60: Happy Friday Links

I hope you feel inspired by this week's links which include stunning photography, 2 minimalist YouTubers I enjoy and information about this year's city of culture. 

Better than a vision board! by Lefie
3 more things I won't make time for anymore by Courtney Carver via Be More with Less
What is UK City of Culture? Coventry is this year's city of culture and this link explains exactly what it is and if you explore the site you can find out what's on

I hope you have a good weekend wherever you are and whatever you're doing x x x


Wisteria, Wildflowers and Weeds

I went out for a few hours today. The wisteria at Shugborough Hall was calling and it didn't disappoint. We enjoyed our picnic of onion bhaji baguettes and savoured the midweek quiet of a National Trust property. The mansion wasn't open but we were very happy walking in the vast grounds. As well as wisteria there were bluebells, cow parsley, forget-me-nots, alliums, azaleas, late daffodils, tulips and green alkanet

To be honest, I had to look up the name of this plant. I thought it was a weed and many would agree but it looked stunning in the walled garden's borders amongst forget-me-nots and mountain cornflowers. 

Most of the grass at Shugborough was left unmown and just tidied up at the edges. The buttercups and dandelions looked beautiful in the long grass especially in the sunshine. Parts of my city's public spaces are being left unmown. I like these little steps towards rewilding. Do you like the naturalised look? When is a weed not a weed? 



59: Happy Friday Links and a Chat

Welcome to Happy Friday Links whether you're a regular reader or new here. I love putting together links to interest and inspire you. I choose articles and videos about simplicity, minimalism, plant-based recipes, style on a budget, small space living and more.

This week has flown by and has been a bitty one with appointments and errands. I've had a long overdue dental check up and an eye test. My new glasses will be ready in 2 weeks and I'm very excited because for the first time I'll also have prescription sunglasses. The highlight of my week was a catch-up with a lovely friend I first met at The Minimalists tour in 2014. A beautiful friendship and all because of minimalism and this blog.

The photo above was taken on Thursday morning when Tim had his second covid vaccine at Lichfield Cathedral. I'd bought a coffee which I'd planned to drink outside while I waited for Tim but I was invited into the cathedral by the welcoming volunteers (yes even with my coffee). I couldn't resist having a chance to see how it was organised and I was impressed by the friendliness and efficiency of 'Team Cathedral' (this name was printed on the back of the high vis jackets worn by the volunteers). Tim had his second dose of Pfizer and fortunately apart from arm ache has had no after effects. It was such a great venue for vaccinations. Surely those high ceilings must help with ventilation. Above all there was a palpable sense of peace, community and spirituality. Onto this week's links which I've enjoyed and I hope you do too.

This is The Classic Short Haircut Making a Big Comeback for Summer by Hannah Coates via Vogue. I love the photo of Lea Seydoux wearing a mask looking chic. How very 2021.

Filter More Out by Tynan. According to Tynan, "... people don't spend enough time figuring what they shouldn't be paying attention to." 

How to Declutter Your Closet and Stay Stylish with a Minimalist Wardrobe by Elisa Llera. This is a new YouTube channel and one which probably soon grow because it's so good. Those earrings.

Linda McCartney's Expands into Dairy Alternatives with Plant Milk Range via Vegan Food & Living. This is great news.

15 More Creative Ideas for Food Scraps via The Zero-Waste Chef. Eat the entire apple, save that bean broth and other ways to reduce food waste.

Growing, Harvesting and Crafting with Lavender via Seasalt Stories. I'm definitely going to plant more lavender this year and love these ideas - roasting potatoes with lavender intrigues me.

From Confusion to Clarity by Hilary Jacobs Hendel. In this blog post Hilary helps us understand and recognise our emotions and how to use this insight when we have difficult decisions to make. 

Have a relaxing read and enjoy your weekend. Please feel free to leave a comment below. We'll catch up soon x x x



Mum's New Room Peek

I was delighted to get an email from the customer services manager at Mum's care home with an update on Mum's new room. She attached photos, to show us what her new room looks like. There are still a few more pictures to be hung but doesn't it look lovely. She moved in on Monday which is great. 

I'm very grateful for such good communication from the home. They have a new garden pod which is where we had our last visit in March. They call it the 'happy pod' instead of the garden pod which sums up their upbeat attitude to dealing with the pandemic. I've included photos of the happy pod and Mum at the end of this post.

I think Mum will really enjoy the big window with lots of light flooding in and being at the front of the care home there'll be more comings and goings for her to watch. Also, from the car park when I drop off anything for her, I can see her room even if I'm not allowed in. It makes her seem a little bit closer if that makes sense. I'll have to wait until 24th May at the earliest to visit Mum in person. It won't be long. Fingers crossed.



