It’s not often that you meet someone with a cv as rich and varied as this month’s guest on A Simple Path. We are delighted to be joined by Kamin Mohammadi, whose many talents are outlined below, along with her thoughts on the importance of meditation, the slow living Italian-style and her beloved slipper collection. Kamin managed to turn her life around, from a point of feeling overworked, overwrought and lonely, to living a life of fulfilment and peace in Tuscany.
Prepare to be inspired. Here’s Kamin’s Simple Path:
Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
I am a writer, a journalist, an editor, a broadcaster, yoga teacher, Reiki healer, massage therapist, olive oil farmer and organic skincare producer! I have always wanted to write and been passionate about words and communication, working in magazines for many years until I was brave enough to go freelance and then tackle my first book. As a journalist I started commentating on the radio, noticed I liked it. After publishing my first book I was asked to present a Radio 4 show I had appeared on as a guest. All the other stuff has happened organically, born out of my various interests, passions and studies. I love to keep educating myself.
If you had one piece of advice or wisdom to pass on to your younger self, what would it be?
Don’t waste so much energy on angsting about men! And START MEDITATING NOW!!
What is it about slow living and the simple life that you find appealing?
(Image by Olivia Rutherford)
I have always been a super-fast city girl, very impatient. At the same time, I am an artist and need a lot of solitude to digest the experience of every day otherwise my creativity can’t flow, and I go a bit crazy! So over the years, in order to write my books and create my products, I have had to slow down. There is a lovely way of putting it in Italy – being essential. I think it sums it up: it’s about that paring back, letting go of excess and uncluttering – be it the house or the mind. It is out of the simplicity, the quiet, that new ideas are born. My latest book Bella Figura: How to Live, Love and Eat the Italian Way (published by Bloomsbury, more info here) is my attempt to share what I have learnt about the delights of slow living, the Italian way.
How can we counter the pulls of content-sharing and curating images of our lives with the need for being in the moment?
I’m not sure I have worked this one out yet but I suspect the answer lies in that magic word – balance! Social media is wonderful and seductive. But my goodness, can it ever replace a great face-to-face conversation with a good friend? I don’t think so.
Who inspires you?
My husband, for his energy and zest for life. My mother, because of her strength, elegance and generosity. My editor Alexandra Pringle because she is the perfect mixture of heart, soul and brain, and has given me a writing family to feel part of. My yoga teacher of the past 20 years who embodies love and devotion in action.
What are your essential homeware items/ things you couldn’t do without?
Ah, my silk pillow cases – my agent’s gift to me when I turned 40, an anti-ageing tip that I love! My moka coffee maker comes with me wherever I travel, and I always need lots of incense burners because I’m crazy about Nag Champa. I treasure my Persian carpets passed down through my family, especially the Kurdish kelims of my grandmother – I terrorise people who try to walk on them in their shoes! Which brings us to my big and varied slipper collection…
What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?
More of the same please! Just expanded, with new experiences added in.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
That’s hard! Maybe going to Italy for 6 weeks not knowing a soul, without a word of Italian, with no income or home, but staying 10 years (and counting)?
Fancy a footloose road trip but life keeps getting in the way? No problem, you can live vicariously through the adventures of this month’s A Simple Path guest, Leney Breeden. A photographer, artist and writer Leney is a free spirit and has lots to teach us about resisting the urge to over-plan or keep a tight grip on life. You may have come across Leney’s stunning images on Instagram, or read her gorgeous slow living blog A Girl Named Leney. Now’s your chance to learn more about what drives her, what she would say to her younger self, and much, much more.
Read on for some much-needed inspiration on going with life’s flow. Thanks so much for joining us, Leney!
