Who do you follow?

How many social media channels do you follow? Do you have lots of Pinterest boards, or do you get your inspiration from Instagram? Do you do Facebook, or prefer to get your news from Twitter? I’m assuming you read Blogs, but how are you with YouTube or SnapChat?

I am very slowly starting to do a Digital Declutter which seems to be a common theme with many minimalist/slow living bloggers.

I am trying to do the following:

  1.  reduce the emails I receive. As I now have an email account at work it is just too much to receive endless messages to read and sift through. At home I am getting into the habit of unsubscribing from a few emails every time I log on.
  2. reducing the number of blogs I follow. I recently went through my Blogroll and deleted all those blogs that haven’t posted this year. (However I now follow their Twitter and Instagram profiles)
  3. really thinking about those social media channels I do use.                                                                                                                                           I have an on-off relationship with Facebook. I can go for days weeks without logging on – hence my secondhandtales Facebook page has few posts. I know, for some bloggers, Facebook is the most important social media channel they use to engage with readers and create new followers. When you look at research figures Facebook is the most used social media   channel. But it just doesn’t really work for me. Likewise, I don’t always engage with Twitter. But that is because I find it too addictive and can easily waste half an hour mindlessly scrolling through my feed. I tend to only use it when following a breaking news story – or when it comes to promoting the Repair Cafe.

However, I do find that Instagram really works for me. I like the visual element to it and the fact that it can become a micro-blogging platform – or in normal speak, it allows people to tell brief stories. I find it is more personal than Twitter but more focused than Facebook can be.

I am also enjoying YouTube more and have a list of slow living/zero waste/minimalist vloggers whose videos I regularly watch (any suggestions welcome!). I still follow Pinterest but have no intention of taking on Snapchat as I feel too old for that!

What are your thoughts on Social Media? Where do you get most of your information and inspiration from? I would be really interested to know if blogs are your channel of choice? If you are active on Instagram I’d love to know (and follow) – are there other accounts you can recommend too?

And speaking of social media, you can find me  on pinterest, facebook , twitter, instagram 

A Simple Christmas – hope you have one too!

A Simple Christmas

Today is my last post in A Simple Christmas series that I’ve been running on my Facebook page here. I finished with a blog post from Ginny Sheller, a homeschooling mother of a large brood of children. She writes about her Catholic faith, but in a non intrusive way. I loved the post she wrote about not getting everything done in the run up for Christmas but that it doesn’t really matter. In her faith, Christmas is not the end of the festive season: it runs until Epiphany on 6 January. So there’s plenty more time to celebrate, spend time with the family and relax…. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful New Year xxx

For a snapshot of the articles I have linked to in this series visit my Pinterest board here.

pinterest-board: A Simple Christmas

De cluttering clothes and Project 333

cr103 / stockarch.com / CC BY 3.0


Since the kids went back to school  I have been on a big de-clutter session. Over the six week summer holidays we have had three birthdays  and a lot of stuff has ended up in our small house which we do not have room for. So far over the past three weeks  I have donated one bag of books, five bags of clothes and two bag of toys – plus recycled and,ahem, sent a few bags to landfill.

I have been reading a lot about minimalism this past year and although I’m not quite ready to fully embrace the lifestyle there are elements to it that appeal. Namely:
1) I like the environmental aspect: only buy things you really need so you’re not sending unwanted stuff to landfill
2) economically speaking the less you buy the more you save your hard earned pennies
3) space – we are a family of five living in a small cottage with very little room to store things. Minimalism advocates clutter- free spaces (easier to clean and maintain) by only having things you really need and use every day

For some people who follow minimalism they have been able to pare their possessions down to just 100 items. I’m certainly not ready to do but I’ve become intrigued by Project 333.

This is a clothes-based project aimed at simplifying your wardrobe. The idea is that every 3 months (every season) you allocate yourself 33 items to wear. This includes clothing, coats, shoes, hats, scarves, sunglasses, jewellery but not underwear, sleepwear or working out clothes.

One of the aims of Project 333 is to get people to keep only clothes that they love and look and feel good in. Although I can be a second-hand junkie when it comes to clothes shopping I also pick up outfits that I’m not quite happy with it.I have struggled over the past few months to find anything in my wardrobe to wear and, although I do de-clutter I still have a lot of stuff that doesn’t match, or I can only wear one thing with.

