slowliving

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

Self-Care / Conscious Living

investSelf-care is an integral part of living a more intentional life. Its not all about eating chocolate cake or spending a small fortune at the spa (although those things can be a lovely treat too). Its about carving out time once a day, or once a week to care for yourself – its important to keep your well-being on track. Its easy to slip into a daily routine of chaos with little room for unwinding. Going to bed late, waking up early, eating food that doesn’t nourish us and not resting and exercising enough can leave us feeling exhausted, sort of like a bicycle tyre with a slow puncture. At some point, we need to wake up, and realize that if we don’t take some time to patch it up, we’ll be left feeling completely deflated.

Having some time each day or even just once a week to practice self-care isn’t all that hard. It doesn’t have to be long, complicated or expensive. Just something that gives you a little lift. Its an intentional action of caring for yourself. Here are a few of my favourite ways to practice self-care.

  • Listen to your body. Some days, you’ll be full of energy. Other days, not so much. I find that on days when I feel completely fatigued, doing a high intensity workout leaves me feeling dizzy and ill rather than refreshed and happy. On those days, rather do some stretching and low intensity exercising. And remember, rest days are just as important.
  • Sleep in. No amount of exercise and healthy eating can replace the healing, restorative properties of a good night’s sleep, so make sure you’re getting enough of it, and have a sleep-in day when you get the chance. Try switching your phone off before bed too. You’ll be surprised by how much more refreshed you feel in the morning.
  • Try a face mask. Or a foot soak. Anything you enjoy that gives you some zen time to just breathe and let your sole task (no pun intended) be relaxing.
  • Quiet time. Relating back to the previous point, introvert or not, anyone can benefit from a little quiet time spent alone reading, meditating, painting or even sipping some tea, with a lovely candle lit. Heard of hygge? Its a vibe.
  • Digital Detox. Its good for your eyes, and your soul. Try it and see how free you’ll feel.

I hope you take some time this year to prioritize your well-being and practice some self-care. And as a little visual reminder, I’ve created art print that you can download and print out for your wall, or set as your phone lockscreen.

Nabeela x

 

PS: Curious about minimalism, self-care and slow, intentional living? Here are some pieces I’ve written on these topics:

Lately 04 / Minimalism

Simple

Slow: What’s The Rush? 

Monotasking 

Zen / Morning Rituals

Offline

5 Ways to Live a Little Lighter This Year

Slow Living / Bedtime Rituals

Summer Break / Rest + Heal

 

What’s The Origin? / Ethical Fashion

I walk into a mall. I spot a sale on at one of my favourite stores. I rush in, my heart racing at the thought of a new shiny garment in my hands. My hands frantically rush through the sale racks. Is there nothing in my size? Its only R100! I have to take something home! Ah, finally! I spot a grey tee-shirt in a size XS. That’s something I’ll wear, right? I have another three or so at home, so I know I wear things like this. I rush to the checkout point. Stick my debit card in the machine and pay for my purchase. I get a shiny new carrier to add to my collection at home. Brrt. Brrt. The verification of purchase has come through from my bank. I get home and fling the fourth grey tee-shirt in a size XS into my wardrobe that is so full that I can’t even get to the stuff at the bottom. But, it’s okay, right? I feel good. Well, I felt good. The euphoria lasted all of ten seconds. Instant gratification. It’s worth it right? 

Does any of this sound familiar to you? It certainly sounds familiar to me. However, that’s not me anymore.

Over the past year or so, I’ve been doing more and more research into fast fashion and the implications thereof. A disclaimer before I start: I certainly don’t sport a wardrobe comprised only of ethical brands. There’s more to an ethical closet than just that.

The fashion industry has grown exponentially in my lifetime alone. There are constantly new retail stores popping up with brightly-coloured signage, luring you in, trying to get you to spend your money and in return, you’ll get another piece of low-quality clothing that you don’t need or want.

But there’s more to the clothes you wear than just the shiny, polished rack they hang on in the store before you buy it. There’s a lot more. Have you ever thought about where they come from? The hands that touched the cloth you wear on your skin? The hands that slaved away to sew up the garments that hang on the rails of high-end stores? Are those hands happy? Do those people earn enough to live? Workers in sweatshops of some of the most highly coveted brands in the world are slaving away daily, with minimal breaks, if any, to produce the clothing we purchase, without giving it second thought. To give an example, since 2010, 8000 workers in an H&M sweatshop have collapsed from malnutrition, and the heat inside the factories, to name a few.* Most of these workers were earning less than minimum wage.

Due to the meteoric growth of the fashion industry, major brands can’t keep up with demand, without compromising on quality and ethics. Now, if you’re anything like me, the whole situation makes me feel terribly guilty, very helpless, and a bit stuck. What do I wear? Ethical brands can cost a small fortune (understandably so; they pay their workers decently), and being a teenager, with an unstable body shape, I’m constantly outgrowing clothes, and can’t be spending too much.

