Slow Living: Is It Possible In London?
Several years ago I decided to up and change the way I looked at my approach to life. Basically I wasn’t happy. I decided that I was moving too fast, and I needed a break. That meant looking at the way I live, and the everyday things I do. A lifestyle and mentality rebrand, if you will. But let’s be honest, nothing is that straight forward. And is it even possible to incorporate slow living into a London lifestyle?
Slow Living in London
Over the past year I set out to try and find a way to bring the lifestyle concept of slow living into…well, my life. Our society is based on fast fashion, fast food, and even fast lifestyles. If you’re not living fast, then you’re not living at all. At least that’s what people say. I soon realised it wasn’t going to be easy, and the hardest part was figuring out what ‘slow living’ even meant to me.
- Stop being so materialistic. I told myself it’s good to have nice things, but it doesn’t mean anything if they have no value, and I don’t mean monetary. I’m talking about objects/experiences that have meaning. Like the expensive pair of sneakers I had wanted for years, which I finally bought myself with the first pay check from my new job.
- Quality over quantity. Whereas before I probably bought myself an item of clothing or went to a new restaurant every week, now I do it about once or twice a month. I put more thought into what I want/need, and the design and quality of the piece. I’d rather spend a little more on something that lasts longer and works better, than buy a bajillion items that don’t.
- Enjoying the little things. Because sometimes having a G&T by candlelight at home with my friends is much more mentally rewarding than going to the latest ‘on-trend’ bar, and wasting a ton of money on overpriced drinks.
- Slowing down my lifestyle. Admittedly this has been the hardest step out of them all, and it’s something I’m still working on today. A lot of people in London can’t (or won’t) grasp the concept of it, and it’s understandable when you live in a city that pulls you in all directions. After a rather successful end to 2016, the first half of 2017 was pretty rough for me. But I’m now trying to get myself back on track again. It may take some time, but if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
You can follow my attempt at ‘slow living’ and read more of my help posts here.
For a while now it seemed as though Instagram is imploding in on itself. Longtime and new users alike are tired of the new algorithm, bots, hacked accounts, and much more. We’re given pointless updates that no one asked for – a la Facebook – and to top it all off, Instagram don’t seem to be listening to any of it’s users complaints. Yet through it all, I’ve stayed true to Instagram, although it was pretty tough at times. And finally, I’m learning to love Instagram again.
Learning to Love Instagram Again
I recently took a mini break from Instagram. The best way to describe how I felt is disillusioned. I decided that I was tired of creating promo posts, endless flatlays, and worrying about what my next upload would be. So I went away for a few days, I deleted a bunch of old photos that made me unhappy, and I came back with fresh ideas.
- Beating the System Or ‘finding a work around the new algorithm’. It’s not easy, but there are certain things you can do to claw your account back to the realms of the living. Posting once a day, and using a selection of new hashtags (repeat hashtag usage results in posts not being seen) in each post should do it.
- Keep it Unique Easier said than done. But studies have shown that people are bored of overly stylised flatlays taking up their feed. The “big accounts” are all looking the same, and there’s a herd of copycats on their tails. Think about it; why would someone buy a knock-off when they can have the real thing? Creating unique, concise content is one of the best ways to draw in new followers, and keep the ones you have.
- Love What You Do It’s so easy to just give up. But if you’re really not enjoying Instagram, take a break. Basically if it feels like a chore, don’t waste your time on it. Go away and come back when you’re ready – whether that’s after a day, or a month. I did and it helped me come up with a new look for my feed, a new strategy, and it made me a lot happier.
You can follow me on Instagram @bloomzy and read more of my help posts here.
Choosing my bridal party was surprisingly easy compared to deciding on my wedding guestlist. I was never going to have 10 bridesmaids, and an entourage of flower boys/girls following me down the aisle. Much like our actual wedding, I decided on something small. I wanted those closest to me to be a big part of my day, and more than just an invitee.
Bridal Party: Maid of Honour
Obviously the first person I had to think about was my Maid of Honour (aka Head Bridesmaid). I didn’t really need to think too long about it either, because I knew exactly who would be my perfect Maid of Honour. My best friend and partner-in-crime, none other than Chopstickpanorama. It’s a tough job, and I know I personally would freak out if someone asked me to be their MOH. All the organising, the budgeting, the hen party…need I go on? But true to form, after a few tears and hugs, VA reacted exactly how I had hoped – she said yes!
‘Will you be my Maid of Honour?’ Biscuits by Lavish Slice*
‘Will you be my Maid of Honour?’ Card by notonthehighstreet.com
Bridal Party: Bridesmaids
Choosing my bridesmaids took slightly longer. Not because I was unsure of who to choose, but because I was unsure of how many to have. I’ve been to weddings where there are no bridesmaids at all, and others where there are enough to man a small ship. It’s safe to say I had no idea what the ideal number was. But after deliberating symmetry – coz what else would I consider? – and who I wanted to follow me down the aisle, I decided on three people:
- My sister – Whom I love dearly, and could never even begin to think about celebrating my big day without. She also probably thinks I’ve forgotten about the dance pact we’ve made. But she would be wrong.
- Jemi – A woman who has been with me through thick and thin, and who still loves me even after witnessing all of my awkward style choices throughout the years.
- Ffion – My soon-to-be Sister-in-Law, and someone I can rely on when it comes to all the important things in life: good food, style, and telling me how it is.
