Perhaps the biggest lifestyle change to date; the TV removal trial

This year our minimalist and simple living quest has been turning up a notch with starting to declutter sentimental items, really think about how we live and our latest decision is one that has caused most controversy amongst friends and family; planning to live without a Television.

These days a standard television could be viewed obsolete as more and more people ditch the little (or not so little) black box for projectors, surround sound cinema experiences and bigger and better HD experiences.

But we aren’t looking at any of those options. We are looking at a life without any television screen.

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Why would we want to make this life changing decision which has shocked many? The aim of our TV less world is to live more simply. To utilise the time we often spend numbing ourselves with programmes we’re half interested in to actually experience life, the great outdoors, see more theatre and film, go to more restaurants, have more after work drinks, read more, just go for coffee, hang out in the library, blog, vlog, write and generally develop a richer, simpler way of living.

This isn’t to say we will never again watch the best that Auntie has to offer, or watch a film but we will be doing this on our laptops and will be making very conscious decisions to only watch the best and our favourites. This allows us to also watch different things from each other, to schedule programme watching around our life and to limit the ‘fire gazing’ done where hours of life is lost to something you only half watch as you fiddle with your phone.

We are starting a month’s trial of this brave new world this Sunday, and will turn our TV round. I am actually really excited. My plans are to read more in the evening, the chances are we will interact more and we’re looking forward to getting out our York version of Monopoly that we’ve hardly touched. We have also signed up to a theatre membership so will be getting out and experiencing some live drama. To me it feels exciting, but also really daunting. TV is the bedrock of so many of our lives. Who can’t remember the first episode of Eastenders when Reg Cox, or the ‘Free Deidre’ campaign? The first episode of Big Brother when it was still a brilliant concept, or getting round the telly at Christmas for The Only Fools and Horses Christmas specials?

What happens if we don’t have anything to do (unlikely, I will be able to blog more, read more, listen to radio plays, music, and spend more time with the 4 cats and 2 dogs that own us)

The biggest reaction has been from those we’ve told of our plans ‘What are you going to do?’ ask work colleagues with wide open eyes, as if we’ve told them we’re going to seal ourselves in the house for the rest of our natural lives.

Parents reactions were more perplexed? ‘Why don’t you want a TV?’, my parents worship the BBC as if it is the font of all knowledge, and spend every evening watching it. So to say we are no longer planning to have one was just as if we had said ‘We’re off to live on Mars’.

What do you think? Could you live without a TV? I will update throughout the month with how we get on.

Having raided Pinterest, one of my favourite inspirations I found a great pin with 47 things to do other than watch TV. It’s American, perhaps us Brits are so surgically attached to the TV there are no pins out there from us?

I’ve highlighted below in bold the ones I plan to have a go at, and there’s lots of suggestions for you if you fancy it and I will update you on how painful or life changing it’s been in a couple of weeks.

47 Things to Do Instead of Watching TV (thanks to growingslower.com)

  • Paint or Draw
  • Play a game
  • Go for a run/walk
  • Start a business
  • Declutter
  • Make a backyard fire pit and roast marshmallows
  • Take a Hike
  • Plan a Trip
  • Actually do a pinterest project
  • Learn a language
  • Play with your kids (in our case our neice and nephew)
  • Read the Bible (not my cup of tea, but I will be reading a ton of books)
  • Throw a Party – Maybe we will start some dinner parties?
  • Learn to knit
  • Make eye contact
  • Start a blog (Well I’m ahead of the game on that one but I plan to develop this blog lots more)
  • Throw a bbq (Yes definitely in the summer months)
  • Read to your kids
  • Write in a journal
  • Play or learn an instrument
  • Exercise
  • Visit a friend (I definitely plan to do more socialising)
  • Make a budget
  • Ask your spouse about their day
  • Have a picnic
  • Plant a garden ( Thinking about a veg garden)
  • Cook from scratch
  • Phone or Skype with a friend ( Definitely a plan)
  • Invite someone over
  • Take pictures of your family/friends
  • Go for a drive (summer evening drives to the countryside is a definite)
  • Read a magazine
  • Go camping (the backyard counts) (We are definitely planning on this over the summer)
  • Have a scavenger hunt
  • Try out Geocaching
  • Go to a Museum
  • Craft
  • Go to the park
  • Visit local farm or farmers market
  • Ride a bike
  • Build a fort
  • Go fishing
  • Join a church or community group
  • Take a class
  • Volunteer (I already do)
  • Teach your friends/family/kids something you Know
  • Attend a Community Concert or Play (Have plans for more theatre)

So here’s to a TV free month. Let the fun begin!

