57: Happy Friday Links

Hello and welcome. It's bank holiday weekend here in the U.K. and also the start of May tomorrow. May and June are my favourite months of the year and especially this year as we have more lockdown restrictions being eased later this month. The blossom has been gorgeous this week hasn't it although it's been very chilly, especially at night. 

Unfortunately, Mum's care home has had another positive case of Covid so all visits are off until 24th May. On a more cheery note she's moving soon into a newly refurbished room. I chose it out of several rooms which were all slightly different on a virtual tour. It's much better than her previous room as it's sunny, has a full length window with a nice view and is decorated in lilac and purple colours. Her current bedroom is decorated in rust and terracotta shades and doesn't seem very feminine. I'll leave some photos after my links of the ginger cat which, pre Covid, was a regular visitor to the care home and Mum's bed. He matched perfectly! He's now gone to live with one of the members of staff as he didn't seem to have a permanent address. Who knows with cats! 

I've been buying some pretty second-hand bedding, pictures and accessories for her new room which I'll share with you soon. I think it will be a much calmer environment for her. 

I've got lots of gardening to do this weekend at home and at the community garden. We're also trying to catch up with Line of Duty after starting to watch it from the beginning during lockdown 3. We finished series 5 last night so just series 6 to go. So gripping...

I hope you have a good weekend whatever you're doing. Enjoy the links and please feel free to comment.

What stage of change are you at? by Janey Lee Grace via The Sober Club. This article is interesting whether or not you're on a low/no alcohol challenge.

Stretching: 3 best quick stretches when you don't have time via Stylist. I keep meaning to do some yoga again. I think this might ease me in.

Pink Supermoon from Glastonbury Tor by Michelle Cowbourne via Instagram also see more of her stunning photography on her website 

Asda: George brand to sell second-hand clothing in shops via BBC News. This is exciting and shows that second-hand clothes shopping is becoming more acceptable and mainstream. 

How to in the garden: Composting guide for beginners via Style Curator. I think this breaks down composting in an easy to understand way (excuse the pun). 

Body Loving Goodness by Sarah Maxwell via The Wealden Times. Sarah Maxwell stresses the importance of learning to take care of yourself. I love the body positive affirmation she gives at the end of the article. I've written it on a sticky note above my desk to remind myself. 

Enjoy x x x



Menu Planning and Yellow Sticker Items

Menu planning is crucial in keeping the cost of our food shopping down and it also helps with our family organisation. At the moment, I'm not working, Tim works from home and we have 2 adult sons living at home (1 working and 1 a recent graduate looking for work). We all like to cook and we all eat a vegan diet. When Sam was on furlough he chose to cook 3 or 4 times a week but now he's back at work he just cooks on one of his days off. Marcus has become a really good cook since he came home from uni last March and is also a much tidier cook than he was. As Sam works some evenings, I've gone back to writing up the week's meals on our blackboard painted kitchen wall to help with communication. We nearly always all eat the same evening meal but Tim and I have smaller portions especially of carbs! Sometimes the meals get swapped around or even changed. And sometimes we'll have something easy like Linda McCartney country pies, oven chips and peas!

I've kept a good food stockpile since the first lockdown of 2020 and I've found this really helps though at times the cupboards have been too full. I'm learning that doing a thorough weekly stock check in the fridge, freezer and cupboards is vital because otherwise I can't keep track of what's been used up with 4 different people cooking. The menu plan on the wall dates back to when we used to plan our meals Thursday to Wednesday which is why I've added dates. We have 2 online orders a week which I try to keep as close to £40 as I can. At the weekend I usually go to Waitrose to pick up a few favourite items and recently I've been using cash as Waitrose is expensive and it's very easy to get spendy in there. 

This weekend I went to Waitrose just before closing time on Sunday afternoon and spotted some yellow sticker items. There were some reduced vegan items so I was very happy. The veggie balls will be eaten with pasta, the Italian whirls used in paella and the apples cooked with cinnamon and sultanas for our morning porridge. So the paella will be Spanish inspired but with a twist.



