Christmas in Photos

Homegrown  purple sprouts and a Christmas hotchpotch of photos, I know, but I missed posting any photos of last year's festivities and I'm determined to share some glimpses of Christmas 2018 even if it's almost 2019! I do hope you've had a restful time, with good food and precious time with family and friends. We've had a mixture of frantic days of cooking and hosting and also some down time with even a night away for just me and Tim. Both boys were home for Christmas this year, Mum coped very well with spending a few hours with us for Christmas dinner and we saw our great nephews who at two and three were great fun.

I enjoyed decorating our home this year and for the first year ever we had a little potted Christmas tree which hopefully will continue to thrive long after Christmas. This new year's eve is going to be a quiet one here; I don't mind at all and I'm really looking forward to 2019 and making it a year of acceptance and positivity. 

See you in 2019 and thank you for all for reading and commenting. Happy New Year xo



Hi there!

Hi there guys! It's been ages, I know, but I just couldn't resist the urge to revisit this space and wish you all a wonderful Christmas. So, how are you? Still reading blogs, still striving to lead a simpler, more balanced and minimalist life? Me too, although it's been challenging this year. Life has been very unpredictable with Mum's rapid health decline and my sporadic supply teaching but both situations have settled down as we reach the end of 2018. Mum has Alzheimer's and vascular dementia and since October has been living permanently in a care home which is less than a ten minute drive from here. This is a situation which I never would have imagined happening but she is happy and settled and has little memory of her family home and so is not distressed. I'm adjusting to losing my mum as she is now a shadow of her previous self and I often feel sad and frustrated that I can't make life more enjoyable and less confusing for her. Since September I have been teaching full-time at the school which I left in 2017 - I feel very fortunate to have a permanent full-time teaching job again and the stability, familiarity and structure it provides is just what I need. Yes, it's hard work and full-on but I've worked hard to improve my organisation, focus and perspective and it's been a good term.

Mum's illness has a silver lining as it's brought the family closer together and I feel very supported by my family. It's also woken me up to realising that life is for living and that self-care is something that I want to work on. For the first year ever I'm actually looking forward to the new year more than Christmas as I'm feeling keen and brave enough to make some changes. This year has been draining in so many ways and I feel that I need to stream more calm into my life and those around me. Which brings me to a thought that's been bubbling away in my brain: that blogging is one of the quietest but most powerful platforms out there. I'm so grateful to those who still blog and those that read blogs. I hope to blog when I can in 2019.

Wishing you all a restful Christmas and I hope to see you here in 2019. Thanks for the Christmas messages from friends made through this blog - you know who you are. Love to you all xo



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