simplicity

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

On Keeping Your Room Calm and Tidy

Your environment can have a big effect on your mood without you even knowing. It has been said that a clear room equals a clear mind. Sound far-fetched? Try it. I have definitely found that the state of my room has a direct effect on how calm I feel. I can’t work (or sleep well, for that matter) in an over-cluttered, messy room- I simply find it too distracting and overwhelming. I’d like to think that I’m finally reaching a point where I’ve figured out a few ways to keep my room in a general state of orderliness without it feeling stiff. I’ve also been working towards having a calming space that is easy to unwind in. This can be difficult to achieve as a student, because chances are that you study in your room too, so it is important that you allocate certain spaces for certain activities, no matter how small your room is – but more on that another time.

Here are some things that I find help me in keeping my room clutter-free and calming. It also helps me to ensure that my room doesn’t turn into a complete mess within a few days of life’s general crazy busyness.

01. / Clear daily 

Although this might seem annoying, by doing a quick 5-minute tidy-up daily, you can keep the clutter at bay. I usually just spend a few minutes picking up dirty clothes, packing away anything that belongs in cupboards or drawers and throwing away unwanted papers. I usually do this in the evenings before bed (it can be quite therapeutic actually – or is that just me?! LOL) but pick a time that suits you and run with it.

02. /  Keep your surfaces clear

This is just about the easiest way to instantly make your room look and feel clearer. Cut back on the excess (be flexible though. Your room doesn’t always have to look Pinterest-perfect. You live there, remember?). Best advice I’ve ever been given. Best advice I can give.

03. / Give it a home

You might find that there’s always that one object that kind of just floats around because you don’t really know where it goes. To avoid having any of your things just floating around, ensure that everything, no matter how small, has a home. This way,  when the time comes to pack it away, there is an actual place to put it.

Here are some things you can do to create calm vibes in your room.

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01. / Candles

Candles don’t only create a calm mood, but they also leave your room smelling positively delicious. I currently only burn candles that don’t have any whack ingredients – don’t want any nasties floating around in the air. My current faavourite is this lemongrass one from Wellness Warehouse. It’s made from soybean wax, so it can be used as massage oil when it melts – double whammy. My other favourite candle is from Rain, but it’s quite old (as in, I found it in a chest somewhere in our house), so I don’t think it can be bought anymore.

02. / Colours

I’m the kind of person who actually really adores colour, but chooses not to show it in my dress or decor choices all that often. The only place in my room that is really colourful is my workspace, but that’s just what I like. Find a colour story that works for you, and try and stick with it. It’ll make your space feel less crazy. I find that having a more cohesive colour palette in my room makes for a more relaxing space, and is easier on the eye.

03. / Plants

Anyone who knows me well enough in real life (or even online) will know that I adore plants. Not going to lie, if I could, I’d pack up my room and move into someone’s greenhouse in a heartbeat. But seeing as that’s not exactly realistic (yet – some day maybe), I bring greenery into my space by keeping houseplants. They’re air-purifying, beautiful and quite literally add life to the space. Not a very good plant parent? Don’t despair. Just pick up a cactus. The only way I’ve ever killed one is by drowning the poor thing from too much water. (Oops).

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So there you have it, folks. My best zen room tips and tricks. (How am I not a Hygge spokesperson yet?) Hope you found this helpful. Until next time x

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

 

Wear Local / Amanda Laird Cherry

Hello

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading and following my blog for a little while, I love well-made, local products that are of high quality. The abundance of these products in the last little while makes me even prouder to be a South African. Luckily for me, and every other local lover, there are multiple brands and businesses making beautiful, clever and inspiring creations all around  in South Africa.

One of my favourite local clothing brands is Durban-based Amanda Laird Cherry.

I first discovered the brand when my mom and aunts all bought the classic long maxi dresses for a family wedding. It was when I was a bit younger and before I was so conscious of local design , but the brand caught my eye nonetheless. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to fit into a dress like that! (So you can imagine my excitement when I finally got my own dress in a beautiful plum colour for a family wedding this summer!)

Amanda is the designer behind the brand. She has received numerous awards in the South African fashion industry and holds a high name. This year, the brand turns 20!

Amanda Laird Cherry produces apparel that echo a perfect balance between elegance, simplicity and comfort. There are a variety of clothing, leather shoes and accessories under the brand.

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These leather mary-janes have become my go-to shoes. They are comfortable and elegant, yet simple and well-made. 

She also co-founded The Space, one of my favourite places to shop local clothing and design!

You can find the SS16 range at The Space.

Support local and shop small, especially this festive season!

Nabeela x

 

Simple

Hello

Minimalism. That’s what’s on my mind at the moment. Every little thing about it interests me. The simplicity that radiates from it all is what really attracts me. I am find myself constantly downsizing. My clothes, papers, craft stash, accounts I follow and mailers I’m signed up to. I find myself constantly cleaning up and clearing out. Its as if all I want to do is get rid of the things that drain the calm and peace from my mental and physical space.

I’m young. I’m only in high school, which means I obviously don’t live in my own house. The only space I have that is completely mine is my bedroom. There are other spaces in the house that I share with my siblings and the rest of my family, but my room is mine alone. I love that. I love knowing that I can do what I want in and with that space, and it won’t really affect anyone else. I feel like excess stuff detracts from the calm. Extra papers, old clothes, unused lotions, unworn jewellery, they all just add to the clutter. I don’t hoard things at all. As soon as I don’t need something anymore, I get rid of it.  A part of me has always been a minimalist. Now I just know what to call that part.

Minimalism is something strange too. The thing that makes it strange is the fact that its so difficult to define it. I’ve been doing research, reading lots about it and listening to TEDTalks and podcats about topics like simplicity, stillness and ‘less is more’. The funny thing is that sources contradict themselves. One article I read gave tips to becoming minimalist. One of them was something along the lines of “Remove everything hanging on your walls as far as possible.” Another one said “People seem to think minimalism is about having less. It’s not. It’s about having enough to make you happy and no more.” This baffled me at first. I was trying to understand a concept and I couldn’t fine a place or person that would explain it to me. Then, I realised its because actually, minimalism has a different meaning to everyone. To some, its all about possessions. To others, its about living a life that you enjoy fully and wholeheartedly. It all depends on you.

I decided to think about what minimalism actually means to me. It means simple. Only hanging onto possessions that make me happy. Thinking before I buy something. Being mindful of what I say, think, do, taste, hear, smell and see. Only keeping the necessary things in my life. Not letting unpleasant or negative people get to me. That’s what minimalism is to me. Its exciting. To have a goal that doesn’t revolve around money or things. Its like having a saving-up list, except instead of saving up money, you just have to learn more and more about yourself to be happy. I find myself finding more joy in the simple little things that are now pleasures to me. Sunday morning runs around the block, weekend ice-cream cones, getting into bed and just thinking, ocean air, comfy shoes.

A really good TEDTalk I listened to recently, which I highly recommend is called Less Stuff, More Happiness by Graham Hill. It’s a very old one, but it’s still very relevant and I love it.

Stay happy.

Nabeela

(Yes, I will be signing off my posts like this instead now. Its my name and it feels more genuine)

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