So last week, I took a deep breath and turned out my closet. As you can see living in a house with small rooms means we already have limited wardrobe space. The hanging storage for all five of us is this double and single wardrobe.











I also store folded clothes in this narrow cupboard:


Plus I have two longer dresses hanging on the back of the bedroom door (not pictured).

Not a great system I know for getting ready in the mornings, which probably fuels my clothing crises.

While I thought I had a fairly small collection, a quick count of all my clothing (not shoes, jewellery and accessories) came to over 70 – pictured here:


Following the 333 hints and tips I got rid of clothes that were:

– beyond repair

– no longer fitted (I had to be brutally honest about this one)

– or just looked bad on me

I also made a pile of all my summer clothes, while keeping what is called ‘transitional’ clothing (a short dress, thin jacket and two t-shirts) as the weather has become warm again. I also tried very hard to work out what ‘base’ colour would look best on me (ie black, grey, brown, navy) and tried very hard to pick out those items of clothing that would go with these shades. In the end I chose brown, beige and some grey clothing and added green, plum and blue as ‘accent’ colours. The idea is that by paring down your wardrobe to essential items and colours means that everything will match because the colours all work together.

At the end of the day I managed to whittle my clothing down to 37 items, including shoes and fabric scarves but not jewellery (I rarely wear it) or hats or woollen scarves. Ironically when I had laid my new ‘capsule wardrobe’ out I realised there were a few gaps. So I will need to go shopping for a couple of new tops/jumpers. Apparently this is quite common among serious followers of Project 333. They will work out what the gaps are in their wardrobe, buy (second-hand) appropriate clothing and, if after a short while, these items don’t work out then they will re-donate.

So, part two of Project 333 is to go clothes shopping (second-hand, of course!). Watch this space and if you are interested in reducing your own wardrobe I’d really recommend following the Project 333 style stories here; Minimalist Beauty blog for food tips on creating a capsule wardrobe; or the inspirational Bea from Zero Waste Home. I’ve also started a small pinterest board (of course!).


Clothes Swap Party

Last Friday (19th) a few of us organised a women’s Clothes Swap Party in the back room of our local pub.

This is how my kitchen looked last week!

This is how my kitchen looked last week!

I have run a few informal Clothes Swap Parties before. I think it would be an exaggeration to call them a ‘Swish’ and I have deliberately strayed away from the idea that a) you have to pay to take part and b) provide a minimum number of high-quality/designer items to swap. As I think I wrote in the introduction to this blog I like to explore ways in which we can ‘consume’ by exchanging items or skills, rather than money. In the past the swaps have always worked well because of the informal nature of them. It seems to have been a social gathering as much as anything else and everyone has been far too polite to squabble over the same item of clothing (!).

This year a friend and I decided to ‘up the game’ a little by charging admission and advertising the swap to a far wider audience. The reason we did this was because for the first time we wanted it to be a fundraiser as well. There are two charities that are close to our hearts in this village: the local playgroup (which I was chair of last year), and Jemima’s Gift which is a recent charity set up in memory of the gorgeous Jemima Prees. We asked people for voluntary donations on the door and the pub supplied the room free of charge and gave us tea and coffee as well.


The event was really well attended and, in total, we raised £243.28!

The quality of the clothing was also excellent. Personally, I picked up items from Jigsaw, Monsoon, M&S Autograph and Principles. I believe that people really made the effort to sort through their good quality items knowing that they would get something equally good in return. I also heard many comments from women who took it as an opportunity to donate items that they had been hanging onto but knew they weren’t really going to wear again. One friend very kindly donated two bags of clothes that she had been planning to sell on e-bay.

It was also lovely to welcome people from further afield, such as colleagues in Corsham, Emma from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Jen from the blog, ‘my make do and mend year’. As it was a women-only event there was a very lovely, supportive atmosphere.  And there was absolutely no squabbling over any clothing! In fact we had a quite a few items left which a friend will be selling to make some more money for our charities. I have also created a pinterest board with ideas on how to upcycle any of the finds from Friday night.

I think we could be tempted to run it again next year so watch this space…