We end up having to buy fast fashion for lack of anything else. Understanding that there is a backstory to the clothes you wear is a good place to start. Educate yourself. Do research to see which brands have the most healthy factories and pay their employees above minimum wage and shop there instead. First prize would be to shop ethical brands, but that can be costly, and is unattainable for many. Be practical, and be educated.

One way I try to be more conscious is by doing a price comparison before I buy an item of clothing. I check how much it costs at a fast fashion retail store, and how much it costs at a local, ethical brand. If the latter is the same, or less (sometimes it is!), I choose to buy the ethical brand.

By educating yourself about fast fashion and the industry, you can make smarter choices, and end up with a little more peace of mind. There are some great resources that have amazing articles and resources. One of them is Fashion Revolution, an incredible organization that is changing the way we see fashion.

Its a process and a journey. It takes time, and it takes reading and learning. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re curious about the working conditions of the employees of a factory making the clothes you wear, ask! I tweet brands all the time!

“Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone somewhere, is paying.” – Lucy Siegle 

Nabeela x

{*Source: The Sun } 

Celebrate / Little Victories

Hello

Over the past two years or so, Miss Artsy-Crafty has grown beyond what I could’ve dreamed. I’ve been so inspired by the opportunities I’ve had, the people I’ve met and the things I’ve learnt along the way. This blog has grown to be a place where I share everything I find beautiful, meaningful and interesting with the world and I’m so grateful to have to space to do this!

It’s been an exciting time, with the launch of Miss Artsy-Crafty Cards coming up, and reaching 1000 followers on Instagram, so I thought I’d celebrate by giving away a few lovely things from some of my favourite South African brands.

MEET THE MAKERS

 Apostrophe Bath and Body

Apostrophe Bath and Body is a brand created by Katherine, in Durban. She makes beautiful cold-pressed soaps that are vegan and smell heavenly and are sure to make your skin feel like new.

Studio Melissa Louise

Amongst other things, Melissa-Louise creates amazing scented soy vegan candles right here in Cape Town. She also writes blog that always has such inspiring content and does creative consultations.

Hallo Jane

Jaynie of Hallo Jane creates beautiful pieces that make life a little more interesting. Her products range from jewellery to home décor as well as other things.

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I asked each maker a few questions about hustling, creative inspiration and business. Here’s what they had to say:

1. What’s the most fulfilling part about being an entrepreneur?

Kath: “The most fulfilling part about being an entrepreneur is probably the freedom. It is so exciting to wake up each day and be able to work on my own goals for the brand and feel truly invested in something. Apostrophe feels like an extension of myself which is so fulfilling and drives me in an unbelievable way, if the brand succeeds I succeed so that is very exciting.”

Melissa: “It is incredibly fulfilling to see people enjoying a product that you conceptualized and hand crafted!”

Jaynie: “Choosing my own path and making the rules as I go. Love being creative everyday and being able to express myself and my passions on a daily basis.”

2. How do you keep hustling and stay inspired?

Kath: “The nice thing about soap making is that I have a formula and recipe that I repeat over and over, however each batch ends up unique, I also get to be creative with scents and colours. I then don’t feel too much pressure to always be churning out the next exciting thing because finding out what each batch will be like is exciting enough. I am also then able to take my time and create new bars when I am truly inspired. This usually stems from the scent that I want to use, I then think of its qualities and try and create a bar that ‘looks like it smells’ if that make sense? I do however make a huge amount of soap every day, even on weekends, and although it is something I enjoy I always have to be careful that it doesn’t become a chore, I do this by making sure I still have time to create once – off spur of the moment bars when I am feeling spontaneous and creative.”

Melissa:  “Set mini milestones for yourself, celebrating and making a fuss of the small victories keeps me motivated to reach the ‘bigger’ ones… Staying inspired is easy, we live in a beautiful city, have an online world at our finger tips and are surrounded by friends and family who are truly inspiring!”

Jaynie: “I loose focus easily. So I try to set short term goals every chance I get. New project and the challenges that comes with them inspire me the most. Lots of tea and late nights. Being your own boss is not as glamorous as everyone thinks but it sure is rewarding in many ways. Makers know, we don’t work 9 to 5 and chill as soon as we get home. We work till the work is done. And that’s never… Lol!”

3. What do you find most challenging about the online market place?

Kath: “The main challenge with the online market place for me has been my lack of technological skills,  haha, although I used Instagram and Facebook before Apostrophe, I definitely didn’t use it as much, so marketing on social media has been quite a new experience for me. I have really enjoyed it though, because I cannot believe the amount of creatives in this country, Instagram has really opened my eyes and also allowed me to meet all of these amazing creatives that are doing the most amazing things! I feel like every time I open my Instagram I am flooded with inspiration by local creatives, which is awesome. Another challenge has definitely been managing a website, with my aforementioned technological skills it has been quite a learning curve. I have however been lucky enough to be assisted by Shopstar who are always an email away when I have any issues.”

