Thursday, 29 November 2018

Lip Service: Minimalism and Pink Converse

So I was watching through some content on YouTube as I do on an almost obsessive basis, and I happened across Matt D'Avella, eventually finding my way to this video here:

Something about this video struck me. This idea that is perpetuated in elitist minimalist circles that you can't be part of their super exclusive club if you don't conform to strict ideals of what it means to be a minimalist.

You cant be a minimalist if you're a bookworm. 
You cant be a minimalist if you're a CEO. 
You cant be a minimalist if you're a beauty blogger. 
You cant be a minimalist if you're...

Heres the thing. I'm striving to be less cluttered and I find certain things, not everything now mind you, but certain things weigh on my mind. My clothing collection is one. I have three wardrobes on two continents. Fuck that. Who needs that? I should be able to happily store my stuff in one place. Not three.

If for me, minimalism is denoted by not having a bi-continental wardrobe, but rather having a few items I love dearly, and eight pairs of shoes, then that's what minimalism means.

Minimalism is relative. RE-LA-TIVE!!! If you are a clothing hoarder, and you cut your wardrobe down to half, and you staunch your shopping habit, then good on ya! I commend you for making a positive change in your life.

My motivation for minimizing is to declutter my space, both brain space and my surroundings.

I can be a minimalist if I truly want to move towards a lifestyle of less.

So how do I get to that end goal? To that lifestyle of less.

I've been ruminating on what actions I can take to get me to a place where I can feel I am functioning as a minimalist relative to my old self, and parting with things I don't miss, don't love and don't want anymore is going to be the first step. Starting with a fresh clean slate is important to me, and I want to be sure I get off on the right footing. Part of this means untangling the sentimentality that runs through each and every item I own.

If you're wondering why I have a picture of a pair of Converse in this blog post - a tatty dirty pair, to that end, I will tell you the answer is two-fold.

The first reason is that these were the first truly difficult item I came across. I know they hurt my feet now, they're past their best, and they need to go, but I love them. How can I get rid of a pair of shoes that served me so faithfully for so long? How can I just cast them aside like they don't matter? Like they mean nothing? What kind of person just dumps something she loves like this?

Do you see a pattern forming in the thoughts and questions here? Cause I do!!

I had to be very firm with myself and say, "Amy, they're shoes. They don't have feelings, nor are they capable of complex thought. They're literally some rubber soles, fabric and lacing to cover your feet. Get over yourself."

And the thing is, I know that is right. I know that it's true that they've served me faithfully, and that by continuing to cling to them, they are simply occupying physical space in my life, as well as occupying mental space. By continuing to keep hold of these tatty trainers, I am giving power to the part of my brain that forms silly attachments. They're shoes, not my childhood bear.

The second reason I borrowed from the gentleman above too, but from a different video. If taking a picture of them and keeping that picture helps to in some way placate the part of me that needs to be sentimental, then so be it. I can take these pictures, rid myself of the item, collate the item to a digital album that keeps them organized and safe while moving on with my life. I can keep a record of the things I have appreciated and loved in my life, while also being free to live my life unencumbered by stuff. 

I managed to have a stern word with myself, and then snap a picture and just... deep breath... let them go. Exhale. Immediately I felt lighter.

There are obvious areas in my life where I can't live a spartan existence. I have a very very nice record player and collection of vinyl, and while I might be able to donate or resell a few records, I wouldn't dream of slashing it down just to fit some idealized vision of a minimalist lifestyle. Again, this all just brings home the idea of minimalism being a relative concept, a relative lifestyle.

At the end of the day, you don't have anything to prove to me, to the elitist minimalists who only own 100 items, to anyone! You have to blaze your own trail and in doing so, you will come to learn what minimalism means to you and how it works best for your life.

I hope this has been useful to you, and I hope you are enjoying your journey!

Amy xo 

Monday, 26 November 2018

Red Goes Green: Ways To Declutter Your Life

If like me, you love a good clear out, you should enjoy today's post. I have been working on decluttering my life across three locations, Hyderabad, Meath, and Dublin.

Most people have three methods of decluttering: The Bin, The Charity Shop, and Recycling. Now I get it, it's easy to put clean plastics and cardboard and other recyclables into your green bin, and it's not a huge thing to bring your glass bottles and jars to the Recycling Banks, but what about the things you can't readily recycle or donate?

Today I am going to bring you my tips for decluttering your life, including the awkward things, in the categories of Donate, Recycle, Trash, and Misc.


Good quality clothes, such as that dress you bought last year that you swore would be "the dress" but you only wore three times. My modus operandi for donating is, "Would I want to wear this?", "Would I buy this?" and if you say yes, and it's not in absolute rags, it's good to bring to your local charity shop.

