Simplify

I have written many posts about minimalism and living a more simple life. However, every year I realise I’ve learnt new ways to simplify my life as far as possible. I’ve found great reward in creating streamlined routines for myself that allow room for everything that has to be done.

Here are some things I’ve done this year that have helped me immensely that I’ll be carrying with me into 2019.

01. / Email

I don’t work yet so I don’t have a huge amount of emails coming into my inbox every day like some people do, but I do know that having a full inbox can be stressful and distracting. Try to stay on top of your emails and try the one-touch rule, whereby you only open emails at a time when you are available to carry out the task (or whatever is necessary) required before you respond. Also, guard your email address. Try to avoid throwing it into every online shop’s mailing list, to avoid getting spammed with hundreds of emails a day that are irrelevant to you. (Some people have recommended this site to manage your subscriptions, but I haven’t personally tried it).

02. / Papers

Papers are the easiest thing to hoard. It’s only too easy to hang onto something, “just in case”. For papers that are important, file them away in a space-saving way. For less important ones that you may need at some point, take a photo and save it into a folder on your phone or Cloud. And for those other pesky ones, TOSS THEM. We are ruthless. I clean off my desk (almost) every night before bed and make a point of throwing away papers that are no longer needed.

03. / Planning and organising

I’ve found that keeping all my planning in one book is highly beneficial because everything is in one place, so you’re less likely to forget something important. Whether you’re a paper planner and list-maker like me or if you prefer your phone calendar, try to avoid having important plans in too many places and work on streamlining your planning and organising systems so they work for you. I’ll be bullet-journalling in 2019, so watch this space…

04. / Time-blocking

I’ve found this really useful. Set aside certain “blocks” of time for certain tasks. You’ll find that you’ll be more productive if you know you’re only working for a short amount of time, plus you’re less likely to procrastinate then. It’ll leave you with more time to relax and do things you enjoy.

Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones and rest well.

Nabeela x

DIY Paint-Chip Greeting Card

It’s been a while since I’ve done some crafty content over here on the blog, but as the name suggests, I love making stuff and I  have missed sharing my DIYs over here.

I often say that making cards was my first craft-love. As a child, I adored making cards for people and still do. Naturally, over time, my style has changed and I’ve honed my skills a bit since then (or so I’d like to think).

I recently made a really quick and simple card and thought I’d share it with you.

Ever walked into the hardware store and walked out with an armful of colourful paint chips? I know I have, much to the chagrin of the store assistants. Those colourful little chips have so much potential!

On a recent trip to the hardware store, I was running around, desperate to grab what I needed and leave. But something (maybe the fact that its a giant rainbow wall) stopped me in my tracks and made me go up to the paint chip wall, grab two and take them with me.

I decided to use one to make a simple gradient effect card. Its just in time for Fathers’ Day too, so why not give it a go.

You will need: 

  • Paint chip card
  • White cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Stamps/pens
  • Double-sided tape/glue

Method:

  1. First, fold the cardboard to an appropriate size for your card.
  2. Then, cut the different shades from the coloured paint chip into equal squares. I used 9.
  3. Place them in a grid from lightest to darkest (you could do any order though).
  4. Once you’ve planned out your pattern, use glue or double-sided tape to stick them down.
  5. Lastly, add a message above or below the coloured squares. I used my favourite trusty alphabet stamps but you can use a pen, paintbrush or anything else.

That’s it! It’s pretty simple and I love the gradient look. If you give this a go, send me a pic! I’d love to see what you create.

Happy crafting!

Nabeela x

Mountain Musings

There’s nothing that changes one’s perspective quite like spending a few days in the mountains sans cellphone signal and civilization. It’s a breathe of fresh air – literally. Drinking river water and falling asleep to the under the watchful eyes of shooting stars can be more beneficial than one might think going into it.

I learned a few things on my trip to the mountains. The first thing being, after a day of hiking, anything tastes good. And white flip flops and dust? Not a good idea.

