Lifestyle

Minimalism: Getting Rid Of The Clutter

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It's funny how the first part of your life seems to be spent collecting things, and the later part getting rid of them. Well that's how it feels for me anyway. 

I live quite minimally day to day but over the years I've still managed to accumulate a lot of stuff that I don't really use.  It's always that thought of, 'maybe it will come in useful one day so I will hold onto it', and sometimes it will do but more often than not it's stuff I haven't used in the last 10 years so will I ever?  

At uni I studied fashion design and afterwards spent the next 9 years designing clothes for highstreet brands.  A couple of times a year I would get to go on shopping trips to some amazing places: LA, Tokyo, Portland and Seoul and would have the opportunity to trawl through endless vintage shops, picking up unique pieces wherever I went.  At uni we used to traipse though the charity shops of Surbiton on the hunt for cheap and quirky pieces, most probably donated from grannies wardrobes.  Most of it I wore regularly back in the day, particularly at art school when I was more experimental with my appearance.  These days I just tend to keep it simple what with being a new mother and having to hoick my top up to breastfeed every couple of hours, perhaps clothing plays more of a functional role now. 

These clothes have slowly been building up in our loft, out of sight and out of mind. I seem to have a lifetime of garments up there; old school uniforms, going out tops I used to wear clubbing when I was 18 (or more like 16!), and a pink polyester outfit from my 13th birthday party.  And then there's all the nicer vintage pieces from my travels; silk 1950’s prom dresses, Laura Ashley grungy pieces from the 90’s, fully sequinned disco tops from 80's…. the list goes on.  I have held onto many of them because they remind me of a time, perhaps an event or just a phase in my life.  For some of them, they are just amazing pieces of vintage clothing which I appreciate and will never find again.  But as nice as it is to own this collection, there comes a point where if I want to live minimally I can't have piles of stuff in the loft that I never even look at. 

1950’s silk prom dress

1950’s silk prom dress

Laura Ashley 90’s grunge dress

Laura Ashley 90’s grunge dress

80’s sequinned disco top

80’s sequinned disco top

For the last few years I have been reading the Minimalism.life blog and have been inspired to make changes of my own. The idea behind minimalism is not to shed all of your belongings, but to make the ones you do have purposeful. To quote William Morris, ‘have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or beautiful.’  In the case of these clothes, they no longer ticked either of these boxes and actually they were just getting in worse condition by staying up there. There are some bits which I still really love and can't bear to get rid of.... a 1980s power suit by designer Thierry Mugler and a bridesmaid dress I made myself for my friends wedding.  So for now I want to hold onto a few of these special pieces and will re-look at them in a few years time to see if my views have changed.  

The Thierry Mugler 1980’s power suit

The Thierry Mugler 1980’s power suit

A bridesmaid dress that I made for my friends wedding

A bridesmaid dress that I made for my friends wedding

A 1940’s military suit that I want to keep

A 1940’s military suit that I want to keep


I've been making the most of my time sat breastfeeding listing all of the items on eBay so that someone else can enjoy them.  So far we've made £778 just in the last couple of months, the biggest sale being my university dress mannequin which fetched £400.  Some pieces have sold for just £1.99, others a respectable £10, but even the small sales add up to a bigger number and the important thing is that we're clearing stuff out that we don't even use.  


Every time I take something to the post office I feel a little bit more cleansed, like my mind is a tiny bit emptier now that I'm making more space.  We've still got another 30 things listed on eBay scheduled to sell very soon, and there's another pile of stuff to go up when I get a chance. It is a bit of effort but 100% worth it when you're making money sitting on your sofa, all the while minimising your belongings to those you really care about. 


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Minimalism - Getting Rid Of The Clutter, by Studio Mali
 

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We're Open For Business As Usual!

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As some of you may well know, we’re expecting our first baby in the coming days/ weeks.  After 9 months of growing this little one in my tummy, we are finally going to get to meet her for the very first time and we’re both super excited!  

We haven’t pencilled in any markets over the next couple of months until we get to grips with the demands of our new arrival, but we are hoping that by September we will be able to attend the Local Makers Market in Wanstead on Sat 7th, and Netil Market in London Fields with dates currently tbc.

The online shop is open for business as usual so if you need to pick up pressies for your loved ones or just treats for yourself then feel free to order online.  We have stock of most items (which we prepared knowing the next few months would be a bit crazy!) so it’s likely that we will be able to send out pieces relatively quickly to you.

We want to thank all of our customers and readers for their support over the last few months… we’ve had a brilliant start to the year, learnt so much already, met some amazing people along the way, and we hope the business continues to grow in this sustainable and organic way.

If you need any help with placing an order online or would like something custom made, then feel free to email us on studiomalihey@gmail.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Thank you and we look forward to introducing our new arrival!