Now, the thing about this is, if you have a lot of stuff to donate, you may need to spread it around different charity shops. I like to give to my local Saint Vincent de Paul shops, which gives me the opportunity to donate in more than one area. It's also not cool to just dump all your shameful impulse buys in one place and make someone else do the hard work, so think about your plan.

You can also always donate at local bring banks if they have clothing donation bins, and if you live in an urban area, you might even be able to donate to local shelters and so forth. Have a look online for the best resources for you. Seriously. It'll take ten minutes and it will be a great use of your time.

Alternatively, donating can take the form of offering your friends first refusal on items from your wardrobe, before you take the remainder to the charity shop or donation center.


Easy enough, if you have access to a car. What I like to do is to take a day to do the sorting, and get all of the recycling in one place. Then in the morning of the next day, or on a day when you can, load up your car and head for the local recycling center. They will have designated areas for cardboard, tins, electronics, and so on. One thing I love the recycling center for is the clothing recycling facilities. Any clothing that you have that is holey, or tatty, or whatever else can be sent to recycling for textiles.

The beauty of this method is that you can make a huge dent in a small amount of time, and you can really make a change. Recycling center entry fees are extremely affordable, and if it costs you a couple of quid to get in, it's worth it!!

Equally, you can always take a couple of things that are not fit for donation, but in decent condition to make into rags for dusting and cleaning, saving you the cost of paper towels or fancy-schmancy microfibre cloths!


Of course, there are things you may have to bin, and the likelihood is that you will have to toss out, and that's fair enough. The main thing to bear in mind here is to minimize the amount you need to toss in the bin.


There are things that you shouldn't bin, that you can't easily recycle and that you should not donate. Things like old pillows, teddies, and duvets/blankets. You can donate these to local dog shelters. Honestly, they will be delighted to get them and use them, and you will feel so good that the kitties and the puppies that are sleeping on them are warm and comfy.

Food scraps can be composted for the most part, if you have space or utilities to do so. If you don't, please do not fret, you are already doing the best you can.

Gift bags are good to keep and reuse, to re-wrap a gift for someone you love. Save your dolla-dolla for use on other things!

If you have doubles of things you don't want, then pass them along to people you think might enjoy them. For example, I have a second set of cutlery, so I gave the extra set to Dex for work, and now he has a low-impact lunch kit!

I hope these were useful to you!


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Monday, 19 November 2018

Red Goes Green: Easy Low Impact Living Swaps

As I've been doing more to be a conscious consumer and make better choices with regard to being more eco-friendly and lowering my footprint on this planet, I've come across a few different swaps that were incredibly easy to make.

Ta-Da! A shiny new segment on my blog, dedicated to all things sustainable and low impact!

I know not all of us have the money to go out and spend on replacing things in our lives that are more eco-friendly and less wasteful, but there are certain choices we can make that make our day to day lives greener.

I've tried to include the approximate price brackets for these swaps so I can show you how accessible they really are. The idea of this movement is to make conscious changes that add up to a more sustainable lifestyle in the long-term. It's also a great way to save money, which, for me, is important as myself and Dex are going to be saving for our wedding come the new year, and we want to be sure that we are doing everything we can to help ourselves in that goal!

Reusable Water Bottles 

This can be as easy as reusing a bottle you got water in one day and simply refilling it wherever you can. If you are in the market for a good quality water bottle that will last you a long time to come, then you could pick up a double-walled bottle from stores like Stock on South King Street, or even TK Maxx.

TK Maxx is a good option for budget-friendly choices that usually are not wrapped in plastic, then put in a box and so on. You can usually pick out the bottle you want from a shelf load of options and all you have to deal with is the sticky label on the outside. Much less wasteful than a plethora of single-use water bottles or a bottle wrapped in two or three layers of soon-to-be trash!

Cost: €0 - €10

My canvas bag I got in my local Ikea
Canvas Grocery Bags

My mother instilled in me from a young age that to carry a small foldable shopping bag with you is the most useful thing you can have. Most of us have one or two lying around that we were given for free at some event or that came with a purchase of some kind.

I have two that I keep on me at all times, just to make sure that if I do need to carry something on a moments notice, I don't need to worry about needing to get hold of a plastic carrier bag. Once I've gotten to my destination, which is usually my home, I simply fold it up and pop it back into my bag for the next time I might need it. Handy!

The beauty of the canvas bag swap is that you can get ones that are personal or that fit your ethics/morals/tastes to a tee. I have one for a few years now from the Yes Equality movement during the Marriage Equality Referendum a few years back. It makes me smile knowing that the purchase I made of that bag helped to fund a movement I was passionate about, and I feel so badass knowing that I get to show my support not just for my beautiful LGBT peers, but also for my belief in being more environmentally sound.

