We have such a treat in store for you this month! The brilliant Sarirah Hamid joins us on A Simple Path to share her wisdom and thoughts on all things slow living. And on life in general. Read her fascinating insights on self-doubt, embracing gratitude, tea and how to make time work for you instead of against you.
Welcome, Sarirah. Thanks so much for being here.
Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
I run a beauty trend storytelling and data analysis business called Pretty Analytics. Most of my days are spent researching trends, working with data and creating content. My background is in computer science but I spent 2 years working in beauty retail buying after graduating so I wanted to create a business that fuelled my passions for data analysis, tech and beauty.
I’m very grateful that this also gives me the flexibility to pursue other projects too. I write a skincare and lifestyle blog, www.prettynotincluded.com, which I started 7 years ago. I take on freelance photography projects from time to time for small brands. Creating styled stock photography is another passion project of mine.
My blog has changed a lot over the last few years, incorporating more of my slow living journey and exploration of nature and gardening. There’s a monthly newsletter called Slow Stories where I pen most of my slow living experience, thoughts and hurdles so far. Visually, I like to experiment with photography and video over on Instagram with a slow, calming and comforting vibe (www.instagram.com/prettynotinc).
If you had one piece of advice or wisdom to pass on to your younger self, what would it be?
This is a difficult question for me to answer because I feel like the person I am today grew from the hardships and mistakes my younger self faced. However, I think I’d advise to block out the noise and be yourself unapologetically because you are worthy. My younger self was very introverted and grew up believing that it was a bad thing. So, I harboured a lot of self-doubt around my personality, opinions and what I was interested in.
Looking back, there were so many cool things – from playing drums to sport – that I wanted to pursue but was afraid of because of that introvert label, and constant worrying about what other people would think. Truth is, everyone’s too concerned with what they are doing to be worried about you. Make the effort to find your tribe. The friends that will appreciate you for who you are. It will make all the difference and you won’t have to try so hard.
What is it about slow living and the simple life that you find appealing?
It makes me feel lighter and better focused. Taking my time with tasks, not being surrounded by clutter or an “It’s not enough” mindset has really helped me deal with my anxiety. The slow living mindset allowed me to hone in on embracing gratitude. Being grateful for the big things and those small, simple daily moments. It manifests into a feeling of being enough which helps me in my work and life. I’m a lot less of a perfectionist in my work now (making it much less stressful) and find great pleasure in pockets of calm, from the rituals of tea making to a walk on the heath.
Whilst the calming, stress-less aspects appealed to me most, I was surprised by how it changed my attitude towards time. I no longer worry about racing against the clock or wishing there were more hours in the day or checking the time against how much I’ve accomplished. Yes, I still have deadlines but my work and play feels much more enjoyable.
How can we counter the pulls of content-sharing and curating images of our lives with the need for being in the moment?
I want to say it’s all about creating balance, but realistically I don’t think that’s always possible, especially if social media or creating digital content is a part of your daily work. Or even if you just love it a lot and want to share content often. More importantly, I think we need to be aware of our changing attitudes towards social content. Being able to step back if we feel burnout approaching, turning away from negativity and picking our online battles wisely. Not every thought, experience or pocket of life needs to be shared online. Your real time experience and the emotion evoked in that moment needs to come first. Consciously choosing to spend time away from the online world helps. When I’m out and about with friends and family or on a walk I avoid using my phone as much as possible.
It’s easy to fall into a habit of scrolling through Instagram or Twitter whenever there’s a second of freedom from a task, like queuing at a checkout or waiting for a train. I deleted the Twitter app and ended up spending more time noticing my surroundings, spotting pretty flowers or cool artwork on walls, chatting with strangers in coffee shops and not being concerned with what everyone else is up to online. That fast-paced delivery of content can sometimes be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing.
At the end of the day, we just need to be conscious about how these things affect us personally and do our best to put our most authentic self forward.
Who inspires you?
My Instagram faves, some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person, are a big inspiration. Barbora (@herinternest) , Sara Tasker (@meandorla) and Lucy (@wanderluceblog) to name but a few. I love how Instagram encourages that give and take of inspiration and there’s a real sense of community. I continue to learn a lot from these ladies and the content they share with the world.
Also, my younger sister (http://suhaylah.tumblr.com) has always been so supportive of my work and the creative projects I want to pursue. Seeing a little into her creative process as an artist and writer keeps me curious and wanting to try new things.
What are your essential homeware items/ things you couldn’t do without?
– A good tea mug. I own more of them than forks, if I’m honest. I drink a lot of tea.
– When the sky is overcast and the light is dull but comforting, I like to sit with my comfy wireless headphones and listen to podcasts. It’s a nice way to rest my eyes from screens.
– Notebooks with square paper. Analogue creative processes feel comforting but I also find I come up with my best ideas when I embrace pen to paper.
– Fluffy socks. One of the perks of working from home most of the time is getting to wear cosy socks all day.
– Also, can’t forget a good square cushion. Sometimes I like to think and sort through ideas in my head whilst lying on the floor.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?
