Keep It Simple & In the Moment Magazine

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Life is busy here. I’m halfway through writing my second book and on a tight deadline. My son is halfway through sitting his GCSE’s (twelve done, nine to go). We also have a family member who is in the last stages of a terminal illness so there are a lot of visits to the hospital. Together, these things are putting a lot of pressure on us as a family. I know that if I didn’t choose to live simply and slowly, all of this busyness and stress would leave me feeling overwhelmed and I’d fall to pieces. But by focusing on what matters, and letting go of what doesn’t, I’m able to maintain the course.

I’ve learned over the years that we can do some things, but not all the things. I know that I have to lean in to what is happening right now and prioritise what I need to get done. Below are the strategies I have in place to help us deal with these demanding days and some ideas of how you can simplify:

Meal planning & batch cooking - when life gets stressful, it’s vital that we still eat well to keep healthy. Here are some quick meal ideas that can be prepared ahead and then used up over several days. They also taste delicious and are packed full of protein and vitamins.

a big pot of veggie chilli made with mixed beans. Serve it with quick sides like rice, wraps or taco shells.

- a big bowl of homemade coleslaw. Serve it with shop bought falafel in flatbreads or add to veggie burgers and serve with baked sweet potato fries. (coleslaw is peeled strips of carrot, sliced strips of red cabbage and red onion. Throw in some chopped coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice. Mix with mayonnaise and natural yoghurt to taste (substitute for dairy free yoghurt/mayo for vegans).

-homemade pesto made with cashew nuts, spinach, broccoli and sun dried tomatoes. Serve with linguine or a packet of gnocchi. Add a sprinkle of yeast extract or veggie parmesan.

-veggie curry served with rice. Use it up by mixing in some natural yoghurt or non-dairy substitute and pop in a wrap. Toss in a few cashew nuts for added protein.

Household - having a cleaning rhythm allows us to keep on top of chores and maintains the balance in my home. I have a daily routine that I keep to and each chore is only given fifteen to twenty minutes which frees up time elsewhere. Even though we’re really busy, the house is clean and tidy and the laundry is all done.

-If you are struggling to keep on top of the cleaning - try putting together a weekly schedule for your home to make more efficient. Allocate one room for each day of the week and get the kids involved too. You’ll find you won’t have to get out more toxic products to keep it clean either.

Wardrobe - having a capsule closet of less than thirty items in my wardrobe means choosing an outfit takes no thought at all. I grab a quick shower and put on one of my favourite and most comfortable outfits, usually a pair of dark jeans and a striped Breton top. If I’m heading out, I throw on my trench coat and I’m good to go. My son and husband have equally simple wardrobes to work with.

- Follow the amazing 10x10 project on Instagram #10x10challenge for ideas of how to put together simple outfit combinations. I’m also a huge fan of @theconstantcloset who has a beautiful feed. Brianna has a slow closet and mostly wears secondhand or ethical clothing items. My book ‘Live Green’ also contains information on how to create a successful wardrobe that works well for your lifestyle.

So these are the strategies that help keep me focused but what have I let go of? Well, social media for one. I’m avoiding mindless scrolling and watching Stories. I don’t feel the need to see what everyone else is doing or saying on Instagram and I haven’t posted in weeks (until now). I’ve said no to things I can’t possibly fit in to my busy diary including writing regularly on this blog (sorry!). The garden is overgrown and needs pruning and weeding. It’s not going to get done for a while and at least the dandelions help to nourish pollinating insects. We’ve turned the television off and have gone to bed early. That’s what catch up television is made for! We’ve read books instead and tried to get a better night’s sleep to help refresh us for the next busy day.

If you are looking to simplify your life then In the Moment magazine (June 2019 edition) has a lovely feature called ‘Seeking a simpler life’. I was interviewed a few months ago by the feature writer Siobhan Mason on how I live slowly and simply in the city. I think it’s a beautifully written piece that includes contributions from Courtney Carver (@bemorewithless) on creating a simple wardrobe and Emma Ross (@mamalinauk) on simple parenting. You can find In the Moment in WHSmiths, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer etc.

Finally, Live Green has been made into an e-book. Lots of people have asked for this, so here you go! Just click on the buy my book button at the top of this page to order if you’d like a copy.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully I’ll be back here soon.

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