My simple style

When you think of someone working from home I bet you think of them working in their pajamas. I know I did! However when you’re a parent and you’ve got to be up and out for the school run you have to be ready to face the world first thing. Not to mention the fact that I don’t think my daughter’s would ever speak to me again if I rocked up at the school gate with bed hair and ‘jamas on.

In all honesty, I feel more focused when I’m dressed and ready for the day. Now, don’t get me wrong I don’t wear office wear sat all by myself in my home office, but I do wear clothes that are comfortable and that get me in ‘work mode’ so to speak.

I’ve mentioned in earlier blog post that I’m keen to simplify this year and this covers my wardrobe too. I’m not the worst offender when it comes to buying and hoarding clothes but there’s a definite room for improvement. I need a wardrobe of clothes that work for me as I work from home. Simple, stylish, comfortable clothes that lend themselves to working at home, the school run and meetings.

Over the past couple of years I’ve really tried to experiment with colour and print. It looked so good on everyone else, however these choices just led to a wardrobe half full of clothing I’d never wear. I didn’t instinctively reach for the floral dress or the red cardigan, so they’d stare at me making me feel guilty for the money I spent on them and the space they then took up! I’ve faced facts – I just love black and grey, I love having clothes that compliment each other that are easy to mix and match in the morning. I hate standing in front of a muddled wardrobe first thing in the morning trying to figure out what to wear!

Embracing the black, white and grey

Before you either fall down in shock or give me a round of applause the featured photo is not my pared down wardrobe, it’s just a few of my favourite pieces. I’ve a long way to go before I have a minimal, capsule wardrobe! I am really inspired by those that have got a capsule wardrobe and I’m keen to work towards it. For now, I’m fully embracing the black, white and grey and not feeling guilty that I’m not more into colour and bold print, well, unless you count leopard as colour and print? If you do then I’m all over that! Having a clear ideas of what I like and what suits me makes shopping so much easier. Of course, it’s fun to experiment with trends, and I for one am loving the 90s grunge revival going on right now, but using them within your own style is key. 

Next steps

For now I’ll be continuing to work through my wardrobe, popping things on ebay and Facebook selling pages to try and pare down what I already have.
Make sure the clothes that I already have work for me, and for my working lifestyle.

 

Top tips

If having a huge clear out is far too daunting for you why not try a one in, one out policy. I’ve done this before and it really makes me think about my purchases, basically whenever you buy something you have to give another item away (clothing, bags, shoes).

Have a play around on Pinterest, what looks do you like, what colours are you drawn to. Take a look at your wardrobe and see if there’s a similarity.

Get rid of clothes that you haven’t worn in years. Seriously, those cargo pants and bootcut jeans from ten years ago, they are too small and  you are never going to wear them!

 

Recommended reading

If you’ve been inspired by the need to simplify I recommend you check out these bloggers and posts

Jessica Rose Williams A Minimalist Capsule Winter Wardrobe

All That Is SheHow To Build A Capsule Wardrobe

 

Style inspiration

 

Get the look

If you like the style I’ve gone for you can see more here – just click to shop

PETITE | Cropped wide leg jeans
ASOS Petite Ultimate Maxi Tshirt Dress
ASOS Petite Minimal Jumpsuit
Rib Popper Midi Skirt
City Maxi Tea Dress
Washed Black Mom Jeans
Meadow Flat Leopard Print Shoes
Mini Cami Slip Dress
Black Old School VAns
Blossom Leather Look Jacket
Pink Longline Jumper
‘Got Your Back’ T-Shirt
Mini Faux Leather Pencil Skirt

 

I’d love your thoughts on this, as ever leave a comment or catch me on Twitter


(this post contain affiliate links)

morganaMy simple style
read more

My word for 2018

Over the last few years I’ve spent time in January thinking of the year ahead and what I’d like to see and achieve. I’m not one for unattainable goals and self improvement resolutions as you know, from my recent New Year, Same Me post, but I like to pick a word to inspire me. It’s not a woo woo kind of thing where the word has some magic properties, it just encapsulates what I’d like the year to reflect.