But more than that, I learnt that once we lose connection with our phones (which seem to be an appendage nowadays), we gain connection with people. With nature. With ourselves. Without the constant distraction of push notifications and Instagram feeds, I found myself lost in long, deep, meaningful conversation with people, something that’s hard to come by in the busy city.

I learned that simply just spending time in nature is meditation in itself. It’s so healing and relaxing to live in harmony with the natural world for once, and not try to fight against it.

Lastly, I learned to appreciate the comforts of home. I certainly take basic things like toilets and my bed for granted far too often.

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It’s true what they say. Sometimes, the best way to find yourself is to get lost. Preferably in nature.

Nabeela x

Abode

Being the kind of person who requires time to myself, and appreciates solitude, I thrive off having my own personal space to unwind, work, create and rest. The only space in the whole world that I can call completely my own is my bedroom. I have been blessed with my own room my whole life. I’ve been lucky enough to never have to share it with a sibling. It truly is my sanctuary.

Over the past few years, my personal style has evolved and changed, and I now enjoy a minimal aesthetic will a few soft colours. I like to keep my room clean, tidy and uncluttered, as I find that I am most calm when my space is in this state. I have come to learn that my environment is a direct representation of what’s going on in my head. If my space is clear, so is my head. Of course, this goes the other way around too. I honestly believe that the kind of environment that you live in has a direct effect on your wellbeing. Although I certainly can’t say that I have the ‘perfect space’, (I mean, come on now. Those only exist on Pinterest), my space is slowly evolving into everything I could want out of a room.

After lots of experimenting, and seeing what works, I feel as if I’ve come to find a good balance between a space that’s for working in and a space that’s for resting and sleeping in. It can be pretty tricky to establish the balance, but once you’ve got it, you’re good to go. Over the past little while, I’ve picked up a few tricks that have helped me to make the most of my space, and I’d like to share a few with you.

01 / Ventilate

I’m that person who will come into a room, and open windows. I can’t stand stuffy spaces. They make me feel heavy-headed and flustered. Open some windows, even if its just for a little while, to let some fresh air in. It’ll help you concentrate better too.

02 / Pare down

Living in an over-cluttered space can be overwhelming. I’ve read in a few places that people say that their space is a direct image of what is going on in their heads. If their space is cluttered, so is their mind. Having less in your room will help you immensely. Not only will you have more space, you will also feel lighter and your room will feel more peaceful. Sounds crazy? Try it.

03 / Define spaces

The average person doesn’t have loads of space in their room, but I think it is very important that your space is defined. Try not to work in bed or sleep at your desk. It’s been proven that if you study on your bed, you’re more likely to fall asleep, because your brain associates it with sleep, and rest. On the other side of the spectrum, if you spend too much time being stimulated in your rest space, such as being on a cell phone, you may find that you are unable to settle and rest easily in that space.

04 / Live

Your room is not meant to look perfect 24/7. It’s a living space after all. Trying to keep your room looking immaculate all the time can be exhausting, and may cause you to actually end up not being able to rest in your space because you feel the need to keep it tidy all the time. Balance is key.

05 / Invest

I’m the kind of person who gets visually bored very easily. After a little while, I feel the need to switch things up in my space. This doesn’t necessarily mean buying new things, but just moving things around and putting up some new things on my mood board usually does the trick. I know what my personal style is, and what kinds of things I enjoy having around me. So, I’ve invested in a few things over the past little while that I love, rather than buying hundreds of tacky décor items.

Here are a few snaps of my space…

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Nabeela x

Listen Up / Podcasts

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I love taking the time to relax and unwind over weekends, but sometimes, because we’ve become so accustomed to always doing something, just lying around all afternoon can feel unproductive. Enter podcasts. Over the last few months, I’ve come to love podcasts. They can be listened to anywhere and require zero effort, but, if you listen to the right ones, they can offer you incredible words of wisdom and inspiration. I thought that I’d just share a few of my favourite podcasts with you.

