Sunday Memories – Shopping, Gardening, Favourite Podcasts, TV, Websites and a Publication…


The last week has been quiet with lots of activity around the home. Podcasts have been listened to, television dramas enjoyed, blog posts read along with trying to finish J G Ballard Short Stories paperback, food/gardening shop procured, baked bread, a much-needed glorious trip to Bewl Water for a wander and of course all the usual household chores.

Every day seems the same so you aren’t always sure what day it is. I haven’t seen anyone but had a friend phone call and Zoom session with adult children and other halves.

My routine has developed into chores in the morning which includes cleaning, business and writing. The afternoon often comprises of a local walk through woodland and reading in my summerhouse.

Shopping and a Covid-19 Test
This week I decided as my anxiety levels have decreased, I would brave a couple of shopping trips. One being food and the other garden related.

I’ve received a request to do a Covid-19 test, for research purposes which, although I’m sure I haven’t got it, agreed to participate in the hope it helps eradicate the disease.

So, I got up around 6.30am and realised after processing the swab and securely placing the swab in the container, I couldn’t open the bag. After much struggle, I had to drag hubby out of his slumber, to help. We eventually worked out there is a hidden slit in the side of the bag and managed to open it. What a struggle! The test was placed in my fridge ready for the booked courier to collect after 9 am.

By the time I arrived at our local Tesco’s I was feeling quite panicked. I scurried around with my extensive list, feeling frantic as I felt people behind were waiting to be where I am. Trust me, I’m a fast shopper but even I find the one-way system traumatic. Upon arriving at the till, I was told off for not standing on the blue spot (silly me) and this made me even more apprehensive.

However, I did thank the lady for all her hard work because I realise, she is in quite a challenging situation. When I returned home, I told hubby, he could go next week. Still, I got my face cream, moisturiser and hair spray. Yay.

To be honest, I was feeling more confident and was quite surprised how exacting I found the experience.


Gardening
That afternoon, I drove to our local garden centre. I picked up a few plants (petunias, pinks, geraniums) and went towards the house plant section. This area is also where you pay. I was making my way through, past the queue, and was curtly told ‘The queue is here.’ So, I weakly apologised and join the long socially distanced queue knowing full well I hadn’t finished my shopping. I felt exasperated but realised the tricky situation, paid for my goods and went home without the houseplants. Ha! First world problems and the joys of living in a socially distanced world. Our lives for the future!

Anyway, I’ve decided not to go too mad with the bedding plants this year as shopping needs to be minimal in this lockdown climate. Also, the garden is looking pretty at the moment with all the Rhododendrons out, and I am feeling very lucky to have space to enjoy, especially now.

A Podcast, A Subscribed Publication and Television
I particularly enjoyed the Minimalists’ podcasts on Politics this week. The Minimalists discussed the outrage and divisiveness of the current political climate and how we can avoid becoming caught up in the disarray and turmoil created by tribalism and partisan politics. I find their podcasts interesting and feel they are probably under subscribed because people assume they just talk about decluttering and tidying up.

We often sit down after dinner and watch a drama or documentary. During the last few weeks, we’ve enjoyed Devs, State of Happiness and Killing Eve. Devs has been my favourite though with the futuristic storyline, stunning cinematography and diverse soundtrack.

It is about a tech billionaire called Forest who is convinced that our lives are predetermined and questions our free will and responsibility for our actions. A fascinating watch and something different.

Another discovery is the website The Conversation, which is a network of news written by academics and researchers. It is fundamentally a giant newsroom with academics and researchers providing informed content that engages with current affairs.

I’ve recently treated myself to a subscription which is for the publication ‘The Week’. This is a publication which supplies a balanced news opinion about everything that matters globally.

I like to read political news from all perspectives and The Week briefs you well by documenting news from many political sources.


A trip out
We also went for a walk near and around Bewl Water. Although the area is local to me, unfortunately, I haven’t visited due to the fact I’m a bit mean about paying the £4 car parking.

Anyway, we parked in a nearby lane and wandered to the reservoir and discovered a quiet boating area, and walked around part of the reservoir and then sat and read our books and admired the view before going home. I’ll write more in another blog because the place is beautiful and deserves a write-up. In fact, I’d forgotten what a lovely place I’ve got so near to where I live.

Thanks for reading, following and supporting my blog. Much appreciated.

Mentioned:

https://www.bewlwater.co.uk/

The Minimalists Podcast

https://theconversation.com/devs-explaining-the-philosophy-at-the-centre-of-alex-garlands-mind-bending-tv-show-137507

https://theconversation.com/uk

https://www.theweek.co

Television, Walks and Favourite Podcasts

I’ve decided to stop watching the daily updates and news for a few days as it just creates anxiety. Unfortunately, it is all bad news so I will be reading my news on the BBC page which is comprehensive and useful.