Last year my word was grace and oh boy was it put to the test at times! 

For this year while working through Jen Carrington‘s book, Your Wholehearted Year, I grabbed a piece of paper and started to jot down ideas for words that could reflect 2018 for me, both personally and professionally.

I kept coming back to the same word.

S i m p l i f y

Like most families these days we live busy lifestyles, with dictated draws on our time, whether it’s children’s hobbies and activities, our own, our overflowing business responsibilities or most probably all of the above. Familial and professional responsibilities are often non-negotiables. So how do we cut back and focus on what’s necessary and important instead of facing that uneasy sense of overwhelm.

This is where simplify comes in.

 

What can go that we just don’t need?

What can I change to make things run more seemlessly?

What can we do differently as a family to make the most of our quality time together?

 

One of the big things we’re working on to help simplify is decluttering.

I should I say I’m working on it.. my children are yet to embrace this and let go of their hoarding ways! I’ve made a little headway with my youngest and have managed a small bag of toys she’s grown out of for charity and a bag a rubbish and broken toys for the bin. But oh boy, her negotiating skills are something else!

 I’m a firm advocate of William Morris’ wisdom,

‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’

It’s just a shame my children have very different definitions of beautiful and useful to my own!

It’s a learning curve for all of us and I need to remember that and let each person go at their own pace. As frustrating as that can be at times. The last thing I want is this intention to simplify to become a source of stress.

I would like us to be more mindful of what we buy and bring into the house. Less clutter and less waste being key in that. The girls are keen to do this, especially after watching Blue Planet, the marine documentary. They want us to use less plastic and less electricity, which I’m one hundred percent behind.

All this is key to us embracing a more minimalist lifestyle. Slow living and minimalism are two movements, (excuse how lala that sounds!) that are so appealing to me. I’m really enjoying reading blog posts in these genres and following Instagram accounts to encourage it. Of course there’s an Pinterest board to help me too, I’ll share it at the bottom of this post.

Above all else simplifying should not be chore or a goal, it is a word and an intention. I’m not going to stress or get worked up about it, after all that is the opposite of what we’re trying to be like! This isn’t about resolutions or a having set of goals to work to doggedly and rigidly, it’s a shift in mindset and an opportunity to be more mindful in the choices I make and that we make for our family. It’s supposed to be helpful, not a hindrance to our lives.

 

What do you think of choosing a word to reflect your intentions for the year?

Got any bloggers or instagrammers that I should follow for inspiration? Please do link them below.

 

 

morganaMy word for 2018
read more

New Year, Same Me

You know that phrase, New Year, New Me? 

Yeah. I’m not really a fan of that kind of sentiment.

 

It’s rather crazy to think that we’ll wake up changed or that somehow everything we haven’t managed in the last 30 odd years we will miraculously do, or even be, next year.

This New Year craziness includes physical self improvement like dieting. Aiming to get into that pair of pre-child birth jeans that have been hanging in the wardrobe for years and stare at you disapprovingly every time you open the closet doors. I’m not saying that getting back in those jeans won’t ever happen and who knows what can be achieved if you are motivated (I’m not). All I know is that giving away that pair of jeans was the best thing I ever did. Moving more and getting out of Christmas mode, ie eating Christmas cake for breakfast is the kind of New Year aim I’m going for.

When it comes to life, both personally and professionally, sure set goals, make healthy changes, and set boundaries but don’t heap pressure on yourself, or set unattainable, unrealistic and unmeasurable goals. There is no worse feeling than constantly being smacked in the face by perceived failure. I say perceived as when we set aims and goals that are unrealistic we are always going ‘fail’ and not take into account all the work and changes we’ve made to try and reach them. 

Set small targets first and be sure to celebrate those small wins.

Far too often we forget the steps we’ve taken and the positive changes we’ve made when faced with the ‘big picture’. 

