My Blog Turns 1 & I Realise I haven’t Updated in 4 Months…

Is it a real Birthday if for most of the year it’s been neglected?

So, what have I been doing for the last 4 months? Well in terms of this blog, I’ve been trying lots of new natural products, which has been super fun! There will definitely be many, many reviews to come.

In terms of minimalism and organisation, not much has happened, just small changes. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still areas that need work though because there definitely are.

A big area of my life I have been working on during the start of 2014 is habits. I’m calling 2014 my year of habits because I didn’t have a new years resolution this year, instead I came up with a list of both habits I would like the gain and lose, to work on throughout the year. And surprisingly it’s been going really well and I have a lot to share about my experience and tips too.

 

Basically what I’m trying to say is, there is lots to come! I hope I can make up for neglecting you for so long?

What did I do before olive oil?

Despite olive oil giving me terrible stomach pains when eaten, I have found that it is rather kind to my face.

As part of my plan to switch to all natural products, I decided a few months ago that face wipes just weren’t cutting it anymore. I wanted a natural alternative that wasn’t too expensive and was preferably made of very few ingredients and olive oil came out on top. I’d heard about the amazing effects of olive oil before. There are claims that it cures wrinkles and rosacea, I wont be able to tell you if it works for wrinkles for a good few years but I can tell you that I used to get very flushed red cheeks and now they are just a perfect amount of blushed all day long. Supposedly Greek and Italian women have used olive oil as moisturiser and a cleanser for centuries too.

I was a bit skeptical at first but I went off to the shops and purchased extra virgin olive oil for just £1.59 (I’m still using that same bottle today, talk about value for money.) I will admit the first time you put it on it is a really strange feeling and since we are always told about how oily skin is a sin and we need to strip all that ‘excess’ oil, it feels a bit counter intuitive. Of course it’s not, we have just been brainwashed.

How I use it: get just a small amount in the palm of your hand (about the size of a 20p) and rub all over your face and neck, I like to rub it in circular motions for a few minutes because I normally use it to take my make up off (it even gets mascara off, eyeliner is a bit tougher, but it doesn’t hurt, just be a bit careful like you would any product on your eyes). Then get a hot flannel and place it on your face until it cools, repeat this twice trying to get some oil off but not all because you want to rub some in to act as moisturiser afterwards and you’re done.

The benefits I have noticed:

-Less spots, I used to have break outs more or less every day but now it’s just the odd couple of spots every so often and they are mostly caused by me leaning on my hand whilst doing work. Tut tut tut.

-Skin is plumper, brighter and skin tone is even. I think this is helped by the hot water but my cheeks are definitely less red and my all over complexion is great. If I’m strict with myself and remember to use it every night, I notice my pores also become tighter.

-It’s super cheap and you can get it anywhere!

-It doubles as a night moisturiser.

Give it a try if you want and definitely let me know how you get on, or let me know if you already use olive oil. Some people seem to think I’m crazy for using it but it works so I don’t care. I have a few more natural products to share with you soon, like my new natural foundation and the trial and error I’ve been having with natural deodorant (I’m still on the hunt for good one!)

Blogging keeps me on track

Currently my bedroom is the messiest it has been in about a year. Christmas is fast approaching and for no particular reason I just feel stressed. Yes exam period and deadlines are looming but I think my stress is just a product of not feeling like myself.
I haven’t blogged in a while but it’s not through lack of trying, I think it’s just due to me feeling down on myself for failing no Internet week, again. I made a post about how I felt like I needed to just do something, I needed something to work towards and I actually had to achieve it because I was so fed up of failing. And it’s no ones fault but my own.
So after feeling like what’s the pointing in posting anything, I realised what blogging does for me. It keeps me on track. It gives me motivation. It gives me something to work towards and I think that’s why even though sometimes I do have breaks from it, I always come back to blogging when I feel like I need a helping hand. It’s more fun to start a project that you can talk about with a group of people than try and stay on the straight and narrow by yourself. I think blogging is a way to just clear your head. Writing in general does this. It gets all the ideas and commitments and thoughts out so you can be clear headed and just focus on the task in hand.
That’s what blogging does for me. It’s my headspace and my motivation. Now lets get onto a new project.

Book Decluttering

After my previous post about the No Internet Week I got really motivated to get things done. I was also really inspired by this post this morning (how amazing does that bookshelf look?)  I have a plan for a future post about books, so I wanted to sort through my books, both hidden away in my wardrobe and out on show. I first targeted these 3 shelves above my bed.