We are so excited to be joined on A Simple Path this month by designer Marianne Vigtel Holland. We came across Marianne’s beautiful images on Instagram and were immediately captivated by the way she captures the beauty in everyday things, and how she uses texture and light in her interior styling. We thought you’d love to hear more about her work, and her thoughts on the importance of using natural materials – like mineral paints that are not only environmentally friendly they also create a unique sense of tranquility, and the many ways she uses linen fabric. Marianne refers to her work as ‘slow design’, which makes it a perfect fit with our slow living ethos here at Linenbeauty.
Read on to hear more about finding the poetry and beauty in the things we surround ourselves with, and how to go with the flow.
We are beyond delighted to be joined for A Simple Path this month by writer and outdoor artist (more on that in a mo) Tanya Shadrick.
Tanya is someone whose life and work embody the values of simplicity and slow living. She is both a writer and an artist, finding ways to connect with people in new and meaningful ways through words and her physical presence. We think you’re going to love this interview: read on to hear about how a vandalised tree changed Tanya’s life and career, the lessons she learnt from her frugal, resourceful grandmother, and for her incredibly inspiring outlook on how we can live more connectedly and happily.
Put the kettle on, pull up a blanket – or better still, in the spirit of Tanya, take this outdoors to read under a big sky – and dive into Tanya’s thoughts on slow living, art and family.
We are super-thrilled to be joined this month by food stylist and cookery writer Frankie Unsworth. Frankie has worked with many cooks, photographers and writers at the top of their game, styling photographs to create a story around each object or dish that’s being photographed. She has just launched her own cook book, complete with stunning images and brilliantly useful tips for making your meals look as good as they taste.
She has kindly taken time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions. This is a real treat: read on for inspiration about choosing to follow your passion in life, the joys of owning a dog, the love of good linen and being held at gunpoint at the age of 17.
Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
We are thrilled that the wonderful Jen from Little Birdie is joining us this month for our A Simple Path interview series. Jen is a freelance writer and photographer, originally from Scotland but now living in Yorkshire with her husband and son. Her work encapsulates all we are trying to do on this blog: celebrate a slower, more mindful way to live, whilst acknowledging the realities of everyday life.
Jen’s work is honest, beautiful and authentic. She understands the pressure we can all feel to have the ‘perfect’ life and tries to support and encourage rather than portray an unrealistic version of her world. She loves to write about, and photograph, nature, food, her gorgeous home and the simple, slow moments in life. Reading her posts is like being surrounded by a waft of fresh air. We think you’re going to love this interview.
Welcome, Jen. Thanks so much for being here.
We are thrilled to be joined this month by the lovely Emma Lavelle of Field+Nest. Emma is a writer and content manager who, like many of us, has a ‘portfolio’ working life where she combines working for herself with working for others. As well as treating us to her stunning photographs with their trademark elements of nature, exquisite detailing and her gorgeous auburn tresses, Emma writes on interiors, travel and slow living. But her life hasn’t always been like this. Emma experienced the burnout that many people feel when they are pushing themselves too much at work. What’s so inspiring about her story is how she turned this around, from being a stressed-out, under-appreciated employee to being an empowered, creative woman who has managed to construct a life that provides balance and pleasure as well as job satisfaction. She may very well, in fact, be living the dream.
Want to know how she did it, and her thoughts on who inspires her and how she finds time for the small stuff? Read on.
1. Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
I have many hats. Some days I’m the Creative Content & Partnerships Manager at Rose & Grey, styling shoots, buying collections, posting on social media & writing content. Other days, I work for myself, writing content for websites and stories for independent magazines. In the evenings, I’m a blogger, working on my own site, Field + Nest. The long story of how I ended up where I am can be read here but the short version is that I used to work in the fashion industry and became very disillusioned with how disposable everything was in fast fashion – both the garments themselves and the attitude towards the staff from those managing the businesses. I decided to try pursuing my first love of writing and found myself in a position where I only had to work part-time. Falling into interiors was a happy accident that I haven’t looked back from.