The Minimalists

Functioning Minimalist

Pardon My French

Elise Gets Crafty

How She Creates

Clever

Good Life Project

I thoroughly enjoy listening to episodes of these podcasts and often find myself taking away invaluable nuggets of wisdom away from them.

Have a listen if you’re in need of some inspiration or just want to listen to something a little thought-provoking. What are your favourite podcasts?

Nabeela x

5 Ways to Live a Little Lighter This Year

I’m not one who believes that new habits can only be formed in the new year. I’m actually the kind of person who will start big new things in September. Nonetheless, I still feel that the new year can be a good time to make intentional changes in our lives because we feel a little more rested and at peace after the December break.

As you may know, over this past year or so, I have really delved deep into minimalism as a lifestyle, and I can feel how much lighter I am without the weight of my material possessions. Here are a few tried and tested methods that may just help lighten the mental and physical clutter for you too.

 

  1. / Toss it

Stop holding onto things just in case. Sort through your things with intention and get rid of everything you don’t use. You don’t have to throw it away. Donate it instead. Let someone else benefit from it.

 

  1. / Unsubscribe and unfollow

I unsubscribed from so many mailers over the past year. Unnecessary emails just clog our inboxes and distract us from the important ones that do require our attention. I also felt that my Instagram feed was clogged and too full. I unfollowed so many different accounts that I just didn’t find any value in or that didn’t inspire me in any way. I even unfollowed some brands I genuinely like as I wasn’t finding any extra value in their account. Be selective about who you follow and change it up regularly in order to stay inspired.

 

  1. / Don’t impulse buy

Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy it. I’ve decided that I will only buy what’s on my wish list. I get a monthly allowance, and with that I either buy what I truly need (I keep a list) or else save it for my big saving-up list. By using this method, you’ll only bring things into your life that’ll truly add value, and you’ll hardly feel as if you’re wasting money.

 

  1. / Shake it off

Don’t let negative relationships weigh you down. If you have a problem, talk it out as soon as you can, so that it doesn’t linger at the back of your mind. If the other person isn’t willing, rethink whether or not they are worth your time and energy.

 

  1. / Take care of yourself

If you take good care of yourself and you’ll feel happier, lighter, more positive and more productive. Give yourself grace, sleep well, exercise, eat well and pamper yourself when it’s needed.

 

Lets make 2017 our most meaningful and intentional year yet.

 

“The happiest people don’t have everything they want, but instead want everything they have.” – Anonymous

Nabeela x

DIY Lunar Garland

Hello

I could feel that I was getting bored of my workspace a little while ago, so I decided to make a garland to add some visual interest to my space again. I love the graphic look of the lunar cycle and so the good ol’ moon was the inspiration for this DIY.

You will need:

  • About 1-1,5 metres of string
  • White cardboard
  • Black paint
  • Brushes
  • Anything round the trace around
  • Little wooden pegs (or alternatively, tape)

 

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First, draw out 8 circles on your piece of card, tracing around a round object to ensure uniformity. 
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Next, cut them out and sketch the phases of the moon in with pencil.
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Paint the appropriate areas black. 

 

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Once dry, peg the moons onto the length of string. 

 

(If you want it to be in the correct lunar order, it is: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent)

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Hang it up and admire your creation!

I love having mine in my workspace. It makes it interesting and fun.

Happy New Year, too!

Nabeela x

DIY Minimal Wall-hanging

Hello

I have been wanting a more simple wall hanging in my room for a little while now. Previously, a dream catcher was hanging there but it started to bother me and made the wall feel a little too busy for my liking. I wanted something simple, beautiful and functional.

I did some searching on Pinterest and made a simple hanging based off inspiration I found whilst searching. Mine holds my favourite Instax Mini prints, so I can admire them every day.

Its quick and easy, so lets jump right in.

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You will need a bamboo chopstick, a bit of string, a few mini pegs and some mini art prints, photos or Instax prints that you love.