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Decluttering do’s and where we’re at on our journey

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I really wish I’d kept a journal of all we’ve cleared out in the last 18 months because I think it would be a pretty long and blog worthy list. Sadly these great ideas are all too clear in hindsight. I didn’t so I am feeding back from memory.

I am pretty amazed at the journey I’ve been on to get to a massively reduced amount of ‘stuff’. I estimate we have cut our belongings by about a half but its not always been plain sailing. We’ve hit the rocks on more than a few occasions. There have been times I have found it really hard to throw clothes that are too small or too big because of memories they evoke, a recent difficulty was school reports from my secondary school. Do I throw away something 25 years old or keep as a record of my not very misspent youth? CDs were another difficulty. Collected lovingly over many years. Do I get rid of a Dr Dre CD that I haven’t listened to for years which reminds me of my 20s and my party lifestyle that I could no longer bring myself to imitate?

If you are on a similar journey and have been hit by declutter-ers block like I did then I have some tips that may help…

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1. Take a break – decluttering is good for the soul but it can take a real emotional toll when you start to examine more of the things you left until last. You don’t have to declutter everything in a specified period of time. If you’re finding it tough then go and take some down time. Do nice things. Forget all about the purge for a bit. When you come back you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next steps.

2 – Ask yourself simple questions. Do I love it? Do I need it? If the answers to those two are neither, can you reuse, repurpose or upcycle to something you can use or will love? Can you sell or give away?

3. Be at one with at the object – With sentimental items take some time to really look at the object or item. Take some time to feel it and look at it. Ask yourself why you’re keeping it? Is it a reminder of better times? Does it remind you of someone you’ve lost? I have some (clean) pyjamas of my Nans she wore before she died. I have never been able to let them go because they’re very symbolic to me. I have found out that people make memory bears or memory items out of clothing. So it’s not taking the item away but it’s repurposing the item to something you will treasure

4. Look at alternative versions – This is one for music and book fanatics. CDs and books take up a phenomenal amount of space, can collect dust and make a space feel overwhelmed. Make it a project to get everything on digital for your CDs. For books I only use library books. Most libraries have a reservation process and I find I can get 90 per cent of all the books I want this way. Any I love I can buy to read again and again. If you’re a fan of a kindle (I am an old fashioned book over myself ) you can get digital books through the library or buy pretty cheaply through somewhere like Amazon or Google Play.

5. Take one small area at a time – once you’ve done the easy things like clothes that don’t fit, old dried up mascaras, and 10 year old birthday cards it can get a bit harder. I like to tackle one thing at at time. Last year we cut our chest of drawers from 2 to 1. I now have all my stuff that was in a chest of 5 drawers in one draw with dividers. Doing that freed up space in our bedroom. It feels less cluttered, the space is clearer, and I spent time clearing out odd socks, old pyjamas and moving toiletries so I was able to have just one drawer. I feel so much freer having less of those items. But that was a really good declutter as there was a clear goal and we could see a difference and it spurred us on.

So have a go at getting back on the clearing out horse if you’ve fallen off. Let me know how it goes.

To date we have got rid of something like the following;

Chest of drawers
Double bed
Armchair
2 bedside tables
A side table
Juicer
George foreman grill
2 x blenders
Sandwich maker
Bread maker
Ipod speaker
Bike
BBQ
Stereo
Lamp
Clothes airer
Pictures x 6
3 x rugby shirts given to local rugby club
Christmas tree and about 50 per cent of our Christmas decorations
12 boxes of stuff to car boot sale
20 bags to charity shop
10 bin bags of things that couldn’t have been recycled
Numerous bags to our mums who love a rummage through what we’re clearing out.
50 CDS
25 DVDs
50 books

Happy decluttering!

Pass the sweetener? Living the sugar free life

It’s been a month now since myself and my wife went sugar free, or as free as it’s possible to get without cutting 90% of the food of the western world out. For those of you who don’t spend hours scouring the back of cornflake packets or bread bags, we are kicking out processed foods, but not bread because I think we’d spend a lifetime mourning, and all kind of sweet treats such as cakes, biscuits, sweets, desserts, yoghurts, ketchups (yes you hear me right!). I would like to categorically state at this point I will not be giving up alcohol, which yes is full of sugar but I only drink it rarely and it doesn’t have the same effect on me as a bag of Revels so it’s staying!