I’ve fallen foul to this too many times, and it’s taken a loved one to carefully point out the things I have achieved or the kind of person I’ve become.

 

A new year is the perfect time to look how far you’ve already come, whether that’s professionally of personally. Start the year positively. Don’t just look at how you can change yourself or improve.

And remember, YOU are enough.

 

(Featured photo by Tessa Rampersad)

morganaNew Year, Same Me
read more

Raising my daughters to make mistakes

You might think that that’s a rather odd thing to say, that I’m telling my daughters that it’s okay to make mistakes. Of course I want them to do the right thing and be ‘successful’ but what I want them realise that sometimes we fail before we succeed. That so often things take time and mistakes are all part of the learning process. I can say, hand on heart, that I have learnt more from my business mistakes than from any business book.

As a child I was very aware that I had to work hard, do the ‘right thing’ and be careful. When everyone else was climbing the tree I was at the bottom wringing my hands and telling them all to be careful. I don’t think I’ve ever even tried to climb a tree. It got the point that I was scared of trying new things. I was scared of making a fool of myself, of getting it wrong and ultimately failing. I’d tied up my self esteem with being seen as successful and good, with being careful and not making mistakes. I’d be scared of trying a new activity just in case I either wasn’t very good at it or I messed up while learning.

I can see the same traits in my girls that plagued me as child and then even still as an adult. They give up before really even trying, they write themselves off as a failure before they’ve even begun. It hurts my heart to see my littlest girl realising that she’s not as good as her sister at something so she sits down and then refuses to try again.

Thinking back to my own childhood I can remember as a child praising my mum’s drawings and creativity and asking why she didn’t do more and why she didn’t pursue art. She told me that when she was at school there were other people better than her in her art class so she gave up. Rather than recognising her own talent and creativity she compared herself to others and stopped doing something she so clearly loved and had a talent for. How sad is that? Perhaps it’s a female generational thing in our family? Something innate in us, or maybe it’s down to parenting? While I don’t have the exact answer I do know that we are not alone in this, it seems to be a girl thing.

..the higher the girls’ IQ, the more likely they were to give up

I read a study by Carol S Dweck from the 1980s recently, it studied a group of 5th grade children. She found that bright girls, when given something to learn that was particularly foreign or complex, were quick to give up–and the higher the girls’ IQ, the more likely they were to give up. Bizarrely, it was the straight-A girls that showed the most helpless responses. Bright boys, on the other hand, saw the difficult material as a challenge, and found it energizing. They were more likely to redouble their efforts, rather than give up.

Girls seem to believe that they need to be innately good at something to achieve and succeed, whereas boys generally put in more effort and reapply themselves (if motivated). There’s something to be said for watching the way we praise our children. 

We need to be teaching our girls bravery NOT perfection

We love the film Zootropolis, for those that don’t know it’s a kids film where the main story centres around a young female rabbit that wants to become a police officer, yet there has never been any rabbit police offices in fact it’s just not seen as a job for small animals. She faces so much negativity and opposition, even inadvertently from her own parents yet she never gives up on her dream. She digs deep and works hard, she makes mistakes but she picks herself up and keeps trying. It’s such a fantastic message for children (and adults!) and even the albeit, very annoying, soundtrack has some great lines –

I messed up tonight
I lost another fight
I still mess up but I’ll just start again
I keep falling down
I keep on hitting the ground
I always get up now to see what’s next
Birds don’t just fly
They fall down and get up
Nobody learns without getting it won

I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
Till I reach the end
And then I’ll start again
Though I’m on the lead
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail

How fantastic are they? I often remind my girls of this song when they are struggling with something or just want to give up – (I’m sure I’m very annoying to them!)

So going forward I am focusing on praising my girls’ efforts, positively reinforcing them when they try something new or put in the extra work, and when they pick themselves up and try again, so to speak! I don’t want them to have a fear of failure that stops them even trying, think how many opportunities can be missed when we have that kind of mindset. The sense of satisfaction that you get when you dig deep and be brave and then achieve is priceless isn’t it? I want that for my girls.