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Cut a piece of string and tie it to each end of your chopstick, leaving the same sized gap on either side. Make it as long or short as you like. It all depends on how low you want it to hang.

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Cut three separate lengths of string. Feed one through each of your little pegs, through the little spring part in the middle.

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Tie a secure knot.Tie each of the strings with the threaded pegs to the chopstick. I tied mine at different lengths, but you can do it however you like. (Also, you can add as many pegs and strings as you like. I just thought three worked well).

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Peg your art prints or photos onto the hanging.

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Find a good space to hang it and admire the minimal beauty of it!

Have a go at making one. They’re easy to make and are simple, but beautiful.

Nabeela x

PS: Summer holidays are here and I have some exciting content to share with you! Stay tuned!

Offline

I’ve always admired people who have the will power to have “offline days”. As bad as it sounds, it can be extremely difficult to disconnect ourselves from the hustle and bustle that is constant online. We don’t want to miss out on a thing.

Social media gives us a rush that is described by some as a “runners high”.

That rush of joy we feel when someone retweets, follows or likes what we’ve posted is what some think is happiness, but to me, I think it can take away the ability to look for happiness in less materialistic and superficial places.

I’m not at all shooting down the internet. I’m so grateful for how much my blog and personal brand have grown thanks to the exposure I’ve received on Instagram.

All I’m saying is that we need to know where to draw the line.

We find ourselves starting to live for the media. We have this idea of what life should look like and find ourselves constantly comparing our own lives to the beautifully curated feeds we see on Instagram and Pinterest. I’m guilty of it and I’m sure I’m not alone on that one.  Its that constant, unrealistic benchmark that we have set for ourselves and that society has set for us. Emphasis on unrealistic.

I’ve heard people at school say things like “She has such a busy social life! Have you seen her Instagram?” or “Her Instagram has all these photos of her hiking up all these cool mountains. But she’s so clever. When does she study?” Hello? Earth to us all? Instagram is not real life!

I recently listened to a podcast where I heard something very interesting. The hosts were discussing how Instagram has been called ‘visual crack’. Its so easy to get sucked in and spend hours looking at curated photos and then feeling depressed about own, less perfect-looking lives in comparison.

We’ve become obsessed with likes, comments and follows.

Let’s try and change up our barometer for joy.

Let’s go back to the old days where we got joy from spending time in nature or with family, and not only from a retweet.

My personal challenge for 2017 is to have a ‘offline Sunday’ as far as possible. The email can wait.

I challenge you too, to see if you can stay offline for a bit. Even if its just for an hour or two a day where you unplug and connect with yourself and others in a different kind of way.

See how carefree and happy it’ll make you.

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I’ve seen these truth-filled words all over the web, so I created this illustration. All the elements were done by hand first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nabeela x

 

 

 

 

Zen / Morning Rituals

I’ve never really been a person who intentionally followed a morning ritual. When I started doing some reading about minimalism and slow living, the ‘morning ritual’ seemed to pop up.

When I thought of a morning ritual, I didn’t just want it to be things like ‘make lunch’ and ‘brush teeth’.  I wanted to be more intentional with my time in the morning. It’s the time of day where you are at your freshest. It can be quite blissful and calm. It leaves me feeling refreshed and ready for the day.

I don’t really have a fixed ‘ritual’ as such. However, I do enjoy having a relaxed breakfast, watching the birds play in the garden and sipping iced coffee (I don’t drink hot beverages).

The few things I do consistently seem very ordinary, but I guess that’s what makes it a ritual. You do it repeatedly.

Something I thoroughly enjoy is listening to a good podcast whilst I get dressed in the morning. I love using those ten or fifteen minutes to listen to something thought-provoking or just interesting.

I thought I’d add my quick iced-frappe recipe:

  1. Add one teaspoon of coffee and sugar to have a cup of boiling water
  2. Stir well and top the cup up with milk
  3. Add 4 ice blocks
  4. Blend

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Do you have a morning ritual?

Nabeela x