Thoughtful Little Things: A set of simple trays

Thoughtful Little Things 05

A simple tray for mealtimes

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We live in a small, upside down home of sorts with stairs and corners sticking out like sharp elbows in a crowded train carriage. And so our bedroom is tucked downstairs yet our children's is above. Our dining table is in our living room, with steps leading down into it, but then there's yet another full set of stairs before you find the kitchen. It's a maze, albeit a modestly sized one, but a maze nevertheless and one that confuses anyone that comes to visit (you may think you're on your way out but then you end up in our bedroom).

Honestly, I don't mind the stairs. I like the upstairs, downstairs. It makes our little flat feel more like a house, if things like that matter.  But while I am all for taking things slow, when it comes to tidying up after meals or fetching a small hungry boy another round of breakfast, it can be tedious and tiresome to go up-down, up-down and sometimes it feels like we go up-down, up-down all day long. 

A simple selection of trays makes this dance from kitchen to dining table a little easier, the kitchen being too small for a table of its own. This particular one, a simple handsome, well-sized oak tray, we use for breakfast. It is just the right size to hold all the accoutrements our growing hungry boys need.

It sits on an open shelf in the kitchen, already set for breakfast each night before we go to bed, holding the granola jar, the breakfast bowls, the water jug. In the morning, we add his coffee, my tea, their milk. We still go up-down, but surely less than before and with so much more pleasing satisfaction in being quietly prepared the night before. 

Tell me, how do you make your rushed mornings calmer?

Thoughtful Little Things

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A line for gratitude

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It's been back to school for the very first time for us this month and my heart and head is a whirlwind right now. So much to do, so much to remember and as we step into the change that schooldays bring, so many feelings on top of it all too. How, then, to stay calm? How, then, to be mindful enough to remember this bittersweet time as the light summer sky shifts to autumn grey and our lazy, heady days turn short and timetabled? For me, it's breaking my week down with to-do lists that help me focus but also remind me of all the wonderful things I have to be grateful for. I happen to use the MiGoals Diary, which literally prints out space for me to write my gratitude down as “Weekly Wins”, but if you were so inclined with time enough to prettify your journal, then you could do that too.

Although of course you don't need any particular style of diary at all. All it takes is one reminder - "Be grateful for..." -  in that to-do list to bring you back down to earth and remind you to breathe. 

Thoughtful Little Things: A reader's notebook

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A notebook while you read

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Sometimes you come across a sentence that leaves you breathless with its beauty, which haunts you, mesmerises you and you simply can't stop thinking about it. It might even bring you to tears, without you even realising why. I'm sure it's not just me. How to capture the words that have been so crafted by those with such mastery? How to keep that moment? Why, in a note pad of course. I keep a tiny one with me always when I read, small enough to tuck inside whatever book I happen to be reading, small enough to seem insignificant and yet it is full of such beauty by writers so much greater than me. I happen to use this tiny little notebook, but anything that suits you goes. 

It used to be that I'd underline these sentences but a long time ago, that stopped being enough. You underline, you turn a corner, you forget it all when the book goes back in its place on the shelf. But the act of copying words out, transcribing from one page to another, in your own hand, helps it settle a little, forever in your head and your heart.

Did this Thoughtful Little Things capture a piece of you? If so, I will be covering how to read with a writer's eye and writer's mind in my writing course, The Quiet Words, which is now open for enrolment. Visit my courses page to find out more. 

Thoughtful Little Things: A scented mist

Thoughtful Little Things 02

A scented mist to fill your room

Bergamot, geranium and sweet orange. It's what summer smells like in our house. I am not an expert on essential oils (I leave that to my girls Gemma and Laura) but my nose likes what it likes. And so these three oils fill our days, gently fizzing out of our diffuser in a steady stream. Sometimes I switch it up and swap geranium out for lavender, especially as night falls. I like the lightness that floats through the air. I like the way it wraps around us, shafts of scents we cannot see but somehow make us feel lighter, brighter. I like that this is what home smells like.

My diffuser is not the prettiest but neither is it the ugliest. It is, however, practical in a way that an open flame is not (although if ever a flame was to be described as practical, then I wouldn't hesitate for this). It was one of the first purchases we made for our first home together, we carried it home awkwardly on the crowded tube, and it has stood the test of time for years and so, with that, it holds some meaning too. That we shopped not for towels and crockery but for something that would fill our home with the fragrance of flowers and woods and fruit. 

The act of pouring fresh water in, dropping the oils in one by one - well, it's as pleasing as making that perfect cup of tea, and without it, there's always something missing.


Thanks for reading Thoughtful Little Things, a series of mini blog posts to help simplify your everyday and add a little scattering of thoughtfulness, a little simple joy, prettiness and calm to the daily stuff that makes up life. 



Thoughtful Little Things: A basket for your tech

Welcome to Thoughtful Little Things, a series of mini blog posts to help simplify your everyday and add a little scattering of thoughtfulness, a little simple joy, prettiness and calm, to the daily stuff that makes up life. 

Thoughtful Little Things, 01

A basket for your laptop


I feel sorry for my laptop; it never has a permanent home. Rather, it drifts. From room to room, sofa to bed, from dining table to desk. And where my laptop goes, my charger and earphones are sure to follow. Except they are usually two paces behind, like little siblings who can't quite keep up. And so I can never quite find everything in the same place when I need them.

My drifting tech pieces have been a bug bear of mine (and don't get me started on my husband's laptops, of which he requires two exceptionally heavy ones).

But then I stumbled upon this rather pretty solution. A sturdy and slim basket, to give my laptop, charger and headphones a permanent and pleasing home, where they can live all together. It also happens to be handy enough for me to slip my notepads in and carry from room to room when I need to work and hide away from my little people. It is, essentially, what you might call my office only in a basket.

(and you can shop for baskets here in my store)