Saturday, 15 February 2020

Whats in my Commuter Bag? [Fjallraven Kanken]

Well, well, well. It's been a while, readers! I hope there are still some of you out there.

A lot has changed since I last wrote a blog post... I've recently gotten a new job and I'm commuting again - lucky me!! (There's a reason, I'll reveal all soon! For now let's just say that I'll be doing a bucket-list item soon) 

Since I'm commuting more I'm also making the effort to be more mindful about the things I do and the stuff I use so as to save as much time, effort and money as possible. With a bit of forethought and planning, it's been quite an easy adjustment. Without further ado, I give you my work commuter bag - The Fjallraven Kanken in Fog. 

I wanted to get something simple, hardwearing and that combined spaciousness with compact dimensions, and that led me to the Kanken. Now I will say, that I was torn between this and the Fjallraven Re Kanken, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, but I decided to opt for the original. Most people agree, no matter what the option, that the originals are always the best.

In one of the two side pockets, you'll find my yellow water bottle, which I picked up in Dunnes Stores for €5. I've popped some stickers onto it, and will probably apply more as I get them, just to personalise it a little. The other side pocket is home to my Zojirushi Flask, which I got in Tokyo, and I adore. It has a handy lid that locks with a sliding mechanism, and you can drink straight from it because of the ergonomic shape of the mouthpiece.  It's worth mentioning that the pockets on the sides of the Kanken are long and narrow, so not every water bottle or flask will fit in them.

In the smaller pocket I have my wallet and keys. 

Inside the main pocket I have my tiffin tin, which I got in India. It has three compartments for my lunch, which makes it so easy to meal prep for my lunches, and keeps me on a short leash, because if I was out buying lunches every day of the week, I'd be broke and I'd be eating crap. The tiffin cost me 700INR or around €9, in the local Star Hyper Supermarket. If you look on Amazon, you'll find them for €15-ish. The tiffin is in a neoprene Kilner bag that I picked up at Christmas in Blanchardstown for €5, and I have a stainless steel knife, fork, spoon and travel straw in a cloth sleeve tucked into the side. I really only use the travel straw on rare occasions, but it's more of a "just in case" than a necessity! 

I carry my green leather journal, my glasses case (which I also tuck my daily pills into), and my all-important make-up bag which amongst other things, contains a mini hairbrush, deo, a folding toothbrush and mini toothpaste and perfume as well as a pair of earrings. Some days I wear makeup, other days I don't - and since I started tinting my eyebrows at home, I don't have to carry three products just to look like I've got an expression! 

Arguably the most important part of my "everyday carry" are my glorious Senheisser Wireless Headphones which keep me sane on the commute to and from work everyday! I love podcasts, mostly True Crime All The Time, TCATT Unsolved and Those Consipiracy Guys, but I also listen to a few soundtracks too - at the moment Call Me By Your Name is the OST on my heavy rotation.

One good thing that I love about this bag is that it doesn't seem to ever get full, and even when it's heavy it's not uncomfortable. I can't honestly wait to take this bag down the country or abroad in the future. It's just such a great bit of kit! 

While this is a pretty good example of most of the things I carry, sometimes I bring my laptop and on short days I don't bring the tiffin, and so on, but for the most part the contents don't change.

So there you have it! My Commuter Bag, in all it's glory. 

What do you carry in your commuter bag? 


Thursday, 13 December 2018

5 Lessons Learned in 2018

The year is winding down and it's time for a little reflection on the past twelve months.

I've learned a lot this year, and I'm going to tell you all about the lessons 2018 has taught me.

Image: Wolf Bear - I believe in the good things coming, today and every day. 

1. I Can Do Anything I Damn Well Please. 

This year has had an overarching lesson above all - I am the master of my own fate. I can do whatever the hell I want and I don't have to justify myself to anyone.

Now, looking at this statement it's fair to say that it could be construed in a negative light, but I don't mean it as such. I'm not just rolling around doing whatever whims take me and I'm certainly not out to hurt anyone with my actions. What I mean is that I CAN move to India. I CAN quit my job and go freelance. I CAN propose to my man. I can do anything. And that lesson is so positive for me.

2. The Only Way Out is Through. 

I will say to almost anyone who asks that I loved my old job. I did. For ages. But then it became a chore. It became repetitive and boring and it eventually began to grate on my mental health. I knew that I couldn't just give up though, and so I persevered and made myself keep going as I searched for a job that would help me pursue my dreams.

I am glad that I kept going, that I openly discussed the issues I had developed with the job with my managers and my friends, and I am so glad that I am pursuing my freelance dreams, because it has only bolstered my opinion that the company I worked for prior to my freelance career are awesome - because they understood my viewpoint and they were there for me until the very last moment.

3. Intentional Living is For Me

India has taught me something about myself that I really never fully focused on: I am far more thoughtful than I ever gave myself credit for. I have learned that living intentionally is far easier and brings a lot of contentment to my life. I am trying to be more thoughtful about how I consume everything (which is bloody difficult in a country like India), and I feel the benefits of it already.

Granted it has only been a couple of months, but I am feeling so much better about my life and my footprint. As I write this I can happily state that I have managed to have an almost zero waste cup of tea in Starbucks - opting for a ceramic cup, not using sugar packets, not putting my teabag on a napkin, asking for a jug of milk instead of a UHT packet and so on.

FYI, I'll be uploading my What's In My Low Impact Bag in the future, so check that out! 

4. Make Gratitude the Attitude

I've always been the type to say thank you to anyone who has ever done something for me, but this year I have been more vocal about it again. From emailing companies who create a product I love and enjoy to expressing to my friends what they mean to me, gratitude is the most wonderful thing we can spread. Telling people that we appreciate them is so important. You have no idea what that small moment of connection and positivity can do for a person's mental health, your smile and positivity can bring real change to the world around you.

I've also been donating to creative projects by creators I love and enjoy where I can, though this is entirely non-essential.

5. Put Down The Tech

A lot of my life is lived online, but I have come to learn and further, enjoy putting my tech down. Making friends with people, learning about the world around me, feeding the street dogs in my locality - all of this has been facilitated by putting my phone down and paying attention to something beyond my screen.

I've been able to come off my antidepressants, I've learned how to mitigate my migraines, how to live more thoughtfully and how to actually be a human. When I do want to take a step away from the world, I don't feel bad - balance is the key, and there's no guilt on the occasions that I do need to block out the world - I'm just not constantly plugged into an electronic device.

So there are some lessons I've learned this year. I hope they were interesting to you and perhaps inspired you for 2019.