This post is all about possessions and experiences that made the first month of 2017 memorable. Living minimally, intentionally, etc., is definitely not about deprivation so this is going to be a monthly way for me to chronicle the everyday things that I have found super useful and fulfilling.
Experiences over things:
1. Tea time experiences – My personalised mug by Emma Bridgewater
This was my main Christmas present from Catherine, my long-term partner/fiancee. On the right you can see the personalised mug I got her for Valentines Day last year, which I often drank out of when home alone. It’s a design which keeps your drink really hot. Emma Bridgewater are well known for their ceramics and prints. It’s wonderful to use something everyday that is well-made and locally produced, because I live in Staffordshire, one of the world’s most important places for pottery and ceramics.
It is a total cliche, but we British really do drink a lot of tea on the whole. It’s probably my biggest “vice”, as it just improves almost any situation.#Britishproblems are a running theme in this monthly round-up! I’ve also been very partial to a hot mug of Vimto (for non-Brits, it’s a brand of purple-coloured fruit squash/cordial) this month as well because of a rotten cold I have suffered from.
Its other redeeming features are its size, which also makes it superb for dunking biscuits. The stars are also my favourite Emma Bridgewater print – Catherine knows me well. Since adopting a minimalist outlook on life, presents have been harder to think about and rationalise. This is something I use everyday, and that I know from experience last for a long time.
Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down – a hilarious, retro British website all about what we dip in our tea
2. Combat / military boots by Grenson
In my very first post on Minimaldrobe I contemplated whether I should get some new walking shoes – as a dog owner in the rainy, windy Midlands, they are pretty essential. I’ve been on a real drive to declutter and reduce what I own for a few years now – and that included this pair of pebble-grain leather boots by Grenson. I got them several years ago for an amazing price, but only wore them a handful of times, and certainly not enough to properly break them in. I wasn’t willing to put the work in and make these a great thing to have. The turning point was a bit of snow and ice that we had in January, which was enough to have me contemplating buying new walking shoes anyway (the tread on my walking trainers are worn to the bone). What’s great about them is that they have a commando sole as well as a Goodyear welt- which makes them waterproof, as well as excellent in slippy conditions.
Since breaking them in, I’ve not even bothered looking at new boots or shoes, it turns out I already had what I needed. Funny that!
3. Shopping for my new black skinny jeans – an intentional spin on an experience
The one item of clothing I bought this year have been these skinny jeans by H&M. I loathe fast-fashion but finding the right pair of skinny jeans can be a struggle, as they can be prone to lint and the fit has to be just-right – and I don’t have the money for my preferred, ethical brand nowadays (Nudie). I’ve worn these so much already I’m having to ration myself wearing them – instead I’m going to wear out my old indigo Nudie jeans which I have had for a few years, and I’m keeping my black jeans for the weekends and days/nights out. I still like my old jeans but I’m not fastidious at all with wanting the right jeans to fit with the right shoes during the daytime or on a casual weekend (honestly, my preferred combination is just black jeans + whatever, so it’s hardly complex!).
4. Many experiences one day – Out and about in Birmingham – #experiencesnotthings
I got a rare treat on the last weekend of the month, as I got to meet up with my best friend and another very good friend for a day of great food and superb beer. For January I had kicked my habit of buying a beer and watching Match of the Day on a Saturday, but I don’t have enough of a tie to alcohol to make it a sponsored thing – I obviously didn’t make it through the whole month, but it was nice to go out and get back home at a reasonable time. I’m loving that as I get older the pressure to “overdo it” is disappearing – I rarely felt comfortable with it anyway.
I also got to talk with my best mate about how he’s personally contributed to my fresh perspective on life – he’s very much a person who believes experiences are far more important than things. When he expressed this to me a few years ago, I was skeptical, being an avid consumer (in hindsight). So I got to give him my thanks, as I’m very much at a turning point in my professional life at the moment. All three of us had insightful, funny conversations that only really happen when you’re on days out like this. It was a time of
5. Keeping up with blogging – writing experiences
I’ve done it! For almost a decade I’ve been a blogger, and this month has been the easiest and lowest-stress attempt yet. For example: I loved blogging about football a few years ago – it really started to kick off for a while there. But it also made a lot of work for myself – watching games and analysing them is a fun activity, but keeping it up on a fairly regular basis was difficult at the time (sans expensive TV-subscription). Blogging about football gave me some important insights into one of my favourite things, and I still value my memories of that period in my blogging life.
Obviously this could fall flat on its face- but I feel like through here, Instagram, and generally being about my outlook on life, I can keep updating Minimaldrobe for years to come. So thanks to all the views and comments in this delicate first month, I appreciate it a lot.