56: Happy Friday Links

So how are you? I'm so ready for the weekend with nothing actually planned which suits me fine. Last weekend we had a meet-up in my mother-in-law's garden and I resisted the rose wine and stuck with my posh lemonade instead. Not easy...  but I'm now on day 18 of my 30 day alcohol detox so going strong. Here are some links that I've found interesting this week.

Jo Whiley on gardening, radio and her campaign for Covid jabs looking amazing in her gorgeous garden and so grounded too.

10 ways clutter brings us down by Hannah Bullivant. Hannah says, "I DO believe all of us can take steps to make our homes feel lovelier, more like us, and work more practically too."

Gardening for wildlife with Kate Bradbury I saw Kate on Gardener's World last week and was inspired to learn more and decided it's time to be less tidy!

"I'm fine" - Learning to Live with Depression Jake Tyler's Ted Talk. I heard Jake on Zoe Ball's breakfast show recently so decided to look him up. This Ted Talk is amusing as well as insightful. He has a book out too.

Farinata with balsamic onions and asparagus a recipe by Meera Sodha via The Guardian. Tim made this last week and it lasted several lunches. He said it was easy and it tasted yummy. The batter can be made a few hours in advance if you forget to do it overnight like we did. 

Well that's it my lovelies. Have a great weekend and I'll leave you with some pictures of Tim's farinata xo



Earth Day, WWF and an Offer

There are still millions of people across the U.K. who rarely - or never - shop second hand. 

When 73% of clothes are incinerated or go to landfill, the best way to prevent waste and protect the planet is to shop second-hand. 

Fast fashion means that the fashion industry emits more carbon every year than planes and ships combined. It’s time to slow down, and to shop less new.  Think second hand means risky, poor quality clothes? Think again. You can get a wide selection of quality-assured second-hand clothes on Thrift Plus, with a 30 day returns policy. Still not convinced? Today, Earth Day, you can get £10 off your first order of £30 or more with free returns. In addition, £5 will be donated to WWF and and a third of the sale will go to the donator’s charity of choice. 

Buying second hand clothes is the best way for each and every one of us to reduce the environmental impact of fashion. Check out the wide selection of quality-assured clothes on Thrift+, and get £10 off your first order. I'm working in partnership with Thrift + on this campaign and will get some Thrift + credits but I chose to take part because of the ethical and environmental importance of slowing down fast fashion.




Second-hand Shopping with Thrift +


Hi, do you like my dress? I absolutely love it as I think it ticks all the minimalist boxes as well as being classy. 

I got it from Thrift +, an online kind of charity shop. I discovered Thrift + via someone on YouTube who was using Thrift + to donate unwanted clothes during lockdown. I immediately checked out their site and was won over.

At Thrift + you can donate unwanted clothes for free, raise money by nominating a charity of your choice to get a donation from your sale and also get some money back yourself in the form of credits to spend on their site. They do all the photography, listings and other admin. 

During lockdown I was frustrated because it was difficult to donate unwanted clothes and at the same time I was shocked by hearing how many people were clearing out their wardrobes for the first time in years. 

I've always shopped some of my clothes second-hand, as you know, but I've also bought new. The availability of good quality second-hand clothes is better than ever probably because so many people are constantly adding to their wardrobes. I'm now convinced that buying pre-loved clothing is a better choice for me, my budget and the environment. 

As I've told you before, my wardrobe has grown from the 40 piece capsule I created a few years ago. However, I now only own as much as I can comfortably fit into my wardrobe space, which means my 1 wardrobe and 3 drawers hold my all year-round 4 season wardrobe. This helps me to remember what I've got from season to season. I actually like all my clothes being visible as I can see them and know that the next season is around the corner. Hello, summer!

So, I've been donating and buying from Thrift + for a few months and have now joined a small team to become a Thrift + ambassador to help with their #1millionsecondhandshoppers campaign. I will be getting some Thrift + credits as part of this partnership, but this is also a great opportunity for me to help a good cause. I sincerely believe that second-hand shopping via Thrift + is one of the easiest ways to donate as well as having the benefit of being able to browse pre-loved clothes from the comfort of your sofa without having to enter a bidding war or be worried about the restricted space of some charity shops! 

