Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Goals For 2014: Own Less

In my last post I talked about getting organised, finding clever storage solutions and my new found love for minimal, low impact, tiny houses. I've actually been trying to thin out my possessions since January, when I resolved to own less. As well as parting ways with as many books and DVDs as I could bear to, and saying goodbye to several pairs of shoes that my giant flipper feet could never really cope with, I've spent some time going through all my clothes and having a GOOD clear out. 

Jess's Super-Duper Fail-Proof Take-No-Prisoners Clothes Clear-Out Method 

1. First, break your clothes down into manageable chunks. Ever gone at some spring cleaning really hard, that realised half way thorough (when EVERYTHING YOU OWN is on the bed) that you'd really rather not? Yeah, we're trying to avoid that.

2. Pick ONE place that you store clothes, e.g. a wardrobe, shelves or a chest of drawers - if it's a big chest of drawers, I recommend just picking one to start with. (That way, if you get bored after one drawer...freedom is yours!).

3. Lay the contents out and take a good look at each item. Set aside any piece that you're absolutely certain you love and don't want to part with. Be honest - don't put anything in this pile that's a maybe.

4. Next, go through and pick out anything that is embarrassingly tatty. You know what I'm talking about. That jumper that's more bobbles than...not bobbles. The horribly misshapen cardigan. Those pants that may, in some past life, have been a colour other than grey-ish. (My personal exception to this - a few crappy old t-shirts for decorating and hair-dying - always room for a few of those in your collection). Old t-shirts that you don't need can be cut up and used as dusters, if you're that way inclined. If you have access to a textile recycling bin/bank which will take clothes in any condition (for turning into loft installation and such), you can pop the rest in there.

5. Now, you should be left with the clothes you don't love but which still function nicely as clothes - if not on you, then on somebody else. Try each of them on and assess, honestly, if they make you feel and/or look good - preferably both. If they do neither, stick them in a pile for the charity shop (or freecycle, our your relatives or pals, as you prefer). Be RUTHLESS. That top that is unflattering now is not going to magically become more flattering with age. Those jeans that squish you to the point of light-headedness are not going to get any looser.Get rid! Clothes are meant to fit YOU, not the other way around.

6. Rinse and repeat steps 1-5 until you've gone through all your clothes. Et voilĂ ! Your lean, mean streamlined wardrobe is good to go. 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Getting Organised

At the weekend we watched a documentary about tiny houses. I like the ethos behind this movement - a return to living simply in houses of around 100-400 sq feet. In a way I've inadvertently become a tiny-houser myself; our flat has basically three rooms, and I doubt it's more than 500 sq feet in size.

When you have two people living in a petite flat, it's pretty essential to keep it as organised as possible. Unfortunately the work I do means that I often have various piles of paper - reports, documents, books - taking up space on the coffee table. Not ideal! 

My solution was this cute fold-able storage box. Picked up for a fiver from Tiger's new-ish store on Tottenham Court Road (which, dangerously for my wallet, is walking distance from where I work) it's just the right size for chucking in those bits and bobs that don't quite have a proper place to be. As well as the fruity pattern, my favourite feature is that the box is held together by press studs - so when not in use, the body of the box can be folded down and fitted inside the lid. Neat, no? 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Easy Crochet Drawstring Sunglasses Case

Last week I met up with some crafting buds and did my first bit of crocheting in a long time. I don’t know what it is, but I just haven’t had any crafting mojo of late. Maybe it’s because the touch of yarn makes me feel a teeny bit grossed out when the weather is hot and humid… too warm! Get away!

Anyway, I decided it was about time I did something about my lack of a proper sunglasses case, since I’d been carrying my sunglasses around IN A SOCK since the start of summer. Yeah, I’m pretty classy.

I went for a simple two-tone design using some orange and mustard yellow yarn I already had in my stash, and crocheted a long rectangle, switching colours a couple of times. I’m actually quite bad with getting my US and UK crochet terms confused – I believe this is in UK double/ US single crochet. Once I had my rectangle to the right size (including an extra few centimetres to accommodate the drawstring), I turned it inside out, crocheted up the edges and flipped it the right way again. I then made a simple drawstring by crocheting a length of chain stitch, tying off the end and then weaving it in and out of the spaces in the top row.

I’m quite a slow crocheter, and this project only took me a few hours to complete and barely any yarn. If you’re looking for a quick, simple project to get your toe back in the crafting water – or even try crochet out for the first time - I’d definitely recommended giving a drawstring glasses case a go. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Roasted Baby Aubergines with Tahini Yogurt Dressing

In my humble opinion, baby vegetables are always superior to their full-size counterparts. ALWAYS. So when I spotted baby aubergines in my local supermarket, I need I had to make them into something delicious. 

You can find the recipe over on my food blog Whole Food Happy now.
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