I’d love to know what you think

 

Can you relate at all?

 

Further reading and inspiration

This is the video that gave me the kick I needed to write this post.

Psychology Today -The Trouble With Bright Girls

(*The Perils of Promise and Praise, Carol S Dweck)

morganaRaising my daughters to make mistakes
read more

10 gift ideas for the creative business owner (all from Etsy UK!)

I know you know how much I love supporting the little guy and shopping small when it comes to gift buying. With this in mind I’ve created a gift guide that both supports small businesses, crafters and makers AND is a list of what to buy the person in your life that runs their own small business, whether they are a freelancer, blogger, a maker. Make sense?

When you work for yourself motivation can be tough, especially when it’s just you staring at the same four walls each day. I’ve looked for gifts that are fun, give motivation and are all useful. I do feel like I need to put a disclaimer up here before you scroll down, these are more aimed at women, purely because I’m a woman and a small business owner so I’ve kind of gone for things I like!

 

If at first you don’t succeed mug- Veronica Dearly 

This one makes me giggle for sure! I’ve made many mistakes while running my small business, there is a lot of trial and error and you can’t be afraid of failure, as a few misses are inevitable.

£12.75 with free UK delivery

Shop here 

Seriously Succulent desk planner – Betty Etiquette

Having something to give your week shape and get everything out of your head and onto paper is so useful. The ‘to do’ list can be never ending and this is such a good basic visual reminder with space to tick off jobs.

£9.95 plus delivery

Shop here 

‘She persisted’ embroidery hoop – Stitches of Anarchy

This was just too pretty not to include. A bit of motivation to adorn the office or work space wall can’t ever be a bad thing.

£24 plus delivery

Shop here

Concrete and copper phone dock -Ethereal Polygons

Phone docks are fab and this one is just so stylish it will look great on your friend’s desk, and at £10 it’s a snip.

£10 plus delivery

Shop here

 

‘I’m the boss’ print – Dottie Rocks

And don’t you forget it 😉

£10 plus delivery

Shop here

Letter board -Boho Lake

These are great fun, whether used to inspire or for a reminder. This one is 10×10 inches and comes with 290 letters.

£27.90 plus delivery

Shop here

Personalised coffee gift – Novello UK

You know coffee would have to feature in this somewhere. I love that these can be personalised and you get a choice between whole beans, cafetierre coffee, filter coffee or espresso coffee. If you’ve got a coffee loving friend this is the perfect gift.

£5.50 plus delivery

Shop here

 

2018 wall planner – Doodle Love

Like a desk planner, this is another one for the visual processor. Having the whole year there at a glance is really helpful for planning campaigns.

£11.50 plus delivery

Shop here

Pyramid terrarium -The Art of Succulents

A little bit of low maintenance greenery is perfect for an office space. I love this stylish terrarium full of little succulents. You can buy a whole terrarium kit and the recipient can make it themselves with everything provided that they’ll need.

Prices start at £28

Shop here

 

Paper storage bag – Humble Abode Homeware

You can never have enough storage solutions, whether for stationery, small bits of stock or bits and pieces with nowhere else to live. I couldn’t resist adding this botanical printed paper storage bag to the list.

£9 plus delivery

Shop here

So there we have it 10 gift ideas for the creative business owner! In buying these you are supporting two small business owners, you’re treating your friend and sustaining the seller. The gift that keeps on giving, eh?

What do you think of my choices?

