Friday, 17 May 2013
Not only is it the weekend but it's also the RHS Chelsea Flower Show next week. Double yay!
Every year I get glued to the daily updates from the horticultural haven that blooms each year at Chelsea. This image, The Caravan Club's Celebration of Caravanning Garden by Jo Thompson, is from last year's show.
Not only is it Chelsea's 100th anniversary this year but there will be also a garden by Prince Harry's charity Sentebale which will reflect the Prince's experience of loosing his Mum. Sentebale is a charity which helps vulnerable children many of whom are orphans, in Lesotho, an African country which Prince Harry visited during his gap year. I can't wait to see it and the other gardens on Monday.
Have any of you ever visited this show? I'd love to hear about it.
Have a happy weekend xo
image via pinterest
Thursday, 16 May 2013
Just a quick tour of our downstairs loo. Spacious as these rooms go and quite a stark space it needed a bit of character. We've reinvented a Benno CD tower as open shelving in one corner, added a fishing basket which holds a lot of loo rolls and put my letterpress tray on the wall. There's a few quirky extras which don't serve any purpose but which I quite like and don't seem to make the space seem cluttered.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
After daffodils, stocks have got to be one of the cheapest flowers to buy. These were quite tall but I cut them really short and sat them in this favourite vase bought many years. I love the contrast of the rich pink against the inky blue. And their scent is making our bedroom heavenly sweet.
Joining in with Lou from littlegreenshed.
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
My chocolate and Guinness cake made us very happy this weekend although there were a few hiccups along the way. It was an easy saucepan mix but it would have been even easier if I'd had some greaseproof paper. Instead I had to use foil to line the tin which was a bit tricky. Also our hand-me-down Tala measuring cup is getting just a bit too worn and I can hardly read the labels. Oh and my fourteen year old ate some of the dark chocolate, that I was saving for it, the night before. So considering these obstacles it was a triumph and will definitely be made again. As for the taste - dreamily dark and creamy on top just like the black stuff itself!
Other favourite simple pleasures this week have been:
♥ Seeing a local Beatles tribute band, The Born Again Beatles, on Friday night. Lots of laughter, singing and dancing. Sadly I forgot my camera.
♥ Catching moments of beauty in between the showers of rain. These flowers are from my in-law's garden.
♥ This talent from space and David Bowie's tweets about it made it even more cool.
Joining in with Jen from littlebirdie.
Be happy xo
Monday, 13 May 2013
Hello dear minimalist fashionlings. I'm preparing to launch my summer/spring wardrobe for Project 333 but I must admit that after the UK's epic winter and fast tracked spring I feel slightly out of kilter and have not yet finished my spring/summer clothes edit. Just weeks ago we had snow and then whooosh here comes summer! If an alien landed in the supermarket I don't think they would know which season they were in. People wearing Uggs and flip flops on the same day is disturbing. Please can we agree what season we are in and banish those boots to the back of the wardrobe? (I'm only jealous, I've often been tempted to insulate my feet in sheepskin).
Whilst I've enjoyed dabbling with wearing my white jeans, linen trousers and having the occasional sock free day I must admit I don't feel brave enough to completely overhaul my wardrobe from winter to spring/summer. I need to pack away most of my winter items and reinstate some of my summer favourites but I will be keeping a few warmer items to hand, just in case, you know. So rather than a strict spring/summer wardrobe I'm aiming for more of a winter/summer shake up for my next attempt at Project 333.
If we have more sultry days I want to be able to easily find and wear my favourite summer clothes and an organised and edited wardrobe is essential to this. When I radically decluttered a very full wardrobe a year ago I found I had more summer clothes than winter ones. Summer does tend to go to our heads in the Northern Hemisphere and I, like many others I'm sure, am almost certainly more attracted to summer clothes than winter garbs. Reducing the size of my summer wardrobe last year was a challenge but I'm glad that I did it. I followed the principles of sorting items into throw, donate/sell and keep piles. There are one or two items that I gave away that I still longingly think of but I know that I could probably find something similar again if I wanted to. I believe your wardrobe should evolve and that you cannot keep everything forever. This is one of the reasons why I am determined to streamline the amount of summer clothes I own even further.
My project 333 wardrobe experiment in December and January taught me a lot. It made me realise that I enjoy a tidy, spacious wardrobe more than an overstuffed one and that I can dress well with a small number of clothes. It taught me to be more creative at putting outfits together and to appreciate the clothes I have rather than constantly lusting for new ones. Post Project 333 I enjoy my clothes more and no longer save clothes for best. Now when I buy new clothes I make better decisions - maybe spending a little more money but overall wasting less money on clothes than I did in the past.
So how am I going to reduce the number of summer clothes I own even more?