Before: (I’d already sorted most of the bottom shelf and taken some things off before I took this.)
photo 1 (1)

After:
photo 3

The bottom self is now all books I want to read soon and they are now prioritised too. The top shelf is (from the right) classics, children’s classics, autobiographies, crime and thriller books. I put away all the books I have read ready to give away or sell and I also put away all of the teddies because they get so dusty and I have asthma so shouldn’t really have them out anyway. I should grow up sometime soon too ;)

Second book area is my mantel piece, which has felt really cluttered for a while, I don’t use any of the candles I end up moving them all to the bathroom to use them because they are too close to the books and I just didn’t like it anymore. So I decided to make this a no book area. I’m going to give away most of these books.

Before:

photo 2 (1)

After:

photo 4

Despite not getting rid of a lot of stuff today I feel like everything is much more streamline and practical. I think that’s what makes the difference. My head feels much clearer when I declutter not just because I’m owning less stuff but also because everything is much more usable and looks cleaner.

I’m slowly getting there, bit by bit.

No Internet Week

I was unsure of what to post today. I was uming and ahing about a few things but then something caught my attention this morning. I was procrastinating getting up, in bed (I fear this is now a daily occurrence for the lot of us) when I came across the No Internet Week on Twitter. Oh the irony; it burns.

My inner fight against the internet has been a reoccurring thing for a long time now, it’s like I constantly binge and fast data in this never ending cycle. I’ve done a digital detox before and I found it amazing but it was so easy to get back into old habits. I will now smugly list all the of ways I have lowered my internet use since though:

1. I now follow only 28 people on twitter and have about 40 friends on Facebook (this is kind of irrelevant because Facebook makes me what to poke my eyes out with a hot spoon but it still feels 100x better than having 500 people I don’t really know or hate. Sorry.)

2. I have deleted about half of my iPhone apps and for once have spare memory.

3. A few weeks ago I started turning my 3G off and not using internet outside the house and turning all internet off just before bed until I was up and ready the next morning. (From the start of this post you can tell I have sucked at doing this all week.)

4. I have stopped relaying on GPS and TFL tube updates to get around.

5. Yesterday was the first time I watched more than one episode of something on Netflix for over a month.

5a. This is most likely to be because our internet is now much slower so HD flickers in and out like a b****.

I digress. The point is I LOVE being without the internet, but like any good addict my drug of choice just keeps pulling me back and I let it. I’ve done a pretty good job of considerably lowering my internet use but there are still some days where I get nothing done because as soon as I get up I am on YouTube and you have lost me for the rest of the day. If I start the day on the internet, it’s likely that I’m ending it on the internet too. So when I came across No Internet Week I saw it as an opportunity. An opportunity to force myself away from the screen and into a world of productivity once again. There has to be a way I can cut down my internet use even more in every day life and I think this is the best way to find out.

There are 5 people taking part in the official No Internet Week which you can see here. They are posting a video every day. So far I’m finding James Brown hilarious. “Sometimes I feel like smashing my phone and the rest of it up. Chucking it in the fire.” Me too James, me too.

I’ve decided to start my week of no internet on Saturday. My only exceptions are if I need to use the internet for university work then obviously that’s OK, there’s no point in trying to have a productive week if I’m not allowed to do any work and I would still like to blog because that’s also something productive for me and it would be helpful to keep a log of how I’m doing. Everything else I will have to wave goodbye to.

Let me know if you have gone without internet too, I’d love to hear about your experiences before I have to go internet free.

Peeling The Minimalist Layers

Throughout this whole experience I have realised that minimising your stuff takes more effort than expected. In essence it’s just getting rid of stuff you don’t use but I have realised now that a road to minimalism has many layers.

When I first started downsizing the amount I own, I targeted the broken, unsuitable and never used, as the first things to go. After all that was done I had a break, feeling like I didn’t know where else to go with it. I’d gotten rid of all those holey socks, was I not done now?

After the high you get from creating more space in your cupboard subsides, it becomes clear that there is more that you could part with. So yesterday I tackled what I am calling layer 2; if you don’t use it now, you don’t need it. If you might need it someday because you might suddenly really need glittery eyeliner, it probably needs to go. All of my cosmetics and clothes are now even more streamlined and now that I have organised them all it’s much more practical.

I can already see more places that need to under go layer 2 and layer 3 and 4 and 5… but it’s a process, a process I am enjoying and each layer comes with a new realisation about my buying and living habits. It’s a slow enjoyable, scenic journey to an amazing destination.

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