Television (Netflix)
We’ve been watching Jack Whitehall Travels with my Father, whilst drinking beer in the evening and this has been a roaring success. Nothing like having comedy on to cheer you up. Also, it is about the countries they visit, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and fascinating as a travel vlog. Father and son go off together for a ‘gap year’ which Jack didn’t finish in 2009. His father, Michael Whitehall, is an unadventurous well dress gentleman whose obvious distaste of most things Jack related, is hilarious. They journey across South East Asia to partake in some rather curious explorations, mishaps and escapades, and comically demonstrates two diverse perspectives. However, ultimately they find it is a good way to strengthen their father and son bond and proves a successful adventure.



Walks Tuesday
We’ve continued with our country walks. The first one with David (husband), included a trip to the other end of the village where there is a private school and The Old Church. This is set in copious amounts of farmland, orchards and woodland. The sun was shining and we really appreciated being outside. Whenn we arrived at The Old Church we met and chatted with another couple (4 metres plus away) who was discovering all the local walks during this (lockdown) time, having moved to the area of Kent 11 years ago! They are certainly making up for it now. Their walks were derived from some printed maps given to them when they moved in.

Yesterday – Wednesday
I decided to go for a solitary stroll across the local recreation ground and into the woods. I really enjoyed walking for about 50 minutes which got me out of the house. Don’t get me wrong, I have been decluttering, organising and cleaning my home but I’m afraid I will always find ways to escape the four walls into the outside world.
Whilst walking I listened to the Minimalists podcast which is one of those easy to listen to chatty podcasts which is often thought-provoking. To be honest, these days I listen to BBC podcasts but forgot to download for my walk, so I just tried this one which had been downloaded but not listened to…

The Minimalists 197 Successful People

A listener asks ‘How do I find what I’m passionate about and when should I give the passion up?
The basic premise is not what are you are passionate about but what you are enthusiastic about? Everyone knows what they are enthusiastic about. Which friend am I passionate about or which friend am I enthusiastic about? This stops the excitement perspective which doesn’t necessarily translate into a long-term interest. You just seem to know what you are enthusiastic about.

30 Day Challenge
Answer 3 questions for 30 days.
What made me feel enthusiastic today?
What drained me of energy today?
What did I learn about myself today?

Don’t give up until 30 days. You will feel like you’ve got all the juice out of the lemon before 30 days and will see a pattern after the 28th day. Not before.

Favourite Podcasts

5 Live Science Podcast (like the Aussie Dr Karl)

Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Fortunately… with Fi and Jane

The Infinite Monkey Cage

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

The Minimalists


When I got home, I set about making a huge bolognaise sauce full of beef, tomatoes, stock, herbs and masses of vegetables. I plan to make it last several days, so I even added grated carrots. Probably on the second day, I will add chili and beans to turn it into a chili con carnie.

Thursday
I just listened to music and did a home workout. All good fun. I’m enjoying the soulful tunes of Lianne La Havas and Marc O’ Reilly on Spotify, at the moment. During the afternoon we popped to a nearby brewery and bought lots, and I mean lots, of ale for both of us. After that excitement, I read my book (a review will be forthcoming) The Year of Living Danishly and then cooked the dinner (Chili Con Carni).

During the evening we had a lively chat with family which is always fun. I’m glad to know they are well and busy working from home. I’ve recently heard of someone with the virus and am very concerned for her. Hopefully, she will make a quick recovery.

Anyway, I will sign off here. Let me know how you are passing the time?

 

Minimalism – Decluttering a Wardrobe and Packing…

Recently, I decided to reorganise my wardrobe because it was starting to look chaotic. Also, I’m off on my adventures again soon, so a tidy wardrobe helps with packing.

Because of the changing seasons, I needed to curate winter clothing too. Although the clothing space was sorted out a year ago, I wanted to obtain more room so I could enjoy my clothes and see them clearly. To be honest, I thought I’d only throw (recycle) a few things out. However, I gradually became quite brave as well as disciplined and managed a whole black sack full! My clothing throw out list is as follows:

– Anything that doesn’t fit NOW goes

– Anything not worn during the past year goes

– Anything that is damaged beyond repair goes

Also, I made a note of what stuff I wear daily and realised my taste for minimal clothing…

– Crew neck tops

– Plain trousers/skirts

– Favourite colour blue

– Selection of scarves, boots and jackets

I tend to dress these looks up with bright, contemporary print scarves and I love jackets too (cloth and leather). Also, love wearing boots and have quite a few pairs. Occasionally, I will buy a bright flowery dress or blouse/shirt but I don’t wear this look much.