- aim for a ratio of 2:1 tops to bottoms
- choose items that are versatile
- choose items that can be layered
- keep less duplicates
- keep classic items that can be worn until they wear out
- keep items that are good quality
- only keep items if they fit well
- limit the colours of my summer wardrobe
- plan a wardrobe that suits my lifestyle
- choose items suitable for the UK's varied weather
- make the most of my accessories to vary my outfits
- only keep items in my wardrobe that I truly love and that have a certain something that makes me want to wear them over and over again
- put any undecided items in storage in the loft and see if I can manage without them
- make myself feel good by selling or donating some items that are unnecessarily bulking up my wardrobe
I believe you can still enjoy wearing clothes with a minimalist wardrobe. Balancing classic and basic items with fun items that you love is the key. Following a few rules when putting together a minimalist wardrobe helps but really the rules are up to you. Your minimalist wardrobe can be as unique and full of personality as you are.
And for more creative wardrobe fun I highly recommend polyvore. Just click on the set I created above to explore.
Friday, 10 May 2013
Mmm... my latest obsession, Chocolate Guinness cake. My favourite café has been stocking this recently and I have succumbed to it on my last two visits. I haven't been able to take a photo as total concentration is required to absorb its deep and magical flavours.
This weekend I am going to bake Gizzi's version and hopefully get a photo of it. I shall drink it with peppermint tea and be very happy.
Have a great weekend xo
Thursday, 9 May 2013
Joining in with Jen from little birdie here are my four latest happy things.
♥ Mixing and tasting cocktails. We have somehow volunteered ourselves for making cocktails at a Gatsby themed evening in June. On Monday we joined some other volunteers to perfect our measuring, muddling, shaking, stirring, pouring and drinking techniques. It should be fun!
♥ We've had some beautiful blue skies over the last week and on Saturday this mackerel sky was stunning.
♥ Our garden took hardly any time to whip into shape. The deck will be repainted soon and we are still making plans for replacing our tiny lawn. I love gardening but I also love spending time sitting in a garden and our new tiny low maintenance garden allows us to do this.
♥ Eating al fresco. I hope we get chance to do this more often this summer. Everything tastes better outside.
Be happy this week xo
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
We've had a lovely restful weekend and the sunny and warm weather here in the UK made it even more special. I managed to get most of the things on my weekend list completed but as the Bank Holiday unfolded I decided I wanted to slow right down and my main aim was to chill and just be.
Our weekend started in a flurry of activity with a thorough house clean and a visit to a Green Fair where there was the usual folksy merriment and interesting stalls to browse. We bought some locally produced cider after a free tasting - well it was genuinely refreshing and we knew it was going to be a warm weekend.
At the fair we also found out about our local RSPB reserve, Middleton Lakes, so we decided to head off on Sunday to check this out. We were not disappointed. Butterflies, bluebells and many many birds were blissfully happy in this natural setting. Our winter inertia was forgotten and we felt energised by nature's spring ventures.
This place felt like a wonderful discovery. We have another bluebell wood nearby which you have to pay entry into and has glossy advertising et al to lure you into parting with your money. What was wonderful about this RSPB reserve was just how unspoilt and uncommercial it was. Open from dusk until dawn there was no café, posh toilets or shop to make this into a homogenous Bank Holiday outing just a friendly volunteer, portaloos, signs to help you plan your route and a discreet donation box in the car park.
We walked along the shady woodland paths and found ourselves at the lake where the cacaphony of sounds from the birds were equally alarming and entertaining.
We realised our knowledge of bird life was lacking but when we spotted a masterful large bird flying low we knew at once it was one of the twenty pairs of grey herons that nest in the reserve.
The grasses around the lake were full of butterflies dancing and darting about. Capturing photos of an orange tipped butterfly, feeding birds and the heron made my weekend.
For the rest of the weekend we stayed at home. We did some light maintenance in our little garden, drank cider and read in the sunshine. And dozed a little too.
Sunday, 5 May 2013
You know those mornings when you wake up and you don't know what day it is? You scrabble about in your head for clues of what you did yesterday and what's coming up today. Well today was one of them and I just love that feeling because it means I'm much more relaxed than usual. With tomorrow being a Bank Holiday in the UK many people, like me, have an extra long weekend. So today my normal Sunday routine of chores and work can wait and the only schedule I've got is the one I create.
I want this weekend to be as much about being as doing. I want to find the right balance between getting jobs done and feeling like I've had some time off. And I don't want our time off to feel forced. If we feel like going out we will but we might be equally happy staying at home and savouring the extra time.
So, I've been asking myself lots of questions. What do I want today to look like? What do I want it to feel like? Do I need any time alone? When I look back at this weekend what will I remember? Can I slow down and enjoy the here and now... the smells, the sights, the feelings? How will I describe my weekend to others? Can we all help each other to have a relaxing weekend?
I don't have the answers to all of these questions but I have reached a few decisions. One is to delegate a little more, for example the ironing can be split into four piles. Another is that I will practise what I preach by spending less time online. I will be taking a blogging break until Tuesday so my regular Minimalist Monday post will not happen this week.
Bye then, I'm off to check out the less is more approach to leisure time.
Have a fantabulous weekend whatever you choose to do or not to do xo