give a far more flattering look for those with a bit of a tum!

Here I’ve pulled out a basic, H&M bodyconesque dress to wear as a fitted T shirt. In the day I can dress this down with my warm cardi and scarf whilst in the evening I can switch this out with black ankle boots and a stand out necklace to make an imput!

My ultimate favourite purchase from H&M this season (wool blend jumper with back zip £14.99) is such an easy pull on once paired with a dark chambray shirt and jeans! I love the subtle detailing on this sweater, from the drawn in sides to the gold zip, its a must for such a cheap price!

Finally say hello to this lovely simple T! Zara are the queens and kings of basic T-shirts with an interesting twist! This is both a jersey knit blend with a shirt like bottom layer. Granted its a killer for creasing but it sits really nicely and I love it with jeans for a dressed down day without feeling underdressed.

These are just a couple of my outfit ideas but what I love is by just choosing key shapes and colours you can create huge amounts of outfits quickly and easily. For instance you can wear the chambray alone with the jeans or tucked into the skirt, the jumper can be worn with anything whilst the grey dress could be worn as an actual dress or tucked into jeans with my faux fur scarf for a glamorous evening! I haven’t entirely chosen my shoes yet but stay tuned and I will update you all with our holiday dressing adventures!!

The Capsule Wardrobe| Sometimes A girl just needs them: Good Jeans.

A good pair of jeans are like a hug from your favourite person in the world. They hug you perfectly (no lumps and bumps) and don’t judge you when you ate your weight in chocolate at the weekend. Those my friends are the dream jeans.

The bad news? They are often impossible to find.

Lucky for you guys I had a break through.

Last year, the Zara jean ruled supreme. The downside? For apple shapes like myself they are cut in such a way that they do have a tendency to pull in sharply at the waist band. If you are a pear shape however these might be ideal!

My best friend, Becky has long raved about New Looks, Disco Jean. Unavailable (or un marked in stores) This jean she has told me is her favourite. Whether its traditional blue or timeless black she loves this jean.

So when I was looking to upgrade my denim game this Autumn/Winter I knew really I needed to try these jeans, after all for £20 can you go wrong? However I stopped, I was afraid of a high waist.

Having grown up in the 00’s as a teen all I have ever really worn is low rise to a low mid rise and honestly I feel it suits me. Maybe not with my body shape perhaps (a good mid rise looks perfect) But to avoid stomachache? I can’t do high waist. With that being said however, one lunch time I went to New Look.

Another Zara must have. I really wanted classic black denim and last year these ticked all the boxes. Having re found New Look however it is my plan to replace these this year. I hate to but these were pretty snug and I’d rather not base all my decisions over whether I have lived off salad or not! I’m just not one of those girls.

What I picked up shockingly was a pair with a high waist. It wasn’t on purpose but it seems that this year this is the overwhelming trend for denim! So pulling these on I instantly knew, these were the dream.

I love jeans with stretch, I don’t understand them without it and these my friends have stretch, maybe some may say, too much. They are those lovely jeans which need washing every, two/three wears. But that means you have the perfect breathing room which every girl needs in her life!

This pair in particular remind me of 2004. They have the nineties scuffing to them, but did it stop me after all my talk of feeling outdated? Never. They are just too comfortable to care!!!

I think we all need to be prepared to see these all the time!! My next investment though, are these black ripped jeans for those darker days!

So if you feel like your body shape matches mine this is what is in these jeans so if you don’t have a New Look this is what you should look out for! 98% Cotton mixed with 2% Elastane. I have also bought these in my regular size (no going up or down) and have stuck with a 32 leg as I feel with super skinny you don’t need them to reach the ground!

So I am in love. Quite frankly I have been wearing these non stop! I still love Zara, but you have to be pretty skinny for theres so if you don’t feel like that, New Look really has the perfect formulae! and I am very excited to continue trying out their different styles!

Home Owning and The Capsule Wardrobe | Moths and mice – all things . . . nice?

Before I found a white worm on my dress, on the morning train to London I had half written posts all over the internet telling you that I couldn’t keep up a capsule wardrobe properly.