Ironically we chose to start this massive lifestyle change the week the Department of Health launched their sugar smart app.

https://www.nhs.uk/change4life-beta/campaigns/sugar-smart/home

I am pretty cynical of anything the Department of Health do around sugar, because I think they should be hitting the people who put sugar in everything first, before getting all of us to be scanning yoghurt pots and biscuit packets, but it was actually an eye opener, and whoa did it help us through our first week as we realised how much sugar we consume.

sugar addiction

And for those minimalists of you who are looking for decluttering in this post. We’ve started on decluttering our bodies…once you start looking at what sugar does to you, and how much is hidden in things you don’t even expect it to be in, such as bread, pasta sauce and soup, it opens up your eyes to this world of doped up sugar driven zombies we’ve become. Decluttering the body is good for the soul and all that kind of thing.

If you’re interested in how shite sugar is for you, take a look at this which pretty much kept me on track for the first difficult 21 days

http://www.prevention.com/health/what-happens-when-you-stop-eating-sugar?cid=soc_facebook_realsimple_9-7&xid=soc_socialflow_facebook_realsimple

Anyway we’re not going to be getting up on our soapbox any time soon. It’s bloody hard. It’s my third time of doing it – the most I’ve ever been sugar free is a year, and I fell off the wagon spectacularly around the time I met my wife. The first few days this time were some kind of hell; flu symptoms, exhaustion, irritability, aching body, desperate dreams about liquorice allsorts and strawberry laces, but we have got through those, cue next nothing that passes for a treat without making you bloat and giving you wind in the form of a poison called aspartame or sucharin which is most sugar free items. Then we found Stevia chocolate; Oh Stevia chocolate how we love you, your ability to keep us sane, when everyone around us is eating Yorkies.

no-sugar

So has it been worth it? I feel great, in all honesty. Whilst I would like to think I’d dropped to a size 16 overnight that hasn’t happened, there has been a bit of weight loss, but i am not doing it for that, and aside from trying to eat healthier foods, I don’t watch my weight. However the other benefits have been massive; I no longer feel  like I am waking up from a coma, I have more energy, and I no longer salivate at any bit of cake put in front of me.

I hope I can tell you on this blog in six months time, and 12 months, and 2 years that I am still sugar free. That wagon is remarkably rocky and I know I can fall off at any time. All the things that addicts are told to do to avoid the booze and drugs can’t really apply on this one; avoid places where they sell it? A bit of a tough one. Change your friends? Not sure I know anyone who doesn’t eat it? Move away from bad influences? You’re never more than 50 feet from a Tesco these days. No, it’s going to come down to the sheer ability not to put it in my mouth…let’s see how it goes eh?

 

 

The state of the nation

I’m in London today;  a place I lived happily for a couple of years and less happily for a couple more. 

To me London is the  epitomy of maximalism, more shops,  bars, restaurants,  and even sex shows than anywhere else in our fine country. It’s ahead of the game in so many things. However London is also like marmite. You love it or hate it. For a potential minimalist London can choke you with choice and opportunities.

I love it and hate it in equal measures.  For art and culture  it is unrivalled and I miss it terribly. For everything else the call of the north beats louder. Lots of space, unpolluted air and a beer for less than a fiver gets my vote every time.

So why am I wittering  on about London? Because whatever  your view there’s always something thought provoking or inspiring or challenging  on every visit.  Today it is this; the state of our nation epitomised by the repurposing of a good old red phone  box. Once the only kind of mobile  phone available,  call boxes like these were a lifeline for those running late, young lovers who wanted to coo to each other out of the sight of parents and those for whom a phone line was a luxury not a necessity. 

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In South Kensington I came across this phone box-cash machine hybrid. This is  the first I have ever seen of its kind.  Actually it’s  a really innovative use of the old boxes although for the aestheticians of us this is probably akin to gross bodily harm.
But the reason  I stopped to take a photo of this was that to me it sums up  society  today. The emphasis now is on fast and convenience intermingled with wealth. The days of a phone call and face to face communication diminished with an ever increasing  plethora of apps and smartphones.  The latest of these,  apple pay even removes  the need to get your purse out. Quick transactions. Reduced interactions.  All designed  to keep the money coming. So whilst I was slightly amused at this phone box cash machine,  I’m not surprised. To me it sums up London and modern living for so many and what people like me aspiring,  simple  living minimalists struggle with; fast money in a spend to feel  better society.