Cost: €0 - €3


I have a reusable cutlery kit that I adore, but this doesn't mean you need one.

You could just as easily snag a knife, fork, and spoon from your cutlery drawer and use them. All you are doing is helping to avoid the use of plastic cutlery. Let's be honest here, plastic forks are shit, and they're a waste. Carrying cutlery is easy as! If you wanted to be extra environmentally sound, you could even wrap them up in a cloth napkin to eliminate your use of paper napkins!

Cost: €0 - €8


I'm sorry, I'm just so so obsessed with my Safety Razor that I cannot shut up about it. I want to kick my own ass for going on about it so much. Honestly, though, it has changed my entire shaving routine. I get a closer shave that lasts longer and I enjoy the process.

You can get safety razors from all kinds of places, from AliExpress to eBay to more specialized local stores like, and they come at all sorts of price points, ranging from low to very high. Once you've made the investment into the razor, the blades are all you need to replace, and they are super cheap.

You can recycle the blades, but be sure to do so SAFELY. They're sharp, and you don't want to undo all your good work by slicking some poor binman open. Many razor sheaths (the plastic thing they come in) have a reverse slot for the old blades so you can be sure you're being as safe as possible in your disposal.

Shaving with a safety razor has taking a boring, generally dreaded chore to a wonderful self care task. I like to combine a few other self-care things with the process of shaving my legs, such as doing a hair and face mask combo, listening to some music or a podcast, and generally taking the time to enjoy the meditative process. Compared to disposable razors which don't shave as closely, the whole process of shaving with one is not nearly as enjoyable all around.

Who knows, you might end up like me, who now faces the task of getting a safety razor for her fiancee who has taken a liking to my one!

Cost: Razor; €20 - €100+, Blades; €3 - €10 per pack of 10

Feminine Hygiene Products

If you are a person who has periods, you will know that the use of disposable products is absolutely rife. By making the switch to reusable alternatives, you will be saving money as well as waste.

I have a menstrual cup, but I'm also dying to get hold of a few reusable pads to try out and use during the nights. I'm not repulsed by my own body, neither should you be. Empty the menstrual cup, wash the pads, it's not a huge deal to do and the environment will thank you for it!

Cost: Varies

So there you have some easy Low impact Living Swaps that don't break the bank, but that you can treat yourself too if you would like to. The cost involved with each of these swaps are mostly one off purchases that you will have forever with any luck, or if you must make repeat purchases, you won't have to do so very often at all. 

Remember that this lifestyle is a journey and you don't have to be perfect. Doing your best is absolutely enough! 

Til next time, 
Amy x 

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

My Skincare Routine : Indian Edition

Since coming to India, my skin has actually been pretty well behaved. The humid climate of Hyderabad is pretty forgiving, or so it seems to me! I've updated my skincare routine pretty drastically since we arrived, more or less chucking anything that didn't seem to agree with my skin and the heat. I've also seriously leaned into the national love for the brand Kaya and The Body Shop.

To start, I'll begin with my face. I picked up a set of Kaya skincare from the Kaya counter in Shopper Stop, boasting a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. You can even buy a serum separately, but I haven't bothered. It was around 1800 INR or less than €22 all in.

The Kaya Purifying Cleanser is a clear gel consistency, with a light scent. I use a pea size amount with lukewarm water to gently massage my face and if I feel the need, I will use a mild exfoliating sponge into the bargain.

I pat my skin dry with a towel and then I take the Kaya Purifying Toner, spray it onto a cotton pad and wipe down my face and neck with it. After this step, if I'm feeling fancy, I'll use a couple of spritzes of The Body Shop Vitamin C Energizing Face Mist (945 INR or €11), before gently pressing my Purifying Nourisher into my face and neck for a lightweight moisturizer.

Once I've all of this done and I've let the whole regimen sink into my skin for a few minutes, then I like to assess whether I should do a face mask in the evening and if I do, I choose between two I particularly love from The Body Shop: Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying (1895 INR or €23) and Polishing Mask, and their Ethiopian Honey Deep Nourishing Mask (1895 INR or €23). I will smooth one or the other on for 15 or 20 minutes in the evening, and rinse with lukewarm water. I tend not to bother moisturizing too much at night as the evenings are incredibly warm and I feel as though sweating off my lotions and potions would be wasteful.

Body-wise, I use a loofah scrub and The Body Shop Indian Night Jasmine Shower Gel, which smells incredible. Once I've dried off I use a light gel lotion, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Body Gel Cream, which I brought from Ireland! It has little to no scent and sinks in super quickly. I always feel soft and smooth with this body care routine, without being weighed down in the heat.

Next time, I'll go through my hair care routine! 

Til then,