When it comes to lifestyle, I think the word ‘simple’ has an image problem. Before I gave my life a simplicity overhaul a few years ago, I thought ‘living simply’ meant not living ‘comfortably. What I’ve come to learn however, is that it’s actually quite the opposite. Yes, living simply does mean living with less ‘stuff’, but it also means having fewer diary engagements, it means having items in my home made of natural materials and fabrics, it means eating simple food and it means being surrounded by relaxing colours which enhance my mood and contribute to my mental wellbeing.
I’ve never been someone to wear hugely ‘blingy’ clothes but over the past 6 months I’ve simplified my wardrobe even further. Gone are colours that seem ‘fake’ to my eye and the colours that remain are close to Nature’s own palette. I still have bright colours in my wardrobe, but they look and FEEL natural. When we think about simplicity in fashion, we often think about the way French people dress and call it ‘chic’, but having visited France many times, I have come to the conclusion that ‘chic’ actually means ‘simple’. French people tend to dress in one or two colours, in clothes that fit well and are elegantly simple in terms of structure. Their clothes don’t have many bows, ruffles or man-made lime greens or baby pinks they wear whites, blacks, blues and greens – natural hues that our eyes are naturally attuned to.
When we talk about simplicity in the home, we’re all familiar with the pared down white minimalist look but that’s not a look I’m keen on or that I find particularly comforting. When I talk about simplicity in interiors, white is rarely in my palette.
To give you an example, when we first moved into our new build house 3 years ago every wall, every door was bright white – it looked like a doctor’s surgery. We managed to paint a couple of rooms in an earthen colour and the rest we left white until we could afford to decorate further. What we found was that we spent very little time in the ‘white’ rooms as they felt cold and unwelcoming. After a couple of years we re-painted the walls in a variation of 4 simple colours – all earthen tones close to those found in Nature. Overnight, our house became ‘cosy’ – it was still simple but it was warm because it felt natural.
We applied the simple aesthetic for our furniture too. It’s not necessarily ‘fashionable’ but it is simple and it’s made of wood and natural fabrics with very little plastic. It feels warm to the touch and to the eye and gives a feeling of comfortable simplicity. It’s also won’t need replacing as fashions change, which is important to me to as I want to keep my consumption to sustainable levels.
My preference for simplicity extends to the food that I eat too. Have you ever been to a restaurant where you feel overwhelmed when your plate is piled high with food? Or have you ever been out for dinner and the food is just too ‘overdone’ in terms of presentation? I like food that is simple, nutritious and fresh. Often that means having only one or two things on my plate and less of it, but again, I find this kind of simplicity relaxing and enjoyable.
Bling is OUT and Simplicity is IN
I hope that by describing ‘simplicity’ in this way, you will see that ‘simple’ isn’t about denying yourself comfort, it’s about enhancing it. It’s about having true beauty in the things you own and how you live. To me, living simply is a hugely underrated approach to life and it has the power to bring you great happiness. As we undertake the massive changes needed to reduce our carbon footprints and preserve Earth’s resources, embracing and enacting Simplicity has the power to provide us all with a healthy and sustainable path forward.
Stay Well – Natasha xx
Do you want to reduce your Carbon Footprint and live more simply? Sign up to my monthly Carbon Cutdown Online Webinar Next Date 9.15am -10.15 am October 26th 2019.