Hibernation…

You may have noticed I have been quiet of late. No blog posts over the winter. If you followed me on Twitter you will have noticed the posts are rarer than usual. Even the Facebook witticisms are thin on the ground.

So what has caused this communication black out? Busyness? Probably Lethargy? Most definitely. The truth is it’s my annual hibernation period. Like the black bears and prickly hedgehogs as soon as it gets dark and the leaves begin to drop I retreat into my shell, put on my big fluffy jumper and hunker down through the winter months.

I sometimes feel guilty about this self indulgence recharging time and announce this hibernation to the world early on so my refusal of invitations, sofa hugging and winter naps are known by one and all and the boundaries are clear.

 

I didn’t think it would affect my ability to create, but this year it has. I have felt able to do no more than lift a coloured pencil to my mindful colouring book. So no blog. I seemed  not to have the words, the thoughts or the ability to get them on a page, electronic or otherwise. Some people call this SAD or season affected disorder, some the winter blues, but it amounts to the same thing. The need to hibernate for at least 3 months, the fact that as soon as it gets dark the pjs and fluffy socks go on and the dallying in the summer sunshine seems a lifetime away.

So I have been having early nights, reading books, eating good old winter food like soups and stodge and generally enjoying some down time.

That’s the thing you see, I am enjoying my hibernation. The chance for some rest, skin sloughing and moisturising, hot chocolate, reflection on the past year and anticipation for what’s to come, and enjoying lazy afternoon snoozes in the  half light. It’s a winter version of minimalism – simple living in line with the seasons.

But as the first snow drops start to poke through the grass, I am starting to stretch, yawn and come to life. So look out for blogs on being sugar free, some books I’ve been reading and reviewing, and the latest decluttering in the H-G household.

Minimalism in the virtual world…

In my quest for minimalism so far I have focussed on the physical; items that no longer serve a purpose, old books I have no intention of reading, mountain upon mountain of clothes and that’s given me a great sense of purpose and achievement.

Recently though I have a growing sense of need to declutter  in a more virtual, digital way. The increasing use of social media, and cloud software means that nothing needs to be thrown away anymore, and that person you wouldn’t have spoken to twice now has access to all your intimate moments via Facebook or Twitter. Social media can be a really positive connecting tool, linking you to those you love who are far away, recording memorable moments, following your favourite haunts and places to go.

The opposite though which I have found is the creeping virtual dust that drifts over the 4000 people you follow on Twitter, the friend of a friend that you met on a hen do 10 years ago that winds you up with their negative posts on Facebook, the 400 pictures of someone’s cat doing something cute that you sit and look at instead of having a proper conversation ( OK I admit I quite like those).

social-media-signs

I found myself recently becoming really angry with complete strangers on a post on Facebook. I didn’t know these people, I didn’t have any vested interest in the post, yet I had let it get under my skin. It was a real wake up call…I am a social media hoarder…I have followed and liked more pages than I keep up with, I get notifications in the dozens, and I am the equivalent of one of the worst hoarders with the digital equivalent of carrier bag upon carrier bag of posts and pins.

On top of this I probably have about 10,000 photo’s on my Dropbox folder.  This includes the same shot I have taken four or five times over as a throwback from film camera days when you never knew if a photo would come out or not. I also hold all those photos I have taken on my phone of the floor, my thumb and a selfie where I only get half of my head in the shot.

So what can we do to become digital minimalists? Firstly I have de-activated my Facebook account for a couple of weeks to take a step back from what I miss, the people I want to be connected to, and the things I want to follow.

I have removed the app from my phone as well, so the temptation to ‘just have a look at 10 minutes’ which ends up in an hour of gazing at a screen is minimised.

I have started going through my photos and deleting the duplicates, the landscape pictures I  took 10 years ago of places I can’t even remember, the blurry shots of which there are many and those photos which don’t mean anything. It’s a big job, but I feel my head is clearer and I feel more in control.

I am undertaking a promise to myself to only pin onto my Pinterest boards what I really love, and to delete boards I don’t look at again.

Does this ring bells with you? What digital clutter can you lose?

The End of my September Challenge

I’ve been recording all of my spending during September. I’ve done this completely freely and without any editing so that I can review what I truly spend…and it’s pretty interesting reading.

I’ve included everything down to the last penny that’s outside of my normal bills, which includes some money for grocery shopping. Anything above that I have added in here. It was a tough month as we had a car service so that was £600 I wasn’t expecting to pay.