 
Looking bumpy at almost 9 months pregnant…..

Looking bumpy at almost 9 months pregnant…..

 

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Camping: How This Simple Activity Can Enhance Your Life

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The joys of camping; waking up in the fresh outdoors in the middle of nature. by Studio Mali

A World Of Distraction

We are beginning to live much more of our lives in urban environments, the worlds' cities are continually growing and this has made it harder to connect with nature.  Being outdoors is where we originated and it's only been in recent years that we have been living and working in fully sealed dwellings which are shut off from the outside world.  Indoor worlds revolve around comfort, technology and ease of living, which in many ways is nice but Mark and I are increasingly choosing to reject these norms because they had made our lives too easy.  There are multiple distractions in the home which can leave the mind unsettled: technology grabbing our attention, too much physical clutter, everything we want at a click of a button. It can be difficult to know how to escape this way of life.

If anyone knows about the urban lifestyle it's us.  We have lived in London for 10 years now, working and commuting everyday through the busy city, surrounded by concrete and with sound of traffic never far away.  Getting to the outdoors is essential to helping us live a healthy balanced lifestyle, mentally and physically, which in the city is important because without a connection to nature we'd feel completely drained.  Whether that be taking an evening stroll along the canal, or heading out to the countryside on weekends. We have found that one of the best ways of getting connected to nature is to grab our tent and go camping.  It doesn't even have to be far away, but one night spent out in the fresh air can solve a world of problems.  We honestly think that camping is one of the best things you can do to relax, get a good nights sleep, connect with nature, have fun with friends and generally enhance your life.

Read on to find out how camping can benefit you...

Camping on the Great Wall Of China

 

Connection To Nature

We spend so much of our lives indoors. In offices, in houses, in shops, restaurants and cars.  For those of you that live in cities, you will be used to the hustle and bustle of day to day life, the noise, the busy roads, the concrete everything.  Nature can be hard to come by, and even a couple of hours spent in a green space is often followed by busy roads to get back home.  For those that live in the countryside or towns, I bet you often jump in the car to go to the store, or spend a lot of time indoors in your spacious homes.  Sometimes we lose contact with the outdoor world around us and find it hard to reconnect. 

We are avid supporters of camping, it’s the perfect way of getting out in the fresh air and to exploring nature.  Spending time in green spaces relaxes our minds and dissolves stress.  It makes us ever more present in the world around us which makes us happy people.  Camping is a slow paced activity, we like it because it gives us time to focus on the details of the natural world: the weather, the wildlife, the plants, the smells and sounds of the outdoors.  Perhaps we wouldn’t make time to notice these things at home, but when we are camping the outdoors is our home, so it’s natural to become aware of our surroundings.  You can’t beat waking up to the sound of birds, or the pitter patter of rain on your tent whilst you’re snuggled up inside! 

The joys of camping; waking up in the fresh outdoors in the middle of nature

The joys of camping; waking up in the fresh outdoors in the middle of nature

 

The Challenge

Not everything about camping is easy.  A lot of people are put off by the inconvenience of it all: having to set up a tent in the rain, walking to the toilet block in the middle of the night when desperate for a wee, sleeping on the hard ground.  It would be much easier just to stay in our homes and sleep in a warm comfy bed and know that you will get a good nights sleep.  That is all very true, but not the point!  Everything in our lives is so easy these days. We turn on a tap and have hot water, we go to sleep and there’s a big fluffy cloud bed to wrap us up in.  

In our experience true satisfaction comes from having to work a bit harder to get something, having to cook food on a camping stove for 20 minutes longer than it would normally taken, having to carry all our heavy stuff to the campsite, setting up your house for the night.  Once you overcome the hardships of camping you find satisfaction in your achievements and appreciate what you do have.  That dinner would have been so easy to make at home in the oven, but the fact that you made it here using only a limited amount of kit (and a twig to stir it) makes it taste so much better! Camping is about problem solving, working that little bit harder and appreciating what you have made for yourself.

The rewards of cooking breakfast on the camp stove, porridge and tea!

The rewards of cooking breakfast on the camp stove, porridge and tea!

 

Back To Basics 

We live in a world where we can have anything at any time.  Companies like Amazon have made it so easy to order products online at the click of a button and without even typing in our card details. Our houses are full of fancy things like coffee machines, serving dishes and luxury bath products.  We have gadgets to make things quicker, and gadgets to make things easier... potato peelers, electric mixers, 5 types of moisturiser.  Do we really need all this stuff?  Having so many belongings can sometimes be confusing, overwhelming and can actually make our minds feel cluttered. 