Living away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I hope I’ll be able to call myself a mother and prolific vegetable grower by then, with my business running strong. I hope that writing will be a big part of my daily work regardless of whether it manifests itself as fiction, poetry or nonfiction. I’d like there to still be space to navigate free creative play just for the fun of it.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
Probably quitting a secure job with people I loved to work with in the pursuit of something new and uncertain. I didn’t have a plan as such at the time but went with my gut feeling. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve done much that would be considered wild or ‘out there’. However, as someone who harboured a lot of self-doubt and lack of self-confidence in the past, it felt like a bold move to take a chance on myself.
At this time of year our thoughts inevitably turn to the year that is ending. We think back to the events – good and bad – that stand out, and also remember the quieter moments that make up the everyday. This year has seen some troubling political developments and horrific events across the world, but there has also been much to be thankful for. On a smaller scale, we thought we would give you a round up of Linenbeauty’s 2017, and some ideas on how to make 2018 a great year.
So what happened at Linenbeauty in 2017?
A Simple Path launch
This year saw the launch of our new interview series, A Simple Path, in which we speak to creatives, entrepreneurs and social media influencers about what makes them tick. We are honoured to have featured some fantastic guests and learned so much about what inspires them, what slow living means to them, and how we can all strive to make our world a better place. If you missed any of the interviews, go here, here, or here for a taste of our slow living journey.
Slow Living Guide
Inspired by these interviews, and by the issues around authenticity and social media bubbles, we collected together the wisdom we have gleaned over the course of 2017 and created our own guide to slow living. In it we address ideas like: what is slow living, how realistic is it to try to live a simple life and how can we balance the practical requirements of everyday life with a need for something fulfilling and nurturing? If you haven’t read it already, you can find it here.
Our love for linen
Underpinning our philosophy of sustainable and mindful living is our love for linen. This year we explored various topics with linen at the heart. We were lucky to interview Emma O’Connor from Sussex Past who gave us fascinating insights into cleaning linen in the past (including some rather surprising things!), and are hoping to follow this up with more on the history of linen next year.
We also discovered natural ways to clean your house, explored the lure of wild swimming, dug around for great books that will help you simplify your life, considered how to create a seasonal capsule wardrobe and gathered some simple, festive holiday traditions from across the globe.
How you can make 2018 your best year yet
This book is a great place to start. Based around realistic goal-setting and workshop-style activities, this book will help you start the new year feeling positive and focused. You could even buy a few copies for friends and work on the activities together, providing support and encouragement.
Visualisation and mood-boarding is also a powerful way to think about what you would like to achieve over the coming months. Find old magazines and newspapers and create a collage of images that inspire and represent your goals for the year. These don’t need to be material things, like a new car etc, though they can be if you choose. But you can think about what kind of life you want to live and find images that encapsulate the qualities and feelings associated with it, like freedom, mindfulness, a slower pace, for example.
January is the perfect time for a Spring clean, however strange that may sound. By the time Spring comes there will be gardening to tend to and your days will increasingly be spent outside, whereas the dark, cold winter months force us to put our attention onto the inside of our houses. Your home is central to your wellbeing, so spend time walking around each room and thinking of easy ways you could make changes that will enhance the look and function. It might mean a simple re-organisation of the furniture, washing or replacing the curtains, or hanging some new pictures. Or it could mean a wholesale redecoration and revamp. The result will be that you start the year with a considered home that will help you live as happily and effectively as you can.
On New Year’s Eve we have a tradition where we all gather around the kitchen table, light a candle and then write down resolutions for the year ahead. We start with listing things we are grateful for from the year that is ending, and then write down our hopes and goals for the new year. With kids it can be useful to give them some pointers (otherwise it can turn into a bit of a shopping wish list!), like ‘Things I would like to achieve’ or ‘Things I would like to learn’. We then store our lists in a jar and don’t get them out until the following New Year’s Eve, when we review what we managed to achieve.
However you spend your New Year’s Eve and start off 2018, we would like to wish you a very happy, peaceful and fulfilling year ahead. Thank you for reading, and for joining us on these pages. If you have any suggestions for ways to make the coming year even better, do share them in the comments. We would love to hear them.
We are so excited to be joined this month by the wondrous Jessica Rose Williams, known as the ‘queen of minimalism’! Jessica is a writer, photographer and lover of a capsule wardrobe. She helps people declutter their clothes and attain more freedom with less stuff.
You may already have signed up to her free Minimalist Challenge, enjoyed her beautiful photos on Instagram or read her thoughtful and insightful blog. Now here’s another treat for you: Jessica Rose’s philosophy on slow living and the courage it takes to say no.
We think you’ll love this one!
Welcome, Jessica. Thanks so much for joining us.
Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
By day I run a finance business with my husband but I’m really a writer and a photographer. I blog at jessicarosewilliams.com where I write about living a simpler more creative life, and all the benefits that come with that based on my own experiences. I also work with people 1:1 to help them simplify life and build capsule wardrobes.