My biggest surprises aren’t what I thought they’d be. i actually thought coffee would be higher. Eating out isn’t very high because we can’t do much of it at the moment. The biggest surprises were pet supplies (most of our pet stuff is covered in our groceries bill, such as food etc.) so I am totally over indulging these little fluffballs! I also spent lots on birthday presents this month, which isn’t a usual spend. So below is my spend, how does this sit with yours? I’m still recording Octobers, and currently I am not putting a caveat on spending apart from what I think I can afford…I am planning to set a budget next year so this is a good habit to get into! What do you spend most on?

£24.60   – Coffees and office tea kitty

£69.50- Eating Out

£74.96 – Extra Groceries (e.g. for packed lunches, extra dog and cat food, treats etc.)

£13.98 – Books and Magazines

£46.26- Pet items

£14.13- Snacks on the run

£19.00 home and garden stuff

£60-  birthday  presents and cards

£ 90  clothing

£ 35  – haircut

£604 Car and Travel

£11.71 – Donations

TOTAL – 1063.14

The gentle of art of balance

You might have noticed it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Whilst I would love to say it’s because I’ve been making my own cheese, decluttering, sipping coffee on a veranda whilst living a simple and minimal life, I sadly cannot claim any of these things.

I have spent the last few weeks hospital visiting, working two jobs, trying to be a good wife, good daughter, sister, auntie, friend, volunteer, part of the community etc. etc. The list goes on. You know how it goes. Goodness knows how Mums cope. I only have to deal with two over excited dogs, and two rather superior cats.  Each day blends into the next…wake…shower…eat..work…home…TV…sleep. This is not mindful living, simple living or minimalism. In fact I feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

So I need to re-set my seesaw and get some balance back. What does that even mean? I guess balance means different things to different people. To me it’s feeling calm, having enough time to achieve what I want to , feeling a sense of peace and a sense of achievement

I am thinking about this a lot…I think sometimes when we get to busy parts of our life e.g. working two jobs to pay extra bills, working hard, having a difficult time with health etc…the balance is tipped as you desperately tread the water trying to restore balance, and actually perhaps we’re working too hard to restore the balance to equal measures. As someone who practices mindfulness it is remarkably easy to forget all the tools I can use to help. So I am going to bring some of them in, and maybe they will help you too.

Mindful walking – I have to walk the dogs everyday, so I am going to aim for a bit of mindful walking. Mindful walking means different things to different people, but to me, its about taking in all the surroundings, bird song, the crisp smell of autumn, feeling the ground beneath my feet, taking some deep breaths, and it helps bring me some perspective on life. Even that half an hour a day makes life feel less rushed and gives me that peace that I find in balance.

Being compassionate to yourself – One of the things I’m really bad at, and pretty much many of us struggle with is being kind to ourselves and doing nice things for ourselves; a bath, a sneaky hours read, curled up with our pets, or our kids, a trip to the cinema, a face mask, a massage, a quiet coffee…anything that makes you feel good and feel that you’re being kind to yourself.

The final one I can recommend that I also need to use is acceptance. Acceptance is a wonderful thing, and should be easy but find it hard to accept things as they are sometimes. So what is there to accept in the case of balance? I need to accept life is tough this year. I have family and good friends who are seriously unwell and I want to be there for them.  I have to work two jobs to pay for two sets of house bills until we have sold one of them and moved into our new place. So I accept life it tough, but that it’s hopefully short term. Actually saying to you I accept it’s tough makes me feel better already. Like I am giving myself a bit of a permit to sit in my PJs and eat ice cream some days, or not to have to accept every invitation that’s offered me, or that it’s OK we can’t go on holidays or have big nights out right now. (Can you feel the deep sigh I’ve just exhaled – feeling calmer already)

So that’s it…three simple solutions, mindful walking, being kind to myself and accepting things as it is…Who’s going to try it with me? I’ll let you know how I get on

The ticking of time- Watches; To wear or not to wear?

Having started a new job recently, the subject of wearing a watch has come up for me again. Most people wear a watch, so what is there to discuss about? Strap it on and know what the time is. What’s the issue?

Time is one of the things that most of us would give our right leg for more of. Research discussed in the article below  talks about how happiness is a result of the choices people make.

https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/if-money-doesn%E2%80%99t-make-you-happy-consider-time

The answer to being happy ends in the simple suggestion: spend your time wisely. Saving time is something I actively try to manage in my minimalist lifestyle and often lost the battle with, so it’s something I’m really aware of.