 

Pin this post to Pinterest

 

This post contains affiliate links. Featured image credit –Ben White on UnSplash

morgana10 gift ideas for the creative business owner (all from Etsy UK!)
read more

The joy of rereading books

While chatting with a group of friends about books we loved and what we were currently reading I mentioned going back and re-reading ones I’d already read. At this revelation I was met with looks of confusion and blank stares. They could not understand why I would read a book I’d already read. Surely I knew what was going to happen to why would I bother? Why not read a new book?  Until this discussion I hadn’t really consider re-visiting books to be an odd thing to do, but it made me ponder why I kept so many books and why I would go back to them.

books to reread

I guess you could say I have a handful, well more like a few ‘shelffuls’, of books that I reach for again and again. These are being just a few of them, [amazon_textlink asin=’B01LPDJEN4′ text=’The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’butwhymummywhy-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’7b83779b-cdfe-11e7-b001-bdb090ad65fb’], [amazon_textlink asin=’0241976561′ text=’The Beach by Alex Garland’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’butwhymummywhy-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’948ee817-cdfe-11e7-8920-43a0fc7bd80b’], [amazon_textlink asin=’0006550681′ text=’The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’butwhymummywhy-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’a443981a-cdfe-11e7-8235-518c9d45331a’], all of [amazon_textlink asin=’B007USN2JG’ text=’Sarah Winman’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’butwhymummywhy-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’be34adfd-cdfe-11e7-af36-a7eb6c8b824a’]’s books and the one I’ve re-read the most, Emily Bronte’s, Wuthering Heights.

I first read The Beach as a sixteen year old eager to impress a boy who’d just read it and was raving about it to me. With that in mind I’d convinced myself that I had to love it so we’d have yet another thing in common. After all it was having the same taste and interests that made relationships so special, or at least that’s what my adolescent self though anyway. Boy or no boy, it quickly became a book that I would count as a fast favourite. I read it the same summer as the film featuring none other than Leonardo DiCaprio and while I thought the film was good it didn’t quite capture my perception of the characters or the descent into chaos that Garland so cleverly writes. Then again I would say that as I’m firmly in the ‘book is better than the film‘ camp. I did love the soundtrack though and would play it over and over like the obsessive teenager I was! I think I’ve read this book about four time now though I’ve not reached for it since turning thirty. I wonder if it’s a book that stands the test of time or how I’d read it now as a thirty something mum not a starry eyed teen with dreams of backpacking.

The God Of Small Things was a seminal book for me. Like The Beach, I read it as a teen and still living abroad in Armenia. Living in a country so alien to the one I grew up in definitely gave me an appreciation for other cultures and a huge interest in learning about them. This book is set in India and follows through generations of a family. There is such richness to the story and the way in which Roy crafts her characters is spellbinding. It is a wonderful book and one that has stayed with me all those years. I would say it had a huge impact on my thinking and the books that I would choose to read subsequently. Another author and fellow Booker Prize nominee and favourite of mine, Zadie Smith also has this capacity to create characters and lives that draw you in so completely. 

The Night Circus is a book I have mentioned on this blog countless times now. I’ve read it twice and I know it will be a book I read again in a few more years. The enchanting world that Morgenstern creates is like nothing I’ve encountered before. It is spellbinding and so immersive. It’s a book that would lend itself so well to a film yet I worry whether any adaptation could truly do it justice.

Lastly, yet certainly not the least, is the classic novel, Wuthering Heights. I first read this at fifteen while studying it for my GCSEs. I’ll readily admit that it wasn’t love at first sight for me. I found it difficult to get into at first, it was full of brooding imagery and complex characters. Yet, as I unpicked the book, unraveled the imagery and got to know the characters I began to have a reverence for it. Emily Bronte’s use imagery is second to none and every time I read this book I enjoy it more and more. 

It sounds rather silly to say, but cosying up with this book, well, it feels like spending time with an old friend. I read it in ebook form while breast feeding my youngest so I had something to do during those never ending night feeds. I can’t say I was won over from the feel of reading a physical book, but reading from a lit screen held in one hand was definitely more practical at that time. Nothing quite compares to a well worn book, especially one that’s been underlined and annotated!

I had a little chat on Instagram about re-reading books and it seems I’m not alone in returning back to old favourites again and again. I asked a few blogging friends to share the old favourites they reach for.