Melissa: “Generating traffic to your store, marketing and setting yourself apart, all of these things are closely linked. Marketing without a budget to do so can be tough, but social media is a great tool and it’s free, by having a good social media presence displaying your processes and what makes your product unique will set you apart from your competitors, by doing all this you will also be generating traffic to your store.”

Jaynie: “Getting everything off the ground at 1st was a challenge. But as soon as you get your target market that can relate to the brand and fall in love with your products, it becomes a beautiful place.

I (like many others) am very bad at admin and paperwork. That was always my most challenging part of the online business. Emails and admin. But luckily I have Carla now who has recently been promoted to online shop manager. And she is amazing. I get to focus on my strong points now and she one hers.

Advise for anyone doing online. I know it’s in our blood as creatives to try do everything yourself. But don’t do it. You will burn out eventually. Get assistance where you need it most. That way you can spend more time on growing your business and keeping it current and fresh.  You will see and feel the amazing difference.

We are so blessed to live in a world that allows you to run your business from an online platform. That is something that I think that changed the whole game for creative people. And the possibilities that lay in it inspire others to take the creative path rather than the once society use to tell us to take.”

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I hope these makers have inspired you to keep on hustling and to nurture your creative soul.

Watch out for the launch of the card range soon!

Nabeela x

 

 

 

Slow Living / Bedtime Rituals

Being as busy as we are, it can be easy to forget the importance of taking some time in the day to relax and unwind. It’s safe to say that senior high doesn’t leave me much time to myself, so I’ve made a conscious choice to take some time each day for relaxing and down-timing. 

My preferred time to unwind is just before bed. It’s the time I feel most calm (probably because I’m so tired) and I know that everything important is done, so I don’t feel as if I’m wasting time either. It also helps me to settle down a bit quicker once I get into bed. 

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These intentional rituals have become my favourite part of the day. I savour this time to myself and look forward to it each day. 

Soothing facial ritual 

I use a minimal amount of all-natural products on my face. I love putting lovely-smelling goodies on my face. I find the natural scents and fragrances of my products relaxing and calming. I love going to bed with my skin feeling soft and squeaky-clean. 

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Balancing Cleansing Balm / Purifying Treatment Oil / The Everyday Cream

Reflective/ relaxing time

I like to keep my room airy on hot summer nights by leaving the windows wide open until just before I hit the pillow. I have an overactive mind, so I keep a journal where I can write my thoughts and whatever is taking up space in my brain. I also take some time for stretching (I spend quite a bit of time playing school sports so my muscles are often tired) and prayers. 

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Reading 

I adore reading. I find it relaxing and  entertaining, so it’s the perfect end to any day for me. Once in bed I like to read for a while until I’m sleepy. 

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I keep my room completely dark at night as I find I sleep best like this. Try out a couple of rituals until you find what works best for you. It can be so satisfying to know that you have a few peaceful rituals to engage in every evening before bed. 

I find that I feel calmer and more at peace before bed rather than frazzled and frantic. 

Self-care is absolutely essential to our well-being. Let’s make it our priority. 

“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

Nabeela x

Slow: What’s The Rush? 

In today’s busy, crazy, chaotic life, it can be difficult to remember to breathe, reflect and take some time to slow down.
When delving into minimalism, I came across its close cousin: slow living.

What is it? Well, in my understanding, it’s about taking more time to do the things you really love and do less time doing the things you don’t. Simple, right? Easier said than done though.

It’s about more intentional living. Curating your time. Doing things more intentionally and being more mindful.
You’ll notice that once you slow down a bit, you’ll see the beauty in the ordinary. Indeed, this beauty is everywhere and in everything. We just rush past it and don’t take it in enough.

 
Try and be more intentional, more mindful, more peaceful. Maybe, try listening and observing more than speaking.

 
Taste the flavours in the food you eat.
Feel the air that blows through your hair and on your skin.

Hear the birds waking you up in the morning.

See. See the world through a new, more mindful and intentional set of eyes.

We’ve become so set on looking for the imperfections, the wrongs, the pain. We try to fix that. And that’s alright. But why not embrace the beauty too?

 
This Spring, and next year, which will be my sixteenth one, I want to wake up again, see the world through new eyes and be more mindful.

 
In the words of Carl Honore, it’s time to embrace your inner tortoise.

 

‘Nature does not hurry and yet everything is accomplished…’ – Lao Tsu
I think nature is trying to tell us something.

Nabeela

 
(Considering this piece of writing is about slowness, I wrote it really fast. The words were just flowing!)

 
TEDtalk recommendation:

In praise of slowness – Carl Honore

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