I thought I’d start a monthly round-up of things which have inspired me and/or created a moment of joy in my life over the past month. We do and consumer so much both online and you know, in real life, every four weeks that’s it hard to to keep track & reflect on it all. So this is firstly, a nice way for me to remember what stood out and secondly, hopefully you will discover something new that can inspire your own independent life too! Have a read & then tell me in the comments what’s been bringing you inspiration and enjoyment this first month of 2017.
Minimalism | New Year’s Day saw us curled up on the sofa watching The Minimalists documentary. I really loved it, especially as something to think about going into the new year. I’ve been quite intrigued by the concept for a while now so it was interesting to hear about the different areas minimalism encompasses. I think there’s quite an assumption of ‘I am Minimalist; see my empty, soulless apartment’, but it’s really not about owning nothing (in the majority of cases anyway). For me, it boils down to living a simple, independent life, in possession only of the internal and external parameters which are important to YOU. I’ve mentioned before being overwhelmed by my digital life and we all have issues filling our diaries without enough space for our minds to unwind; I think exploring minimalism and what it means in my own life is going to be an ongoing process for the year. I’ve also preordered a copy of Slow Living & have signed up for the free No Sidebar 30 day minimalism course. So I guess you could say I’m pretty serious about it!
Podcasts | Oh me, oh my, I love podcasts. SO BAD. This month I have been expanding upon my usual playlist of Elise & Gretchen and have started including more design-led podcasts and those encouraging independent living. Two of my favourite episodes have been:
Monocle 24: The Globalist ‘2016: Design in Review‘ was a really interesting episode with Katie Treggiden (of Confessions of a Design Geek) talking about how we have reached ‘Peak Stuff’ – which tied in nicely with my thoughts on minimalism! When I buy independent, part of that is wanting to really consider my purchases in a way which hopefully reduces the amount of pointless ‘stuff’ I could be buying instead so I completely agreed with this observation.
Roam and Golightly Just so, so inspiring! Laura writes and podcasts about leading a creative, adventurous life which I am ALL about. Catching up from the archives, my favourite episode so far is with Grace Taylor from PRVNCL magazine. What most resonated with introvert me was how inspiration only comes when her (my) brain is at rest. Being social for hours on end and bombarded by stuff continuously makes her (my)brain tired (oh god, I know that feeling). And it’s really difficult to feel inspired when your brain is that tired. The interview talks about living a provincial life which Grace defines as: “to live a balanced life style, to be inspired by the simple, to take time to rest and recharge, surrounding yourself with things that fill you up, taking time to notice the small, the details.” How wonderful is that?
Reading | In keeping with my push to educate myself more on the world of design, I purchased The Design Museum’s Designer Maker User which has been a helpful resource for opening my (tired) little brain to the wider world of design. I’m hoping it will help me place the independent makers I meet into the larger background of this huge subject area. So far: very interesting indeed. Highly recommend. I also really enjoyed last month’s Psychologies dossier on vision-boarding & am planning a day’s magazine cutting-out session to envisage my future life. Well, there’s no harm in it is there? Anything which involves cutting & sticking gets my vote. Finally, on the recommendation of Jaye & Katie, I read the first Lemony Snicket (& enjoyed the new Netflix series) & am now reading the rather epic ‘A Little Life’ – I have a feeling I’ll be renewing this library book many times….
Learning new stuff | Learning is my favourite. Remembering what I learnt: not so good at that, but it’s the taking part that counts right? I attended webinars in PR Strategy, Pinterest, and am just finishing up an online course on Money & Happiness. Still need to properly process and put into action what I’ve learnt but overall, I’m really getting on board with webinars as a way of learning. What’s your opinion on them?
Freelance Fridays | Now that I no longer teach Friday afternoons, I’ve been enjoying concentrating on slowly building myself up as a freelancer writer and PR person in the field of independent makers. (And on that note, if you’re interested in working with me – send me an email & let’s chat). I’ve had a few meetings & caught up with other freelance friends, including Laura – a business/career coach if you’re on the lookout. Just having a little additional time to focus on building something I’m so passionate about is great for helping me see my dreams can definitely become a reality!
Living in London | This April I’ll have been living in the Big Smoke for ten years. TEN YEARS! (give or take the 3 years living abroad). I know we won’t be here forever (thanks London house prices) so I’m making the most of the things on my doorstep whilst it’s easy. We were really lucky to see The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House at the start of the month with my family. I’ve never seen it before & was completely in awe of how glorious the whole thing was. Yes: glorious. That’s the word which kept popping into my head throughout: the sets, the dancing; the music I knew but didn’t know was from The Nutcracker. I’d like to go every year, please. I’ve also been out & about: dinner in Soho and Piccadilly, walks in Green Park and Hampstead Heath, catch-ups with Jaye and Katy. It’s an alright place to live really.
What did you get up to in January? Learn anything new? Find anything that inspired you? What did you really enjoy? Tell me below – share the love!