Packing

I have learnt the art of folding the Marie Kondo way and it is fabulous for packing. Everything looks tidy and you can see what you have at a glance which is particularly useful if you are travelling and only staying at a place for a night or two.

Useful Sources

A Small Wardrobe (This blogger did a 28 Day Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge) on WordPress

Marie Kondo

Minimalism – Podcasts and the Concept of Ownership…

Podcasts

I’ve really started to enjoy pounding the treadmill in the gym. Not just because I want to get fit, although after my over indulgence in Cornwall it is necessary, but to enjoy the world of the Podcast. I’ve recently listened to various podcasts on Spotify, YouTube, BBC World Service and BBC 4 (list below).

Minimalism

As I was running, I became particularly interested in The Minimalists’ views about curation and ownership which is more thought provoking than it sounds. The fundermental starting point is this article:

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-08-12/american-ownership-society-is-changing-thanks-to-technology

Tyler Cowen is concerned because Americans own less stuff. Will this stagnate the economy? Cowen clearly thinks it will. It does question whether owning stuff is a good thing or not. Listening to The Minimalists’ podcast, raises several interesting points.

Due the new concepts such as Kindle, we do not own so many books. We don’t buy DVDs or videos like we used to because now we have such things as Netflix. Spotify and or YouTube caused us to stop buying CDs. Apparently, and this did surprise me, car ownership is decreasing because people now  travel more and by bike, taxi (Uber), use public transport or walk. Cowen argues that the American dream to own things like cars is dwindling in favour of urban living, and greater reliance on the above mentioned.

This fascinates me because I’d never realised how little we do actually own nowadays in terms of these products, or even thought about it. I agree, this is a good thing. People still own stuff, but not as much. Not having to buy books, albums, DVDs and cars is beneficial. Just having your favourite books, albums (vinyl is making a come back), DVDs, etc, does suggest an organised way of living and provides the freedom to disengage from the extraneous stuff. Just have what brings value.

When I was growing up, everyone disliked the idea of renting possessions such as homes, cars and even televisions. This has changed, particularly with the younger generation. It is better for the environment to buy and keep good quality clothing, borrow/rent cars and live in smaller homes. Seriously, you only need so much stuff. Americans losing the connection with ownership is a good thing although don’t think it has happened …yet?

Focusing towards a sharing community is better isn’t it? Who wants all the gym equipment in their house? Do we really need a massive TV and a home theatre? Much better to go to a gym, see a play/film and chat with others. This is what life is about. Doing stuff rather than accumulating things. Going out and about and experiencing stuff.

Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.                                    The Minimalists… (Joshua Fields Milburn, Ryan Nicodemus)

Cowen argues private ownership gives us a stake in the system. Yes, and it may force hard work rather than meaningful work. As mentioned on the podcast, we never really own anything; we just pass it on after 80 years anyway. This way of thinking is ambiguous, although thought provoking. The concept of ownership does remain important. However, the thing is not to become too used to excessive possessions. I advocate looking at your surroundings as a stranger would. Recently, I wondered why I still have a big table in my kitchen when I could replace it with something useful.

Obviously, some things are essential like a car, books, photography gear and furniture. But if you are short on time and have busy schedules, then it maybe a good idea to evaluate what you actually use and need day to day.

I am well aware people will read this, and think haven’t got time to worry about stuff. But having just returned from a break in Cornwall and unpacked my little case, in about five minutes, think again. Why have I been taking a massive suitcase with me all these years? It was great to return home without loads of stuff. (Although still have a shoe issue…)

As a minimalist you still own stuff but only what brings value. It creates simplicity and purpose and removes everything that distracts us from good experiences. Wish I’d realised this years ago because it saves so much time and energy although still working on it.

In fact, views about owning a property are slightly changing. Unfortunately, in the UK rents are extortionate so the whole process is challenging. People try to invest in a property in a cheaper area, part own a property or rent. Also, it is popular now to save and live frugally and invest in a future without being tied, long term, to a job you hate. The main premise then is possibly having a decent space (living area) with the minimal sleeping area and fewer possessions. Do not let the stuff own you. Ultimately, people may prefer to own a property and accumulate wealth or rent and not have the responsibility of ownership. Not everyone wants ‘a stake in the system’. They may just want to do what suits them and be a part of a community and contribute. This does seem common nowadays with the notion of online work, charities and so on.

