Pitstop Athens: 8 Hours in Ancient Greece

View from the Parthenon at the acropolis

Athens! A place I’ve dreamed of visiting since I discovered its existence. I’m fairly ashamed it took me until 28 to visit, but this year I has the fortune of visiting Athens for  8 hours (the first 8 hours of many, I hope).

This trip was part of a cruise that also took us to Mykonos among other delights, and so my first trip to Athens was restricted to around 8 hours – and during it, I had to fit in visiting all kinds of ancient delights I’ve lusted after for years. 

Luckily Mr K had visited Athens before, and had a good idea of how vast it was. The clever bugger suggested getting a hop-on-hop-off tour with City Sightseeing Athens  for 16euro each (something I would never normally do) and it turned out to be one of the best things we could have done.

The Acropolis

Our bus took us from Piraeus port directly to The Acropolis, which took around 45 minutes and dropped us a short (uphill) slog to the most famous ancient ruin in Greece. It was early, so the queues were fairly small and the heat hadn’t become unbearable, so we spent a good 1.5 hours marvelling at the temples. Acropolis complete.

We hopped on the central Athens bus and spent a nice hour tootling round the other sites of interest – the Temple of Zeus (wow), Syntagma Square, Presidential Mansions, Panathenaic stadium, the Odeon and loads of other relics – sadly having very little spare time meant we only got to view these places briefly, but it was enough to whet my whistle & confirm to me that Athens is absolutely a place I’ll visit again (and again and again).

We hopped off the bus for gyros & gelato in a bustling little street with a view of the Acropolis, where the city vibe won me over and I decided with confidence that, actually, I prefer Athens to Rome (my previous all-time-favourite European city).

In order to get back to Piraeus we had to go via the Acropolis again, so we headed back up to the hill & enjoyed the mid afternoon sunshine & said goodbye to the oldest thing I’ve ever seen.

On the bus home we sat up top outside, and I almost managed to pluck a fresh orange off a tree. It was a good day.

Where would you spend 8 hours if you could?

Kitty

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Minimalism: My 40-Item All-Season Wardrobe

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Well here we are again for another installment of what I’m now going to call Minimalist Mondays, where I talk about and strive towards the simplest possible things.

This week I’m talking about  my wardrobe in its entirety and how over the past few weeks I’ve This is a work in progress and there’s definitely some things I’ll be swapping out in the near future. Literally right now I can’t walk past my wardrobe without having a peek inside in case there’s something I can get rid of. It’s kinda brutal, but I’m pretty much at a place where I’m happy & finding it freeing not to have too much stuff to filter through.

My main aim when I decided to start decluttering was to achieve a more cohesive collection of things I can just throw together with less thought & effort, but still look composed. Prior to creating this capsule wardrobe I was hoarding pretty things I’d bought that didn’t suit me, things that were shabby but I was emotionally attached to and things that no longer fit properly. In short, it was a rainbow of rags that took me 20+ minutes each day to decide from, and it didn’t make me happy. It just made for stressful mornings and wasted time.Colour-Palette

The first thing I did was to decide on a colour scheme – what shades do I most often reach for, do they suit me & can they work as part of a palette? I came up with the colours above that I seem to choose by default when it comes to shopping or dressing each day. Then I cleared out any items that weren’t part of that colour scheme (which actually wasn’t that much). Luckily for me, the colours I’m into right now are also colours that are pretty on-trend, so any things I felt were “missing” will be easy to pick up if I choose to.

My target was to get down to 40 items, not including workout gear, PJs, seasonal stuff like a scarf or sunglasses, or underwear, and I actually found this quite abundant.

Here’s what I ended up with (count ’em! There’s 40!)

2x pairs jeans (1 black, 1 blue)
1x pair trousers (black)
1x pair leggings
3x basic tshirts
3x basic long sleeve tshirts/fine knit sweaters
3x dresses/jumpsuits
1x biker jacket
1x winter coat
1x light jacket
3x jumpers
1x beach kimono
3x pairs shorts
3x camisoles (for layering)
1x swimsuit
2x “fancier” blouses
1x chelsea boots
1x ankle boots
1x trainers
2x ballet flats
1x gladiator sandals
1x flip-flops
2x heels
1x large handbag
1x medium bag

The mountains of things I have gotten rid of seem so trivial now as I haven’t missed any of the items I’ve parted with. Having this target made me consider items in my wardrobe that I really liked having, but that weren’t getting enough wear, and that helped me get rid of them instead of keeping them “just in case”.

I did have a few jittery mornings at first worrying I wouldn’t have “enough stuff” however after the first few days it became so much easier! Plus shopping is much simpler now too – I just don’t go unless I’m planning on replacing a specific item (enter my “one-in-one-out” policy), and when I do go, I can go directly to items within my colour scheme!

Kitty

 

 

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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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