Sunny Side Up

This summer.... 

I'm sure we'll remember this summer for years to come. I mean, we don't often get summers like this in the UK, do we? I think it helps to have some photos as a record. I still have snow scenes on my phone from March and they're a little reality check. So how are you? Life is full on here. Both boys are back home on summer breaks, from uni and teaching in China. A full house, that's a nice feeling. Mum's been quite ill recently; she's declined since my last blog post although I've been concerned about her for the last year. Anyway, I'm adjusting to the new normal we're now facing and the difficulties of caring for a loved one with mental illness. These photos show some simple pleasures and highlights of the summer so far. I hope you like them.

  • Leamington Spa at the beginning of May
  • Fresh juicy blueberries (on a cake)
  • Growing seeds in our tiny garden 
  • Tin Man - best read of the year so far - and the start of my sunflower obsession
  • Bearded Theory festival, so pretty at night (it was hot)
  • My cutting flower plot at the community garden
  • Sweet pea wigwam at the community garden
  • A pastel themed pallet planter
  • A solstice gathering at the community garden
  • Dreamy dahlias
  • Renewing our National Trust membership 
  • Growing purple radishes (hot, hot, hot)
  • Eating outside in the garden
  • Berries on porridge


53. Happy Friday Links

I'm delighted to be able to share some fresh links and inspiration this Friday. Enjoy!

  • The Gardeners Cottage - Ageless Style via The Vintage Contessa. Janet is such an inspiration in her style and sassy attitude to ageing. It's devastatingly sad to read that life is so tough for her and her family right now.
  • Even with the sultry temperatures in the UK this week, I wouldn't mind a retreat here: A Romantic Hide-Away in Bali. It's the simplicity and rustic vibe set against the exotic poolside planting that makes me linger over these photos.
  • Eating for a Longer Healthier Life by Tricia Cusden over at Look Fabulous Forever. A very interesting article which references the book, 'The Telemere Effect'. This book explains the science of ageing and how lifestyle choices, including diet, can help to reverse it. Tricia reflects on how this book helped her overcome her sugar cravings and write her own book about graceful and 'empowered' ageing. So, that's two more books on my TBR (to be read) list. The cake in the photo is raw vegan carrot cake made with natural sugars - delicious!
  • What's Your Domestic Super-Power? by Margo at Thrift at Home (do read the comments as well). Mine is keeping the house well-stocked with loo rolls and making endless cups of tea throughout the day!
  • How Minimalism Can Make You More Productive from Matt D'Avella - another YouTuber I find inspiring, entertaining and cheerfully light in his minimalist approach.
  • I kept all my plastic for a year - the 4,490 items helped me to rethink via The Guardian. The Everyday Plastic project started by Daniel Webb demonstrates how difficult it is to recycle plastic and how easy it is to be swayed into buying products we don't need because we have been conditioned to find packaging attractive. I agree with him that there's an, "...epidemic of overproduction and overconsumption", and that making even small reductions in plastic consumption will help reduce plastic pollution and retrain our consumer habits. Small steps.
  • I love Penzance in Cornwall and its iconic Jubilee Pool. I can't wait for it to be opened all year-round.

Thank you for welcoming me back! 
Happy Friday!



52. Happy Friday Links

Hello and welcome to my long overdue Friday feast of links. I hope you find something inspiring, uplifting or entertaining here. Please take a seat and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these links. I felt a real sense of community from reading the comments left on my last post. Thank you for your support and views - it makes me very happy. I have more links up my sleeve so see you (same time, same place) next week - if not before xo



What's New?

Hello lovely readers! I thought it's about time that I put pen to paper, bare my soul a little and get on with my blog.

You see, Just a little less has been on hold again, which is fine, but I would like to give it some new energy and explore some different areas with you. 

I doubt if I'll be writing about minimalism very often from now on because whilst it's been an amazing tool in my life – namely in giving me much needed freedom from the traps of consumerism, in helping me to downsize my house and career and in enabling me to reclaim my well being – minimalism is also, to be honest, a very restrictive subject to write about. I think I've put enough 'How to...' minimalism posts out there already and quite frankly I've got nothing new to say on the subject. 

Now I'm ready to write about the rest of my life post-minimalism: how I struggle with perfectionism; ageing joyfully; juggling different roles; learning new roles; my interest in self-improvement and self-care; how to stay motivated and organised; and discovering passions to fill my hard-won time. 

I've been dissatisfied lately with blogging, both my own, and the fact that many of my old favourites have disappeared. I've found YouTube to be more engaging, honest and uplifting and have found some fantastic inspiration on a variety of topics and from vloggers as young as sixteen. It's the intimacy, honesty and personality that draw me in but I don't want to become a vlogger. 

Instead, I wonder if this intimacy can be recreated in the written word. I hope so, because it's how I feel I best communicate and writing is the perfect creative outlet for me. 

I'm very reluctant to close this blog right now because my instinct is that it's still an important part of my life – but I've got to reflect on why it's not inspiring me and make changes to address this. 

So, today I'm testing the water. 