Fast forward to literally freaking out and stripping down in a public bathroom to pat down all my clothes and I’m re thinking my thoughts on a capsule wardrobe.

So what happened? Honestly we got Moths. A thing of my literal nightmare moths grow from maggot like worms and as a bug-a-phoebe – it’s a thing – they horrifically live off of your clothes. What’s mildly humorous about this bar the mental image of my hopping around a train station bathroom stool patting myself down and screaming internally is that something I have kept saying to Joshey when we pulled our bedroom apart was I must buy lavender and the modern equivalent on the moth ball, cedar wood balls only I kept forgetting. It kept slipping my mind and now I’m here paying the price.

As I write this I have a bag by my feet (5p for a plastic bag folks, that hurts to start with) with a new jumper dress and a t shirt) so that Josh can as he is in this moment wash all my clothes on the baby setting. AKA so hot no germs are getting through. And all I can think about is where it came from; did it fall from the many trees on my walk to the station? Was it because, yes, I did find this dress on the floor this morning; are they under the skirting boards? And if so are they in the two suitcases still packed with our clothes. Then quite frankly I feel like an idiot.

I have spent a month now in my house going to work, renovating and cleaning and going to work and not once have I really paused to think about the rest of my clothes still packed. Do I miss them? Do I even know what they are? No, no, no. The Capsule Wardrobe was meant to beat this out of me and yet . . . all I’ve been is afraid. Afraid to throw out clothes like they are somehow important memories when clearly they are not. Those floaty skirts are gorgeous but unworn since 2009 and guys I’m chucking them.

I’ve made a decision it’s time for all these clothes to go. Find a new home, get a new life, but they are not welcome here anymore. Clothes do not dictate my happiness or my memories and quite honestly if they come with white maggot like worms attached I’d rather go naked. And you can quote me on that.

p.s a week later and a house full of moth killing products we are not so convinced that we actually had moths in the first place!? Success? Maybe but what I have learnt remains the same. I have no interest in keeping unnecessary products and things so heres to living with less!

I did a years’ worth of capsule wardrobes and now I wonder will I do another?

I did a years’ worth of capsule wardrobes and now I wonder will I do another?

I now have a full year of capsule wardrobes under my belt and it’s given me pause as to how I wish to continue. I feel as if there are two camps of capsule wearers you have the camp that follow the Project 333 rule of thought which is where you have only 40 odd pieces or the more modern un-fancy rules which mean that we are re training ourselves to shop more responsibly and less in order to allow us to stop storing of an infinite amount of clothes.

After a year my problems come down to this, if I was to become truly a minimalist I should be able to cut my clothes down and live with my bare minimum. If I had properly developed my style would I still have the urge to shop? Would I still have clothes in storage? Probably not and that is where I wonder whether I should continue with a capsule wardrobe or whether I should upgrade or change the whole premise.

I think what is interesting is that those of us who subscribed to Caroline (and I would wager even herself) went into this happy dance because finally someone or something was going to make sense of our wardrobes when in reality it was all pretty simple.

  • Don’t buy pieces which you can’t wear

One simple sentence I think is at the crux of most of our wardrobe dramas the different reasons for why we don’t wear something are different but the simple fact is most of us buy things we don’t wear. We have skinny pants (for skinny days), The red shirt we bought even though it goes with nothing in our wardrobe, the trousers that have always done something weird to our crotch, the trend muppet jacket which we feel self-conscious in or worst, the shoes that hurt our feet but we can’t bear to part with.

A relatively simple fix has made us all feel confused and upset. In the heat of fast fashion we have forgotten the simple rules our mothers gave us; “Will you wear it?”, “Does it fit?”, “Can you sit down in it comfortably?”, “You already have one of those.”, “Those will hurt your feet,” “You’ll break your ankle . . . the list goes on.

Somehow the capsule has helped as all it’s certainly helped me assess my spending. It makes me ask serious purchasing questions such as do I need this? Will I wear it all the time? Does it work with my wardrobe, all really, really important questions! So yes I’m still not sure that I will do another capsule wardrobe but at least I know it has taught me some really valuable lessons about responsible purchasing.

