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Mini Adventure: the local Christmas fair

Mini Adventure: the local Christmas fair

Last weekend, Edinburgh sprouted dozens of mini market stalls, more carnival rides than I thought could fit in this city, and illuminated it all with FAIRY LIGHTS.

Mini Adventure: the local Christmas fair

As my mom put it, what’s cool about this is that it’s right around the corner from me. Oxford had a [tiny, one-weekend-only] winter fair, but I would bus to London’s Winter Wonderland for the festive sardine-packed experience. And I’m sure many of the families shuffling through Edinburgh’s fair this weekend had journeyed from out of town too, whereas Monkey and I simply strolled from our Old Town abode. [hey that rhymes, kinda.]

Mini Adventure: the local Christmas fair

When the crowds were too much, we snuck one street over to avoid the bustle, and finished the other half of our wandering the following day. And if we ever want to try that tree maze, we could always get there right when it opens instead of queuing an hour for tickets mid-day. We have the luxury to enjoy the fair in bursts, when there’s a whole day’s worth to explore.

Mini Adventure: the local Christmas fair

We can go back and finally master this wooden puzzle.

Mini Adventure: the local Christmas fair

And sip mulled wine at the carousel bar. [!]

Mini Adventure: the local Christmas fairMini Adventure: the local Christmas fair

miss xandra bee

P.S. getting my Christmas cookie box ready…

Sunday Sampling: Wear the Same Thing Every Day

SUNDAY-SAMPLING

♡ these placecard ideas make me want to throw a party.

♡ can you find momo the hiding border collie? << cute!

why successful people wear the same thing every day – or, the science of simplicity :)

♡ forget the seasonal wardrobe: how to wear your spring style staples now

♡ know your audience: how to describe what you do at parties

♡ so much snail mail inspiration.

♡ …the Monkey’s first blog post! the details are about how he got into coding, but it’s really about first impressions and finding your passion.

miss xandra bee

How to Travel Light Long Term

How to Travel Light Long Term

Thanks to Amanda for inspiring today’s post! Readers, if you have a topic you would like me to cover, just ask :)

If you’re already living light at home, packing for a trip should be no problem. 

And if you’re thinking of adopting a minimal lifestyle, traveling is a great way to start – because chances are, if you dread the feeling of lugging suitcases and backpacks and extra carry-ons through the airport, or squeezing luggage into the trunk, you don’t want that kind of strain on your home life either.

Let’s begin.

The first time I travelled to England for a month, I brought 2 50-lb suitcases, packed to the brim. Now I carry less when I’m moving

1. Choose your bag and stick to it. If in doubt, go with a smaller bag. You can always upgrade. As I discuss in my ebook, containers tend to fill up.

2. Start a list. This is for minimizing stress levels: keep a list handy so that when extra things pop into your head there’s a place for them to go right away. This can be on paper, or in an app.

3. Make a massive pile. Here’s the fun part: go around your room/house in order and pull out everything you might possibly even slightly consider. Put it all in a pile. That way you’re condensing the “maybe” pile from your entire living space to one big pile.

4. Make a smaller pile. In this pile, pull out only the absolute essentials. If you had to go right now with just your handbag, what could you not do without? 

5. Pack the smaller pile into your bag. See how much space you have leftover. You can then fill that with as much of the bigger pile as you want, but make sure everything fits comfortably. Avoid having to sit on the suitcase to zip it up.

What you SHOULD bring:

  • extra underwear: it doesn’t take up that much space anyway
  • an extra pair of shoes
  • layers: rather than full outfits for different weather

What you can do without:

  • re-purchasables: if you’re going somewhere long-term, you might as well buy things like shampoo at your destination.
  • just-in-case items: if you might not need it, and you can purchase it while you’re away, leave it out.
  • excessive footwear: while I like to bring 2 pairs of shoes for the sake of my feet, shoes are bulky and heavy.
  • extra choices: do the grunt work before your travels so you can relax. If you’re going to a formal event, bring one formal outfit, not 2 or 3 thinking you’ll decide later. Decide now so you can enjoy yourself while you’re away!
  • extra books: books are heavy. When I bring one book, I usually finish it and purchase another one, but when I bring several, I am so overwhelmed that I don’t even finish the first! Obviously, if you’re going on a reading holiday [lucky you!], books are essential, but also think about what you can pick up while you’re there – some hotels/cafés have book swaps or libraries. I also love brining my kindle on holiday for the unlimited options.

Be honest about your activities.

What are you actually going to do when you’re away? You might pack extra books, or your workout clothes with good intentions, but really you’re in town to site-see. It can be so liberating to say “I’m going to take a break from work” and leave your computer at home. Sometimes I bring my laptop thinking I’ll get stuff done, but can’t be motivated to, so instead I start browsing the internet and checking my email. No! Better to cut out distraction completely.

What are your best tips for long-term travel?

Read More: *cue throwback!* my packing posts from waaaaay back

miss xandra bee

P.S. Once you’re packed, here’s how to plan a rockin travel itinerary!

[Image from my Seattle/SF suitcase from last summer]

Mini Adventure: a History of Childhood

Mini Adventure: a History of Childhood

I’ve learned that no matter how much I love my tailored daily routine, I need to break it at least once a week. In Oxford this meant day-tripping to London or camping and climbing for the weekend. I’m still new to Edinburgh, so there are still big adventures to be had nearby. I dedicated Sunday to discovering new things, centred around the Museum of Childhood, which is free, and on the Royal Mile.

Mini Adventure: a History of Childhood

I started the day by stopping at my favourite boutiques: Godiva and Red Door Gallery. You know. A warm up. Then I realised that I forgot to have lunch at home as I’d planned, so my mission became to find a new lunch stop. Preferably soup. Mrs Macintyre’s Coffee House was the answer. Small, and delightfully decorated ^, with friendly staff, and delicious soup with bread. The perfect spot for my weekly letter-writing.

Mini Adventure: a History of Childhood

^ Letters posted, I met Monkey at the Museum for navigating childhood of the past and dreaming up our own exhibits. LEGO and K’NEX for him, American Girl and Jump Start computer games for me. 

Mini Adventure: a History of Childhood

Mini Adventure: a History of Childhood

Let it also be known that I won Snakes & Ladders.

miss xandra bee

P.S. Speaking of childhood…which two Disney characters are you?

Simple iPhoto Makeover

Simple iPhoto Makeover

Before ^

Even after organizing my iPhoto library into months, it still failed to inspire me. It lacked cohesion, so I turned to my Pinterest profile:

Simple iPhoto Makeover

The Cover image for each board has a white background, with powdery highlights. I decided to go with the same aesthetic for iPhoto.

Simple iPhoto Makeover

After ^

The effect isn’t as clear as in Pinterest due to the dark grey background, but it is an improvement. Now, when I open iPhoto, my focus is less scattered!

What are your tips for making digital organization beautiful?

miss xandra bee

P.S. More digital de-cluttering: How to keep your Notes app simple





Being a Heroine

Mini Adventures

Minimalism

Simple Fix

Wardrobe