Hayley – Hayley From Home 

I’m going to go for Jane Eyre. It’s one of my favourite books to pull out and reread. I love the comfort of reading a book I know so well and yet I always see things I haven’t spotted before. I’m a hopeless romantic but the bleak setting, gothic drama and intrigue also appeals to me with Jane Eyre. I love that it is from Jane’s perspective as it makes it feel so true. I amazes me that a book written over 150 years old is so relatable to women now, it feels like coming back and reading about a friend. It’s beautifully written and will always be one of my favourites.

Hannah – Make Do And Push

I try to re-read Lady Chatterley’s Lover annually. It’s such an important novel and has so much history behind it that I feel I sort of owe it to DH Lawrence to keep on reading it! I relate to Connie in many ways, and it opened my eyes as a teenager as only Lady Chatterley’s Lover can. It also possibly influenced my love of the Yorkshire accent and my marriage to a Yorkshire man!

Chloe – Picture Taker Memory Maker

My most favourite book of all time is The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. I first read it when I was going through a tough time and really identified with the young girl in it. As I’ve got older I’ve revisited it time and time again, and I’m finding that now I’m identifying more with the mother of the young girl. I find something new in it every time I read it and the descriptions captivate me. It never fails to stir up all kinds of emotions in me.

Caro – The Twinkle Diaries

The book that I’ve just revisited after 20 years – and am currently re-reading – is Wild Swans by Jung Chang. I can’t remember a piece of writing ever having such a profound effect on me (apart from maybe The Colour Purple; by Alice Walker). Wild Swans plots the lives of three generations of women, in China. Chang herself, her mother, and grandmother. It’s beautifully written and gives the most amazing insight into Chinese culture and history; everything from foot binding and concubines, to chairman Mao and the cultural revolution. It had me hooked after just a couple of pages and has stayed with me ever since. It’s lovely to go back and reread it – and be reminded of why I fell in love with it in the first place.

 

I found it fascinating thinking about the reasoning of why we go back to books we’ve read before. I’ve enjoyed a lot of books but there are some I wouldn’t read again. As you can tell, the books I’m drawn back to are those with a rich plot and depth of characters that often have me pondering about them afterwards as if they were real people. I’d rarely pick up a mystery or thriller to re-read, as once the plot conclusion that kept those pages turning is revealed I feel that sense of closure and completion. I think re-reading a book you love brings that sense of comfort and not to mention the fact that each time you read it you are reading it through a new lens, one of a different age and with differing experiences to the person you were before.

 

Are you a serial re-reader or does the thought fill you with horror?

If you’re a fellow re-reader what favourite to do you go back to?

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, click here for more information

morganaThe joy of rereading books
read more

Brucciani’s – The Best Independent Coffee Shops in Preston

This is the third in my series of the best independent coffee shops in Preston, and this time I’m sharing a more traditional coffee shop. Found on the main highstreet Brucciani’s is quite an institution in Preston and it’s hands down one of the most beautiful cafes I’ve been in. It’s like stepping back in time when you walk through the door. The interiors are stunning and it’s a lovely place to sit in and you can imagine you are anywhere in the world, it definitely doesn’t feel like Preston.

I love going on my own with a book, I hide my phone away and get lost in reading, whether it’s a fiction book or research for a project. You feel like you are squirreled away and can get lost in thought.

Of course, if you’re feeling more sociable then this is the perfect spot for a catch up over coffee and cake, and oh boy, there’s a whole lot of cake to choose from!

If you live in the North West or are more specifically local to Preston then do pop in and give it a try.  FYI they’ve not asked me to write this post, I just enjoy sharing businesses that I love. Just don’t try and find them on social media as they aren’t online! I told you they were old school 😉

 

Find them here – 91c Fishergate, Preston PR1 2NJ

Opening times – Mon 8am – 5pm, Tue 8am – 4pm, Wed 8am – 4.30pm, Thu 8am – 4pm, Fri and Sat 8am – 5pm, Sun 10am – 4pm

 

See more of my favourites here – The Best Independent Coffee Shops in Preston

 

Photos by Robyn Swain Photography

 

 

morganaBrucciani’s – The Best Independent Coffee Shops in Preston
read more