Changing Rooms (Second-hand)

I've had such fun buying second-hand items for Mum's new bedroom in her care home. Almost everything I've bought is second-hand but I shopped mindfully making sure that everything was reasonably priced and good quality. Nothing was over £10 and I've only bought things that have 'sparked joy'. Mum's due to move this week and last week I took photos of everything I've bought before I dropped them off. Unfortunately, I can't go into the home at the moment due to a positive covid case so the staff will be getting her room ready for her instead of me. It's got a lilac and purple colour theme which is much more suitable for a bedroom than the rust decor of her current room. Finding a cushion for £1.49 in a charity shop set me off on a second-hand hunt for other items. And then thrifting the butterfly cushion (seen in the first photo) inspired a butterfly theme. Let me show you what else will go in her room. There are several more butterfly themed items all found in local charity shops. The watercolour painting with the butterfly and the buddleia might have been in a local art exhibition as on the back it has the name and address of the artist and original price (£35).

I got most of the items from charity shops but couldn't find any bedding that I liked. I found 3 sets of bedding on Ebay that I liked all priced below £10 (including postage) and in good condition. I washed all the bedding sets and even ironed them. Mum would be impressed as I definitely don't share her love of ironing. Only one set came with a fitted bottom sheet so I did buy 2 new bottom sheets and pillowcases to complete the sets. I'm sure not everyone would want to buy second-hand bedding (my husband says he doesn't want any for our bedroom) but the ones I've bought aren't very worn and looked clean when they arrived. If you stay in a hotel or self-catering the bedding is effectively in the same condition as second-hand. Also, I appreciate that not everyone can afford to buy new. I'd be interested to hear your views.

A few more pretty decorations found in charity shops.

This stylish lamp was originally from Next before it was donated to a charity shop. It's not my usual style but I've loved finding such pretty and feminine touches for Mum.

This last item from Ebay is not lilac or butterfly related but it's very cute. So cute that I named him Darwin and almost kept him. I know Mum will love him. I had a zebra doorstop (Ziggy) in my last classroom (it had a jungle theme) and that's now in our lounge. He's loving the peace and quiet of home life.

I hope Mum settles in well and that you've enjoyed seeing all her new second-hand things. She already has personal items like photos and a special Victorian side table from my grandparents' home in her current room but it was great to be able to shop for things to make her new room extra calm and welcoming. Buying everything second-hand was also very satisfying. It's always worth considering second-hand before buying new when you need something for your home. 


58: Happy Friday Links and a Chat

I love this time of year and May is just flying by. It's a month to savour the wonder of nature. Those bright blue skies, the much needed heavy downpours of rain, the feel of sun on your face even though there's a biting cold wind, shops full of summer plants, eating seasonal asparagus and walking past trees brimming with delicate blossom. I have friends with May birthdays and it's also my niece's birthday later this month and I'm seriously envious. My niece was born in the middle of a May heatwave and the sensation of sunshine combined with joy as I held her for the first time and then celebrated her birth in a country pub afterwards with my brother is a cherished memory. It was 24 years ago but I remember like it was yesterday. 

I hope you've had a good week. I feel like the bank holiday has slowed me down and I've not been very productive but I've made plans for next week to get back on track. An appointment for the dentists and an eye test are booked and I'm going to start a much needed redecoration of our bedroom. I still have plans for changing our tiny garden but the bench we've ordered is going to take a few weeks to arrive so that job can wait. 

As I mentioned yesterday I've completed my 30 day alcohol detox and will be celebrating tonight with a mock gin and tonic and some home made vegan brownies. The alcohol detox continues for another 30 days and then it will be reviewed again.

I've found some enjoyable links this week to inspire simplicity and peace. Minimalism is by no means dead and it's wonderful to keep discovering new minimalist channels on YouTube. New minimalist blogs are harder to find but I think that's because a lot of the new minimalists are young people who favour YouTube as a media. 

Minimalism, for me, is a quest; it's not a quick and easy process and although I've been trying out minimalism for almost 10 years now it's not easy to stick to and I've had many setbacks. Every setback so far results in overwhelm and that's when I reach for my minimalist toolkit to repair the damage. I'll let you know in future posts how my minimalist reset is going. 

How to stop jealousy and comparison - a monk's approach by Nick Keomahavong. I'm going to work on Nick's wise words, "... become your own refuge."

The truth about a minimalist wardrobe by the ever so wise, stylish and entertaining Emily Wheatley.

Manifesting your post covid life now by Jessica Rose. This is food for thought. After months of hunkering down, what do you want to add into your life as we take baby steps out of lockdown? Jessica Rose also has a YouTube channel. 

What real (not greenwashing) circulatory in fashion looks like by Verena at My Green Closet. A very thorough read about lightening the fashion industry's footprint.

The three circles of energy - a special insight into mentorship skills by Patsy Rodenburg via moving-ahead org. This looks like a heavy read but it's worth it and it's short! I hope you find your 'second circle'.

Have a lovely weekend and we'll catch up soon x x x



Alcohol Free Update

My 30 alcohol free detox has been going so well that I thought I had 2 more days to go :) 

Day 1 was Tuesday 6th April which makes last night day 30. I'm supposed to have a clearer head without alcohol but clearly not! I guess it proves that I've stopped counting the days and that my body and mind have adapted to no alcohol.

So, "What next?", is the question. I'm going to continue for another 30 days which will be Friday June 4th. I'll have a mini celebration this week but without alcohol. The trouble is I can't think of what to do for this but I'll let you know on my Happy Friday links post.

I'd welcome any ideas for a non-alcoholic mini celebration x x x