Category Archives: My Life

Check here for posts about me, my life and what I’m upto.

How to Declutter your Life

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Do you ever just feel incredibly overwhelmed, but can’t put your finger on why? Recently I decided to address that feeling and try to eliminate some of the clutter in my life. It turned out that a few very simple steps have helped me to feel fresher, more focused & overall happier in all areas of my life.

So, how do you declutter your life?

Empty your inbox

I was guilty of being that person who has 8,000 unread emails  in the little red dot above the app – something Mr K despaired at every time he saw my phone. The first step I took was to delete everything that was unread, figuring if I hadn’t read it by now, it’s not important. Having inbox 0 felt so nice, and now I set aside 2 minutes every day to read, file or delete emails as needed.
This brings me nicely to the second thing I did…

Unsubscribe from all marketing emails

Once I was subjected to less incoming emails, I decided to reduce the amount that came in altogether – I get around 100 emails a day, but probably 2-3 of them are of interest or use to me. For a week or so, I unsubscribed from every single email I received, unless I had a very good reason for staying on the list. Now I get about 12-15 emails a day, mostly from places I want to hear from.
My logic is that if I suddenly start to miss content from somewhere, I can always go and resubscribe. Easy.

Stop buying duplicate stuff

It might feel great to be super prepared and have 5 bottles of bleach, 3 spare washing up liquids, several toothpastes etc however it takes up lots of space somewhere in your home and ultimately gets messy (unless you’ve got like, bags of space, which I haven’t).
I’ve started to streamline cleaning stuff by buying versatile products & only buying one of each thing (except when there’s a sensible offer on like buy 1 get 1 free and I was going to buy the item anyway).

Stop doing things that don’t add value to your life
(Or start doing things that do)
Some things aren’t always pleasant but have to be done (hello, Dentists & paying council tax), so I’ve started to think about things in terms of how it adds value to our life. If it doesn’t add value, then I’ll stop doing it. For example I used to buy a fair amount of cook books & kitchen stuff, then we’d just have them. They rarely got used, so didn’t add any value to our lives. I donated the books, ditched the kitchen junk & now we have more free space & our lifestyle hasn’t been impacted at all.
I also intend to stop watching junky television shows for “something to do” and invest that time into better ways of relaxing, or find something worthwhile to watch.

Check your Finances

This is something I don’t do often enough, but with the adding value tip in mind, I decided to review my direct debits and subscriptions to see what I’m paying for that I don’t value. I managed to save around £38/month by cancelling memberships that I no longer benefit from. And again, if it’s something I miss, I can always sign up again!

Are there any areas of life you’d like to simplify?

Kitty

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Minimalist Mondays: 6 Things You Don’t Need (Part 1)

With this trendy, abstract form of minimalism taking the world by storm, and KonMari being basically the new Lord and Saviour of all things material, it’s been hard not to get swept up in the idea of having less stuff.

As a theory, having less & doing more really appeals to me – but in the real world, it can be tough.
Plus, there’s something to be said for having stuff “just in case” (wellies, spare ibuprofen, an extra vase, a car key from 3 cars ago)… but also something very refreshing about not having too much.

Recently I’ve really been thinking about what “too much” is, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are some things I simply don’t need.
Then I got rid of the things, and it’s been the best thing ever (and actually it’s quite addictive, now I have less, I want even less). 

Here’s some stuff I don’t/won’t need, want or buy any more. I have named this Part 1 as I fully expect to need even less as time goes by, after a few weeks without this stuff, I’m already dreaming of having fewer things.

1. Duplicate makeup/toiletries
Why do I need 3 different mascaras? I don’t. Same for foundation, blusher, bronzer, eyeshadows etc etc – I have only one face, and I wear basically the same makeup look every day, maybe with a bit of eyeliner for a treat. Ditching all the surplus cosmetics in my stash felt so good, and now travel is so simple too because I only have 1 of everything, and it fits nicely in a smallish cosmetics bag!

2. Several Coats
So I was actually amazed at how many coats I had (double figures, guys…)
Streamlining, I ended up with 4 coats/jackets that are cross-functional. When these things wear out, I’ll replace them with better quality & more versatile pieces.

