The Monkey Jar (Adventures in Growing)

 

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My partner and I have a passion for plants, and although we have only been in our new home for 6 weeks the urban jungle is growing quickly!

Our latest and by far trickiest addition is the Nepenthes or Monkey Jar, a carnivorous plant from Borneo. In return for attention and good care these plants will act as natural pest control, eating anything from fruit flies to cockroaches.

Although the jars turn brown in the winter, around May they should brighten up to a vibrant pink. I can’t wait to see how it develops!

Monkey Jars are currently listed as non-toxic, but can cause mild stomach upset in cats, so it’s best to keep them out of reach of your furbabies. You can check the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants here, I recommend pet owners check this list for every plant purchase.

Calling All Fashion Revolutionaries!

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April 24th – 30th is Fashion Revolution Week.

This is a great way to use your voice online and offline to demand greater transparency and accountability from the fashion world.

The fashion industry employs 1 in 7 woman around the world, by refusing to pay living wage it may be the biggest single contributor to woman’s oppression.

Fast fashion is the second dirtiest industry on earth, making this both an environmental and human rights issue.

Fair fashion is becoming increasingly more affordable and available thanks to the efforts of past fashion revolutionaries, let’s keep that momentum going!

Check out the available resources and DO SOMETHING.

🙂

Minimalist Reset

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For the past few years I have bounced around between hostels, friends sofa, and temporary rooms. The last room rented in my name was 8 sqm (86 sqft) in a house shared with 9 people. Minimalism was easy, I had to be able to physically carry everything I owned to the next location. I stayed in one place anywhere from 10 days to 3 months, so if something wasn’t comfortable or quite right I was always able to tell myself it’s temporary. In 2014 I decided not to buy anything for a year, just to see if I could.

Now that things have changed I am rediscovering minimalism. I am in a 65 sqm (approx 700 sqft) apartment with an indefinite contract. If something isn’t comfortable I need to change it, because it’s not going away by itself! Minimalism is not a race to own the least stuff, it is a tool to help you own the right stuff to be as happy and successful as possible.

Suddenly the ‘right’ stuff for me includes a sofa, a bookshelf, bedsheets, fluffy towels, potted plants, and art on the walls. My new lifestyle means working from home in an office that serves my ergonomic needs, it means having the spare items so that friends and family visiting from halfway around the world feel welcome. I could keep this apartment spartan, but that would not be a home I love.

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It’s was a difficult change. I remember a trip to Ikea where I came out in a panic because I had too much stuff to carry myself. I still don’t have a sofa (but I am looking!). I purchased a couple things and then regretted it. I missed my simple minimalism, where the only question that mattered was ‘Do I want to carry this?’

I decided to  re-consume the materials that originally inspired me. Francine Jay’s wonderful Miss Minimalist, The Minimalists blog, podcast and books (Their documentary Minimalism has just become available in Europe on Netflix). Great YouTube channels like My Green Closet , Light by Coco and Jenny Mustard.

One of my biggest lessons was that my minimalism is not minimalist aesthetic but more of a functional minimalism. I want everything to work, I want my house to be easy to clean, but also comfortable and cozy. I want a great chair that gives me back support, because back pain makes me unhappy. I want potted plants to freshen the air and boost my mood. I want to use the space to explore new passions like cooking and growing my own vegetables, that weren’t really practical during my nomadic years.

Minimalism looks different for everyone, and minimalism can even look different for the same person whose circumstances have changed. The principal stays the same. Instead of asking myself ‘Can I carry this?’ I now ask myself ‘Is this instant gratification or does it support my long term happiness?’

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By redefining what minimalism is to me, I was also to stop the shopping panic and regretted purchases, and now I am on track designing able home that I love.

(Home tour coming soon!)

 

 

 

 

Citizen M – Minimalist Vegan Friendly Hotel

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I recently attended VidCon in Amsterdam and after an Airbnb disaster had to book a last minute stay at Citizen M in Amsterdam. To my delight, this hotel was a minimalist’s dream and the perfect antidote to what my boyfriend referred to as the ‘Poopiehuis’.

This quirky little hotel has everything you need and nothing more. The rooms are compact but comfortable. Everything is controlled by an iPad provided by the hotel. From that, you can adjust the temperature, radio, lighting, or choose from a great selection of movies (I watched Doctor Strange).

The shower is the best I have seen in a hotel at this price range. A fully closed cabin with a choice of overhead or handheld nozzle spray and shampoos so gorgeous I regretted bringing my own from home!

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In the lobby, you can purchase healthy food 24/7 with vegan options and soy milk for tea or coffee. The food is pricey but if you are staying multiple nights and choose not to have your room cleaned and towels laundered (the eco-warrior initiative) you will receive a 10 EUR voucher which can offset these costs.

The staff are friendly and actively encourage a fun and open atmosphere. The design is clean but colorful with comfy chairs and books inviting you to sit down a while. I even found one I enjoyed so much I added it to my amazon wish list!

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Quality for the price, this hotel can’t be beaten! I’ll be staying here again and highly recommend it to anyone visiting Amsterdam.