I have been thinking recently a lot about the the importance of finding happiness and contentment in our every day, in the daily tasks and moments that make up, well, our whole lives. Wishing always for bigger, better or more (holidays, houses, partners, money, stuff, instagram engagement (!) etc etc) and comparison really are the thieves of joy. I believe deep in my guts that the magic happens (aka happiness!) when we can learn to ground ourselves in joyful little moments and things throughout the day.
This mostly looks like being grateful for the nicer moments with my kids and husband, friends and family, for whom i’m pathetically grateful. But it also comes from the physical space and objects around me too (there is a reason I am a stylist!) Some of my everyday happy moments are in the really small things; the feel of my toothbrush in the morning. The scent of the suncream I put on my face. The ritual of my morning coffee; the beans grinding, the smell, the pourer I use, the mug I cradle. The underwear I put on on body. The keyring on my keys. The shape and arrangement of my purse (am I alone?!). The sound of the spine of my notebook cracking open. The pen I use to write in it with just he right thickness of nib. The weight and grain of the bowl of fruit on my table and the fruit that sits within it. The bag I use everyday to cart my stuff around in. My beloved flask.
I could go on and on!
The pleasure of these small every day objects is sensory- the smell, touch, sound, the craftsmanship and quality, the way it’s made. But it’s also based on their functionality, and how they are made too. The pleasure of the object is 10 fold if I know that no-one has been fucked over somewhere down the supply chain. What we buy, how we use it and how it benefits us really impacts our everyday lives.
I think life is too short to spend hating our homes or environments, and a lot of energy is zapped by clutter and broken things around us, or items we really dislike, or don't serve their purpose.
Made+Good, whom this post is in collaboration with, is an online store that stocks beautiful yet functional ethical objects; the sort of objects I fall head over heels for. Every product on the site is handpicked; chosen for style as well as functionality; and is either a one-off handcrafted original or part of a small batch or limited edition.The Designer/Makers on the site create varied, exciting products designed with an attention to detail and levels of care and quality that would never be achievable in mass production. Alex, who runs Made+Good, has such a good eye, and the products are absolutely beautiful.
My mugs are one of the everyday things that lift me whenever I use them! I love making tea and coffee in them for friends and family too. Featured in this blog post are the Large Tumblers in ‘Blossom’, made by Hana Hybs. They nestle perfectly in your hands. The porcelain is glazed on the inside and with a smooth stone-like finish on the outside. Just so lovely. A few of my mugs have broken over the last few months so replacing those felt lovely.
Also in this post; a medium Sycamore bowl, hand turned and made in the UK by Alex Carpenter. The finish and weight are just beautiful, and it currently holds my lemons on my tableand makes me happy!
These items have been chosen carefully by me, to replace broken things, or things that didn’t bring me joy and they now have pride of place in my kitchen cabinet. I love them because they are beautiful, but also because they are beautifully hand made, functional and created in a way that supports the makers too.
As well as supporting UK makers and manufacturing which in itself is a radical act in a world of mass production and dodgy supply chains, Made+Good go above and beyond; donating 15% of their profits to charity (chosen by shoppers). Environmentally, they aim to source as ethically as possible, looking for products that are made form sustainable materials and designed to last and seeking out Makers that are conscious of their impact on the environment.
It just really floats my boat, does that!
5 techniques to encourage a more thoughtful home:
Take your time. It’s tempting, when you are stuck in a rut in your home, or you feel impatient, to throw money and stuff at it, but take a bit of time to consider if the object will really lift your space/life and/or it is functional too.
Step back and think about how you want your home to feel. Do some mood boarding and think how the rooms need to function and how they flow together too.
Now focus on the stuff you do have. Declutter ruthlessly (donate to charity where possible) which will give the rest of your items room to breathe.
Invest time/energy/money in the objects you handle everyday. It’s tempting to buy things that look nice, and those things certainly serve a purpose, but by focussing on the everyday items you handle or use on a daily basis, you invest energy in items that will lift you countless times through the day. Investing in lovely functional items is a nice way to elevate your daily tasks.
Buy things that have been made in a fair way, that do not hurt the planet. The ‘take your time’ point above helps a lot with this one! Think about how the items has been made, by whom, if it will last you a long time or not, and how it will be disposed of at the end of it’s life. It feels so so much nicer to have in your home, or wardrobe, items that are good quality and will really last, that fit your style, make you happy and you know have been made in a fair way. The energy is just so much nicer in that! Buy less but better, and it doesn't always have to be expensive either. Look out for sales and second hand options too.
Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on this; which items in your everyday life bring you the most joy? are there any areas you’d like to spend some time/energy/funds on? How do you find the waiting part?!
This post was in proud collaboration with Made+Good