3. Kitchen Stuff
Remember the spiralizer? Me too. Remember the last time you used it? Me neither.
The same goes for the veg steamer, apple corer, mandoline slicer and all those other amazing kitchen gadgets that become a pain to keep clean and a nightmare to store.
I cleared all that nonsense out and guess what? I can still cook a damn good meal.

4. Books
know! As a bibliophile myself, it’s hard to think about not having books around, but they’re so not necessary in this kindle age! I now have a handful of cookbooks that I use fairly often (I’m lookin’ at you, Thug Kitchen) a paperback if that’s what I’m currently reading, and 2 other books that have sentimental value.  Everything else is digital, save the planet yo.
(Note this also means you don’t need a book shelf, which means even less room to stash junk!)

5. Tons of Bedding/Linen/Towels
I emptied my bedding box and counted 5 double duvet sets. There hasn’t been a double bed in my house since I moved in 4 years ago. Why did I still have this stuff?
I packed up everything except for the bedding set currently in use, a change of bedding, and a set of guest linen (plus 2 light blankets for summer sleeping).
We also have 4 bath towels, 2 smaller “hair” towels and 2 hand towels – the remaining old ones went to the charity shop along with the bedding.

6. Notebooks & Stationery
I’m the kind of person who just loves cute stationery – however I haven’t penpalled in years and I usually never write in notebooks I buy because they’re “too cute”.
Notes these days are better stored on mobile devices so they don’t go missing and are easily shared if needs be. I keep one small notepad & pen on hand for urgent scribbles, and the rest went in the bin. Byee!

Re-reading that above list makes the items seem so trivial & unnecessary, and I can say with honesty that not having them in my home actually makes me feel more free.
Now instead of spending spare time browsing beauty or fashion websites, I read more, work out, talk to friends & family – stuff that’s far more valuable to me than a new top or extra lipstick.

If having stuff is your thing, then have stuff and enjoy it – but if not, and you’re looking for a bit of light relief from the world of things, or are seeking realignment in some way, then try to think of 5 things you don’t need, and ditch them.
You won’t regret it.

Kitty

 

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The Best Hiking Boots for All Terrain?

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A long time ago I wrote about choosing the best hiking boots – and now I’m going to admit whether or not all my tips worked.

Following my own sage advice (and…you know… the highly skilled adviser at Ellis Brigham) I chose the Salomon GTX 4D-2 boot in size 7.5 (I normally take a 6) and here’s how I’ve gotten on with them in the past few months.

The Salomon GTX 4 2 are high-cut boots which promise to be waterproof, offer great ankle support and have a superior stay-cool technology.  A gusseted tongue boasts that grit will not enter the boots during walks, which is an important promise to keep, in my opinion. Ever had a stone in your shoe?

I was annoyed at first, because I don’t like having big feet, so buying almost 2 sizes bigger than I normally take was somewhat of a tough pill to swallow. I let it slide, though – they might save my life (or at least my feet) in the outdoors, I can forgive them for being snug.

Trying them on, I was impressed to find them light but sturdy, with a nice chunky sole that I expect will protect me from all kinds of rubble. I like the slate grey and greenish tones, they “go with everything” which is obviously the most important thing when hiking…

Now lets talk about how they performed.

 First Wear – Peel Tower, Ramsbottom
The first wear is the most indicative of whether your boots will work for you. We got up super early and walked the 6 mile loop from Ramsbottom through Peel Tower and Pilgrims Cross, in a sticky 20 degree heat. I wore leggings like an idiot, and spent the first 30 minutes overheating profusely. But my feet stayed cool.

The hike is mixed terrain – some dirt paths, some hills and rough pasture, some road. I didn’t notice a difference in comfort for any of the areas, and the boots remained comfortable, supportive and, most importantly cool throughout.

My only niggle was during a particularly steep downhill section, where the “high-cut profile” began to rub my lower shin on either side of the tongue. It wasn’t excruciating, and could potentially be solved by thicker socks, but I quietly hope that they will soften in time (and curse myself for skimping on socks).

Overall, though, after walk 1 I’m pleased. I didn’t have to stop once to remove small stones from my boots, which is a godsend. Somehow, though, my toes are still dirty when I get home.
It’s a mystery I don’t feel compelled to solve.

 Kitty

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