If you Google how to save time you bring up 1,460,000,000 results . Time saving is big business…in fact time saving is probably an enemy of minimalism as we as consumers buy more and more time saving gadgets and apps to save us more time.  Ironically we work harder and longer than ever to pay for these time saving devices.

So back to the watch. I don’t wear one. The reason I don’t wear one is because I think watching time tick away is a bit depressing. It’s like having a counter on your death date ticking backwards. Watching an hour count down that you’re never going to get back doesn’t seem a very productive use of life to me. I also don’t want to rush from one appointment to the next, keeping an eye on the clock rather than being fully present in what I am doing, something I struggle with anyway.

In my new job, we have meetings, Lots of them. So I’ve had to consider the subject of wearing a watch again. Watches have so much symbolism in materialism; the Rolex that signifies wealth and success, the Fitbit which highlights your aim at a healthy lifestyle, the Apple watch with it’s Apple Pay technology for the cutting edge technologists.

apple-watch-round-concept

No longer just a measure of time, and how to know what time of day it is, they’re also a way of us showing the world what we’re about if we don’t want to splash labels all over our clothes. I don’t want to have that ability. I’d rather you’d get to know me through other aspects of my self.

So how I do get round this? Do I succumb to watch wearing for work purposes? Well that involves purchasing something I  don’t want. The absolute opposite of minimalism. So you can see the dilemma I’m in. Hopefully! So after a week of umming and aahing I have come to a conclusion. Space out meetings where possible to avoid needing to check the time, and use the clock on my computer, and my work phone as needed. Phew…purchase avoided. I can let the hours tick down on their own without my witnessing them and worrying I need to find more.

The #minimalistliving September Challenge Update

It’s been two weeks now of my September Challenge*; finding 11 hours a week of time to do more meaningful activity i.e. not just sitting on the internet or my phone, or watching repeats or someone’s lives being rehashed for the TV. This was to make  up for the fact I was going to be going from working 26 hours to a week to 37 hours a week.

So how have I got on so far? I am halfway through my month’s challenge. I have to confess I haven’t managed 11 hours a week, which I suppose was quite a big challenge in the first place, working on finding a way of recouping over 2 hours a day.

However I am pleased with what I have achieved and have found that I am making time for quality experiences that I wouldn’t have had before in my old job. I spent a lot of time driving, and so would be exhausted after work, and catching up on life at weekends.

So what have I found the time to do?

Well I now walk to work, and in the morning I spend that 20 minutes walking to work, walking mindfully. If you have no idea what this means check this out here; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/20/meditation-in-action-walking-meditation_n_3279958.html

In effect, for me it’s about taking notice of my surroundings, clearing my mind of all the virtual ‘stuff’ that collects in it’s corners and observing the world around me. It’s great for feeling ready and prepared to face the world ahead, as well as being really good for anxiety and depression, and calming stress. I will talk more about mindfulness in a later blog as it’s something I practice, and it’s a great partner for minimalist living. Total Time recouped = 1 hour 40 minutes each week

I have made time for lunch outside in the last couple of weeks which is something I have not had time to do for ages. In my first week I sat on a bench, facing the River Ouse, spending time communing with York’s very special geese (who apparently like banana!), the weather has been great for sitting outside, and I just spent time listening to the sounds of the city, and eating a very lovely packed lunch prepared for me by my very kind wife.  Time recouped = 1 hour 40 minutes each week

By not travelling in the week, it’s also meaning I can start looking at activities in the week to do again. I got to go to my Mindfulness group where we meditate, and catch up on our mindfulness practice. I have had to miss some of these when travelling. It’s great to feel I can just leave work and head off to do something before going home.  Time recouped = 60 mins

By also getting into a routine and getting up and home at the same time I am feeling more motivated. So I’ve been starting to find and cook up my 10 recipes for my minimalist cooking approach. I’m posting my recipes as I find them here too… Time recouped = about 1 hour and a half per week

I am also finding little slots of time here and there; a coffee sipped on the city walls, an hours book reading before the alarm goes off, a meal after work with my wife overlooking the river and a stroll home…which we probably would have put off if we had had to go home first and then go out again.

So although I haven’t reached the goal I had intended for this part of the challenge, I’ve adapted to my new hours, and found that actually for me, slotting in an hour here and there is more productive than having a whole day off.  I am feeling motivated, having more quality experiences (which is part of my overall goal and motivation for living a minimalist life), and getting more mindful.

*Have been recording all my spending which I think will be interesting to analyse at the end of my month, ahead of my October shopping month ban…