2. If you had one piece of advice or wisdom to pass on to your younger self, what would it be?
You love to write, so be a writer. It isn’t just a hobby, your blog isn’t just a frivolous pastime. Your primary school teachers said you should be a writer, so don’t quit English at college – study hard and continue to pursue creative writing.
3. What is it about slow living and the simple life that you find appealing?
Back when I worked in fashion, everything was so fast-paced and I barely had any time for myself. I was working late, working through my lunch hour, commuting for hours each day – eventually I crashed and burned. Taking a step back from the rat race and deciding to only work for someone else part-time has vastly improved my quality of life. I take pleasure in the little moments, things that I didn’t even used to notice. Everything from food to travel to style can be slowed down, made more sustainable and enjoyed more.
4. How can we counter the pulls of content-sharing and curating images of our lives with the need for being in the moment?
We need to take breaks and occasionally step back from Instagram and other forms of online content sharing. What is the point in presenting a picture-perfect life if you aren’t getting the chance to actually live it? Limit your online time each day and don’t forget to put down your phone and camera and actually live in the moment.
5. Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by the wonderful women I have met through Instagram. Women who have their own creative businesses, who have raised wonderful families, who take beautiful photographs, who juggle many creative pursuits and who have shunned the idea of a ‘normal’ life to do what truly makes them happy. Lou Archell, Sara Tasker, Abi Dare, Kym Grimshaw, Siobhan Watts, Freya Dowson and Elizabeth Curtis all immediately spring to mind.
6. What are your essential homeware items/ things you couldn’t do without?
It’s funny, I’m currently in between houses as we renovate our new home in the countryside and most of my belongings are in storage. It’s made me realise what I really ‘need’. The things that I find myself carting around between the homes of friends and family that we are currently staying with are: a notebook, my laptop, my camera, a comfortable linen jumpsuit, my MOA green balm and facial oil, and my dog, Evie.
7. What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?
Sitting in my garden, surrounded by flowers and vegetables that I have grown, writing my second novel.
8. What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
Wild camping in Scotland. On the second night, we pitched our tent in the middle of nowhere beside a small stream. As we huddled around a camp fire, two otters swam past just a few feet away. In the night, I woke up to the sound of something large shuffling around outside our tent – we woke in the morning to find hoof prints circling around us.
Thanks so much for joining us Emma, it has been a delight!
Are there certain things in your wardrobe that you find yourself reaching for over again? Clothes that either look great or make you feel great, or if you are lucky, both? We’ve written before about cultivating a capsule wardrobe, getting rid of things that you never wear and instead creating a small collection of pieces that work well together for work and for play. But even with a pared-back amount of clothes there are still some trusty everyday clothes (and accessories) that we just keep coming back to.
Here’s what we love wearing, on rotation, pretty much most of the time:
We are so delighted to be joined this month by the lovely Jessica Cresswell. Jessica, her husband and young daughter live and work in a woodland. In between tending her hens and looking after the woodland (which is surprisingly time-consuming) Jessica writes a blog, The Woodland Wife, and takes stunning photographs of her everyday life.
The lush forest trees are not the only greenery here – our faces are green with envy at her simple, outdoorsy lifestyle. But it’s not all idyllic, and Jessica and her husband have made big sacrifices to attain a slower, off-the-beaten-track way of life. It’s wild in the woods, in the best sense of the word.
Here are Jessica’s thoughts on taking inspiration from the rhythms of nature, parenting, slow living, keeping on asking questions and how to be mindful when you are feeling anxious. Enjoy – this is a goodie!
We are thrilled to be joined on A Simple Path this month by Signe Voltelen of SLOW, and urban farming and slow living business. Signe is an architect and urban farmer who not only teaches people how to live off the land but also helps brands style and host beautiful events and gatherings. In all her work Signe strives to reconnect us with the land and nature, to understand the world around us and learn to live in a mindful way. She wants to celebrate the beauty of nature by empowering people to bring their own gardens to life, or to bring nature into their homes and businesses.