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Showing posts from 2017

Goodbye 2017 - Learn to love life cleaning

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So if you’re into minimalism and hygge and positivity (and if you’re reading this blog, it’s a fair bet you’ll be into at least one of these), then you may well have already come across the Swedish concept of “dostadning”, which is literally translated as “death cleaning”.  Now, I have to say, when I first heard the term “death cleaning”, I immediately thought of Arya Stark washing corpses in the House of Black and White and that image still pops into my head whenever I hear the term.  Based on the comments I’ve read on the internet I get the feeling that I’m far from the only person who finds the name conjures up rather morbid thoughts.

Leaving aside the name though, my main issue with the concept of “death cleaning” is that it seems to focus on your death and making life easier for those who have to deal with your estate, rather than focussing on your life and making your death meaningful as a result of your life being meaningful.  It also turns the basic concept into a sacrifice, so…

Hygge part 6 - Eight tips on how to be together without cracking up

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Even though for about half the world, Christmas falls at the coldest time of year (and for the other half of the world it's in the hottest time of the year), Christmas is probably the time when most people do most socializing.  You only need to glance at the adverts being shown at the moment to see how companies push the importance of being together at Christmas and the idea of being the perfect host/ess (with the help of their products of course).  Ignore them, being a great host isn't about spending a fortune on food, drink, decorations and entertainment.  It's about making sure you and your guests have a great time together and if you follow these 8 tips, you'll set yourself up to succeed at making it happen.

Create some physical boundaries

Your guests need space and so do you.  If you make sure that they have everything they could reasonably need or want in the places you want them to be, then you stop them having a reason to wander into spaces you'd rather ke…

The simple joy of ordinary hot water and how it can keep you and your loved ones healthy and happy this winter

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If you’re in the northern hemisphere, winter is now very definitely here and it’s digging in.  On the plus side, the festive season is now getting into full swing too and it would be a shame to miss any of it by getting ill.  Even going into the New Year, when the party season comes to an end, winter still has its good points.  The good news is that you can do a lot to take care of your own body and mind (and those of your loved ones) without spending a fortune, just by making the most of plain, simple water.  Here are some tips.
Drink it
Water in general is good for you and in hot temperatures there’s a lot to be said for drinking cold water.  When temperatures fall, however, the benefits of warm water really start to make themselves felt.  In cold weather, it’s easy for the body to become sluggish, for example, for your circulation to drop (hence pins and needles when you’re waiting for a bus or train).  The warmth of the water helps to speed up the body’s system and keep you in go…

Hygge part 5 - the true meaning of comfort

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As I write this, people in the U.S. will, hopefully, now have recovered from Thanksgiving and cyber Monday and will probably now be gearing themselves up for Christmas.  Those of us in the UK and elsewhere will probably be at various stages of preparation for Christmas.  In fact, speaking for myself and the people I know, now is the time we all start really thinking about the Christmas festivities or, at the very least, the winter season and everything it brings with it.  It also seems to be the time when the internet fills up with content on how to make guests feel comfortable and for the record, I find some of them at least very useful, but many of them seem to focus on the details rather than larger concepts which lie behind them.  So, to counterbalance this, here’s my take on creating comfort for yourself and your loved ones now and all year round - without it becoming a source of stress.

Accept the fact that nobody’s perfect and assume that other people accept it too

When you go to…

Small-Business Saturday and what it means for you

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For years, we’ve been encouraged to think big and indeed there is an important place for that.  Sometimes solving a problem or making the world a better place (which is often one and the same thing), require large-scale thoughts and actions.  A lot of the time, however, it’s small-scale actions, which make the biggest difference, especially if they’re repeated time after time so that they have a chance to add up.  I think the same holds true of small businesses and that there’s a very simple reason for this.

Small businesses are invested in their communities.  If you think about it, the top decision-makers in major corporations are often far removed from their company’s customers, whereas the people who run smaller businesses tend to be much more available to their clientele.  This isn’t necessarily a matter of geography (although it can certainly play a role), these days there are a lot of small businesses which do most of their trade online.  It’s more about the degree of connection …

Hygge part 4 - gratitude, it's a matter of perspective

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I'm writing this right after Remembrance Sunday in the UK and right before Thanksgiving in the U.S. and right now the internet seems to be full of posts about gratitude or the lack thereof.  Articles and posts urging us to remember what other people have done for us and what benefits have come our way generally share cyberspace with articles and posts from people who are frustrated because they are taking on more responsibility than they necessarily feel comfortable with and yet are not feeling any sense of gratitude towards them.  Both sets of people have a point and there is a simple, but often overlooked way to address this, which is to make a point of showing gratitude to yourself first.
Here’s the nub of the matter.  You’ve probably heard the expression “the eyes are the mirror of the soul” or words to that effect?  Well, your body and in particular your face, especially your eyes, reflects how you feel about yourself and that influences how other people see you.  Think about …

Health, happiness and hygge for you, your loved ones and the planet

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So today is America Recycles Day (or at least it is if you’re reading this on the day it’s posted) and that set me thinking.  Recycling is good, but there is a reason it’s third on the list of sustainable options.  Reducing what we use in the first place and reusing resources as much as possible both have even less of an environmental footprint.  This then set me thinking about how I could actually take a major step forward in terms of environmental stability, minimalism and hygge, all of which mean a great deal to me - and save myself money.  I’m going to get to grips with household management.
Now, I’m going to put my hand up here and say that I have never been the type of person who enjoys housework in general.  Frankly, my standard approach has been to do what I need to do when I need to do it.  I do opt for environmentally-friendly cleaning products whenever possible, but I’m now becoming increasingly aware that many of them do carry an environmental footprint in the form of plast…

Hygge part 3 - the importance of slowing down and making time for pleasure, fun and relaxation

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If you pay any attention to adverts, you might have noticed how many of them relate to speed.  Of course, the chances are that you don’t pay a lot of attention to adverts because you already get more than enough random messages thrown your way and you don’t need any more.  
It’s probably fair to say that the beginning of the 21st century has been characterized by information overload and a degree of pressure to do far more in far less time.  In particular, the rise of mobile devices has led to the “always on” culture, where people feel they must be available and responsive at all times to (almost) all people, which in turn leads to people rushing around in circles if not physically (although that can be the case) at least mentally.  
Here’s the truth, you probably don’t need to be always available to everyone you know, not at home and not at work.  You may have some people who depend on you completely (like your children) but even then in many cases, you can set some boundaries (after t…

7 tips for positive, stress-free and budget-friendly Christmas shopping

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A part of me can’t actually believe that I’m writing this article just now.  It’s November first, but while, in general, I’m a big believer in keeping Christmas for December, I’m also a big believer in being organized and so I think the start of November is a reasonable time to start planning your Christmas shopping, particularly if you’re planning on buying online.  As a minimum, I think it’s a good time to start thinking about what you can afford and setting expectations for other people.  With that in mind, here are 7 tips to manage your Christmas shopping in a positive way, meaning you might even enjoy it and even if you don’t, you should be able to keep your sanity and your finances intact.
Start by deciding what you can afford
Your budget comes first and everything else after and, frankly, if you are in the situation where you can, literally, afford nothing for Christmas, then don’t buy anything especially for Christmas, you can still have a great day anyway and you’ll go into the…