Inspiration on Pinterest || Ethereal

23/01/2015

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I thought I'd share a few photographs from my ethereal board on Pinterest. I've so much love for these dreamy images. They really inspire me. 

Thank you for reading and commenting on my last post. If my blog stats are anything to go by I'd say many of us are searching for a bit of simplicity. 

It's been a cold week and getting up in the dark has been challenging. But I've managed to go to the gym 3 times - nothing short of a miracle - and kept up with 10 minutes of daily mindfulness

(I won't mention the pizza delivery or chocolate bars.)

I hope January is being kind and I wish you a magical weekend.

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10 Ways I Simplified My Life

16/01/2015

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During 2013 I felt I was being pulled in lots of different directions - know the feeling? I was working full-time, keeping up with my blog, completing photography commissions, seeing friends and family, exercising, maintaining my home, travelling, wasting far too much time online and so it went on.

Although I like to be busy I found the lack of me time exhausting, so I tried to reduce my commitments. After looking at an average week I realised there was nothing I could or wanted to drop. I therefore decided to simplify everything else, starting with my physical environment.

So as 2014 began I embarked on a huge declutter of my belongings. When you cut back on the physical stuff it's inevitable other areas will follow, and so here began my journey towards a calmer, simpler and easier life. One that felt lighter, made me feel content and gave me my time back.

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1. Let go of stuff

I no longer wanted to waste precious moments cleaning and maintaining my home, and so the biggest change was to remove all items that I didn't use or love. The process transformed my life and living in a simpler environment made me feel calmer and happier.

2. Abandoned the pursuit of unnecessary belongings

When you've simplified you don't want to buy more stuff, and when I stopped looking at online shopping sites or wandering around shops I had more time, and money. Although a minimalist lifestyle is not about stuff, I find living with less means I enjoy the things I have a whole lot more. After all less is more!

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3. Morning routine

The secret to more hours in the day is to get up earlier, and although I've never been a morning person waking up in a tidy clutter-free home is energy boosting. I'm lucky that my man works locally and so we have breakfast together each morning. Time to relax, eat and chat make a huge difference to my day.

4. Regular exercise 

A low maintenance home frees up time and energy, and so I was able to establish a regular exercise routine. I tried to stick to set days - two per week - but didn't get upset if I missed one. I also used my walk to and from work (a 9k round trip) to relax and really enjoy the world around me. I have a tendency to over-think and so trying to be as present as possible is good exercise for the mind!

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5. Cut back on the internet

Too much time online makes me feel busy and restless so I tried a few internet-free days, and survived! I was amazed at the extra time I had and how much I achieved. Following this I set myself three rules:
  • No internet before 9am or after 9pm
  • Regular internet free mornings and afternoons
  • Stop checking the iPhone/iPad!
Obviously I don't always stick religiously to the above, but I have removed the habit of constantly checking my technology. I've also rediscovered books, how retro!

6. Unsubscribed 

I unsubscribed from emails, newsletters, catalogues and anything else that did not add value to my life. I also deleted things from my computer desktop and files I no longer needed, and organised everything that remained.

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7. Quiet mind

Living in a clutter-free environment made me aware of how busy my mind was, and so my next step took me towards mindfulness. After some research, talking to friends and trying a couple of iPad apps (Headspace - Andy Puddicombe is really inspiring - and Mindfulness Daily) I feel I'm getting somewhere. Although it's still early days and I'd welcome any tips.

8. Being present

In the summer I visited the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park. At both places I decided - with the exception of an iPhone snap - not to take any photographs. I wanted to experience them fully without faffing around with my camera.

Six months on and my most vivid memories from my trip are of those two places. It was worth taking the risk and it has motivated me to try to live in the moment a little more, rather than forever trying to capture it.

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9. Learnt to relax

I've always struggled to relax but it happened as a result of the above. When you simplify there are less household chores and distractions, enabling more time to put your feet up.  

10. More time for family and friends

And finally, cutting out the life clutter gave me more time for family, friends and all the other things that bring me the greatest joy. 'Collecting moments and not things' is a pretty good rule to live by.

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If there are ways you've simplified and calmed your life I'd love to hear them. I'll continue to post about minimalist living on Candy Pop, links to all my blog categories can be found on my explore page.

Snapshots of December

09/01/2015

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Feeling festive in London. My parents have 35 Christmas Russian dolls. I spy a Vernon Ward. Christmas cake and festive bells, a gift from Laura Ashley. Christmas 1974 (my first Christmas card from my parents). An adorable Ludlow deli. Arriving in deepest darkest Herefordshire. Another shot of my parent's enchanting collection, I think they're going to need a bigger mantle piece. Oh London you photogenic thing!

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A beautiful door and wreath in Ludlow. The floral boots enjoyed the sunshine and crunchy grass on the Bromyard Downs. A Christmassy fawn Friday. The prettiest tea shop I ever did see. I'd love a Babycham! Cinnamon sticks and dried scented oranges at the Oxford Christmas Market. Have yourself a very kitsch Christmas. I'll take one of each, please. Keeping things simple.

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Oxford is magical at Christmas. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. A frosty visit to my Grandparent's old house (built in 1590), I stayed there many times as a child. Christmas cheer in Henley-on-Thames. Just look at that kitsch face! A lovely wreath with ribbon, cinnamon sticks, lavender and pine cones. Cute bike + colourful graffiti = a very happy Candy Pop. Beautiful Herefordshire from the Bromyard Downs. A peaceful Monday in Oxford.

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My pink house detector never fails me. They always make me smile. Weekend treats. Celebrating the 2nd week of the Christmas holiday with a family trip to Ludlow. A sweet Christmas card from Mollie Makes. Spring is just around the corner. A few of my favourite things. A Christmas hamper of floral goodness from Cath Kidston. Catching up with family in Ledbury.

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When Christmas arrived at Candy Pop HQ. No snow in Herefordshire. Festive things of beauty. A vintage Christmas wish to you all. Another day, another wreath. My Mum's pink Christmas tree is a sight to behold. Relaxing with a cuppa and 91 magazine. One of my favourite London streets on a very cold day. A quiet New Year's Eve at home.

I had a truly wonderful year. Each month brought new details and colours, and my snapshot posts helped me to appreciate everything I'd seen. Thank you for following my journey.

My entire album of 2014 snapshots can be viewed on Flickr - they're quite a colourful sight - and all my 2014 posts can be viewed here.

I'll see you over on Instagram!