Camping is a great way of stripping things back to the bear essentials and forcing us to think about survival.  What items do we really need for a weekend away? And what is just going to be extra weight? Will we have enough warm clothing? Will we have enough food? These are questions that it’s good to ask ourselves once in a while, to understand what’s essential in life and what’s a luxury.  Living with just the basics can be incredibly cleansing and can help put things into perspective.  It makes us appreciate what we do have that we may normally take for granted, and also helps us to see what we don’t need.  

We have seen over and over again in places we’ve visited around the world, many people living with very little and they are happy for it.  After travelling for 5 months, our happiest nights are those spent in our 2 man tent under the stars.

Living with less; camping doesn't have to involve lots of stuff. We can carry on our backs everything we need for a weeks camping

Living with less; camping doesn't have to involve lots of stuff. We can carry on our backs everything we need for a weeks camping

 

Sleep Well

There can be a lot of distractions at home that jeopardise a good nights sleep: watching tv, checking work emails on your phone, pruning in the bathroom, chatting with housemates and generally pottering about.  Camping is a great way of bringing our focus back to sleeping.  Firstly, detaching ourselves from our home lives will mean thinking less about stressful things like work before bedtime.  Camping is like being on holiday and we like to leave our worries at home when we’re on holiday.  Secondly we generally don’t have as much tech in our tents as at home (other than a torch and a phone) and so we won’t be kept as awake by bright screens and adrenaline inducing movies. Evening entertainment when camping tends to be sitting round a campfire and chatting with fellow campers. Who wouldn’t sleep well after that? A good additional step to take to help detach from technology would be to put your phone onto aeroplane mode.  You’ll feel better for it!

When camping you tend to sleep when it gets dark, synchronising your routine with Mother Nature.  Many nights we have retired to our tent at 8pm because it’s just to cold or too dark to stay outside.  We tend to wake up naturally when the sun comes up early morning, the cockerels crow and we’ve had enough sleep.  Waking up in the fresh air has to be one of the best things to clear your head.  We always find that after a few beers on a cool night, there’s no sign of a fuzzy head the next morning.  It must be that fresh camping air! 

Feeling fresh after a night spent camping. Sleeping outside clears your mind and relieves stress

Feeling fresh after a night spent camping. Sleeping outside clears your mind and relieves stress

 

Get Camping!

Not sold? Then why not try a night away from home and head to your nearest campsite.  Camping is generally cheap, especially if you sleep in a small 2 man tent without a car.  We would recommend planning a meal to cook on your gas hob or even on a fire if you are feeling ambitious! If you want an easy entry into camping, with minimal risk, then why not setup camp in a garden, if you're luckily enough to have one. Otherwise Im sure you can find a friend who might let you stay in theirs, why not invite them along too?

The beauty about camping is that you can make it as easy or as difficult as you want. You can have a blow up mattress as thick as your bed at home, or sleep with nothing but a sleeping bag.  You can cook with a double gas hob and have a cool bag to keep the leftovers in, or you could cook straight onto a wood-burning fire with nothing but a stick.

Chinese noodles rustled up on the camping stove

Chinese noodles rustled up on the camping stove

If you are looking for somewhere easy to camp then why not take a look online.  There are loads of websites that can help find the right campsite for you.  In the past we have used the Camping Key Europe phone app to help us find sites across the U.K. and Europe because they have a handy map system where you can search via location.  Each campsite is then rated by campers and you can see what facilities they have.

For those more adventurous, backpacking and wild camping really ticks the satisfaction box, and gives the opportunity to problem solve and be physically challenged.   Wild camping is full of adventure and strips us of all the un-necessaries of day to day life.  The outdoors is your loo, the river is your sink, and the trees are your shelter.  It really doesn’t get much better than that!

Waking up to a view! Your new bedroom for the night

Waking up to a view! Your new bedroom for the night

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Camping - How This Sample Activity Can Enhance Your Life, by Studio Mali
 

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Lifestyle: Do We Have Time For Boredom?

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As a society, are we active, mobile and healthy enough? As a teacher at an inner London school I am worried that our children are becoming detached from the natural world and are unhealthier for it, both mentally and physically. Growing up in the hubbub of the city is busy, distracting and allows little free time to relax and let the mind wander. What's more, in this era of constant distractions, do young, and old people alike, have time to be bored? My feeling is that boredom shouldn't be defined by the time when your not sure what do with it, but more-so a time where the mind is free to think, create and learn about oneself. In retrospect, the lives of urban children contrasts so much with my upbringing in rural Hampshire. Does the modern world offer our young people the time and space to find themselves?