Overall, focus on what is needed and brings value. I’m still thinking about that dining table and why I take several pairs of shoes on holiday but there is no such thing as the perfect ‘minimalist’ or for that matter, environmentalist or anything else. This podcast is thought provoking and does advocate a changing society.

Any comments are welcome and hope you enjoyed my musings about life.

Sources:

https://www.theminimalists.com/p146/

Podcasts I enjoy…

The Minimalists/Happier/The Dr’s Kitchen (Spotify)

Health Check/The Infinite Monkey Cage/Crowd Science/Business Matters/World Book Club (BBC)

Is there such a thing as intentional living?

I hope you enjoy the mishmash of my thoughts on intentional living!

To me, it is easy to drift through life and do the same thing day in, day out in a habitual way. We have choices in life and it is easy to forget that. After a tragic family event, my aim is to enjoy life. It is possible to do what you like to do. Money comes into it, but you can often do stuff cheaply.

Sometimes it is a good idea to step back and evaluate what you have. Recently, I decided to look at my home and had a massive declutter.  It is easy to keep clutter because you just stop seeing it. Have two huge sacks ready to go as we speak.

Another thing is that I’ve joined a group of walkers for not only exercise but to meet new people and enjoy the company of engaging folk with fresh views on life.

Trying to decide how you can improve life is a good idea rather than just aimlessly carry on with it. Of course, it is tricky if you have children, but can still be done with some effort. If you think about life, read, explore issues and go out and about it becomes a good way to examine your interests, talents and passions.

People often continually moan about things and this is fair enough up to a point. We all do it. However, sometimes it is good to step back, take risks and change things isn’t it?  Turn of the TV and go out and do stuff. Write a book, walk, paint, declutter, decorate, socialise, etc. To answer my question intentional living is possible if you decide to do it. What do you think and what have you done?

Conclusions…

  • Evaluate life and who you spend time with
  • Make some choices
  • Discover your passions and do them
  • Stop complaining
  • Turn TV/Screens off

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow, if you like my musings.

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Update on Minimalism, Life and Blogtober…

On the minimalism front, I have cleared out more clothes (1 sack), some handbags and shoes.  Bought some white, simple plastic hangers and set about re-organising the wardrobe.  The hangers are cheap but good quality and the wardrobe looks so much better. I’ve written my tips about re-organising the wardrobe which will be published in the next day or so.

On the life front, I’ve cut my work commitments back so I can spend time pursuing my interests.  This includes writing, producing and promoting this blog.  Also, reading, travelling and well, just doing stuff and going to places, e.g. the Tenterden Folk Festival.  I’m really enjoying writing and promoting the blog on social media.  Recently, there have been blogs about Blogtober which are thought provoking.  Is it possible to blog every day?  Not sure whether a blog will appear daily, but the aim is to blog more during October.

Thanks for reading and please follow, if you like what I write.  It is a mishmash.

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Latest declutter – Minimalism

Recently, I spent a couple of days clearing some bedroom areas and eradicated clutter that was languishing in the bottom of my wardrobe.  This does, I admit, sound boring but it was quite liberating.  The house looks clearer as does my head!  The plants have been tended, stuff has been recycled or put away, parts of the house have been redecorated and I’ve had some exercise in the process.

This minimalism malarkey  is an excellent idea, but it doesn’t happen overnight.  This time, I found bits of paper that I thought I may need and realised that they just needed to be cleared. It is astonishing how many bits of paper you keep, thinking you will read it again one day!  I had three piles and got rid of loads of stuff…

  • Pile 1  Stuff to keep, but reorganise.  This included reorganising jewellery and recycling a wooden box that was very large for the tiny amount of jewellery in it.  (I put it on Freecycle and a very happy lady collected it.)
  • Pile 2  Dispose
  • Pile 3  Dispose but recycle – Sorting paper work that I knew I would never need or read, but kept, because I thought I would find it useful.  Put into the paper bank.

A friend remarked that my house isn’t cluttered, so why worry?  She also told me that I mustn’t go for the sterile look!  The trouble is, one tidies when you know you have visitors coming don’t you?  Most of the clutter is behind the scenes.  Not anymore though because over the last year I have got rid of loads of just-in-case items.  The items you keep because you may need the information in the future.  The future that does not exist.  None of it has been missed.  Not one book, piece of clothing or bit of paper.  Anyway, anything that I find I need I can replace for a few pounds but I’ve never needed to activate this hypothesis.  You can’t get rid of your clutter overnight and need to keep revisiting areas over time to really scale down on stuff.  It is a long process isn’t it?  But it is worth the effort.  What do you think?

Thank you for liking, commenting and following.  It is appreciated!

Twitter: @mishmashmedia_