As part of my partnership on Thursday (tomorrow) which is also Earth Day, I'll be able to give you a unique link to gain access to £10 off an order of £30 or more plus free returns. The offer is available for 1 day only, so if you're interested pop back here tomorrow and in the meantime go and check out their listings and see what you could get.  Thrift + will also donate £5 from each new customer's order to the charity WWF. A great way to honour earth day don't you think?

I'm so excited to share this news, my new to me dress and this offer. The pink bag and white trainers (5th image) are also second-hand via Thrift + too. I hope you'll join me in trying to buy second-hand clothes instead of new as well as trying out Thrift +. I'm also posting about this on my Instagram account @clairejustalittleless.

I'll post the link tomorrow xo



55: Happy Friday Links

Hello again, how are you? It's been quite a week here in the U.K. with some easing of restrictions, such as non-essential retail opening. I've not done anything different this week apart from visit one charity shop as I needed to return a dress I bought just before Christmas (it seemed to be about 3 sizes too small even before Christmas, haha.) After getting my refund I had a thorough sift through the rails. And no, I didn't leave empty handed. I'd love to share a few of my thrifted items with you and outfits that I'll make from them. Let me know if you're interested.

Today is my Mum and her twin sister's birthday (83). Unfortunately, 2 positive cases have been confirmed in her care home (she has Alzheimer's and vascular dementia) and so today's visit has been cancelled. No more visits are anticipated until the middle of May. I'm so disappointed for everyone: for Mum, other residents, their families and the staff who work there. It's depressing to just park at the care home, drop off gifts in the porch and drive away again without seeing a soul. At least I can visit my aunty and I'm pleased that babies and young children are now allowed to visit family in care homes.

I hope you've had a good week. If you've had a bit of a wonky week like me, these links might perk you up. 

Alvin Wayne's 800sq Ft New York City Apartment via Apartment Therapy on YouTube. Alvin is an entertaining host and I totally agree about surrounding yourself with things that you love. 
5 Ways to Optimise Your WFH Setup & Stay Productive by Christina at Style Apotheca. Great advice from Christina who says, "Do your best to keep work at work and out of your pocket."
Health Benefits of Indoor Plants via Bibico. I think I might move a few succulents and an orchid into our bedroom.
3 Tips When Health Messes With Your Goals on Catherine's YouTube channel, The Life Tidy. I recently discovered this channel and I'm really enjoying her minimalist journey.
Me and my 'she shed': women on the joys of their garden retreats by Nell Card via The Guardian. I love Angela's lilac shed. 
A Guide to travelling as a Vegan, or with Dietary Requirements is a beautiful and informative resource from www.loveholidays.com and is a great read regardless of when you're planning to travel again. It includes eye-opening stats, helpful phrases for ordering vegan food abroad and recommendations for vegan-friendly travel apps and websites.  

Did you see the sweet photo of the late Prince Philip and 7 of his great-grandchildren? It made me smile.

Enjoy and have a great weekend xo


My Alcohol Detox Update

Hi there! As I mentioned in a recent blog post, I'm currently on a 30 day alcohol detox which I started last Tuesday 6th April (the day after Easter Monday in the UK.)

After a week off the booze I feel brighter, more upbeat and I have started to have some better nights sleep. For motivation, I've been listening to the alcohol free podcasts, Alcohol-Free Life by Janey Lee Grace and Over the Influence, as well as rereading The 10-day Alcohol Detox Plan by Lewis David. According to David, it can take up to 10 days for alcohol to leave your system depending on your previous drinking. I know, that's quite alarming isn't it? After, my 3 month no alcohol stint in 2019 I know that I can do 30 days. 

Alcohol is a very addictive substance and like any bad habit that we may fall into, the initial period of abstinence can leave us with diminished dopamine. But if we hold tight and stay alcohol free, those levels of dopamine can normalise and other benefits begin to happen. 