I’d always wanted to start a blog but I didn’t have the confidence. Two years ago I made a big lifestyle change and started living a more intentional simpler life. I got rid of everything that didn’t add real value and it gave me the nudge I needed to chase my creative dreams. Getting rid of all the distractions in my life made me realise what really mattered to me and what direction I wanted to go in.
If you had one piece of advice or wisdom to pass on to your younger self, what would it be?
You are good enough just as you are, be kinder to yourself.
If you are looking for some new rituals to share with your loved ones over the holiday season, look no further. We’ve hunted around for some lovely holiday traditions that all foster a spirit of togetherness, thoughtfulness and comfort. Whether you adapt these to suit your personal preferences, or wholeheartedly embrace an established ritual, we hope these ideas will bring a fresh energy and joyful time for you and your family and friends.
Jolabokaflod (Iceland) – Holiday Traditions
We are thrilled to be joined by Leslie Carrington this month in our series of interviews exploring slow living and how to live a more simple lifestyle. Leslie is CEO of HolistiCitiLyfe, a company that organises wellness vacations designed to help you feel more balanced, healthy and happy. Leslie and her colleagues create tailor-made itineraries for a client’s trip, with a focus on restoring and rejuvenating both mind and spirit.
And the wellness is not purely intended as a holiday treat. HolistiCitiLyfe offers support for people once they get home and land back in the busyness of their lives, so they can continue to reap the benefits of a holistic approach to life. We think this chimes perfectly with what our A Simple Path series is all about: thinking about how slow living can all help us lead happier, more fulfilling lives.
Here are Leslie’s thoughts on having a ‘non-cookie cutter approach to wellness’, and her advice for her younger self. Think of her interview as a mini-retreat where you can escape out of your day for a few precious minutes.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Leslie Carrington. Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
My name is Leslie Carrington, and I’m a licensed Social Worker, Life Coach and Founder of HolistiCitiLyfe (HCL). I created HCL from my passion for wellness and love for curating events and travel retreats. These two ideals collided and are now at the forefront of everything that I do and curate for my very special clients, community and travellers.
By changing my own life through clean eating, physical activity, meditation and the incorporation of ancient practices, I help others change their lives and enjoy a rejuvenation of mind, body and spirit.
Throughout our A Simple Path series of interviews with creatives, entrepreneurs and influencers, we’ve been exploring the question: what is slow living? What has become clear is that there is no fixed answer to this, although there are some common strands to what people feel constitutes a slow life. We thought we’d gather together the wise words and ideas we’ve collected so far to create our own Linenbeauty guide to slow living.
We will also address some of the hindrances, the impossibilities and falsities of attaining a purely simple, slow life. Yet ultimately we hope to share some useful tips, thoughtful reflections and everyday inspirations.
What does slow living mean to you? How do you try to incorporate elements of this into your life? We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas. So, brew some warming coffee, put your feet up and settle down for a few minutes of peace. And please drop us a comment if you’d like to join the conversation.
Click on the link below and read the guide online, or download it to read at your leisure.
If you are suffering from the Autumn sniffles or struggling with the ever-shortening days and darker evenings, we’re here to help with natural ways to beat autumn cold.
Our immune systems can take a battering at this time of year, so it’s important to take care of yourself. Eat well (try not to reach for sugary quick-fix snacks when you are feeling tired), take a good quality vitamin supplement, get plenty of sleep and try to find some time in your day to be still and quiet. Sometimes you might need extra help to get back on track, like these 5 remedies below. All are based on natural ingredients, but if you are pregnant be wary of essential oils and check their suitability before using.
Here are 5 ways to see yourself happily into winter:
The slow living movement can seem rather monocultural, and many people are put off sustainable options like ethical clothing or green beauty products due to their price tag. It’s important that the message of living responsibly and minimising our impact on the environment is not just heard within its own echo chamber, or amongst those on higher incomes. Which is why we were delighted to find Cindy Luquin and her blog, Cultura con Wellness, where she talks about her efforts to empower the Latino community and people of colour through her intentionally conscious lifestyle. And we were even more thrilled when Cindy agreed to feature on A Simple Path.
So take a moment to yourself, sit back and enjoy Cindy’s thoughts on wellness, balance and how a major health trauma forced her to reevaluate her life.
Do you ever have that thing when, as the season changes, you look into your clothes drawers or closet and realise you have NOTHING to wear? The weather here changed so dramatically in the space of just a few days taking us from shorts to woolly socks seemingly overnight. And there seems to be very little in the closet that will actually work for right now. If you are organised, your fall/winter wardrobe will be stored safely awaiting this change in temperature and you can just switch them around. But if, like us, you just seem to have no appropriate clothes, here’s how to clear out your closet and make your wardrobe work for you this season.
To get started, empty all your clothes onto the bed. Hold each item in turn and ask yourself these questions:
What a treat we have in store for you this month! We are picking the brains of the lovely Katherine Heath of Wild Grey Skies for her thoughts on all things sustainable and natural. Katherine is a social media manager and content creator* at (hug) London, who not only takes gorgeous pictures, but also has lots of wisdom to share about ways we can be more ethical in our consumption, and how to attain more balance in our lives.
Welcome, Katherine Heath!