I’m back! And end of No New Clothes challenge

Sorry I haven’t posted for a few months. I was feeling really tired a lot of the time and had got into a rut with my eating so didn’t fancy doing my weekly updates on my food when I thought it was really boring and samey!

I think going forward I’ll only do food posts when I cook something special or different or if I’m eating out. I did find my weekly food posts a bit of a chore and that’s not what this blog is about!

So onto my clothes challenge. At the beginning of 2016 I decided to take on “No New Clothes for a Year”. I was inspired by Jen from My Make Do And Mend Life and joined her two Facebook groups (no new clothes and buy nothing new) to connect with others doing the same. You can set your own rules and mine were that I could only buy second-hand/vintage clothes and essentials.

At the beginning of the year I was buying a couple of second hand pieces a month but as the year went on I even cut down on that. I managed to go without buying any essentials thanks to my Mum donating me some of her tights as she doesn’t wear skirts/dresses very often, and as I started jogging in the summer I managed to get some second hand gym gear on ASOS marketplace and eBay. The only two new items I had in the year were T-shirts, one from my company for our London Pride event and one from St Francis Hospice when I took part in a charity walk. Both these have gone into my gym clothes which I use regulary.

So in a year I have bought 5 dresses, 2 tops, 1 gym outfit, 1 skirt, 1 coat and 1 pair of shoes – all second hand, which I don’t think is too bad. The only things I’m a bit unsure of were the pink t-shirt dress in the middle and the coat. I’ve still been wearing the dress but it doesn’t exactly “spark joy” which is a mantra of minimalist guru Marie Kondo. I will continue to wear it until I get bored and then it shall be re-donated to charity. I love the pattern of the coat but it didn’t fit perfectly so I bought it as a “target” item. I promised myself I wouldn’t do this but I did love it! Unfortunately I didn’t look at it carefully enough before I bought it as the lining needs a lot of stitching and the sleeve is moth-eaten so I think it will need to be recycled. A lesson learnt!

The only things I have really struggled with is tights and having a lack of options where I have gained weight. When I gain weight I don’t like to buy new clothes in a bigger size anyway so that hasn’t changed and am now back on a healthier lifestyle eating mindfully and doing exercise. I have already seen some rewards in having clothes fit more comfortably, my mental health is better and my skin is clearer!

So what does this mean going forward?

I plan to keep my clothes shopping to a minimum and buy vintage/second-hand where I can. I have asked for some vouchers for Christmas in order to buy some tights and bras and my Husband has bought me a new pair of everyday shoes as my current ones are falling apart. I don’t buy a lot of shoes and wear mine until they are completely worn out. I have struggled this year to find good quality, non-leather, second-hand shoes. I will continue my hunt but will buy new when I absolutely need to.

I had a clear out of my clothes throughout the year but I plan to do this again as I have some clothes I haven’t worn at all this year.

The only things I have really wanted to buy but have resisted are vegan/animal/charity/campaign t-shirts. I tend to wear dresses so I don’t have many bottoms to go with them. This is my logic for resisting temptation! Although I have bought a few slogan tote bags throughout the year (which I don’t count as clothes) although I do now need to cut down on these too!

I want to extend my reduced shopping to the rest of my life and have a good declutter. I live in a one bedroom flat with my Husband so I don’t have much space. I already minimise what I buy and I don’t like having too many things but I think there’s still room for improvement.

The area I think I can make the most impact in is my kitchen. I have a lot of cookbooks only a handful of which I use and I put myself on cookbook ban a long time ago, but I can clear out those I don’t use. I also need to clear out my cupboards of unused out of date food and use up what I do have in there. As my flat is small things just get bundled in the kitchen cupboards and I can’t actually see what I have to use. My fridge broke a few weeks ago and we had to get a new one which was a great opportunity to get rid of all the old jars in there. I also need to clear appliances. I have a dehydrator and an ice-cream maker boxed up in my living room for months that I still haven’t put on ebay/freecycle.

I’m hoping that decluttering the flat will also improve my mental health as I always feel happier when it is clearer and tidier. With less things I’ll have less to clean and will be less tired from chores and have more time for fun stuff!

I don’t think my Husband will be looking forward to this as he can be a bit of a collector. Our hallway is wall to wall shelving with games, books and films and the top of the shelves house his collection of video game memorabilia. I won’t insist on him decluttering but by getting rid of some of my things there will be more room for his so it will generally look tidier. We are also hoping to move in the not too distant future so decluttering will help when we need to get a few jobs done in the flat. It is so difficult in a small place as you don’t have any space to move anything if you need to do some plastering or decorating!

What is your style? Are you a minimalist or a hoarder? Do you have any plans to make any changes?

Let me know in the comments

Plumes x



I’m back! And end of No New Clothes challenge

Positive Thinking


I do tend to think of myself as positive person. This was reinforced recently when my team took part in a positive thinking workshop at work. We did a number of exercises including writing down lots of things that annoyed us and then crossing out the things we had no control over. This reminded me a little phrase I used to say to myself. “Nothing has the power to mess with your zen” (although I may have used a stronger word than “mess”! More on that in a bit!) In many situations you don’t have control as to what happens but you you can control how you respond to it. This was tested on me last night when there were issues with my trains. We were held outside the second stop due to a problem with the train in front which was taken out of service. Our train become very crowded and then we were informed it would be terminated the stop before mine. There was a lot of huffing and swearing from my fellow passengers but I was just glad I had a seat. Shortly after we were told our train would in fact terminate a few stops earlier. I got off with everyone else and sat down on the bench on the platform. Our trains are every few minutes so instead of pushing and shoving onto the next one I sat and finished reading my magazine, then got on the third train. I was then told that this train was going to terminate the stop before mine so off we all got again. I saw fellow commuters getting more and more stressed while I was calmly reading through my emails. I ended up getting home an hour later than usual and I didn’t get to go to a shop I was planning to on the way home. I still spent a lovely evening with my husband, had some pancakes to celebrate shrove Tuesday and got an early night.

Following on from our positive thinking workshop our team has installed a “swear jar” with a 10p charge per curse word. I am very surprised I have been the top contributor and had to put in a I.O.U. yesterday as I had run out of change!

Recently I have also been practicing the 4-7-8 breathing technique where you breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts and breathe out through your mouth for 8 counts, for a cycle of 4 breaths. This really slows down your heart rate and makes you feel a lot calmer. I find this works especially well before bed and since I’ve been monitoring my sleep on my fitbit I have been falling asleep in under 10 minutes.

Today also marks the first day of Lent. I usually try to do something in Lent although I didn’t last year as it was my 30th birthday and we went on our honeymoon during that period. This year I have decided to give up coffee. I don’t drink it everyday, but it is a treat I have a couple of times a week. I also want to try and reduce the amount of sugar I eat (and not just replace it with sweeteners). I don’t think I’ll be able to avoid it completely and will still be eating fruit but I’m interested to see how much it affects the food I eat. I think I’ll be OK avoiding sweet treats but I know I’m going to miss baked beans and salad dressing! I am also going to try and fast once a week and go to lunchtime mass although I’ll see how this goes as I haven’t done this since I was at uni.

I am writing this on the train to work and have just been informed there’s going to a 15 minute delay, better start practicing that breathing technique!

Hope you have a positive week!

Plumes x



Positive Thinking