‘Will you be my bridesmaid?’ Card by Jade Fisher*
This post is in collaboration with notonthehighstreet.com, however all views, photos and words are my own.
Save The Dates by Sugar & Spice Designs*
We must have written, erased and re-written our wedding guestlist a hundred times. It’s been one of the hardest parts of planning our intimate (read: small) wedding. And today I’m going to let you in on a little secret…it’s not even finished!
Choosing Our Wedding Guestlist
Obviously the first people we wrote down were immediate family. Then it was the bridal party, and our closest shared friends. After that it became a bit more complicated. We have to stick to numbers, and it’s horrible trying to figure out where to draw the hypothetical line. It was also important to take into consideration whether our friends and family could make it to our location wedding. I say “location” because it’s outside London, and in the middle of nowhere. Honestly it won’t be easy for everyone to get there and find accommodation, and we understand that. We would love to be able to pay for everyone’s hotel/airbnb, but let’s be realistic – it’s not possible on a budget.
Choosing Our Save the Dates
Choosing the guest list may be tough, but there is a fun side to it as well – deciding on our save the dates! We both wanted something that reflected our personal style, as well as the theme of the wedding. I went straight to notonthehighstreet.com as I’d fallen for their wedding stationery at the press day I attended earlier this year. We narrowed it down to a couple of our favourite designs, and eventually we ended up with the Luxury Eucalyptus Save the Dates by Sugar & Spice, which you can see above (and below).
We were so happy with how the ST… note to self: don’t try and abbreviate ‘Save the Date’. But seriously, we were so happy with our final Save the Dates. The handwritten calligraphy in the form of our guests names (on the envelopes), added an extra personal touch. They’re simplistic, yet memorable, and the design matches our theme perfectly. We may still be finalising our wedding guestlist, but at least we have some awesome save the dates to help us along the way!
My saves the dates were gifted to me by Sugar & Spice, however all views, photos and words are my own.
I’m Getting Married, And It’s Frightening!
Wait, what? Yes I’m getting married. Don’t worry I’ve been pretty quiet about it, only occasionally referencing it. It’s pretty typical of me, and my fiancé is even more subtle. That said, Ben and I have been engaged for a few years now. However we had both agreed that we would wait to get married until the perfect moment. And after viewing an amazing venue a few months ago, it would appear that that moment is now. Well, Summer 2018 to be more precise. It’s incredibly exciting, but at the same time very frightening.
I’m Getting Married, And It’s Frightening!
Why is it frightening? Well because unless you didn’t already know, this is my first time getting married. I did stop and think of hiring a wedding planner, for all of five seconds. Then I remembered how much of a perfectionist I am, and how that would never work. So the task comes down to me (and Ben). However I’ve only been to one wedding in my adult life, and I wasn’t involved in any aspect of it. Unless you count eating, celebrating and partying. And if that was all there was to it, then I’d probably be a lot less nervous, and a lot more qualified. But let’s be honest, there is way more to getting married.
And luckily for me I was recently invited to the notonthehighstreet.com wedding press day. Everything was laid out so expertly, making things seem so simple…and appealing. Alongside some amazing friends who have offered to help me along the way, it showed me that wedding planning doesn’t have to be complicated and confusing. And I want to be involved in all of it along the way, even if it is a little frightening.
I’ll be documenting my wedding along the way, so keep an eye out!
You can find the products featured in this post on notonthehighstreet.com.
3 Reasons Why I’ve Stopped Reading Blogs
Well, ok that title is slightly clickbaity. I do still read a few blogs. But whereas I used to have an RSS/Bloglovin full of them, I can now count the number of blogs I read on one hand. And lately I’ve been wondering why that is, and thinking about some of the little things that bug me about the ‘blogosphere’. So I decided to pop them down in a post, and give you ‘3 Reasons Why I’ve Stopped Reading Blogs’.
Bye bye originality
Time after time, I see the same features and campaigns popping up. The same layouts and designs. The same styles. It’s almost as if they’re blending into each other. Now that’s not to say people can’t follow trends, but it gets eerily creepy when a blog or social channel is a carbon copy of another. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it makes for a boring blog.
Blogs are no longer genuine
I’m tired of seeing bloggers doing something purely because they think it will get them more hits, subscribers, likes etc. That’s to say there are some of the people out there who are no longer genuine in their efforts. I’m talking about the people who only hang out with ‘high-profile’ bloggers just to further their own career. Or those that only visit a place because it is Instagram-friendly. I’ve actually seen people say that they care more about how a restaurant dish looks than how it tastes, because if it doesn’t look good they can’t put it on social. It’s all just very sad.
Not disclosing paid for
This is one thing that will automatically put me off a blogger. Paid-for campaigns are not hard to spot, especially for someone like me who works in marketing. I’ve seen bloggers called out for it in the comments of their Instagram post, and then promptly delete said comment, before later adding #SP. No one is going to hate you for making money, it’s only when you’re shady about it that people are going to get mad.
Why I’ve Stopped Reading Blogs…
I’d like to stress that this post does not mean I think every blog is the same. Far from it, there are some amazing blogs out there that are doing their own thing, and working it. And I understand that some people make money from their blogs, and that’s awesome – power to you guys. But I believe that with a saturated market you often lose quality. I just hope that these blogs continue to do an outstanding job, and don’t get lost along the way.