 

Open Fields

As I age it's clear that I was privledged to have grown up with huge woods, open fields and the seaside under twenty minutes walk from my home. As the modern world progresses it seems our young people are trapped either by growing urban sprawl that diminishes their green spaces or from the trapping of time that technology takes from their lives. This relentless journey to take everything online is preventing some of our children from valuing the simple things in life and fostering the key, and fun, skills of being a child; developing a curious mind, building an appetite for adventure and having the time to learn about themselves.

Many Norwegian parents send their children to pick fruit at the Eplet farm in Solvorn (the children seem to really enjoy this time with nature)

Many Norwegian parents send their children to pick fruit at the Eplet farm in Solvorn (the children seem to really enjoy this time with nature)

Outside Magic Lies

I started to think about boredom after reading an article citing a book written in the 90s called 'Outside Magic Lies' by John Stilgoe. The article engages us to consider the activities we undertake should be taken purely for the pleasure of doing the activity. Something struck me when reading the article, when this book was written children would have spent much more time outside, playing games or sport and creating their own fun. At no time in a child's life is this truer than in the summer holidays. I remember myself the boredom of "having nothing to do", which in hindsight wasn't true, because going through that process of being bored pushed me to spend time drawing, painting and reading encyclopaedias.  It wasn't that I was bored, I just hadn't developed coping mechanisms to discover and sustain the activities I loved doing. Arguably, in these summers of 'boredom' I developed passions that I still have now, which have shaped my studies, job and outlook on life.  

 

Chinese child practicing calligraphy every Saturday (for 4 hours a day!)

Chinese child practicing calligraphy every Saturday (for 4 hours a day!)

Woods Or The Mall?

Back to the 90s, John Stilgoe was already researching the healing qualities of time spent in nature and was arguing that both the older and younger generations should be seeking 'magic' from outside. The aim, to cultivate a mindset that seeks pleasures from the small moments in life because if the small moments give you satisfaction then you'll always be happy, boredom included. Would this generations average British 15 year old head for a walk in the park with friends? Or are they more likely to head to a shopping centre? Obviously, the answer will be dictated by where they live but also on their relationship with technology. Because shopping and consumption fuels so much of social media, young people will inherently see shopping as a 'normal' go to activity. Social media will promote their peers spending their weekends and money in shops, especially in the cities, herd mentality takes over. 

 

Going Off-Topic

Ubiquitous tech may be stopping our children from ever being bored and this is making it harder for them to define their true interests. In all the distractions and expectations that have been reared from social media, our young people are starting to live their lives through continual interaction with their phones. The downside, going forward, is that children with have an ever-worsening relationship with boredom, quiet time or alone time (which ever you wish to call it) and all the positive mental qualities that come from the minds ability to wonder off-topic, create and divert. 

 

Urban Distractions

Young people have grown up with technology, sharing, likes and social media. The later is the currency that they trade with their peers but there is a downside, students often struggle to see anything beyond what is in front of them. Do they have time to sit, think and let their minds wander? Children of the urban centre live in a thriving place but also a distracting one, advertising-filled and traffic laden. It takes a strong will to block those things out. More than anything, the urban environment can't offer young people the chance to go out to the woods without parents and connect with nature, take risks and learn from exploration. In Finland children have lessons of play time and nature time to developed tactile learning. Our city children live in a risk adverse place where parents are worried about letting their children out. This culture of safety and rules can prevent young people thinking outside the box, this video by the RSA, educational paradigms, does a good job of looking into the reasons why.

By Sir Ken Robinson

By Sir Ken Robinson

Paradigm Shift

We are living in a paradigm shift in the choices that are offered to us. Food, drinks, clothes and stuff, we can have it quickly, cheaply, ordered 24 hours a day. But all these choices are condemning us to a mindset of total engagement through the interconnectivity of technology. I'm sure we have all felt it in those moments alone where grabbing your phone fills any void. Therein lies the problem. We aren't able to be bored, there's just too much happening all the time to keep us entertained, or distracted. Intravenous technology also has the power to make us feel like we are always missing out on something, neatly defined in messaging tag FOMO (fear of missing out). We need to get our children outside, to play, and to allow them a detox from the intoxicating virtual world of their smartphone.

 

How many teenagers have sat around a fire with their friends? Or would think to?

How many teenagers have sat around a fire with their friends? Or would think to?

Being Playful

We need our young people, and surely many elders, to live in the present, connected with what is in front of them. Excerise the hands, legs and arms, create, fail and create again. Get out for a stroll and notice things, connect the dots and the consider little details. Be silly, play hide and seek, pull funny faces, speak in funny voices; it's never too late to make little changes. Surely of all the changes, unplugging from the phone would reward the most. Let the mind wander and see where it takes you....

 

What do you think?

Is technology leading us to continual occupation of our time?

Is there a need for boredom?  

What can we learn from boredom and a relaxed headspace?

 

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