Now all I have to do is ask myself this, how do I wish to continue? Do I wish to just limit shopping, or my wardrobe as a whole? In my new house how will I manage my capsule with only one wardrobe (Where I used to hide out of season in another) will it help me get dressed or hinder me? And what is the best, long term, sustainable solution?

The first steps in minimalism

Embracing minimalist theories has been both an eye opening and scary experience and since myself and Josh feel that we are living in a cave full of stuff with nothing that we really use we have decided to apply a few of those principals to our home. Now in the past when we have decided to have a clean-up we have always approached this room by room. We will say oh, lets clear up the living room! We start with drawers, we go through the stool and as we go along you’ll often find things slipping through the net. Oh yeah I definitely need these art supplies I’ve not used since sixth form art class! Or yes, I need all 200 CD’s (god forbid you put the ones you love on Itunes and move on!). I know I am a collector, I know I collect so really although this works well enough, it doesn’t work well enough to really achieve the results we want.

So instead we are approaching the throwing differently. This time we have started making lists of all the things we need that we can name from afar. So now if you saw me on the train you’ll probably find me hurriedly writing lists on my ipad! Why we are doing it this way? Well it brings me back to minimalism and the thing that started all this, The Capsule Wardrobe.

When you plan your first capsule wardrobe, you choose what you can’t live without! In this case it’s the idea of if you need to save something from a fire, what would it be? With this in mind it does make you double think things, for example on the whole there are two of us in our house so why do we need and have 10 coffee mugs? It’s so unnecessary for two people who could of course just wash up their cups!

So here goes scary! Dividing down our previously packed house to minimal possessions is gonna be pretty petrifying but worth it in the long run, a nice fresh start! Even better? A chance for a little bit of cohesiveness! for once . . .

Simple Living | Social Media Switch Off

The sweetest Elephant from our India trip to Goa last October. Image taken by my Mother and Father in Law to be.

Social Media is a beautiful thing. What I love most about it is its ability to connect us with the entire, far reaching world. You can meet people from all over who you would never have had the chance to meet otherwise! On the other hand however there is also a downside and that I think is burning out.

If I was just using social media for personal use I don’t think that this would be such a problem but when you are working with it at your day job, with your blog and freelance projects sometimes it can get pretty old, pretty fast. Therefore, in the spirit of giving myself (and Josh) a break we have decided to go social media free this weekend, and yes, that includes Snapchat (sorry).

If you’ve been hanging around here a while you will also know that we have done this before. We have taken a quick leave of absence to get some real world perspective but why actually do it? Does it make such a difference? Shockingly yes.

My Joshey last Autumn when we took another break from the outside world (yes, playgrounds were involved)

Why Take a Break?

Honestly taking a break is something that has helped us both hugely, time and time again over the last half a year or so. When we first went to India one of the biggest things we noted was feeling content. We had no (easy access) Wifi, no chances to Instagram as we went, hell, we even ended up not photographing either trip very extensively! and we were just happy.

It gave us time to think, to forget and to really let go of day to day life. There were no chores, no demands and honestly since then I have made it somewhat of my mission to continue finding those moments everyday to really switch off.

Small things make big differences.

Taking a coffee break can be a tiny thing, in fact you probably have coffee (or tea) all day but do you really take a break to experience it? Probably not, so come June we began changing that. We started by making time for lunch or a coffee break on a Saturday. Prior to this, Saturday had been a hectic chore day where we spent huge amounts of time not stopping. In fact if we consider the whole of last weekend I think we spent a grand total of three hours awake in our flat, impressive, no?

No, not really but in all that crazy we have found a coffee break where we can just sit down together and reflect for a second (sans phones) is in fact greatly beneficial. In fact as you saw on last weeks post, This is the Weekend  we now adore finding a few moments to sit somewhere pretty and literally stop talking and stop thinking so much!

What are you going to do?

So what are we going to do? Well something more simple than I ever thought possible, we will leave the rat race of social media Friday night and by Monday morning? Well, I will be right back and hopefully with a little more peace and a whole lot of less stress!

If India, and even Paris is anything to go by I would say we will be feeling a whole lot better, very soon! So whose with me? Think you could ignore your phone?