I'm very much looking forward to writing fresh posts and exchanging ideas on all manner of topics in the near future. I aim to keep inspired about my content whilst not having to devote too much time to it or feel that it's a chore. I'm sure that's why many blogs close.

That's a challenge. But I love a challenge!

It'd be great to have your support. 

Thanks for reading and take care xo



51. Happy Friday Links

Finding my blogging feet and back with some wonderful reads and resources to inspire simplicity, mindfulness and living well on less.

  • Ariana from Paris To Go creates cute outfits from her minimalist wardrobe and check out her gorgeous DIY copper clothes rack. I love her non-attachment to clothes and her confidence in owning less.
  • A smart family with an amazing tiny home complete with garden, pond and tree house. I admire so much about their attitude, discipline and style. Thank you Exploring Alternatives.  
  • From The Pool, an interesting article by Ella Risbridger about If God Made Jam, a poem by Sarah Lindsay.
  • 5 minimalist New Years Resolutions from The 5 Minute Minimalist (at last some snappy, straight forward talking minimalism on the internet). 
  • Kale is currently my favourite veg and so this kale and black bean salad from Aine at Pea Soup really appeals to me (although I might simplify/substitute some of the ingredients). 
  • I know... another wardrobe link... but hear me out. I've chosen this one because who can't identify with issues such as needing comfortable clothes and dealing with their body shape changing. Forever Wardrobe Part 2 from Janet at Gardener's Cottage gives hope and inspiration. 
  • From Leo Babauta, the master of mindfulness and habit changing, One Simple Shift to Turn Life Into an Adventure.

And that's all for now. Enjoy these reads and your weekend too xo



Enjoying the Present Moment

Our eldest son has just returned to China after a three week break at home. It was lovely to have Sam home, enjoy his company and catch-up with his life in more detail - Skype is not quite the same as hanging out in the kitchen over vinyl and a drink. He's definitely more assured and independent and, of course, he had plenty of interesting tales to tell of his ten months living in central China.

Now that he's on his way back to China (to teach English again but this time in Shenzhen bordering Hong Kong), I'm left with the impression of how much he made of his three week visit in the UK. He caught up with old school and uni friends in different parts of the country, was keen to see grandparents as well as other family members and he also took himself off to a gig in Birmingham. Sam took it all in his stride and seemed to be equally happy with simple pleasures such as relaxing at home or going food shopping to find ingredients for a (very spicy) Chinese dish which he cooked for us. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that he was focused on the moment and was open to making the most of each day, whether that was a day at home or an opportunity to visit London to see a friend and do some exploring. Enjoying the present moment and seizing new opportunities is a great attitude to have if you're 22 or even 51! Thanks for the tip, Sam!

Can I just say thank you to everyone who's left me a comment – it's lovely to hear from you too!




Well hello! I thought I'd return where I left off with a few glorious photos of Lyme Regis. It was a much needed break - unlike my last blogging break which I wish had not been so long. I could blame many things: new working patterns; a virus infested computer; digital overload; caring for parents whilst managing offspring from afar; perfectionism; 50 plus hormone changes; and the list goes on. In truth, it's been a mix of all these things but today my little red laptop returned home and I had the urge to write a blog post (and then I had to remember how to write one). Yes, it's been that long! But I did it. How have you been? xo



Half-term Plans

I love this time of year when the leaves are at their most vibrant but I also feel a little bit sad that British Summer Time (BST) is about to end (reminder: clocks turn back next weekend). So, these last days of longer daylight hours are precious. I've decided I need a list and I need to be accountable. Here goes... a list of things that I'd like to achieve, as well as jobs that need to be done and I've also thrown in a few fun ideas too.

  • Get going with a new community garden initiative that we're involved in, to revive a disused allotment site (more posts on this to follow). I've got 200 leaflets to distribute around our neighbourhood to publicise an open afternoon next weekend. We should be proud allotment owners soon.
  • Visit our youngest son in Reading for the first time since we dropped him off. I can't wait to see him. We're taking Mum and also dropping in on my brother-in-law and partner who live in nearby Wokingham. I'm looking forward to some quality family time.
  • Do some more painting in our hall; the walls are very marked, painted magnolia and are screaming out for some fresh white paint.
  • Tidy our tiny garden, empty some summer pots and plant a few more bulbs (I've already planted some tete-a-tete bulbs).
  • Hang some fairy lights in the kitchen for some winter hygge. 
  • Resist the urge to have my haircut. I'm finding my pixie crop too expensive to maintain. 
  • Finish reading Inside Vogue: My Diary of Vogue's 100th Year by Alexandra Shulman. I've really enjoyed this book so far.
  • Visit Lyme Regis. We've got a two night stay in an airbnb.
  • Read Persuasion - it's partly set in Lyme Regis.
  • Choose, carve and light a pumpkin, then find a feel good film to watch for an early Halloween movie night.
  • Get outside more: walk rather than drive; go for a short run; walk through the woods; listen to the sea; kick some leaves; sit on a bench with a beautiful view; watch squirrels scrabble about; do some digging in the garden; and throw some leaves into the air. 

Have a great week xo