I'm going to hold onto that promise as well as my alcohol free drink of choice.  With the wine witch ever watchful (she loves 6pm) I'm following Janey Lee Grace's mantra of, "Keep the ritual, change the ingredients." Wish me luck and I'll keep you posted xo



54: Happy Friday Links

Well it's Friday again, woo hoo! This gorgeous swirl of daffodils are part of a local walk that has become our default stroll. They're on a route which we take when we really don't feel like leaving the house and just want to tick 'daily walk' off the list. I usually feel better for a blast around the block even if it's cold or involves a hail storm like this Tuesday. And if the walk seems like a chore, at least I have the satisfaction of banking some steps and an excuse for an afternoon sojourn on the sofa. 

Don't get me wrong, this particular walk is lovely and includes our neighbourhood park but we choose it out of habit and not for the scenery. Lately, there's been new sights we've noticed like these daffodils that were planted last autumn which we've been eagerly waiting to fully open and this week we've seen people having picnics and a children's football team training after a long break. All signs of new life that have reinvigorated my pandemic dampened spirits. 

Today, whilst walking, a friendly woman stopped us to ask if we'd heard the news about Prince Phillip's death and whilst it was sad news it was still nice to have a chat. Over the last year I've been grateful for the care and thought people are putting into their gardens and nearby open spaces, their window displays or just taking time to smile, say hello or exchange a few words as we walk our walks. 

Thanks so much for reading my last post. It was great to hear from some of you as well. I hope you enjoy these links which may just give you an extra boost this weekend.

Why we need to be present to enjoy our lives, not just productive by Rochi Zalani via Tiny Buddha

8 ingredient Twix Biscuits via Mrs Hollingsworth's

How to inspire and encourage yourself everyday by Sandra Pawula at Always Well Within

A moving tribute to actor Paul Ritter by Tamsin Greig via The Guardian

Pet Friendly House Plants by Sophie at A Considered Life

Ethical Shopping - Where I Actually Buy My Clothes by Rachael at Our Beautiful Adventure Photography

Tiny Living on my Narrowboat - How I Make the Most of Small Spaces by Olivia at Living on a Shoestring

Enjoy, stay safe and well xo



Short Hair and a List

No it's not new year but I wanted to get going with blogging again and it kind of feels like a new start as we've just had Easter and the clocks went forward just over a week ago.

I definitely have the most energy at this time of year and so I thought I'd make my first post of 2021 a list of what I'm hoping to achieve this year. A few have already been started.

1. Be gentle with myself and others. Expect to not complete everything on this list and accept this as being normal. I would like to work on some self-improvement or self-care though. I love a challenge!

2. Commit to at least 30 days without alcohol. In 2019 I did both dry January and had 3 months without alcohol. I feel ready to give it another go. 

3. Make an inventory of my current clothes and accessories. I've been donating and selling some items over the last year and I'm working on making my wardrobe more versatile, practical and sustainable as well as smaller. 

4. Grow some veg for my community garden plot. The last couple of years I've mainly concentrated on growing flowers for cutting.

5. Clear some space in our tiny garden for a bench. This will involve removing part of a border and putting slate there instead. 

6. Walk every day for at least 20 minutes. I usually walk every day with Tim before lunch and often have a longer walk once a week with a friend. I've also become a litter legend which gives me an excuse for an extra walk most weeks.

7.  Stop going to the hairdressers. The last time I had my hair cut professionally was December 2020 and I cut it short just over a week ago. I cut my Mum's hair before she went into a care home and have cut Tim's for several years now so I think I know what I'm doing. This is the shortest I've ever had my hair and it's so liberating.

8. Read every day for at least 20 minutes. I have plenty of books on my 'to be read' pile.

9. Try some new vegan recipes. We had a subscription to 'Vegan Food & Living' magazine as a surprise Christmas present from my brother-in-law and so I shouldn't be short of inspiration.

10. Update my blog more regularly. There's so much I want to write about and I enjoy both writing and photography so what's holding me back?

I hope you're well and keeping safe wherever you're living. I would love to hear from you. 

Claire xo