Just a quick heads up to let you know that the wonderful Mia from Beautiful Inspiring Creative Life and I have collaborated in order to bring you this post! We’ve each chosen five questions to ask each other and formed a mini interview for your enjoyment. The next segment of this post will be a look into our mindful hobbies of choice. I hope you find a new content creator to follow and that this post encourages you to think consciously about how you spend your free time.
Hello Mia! Thanks for agreeing to this interview. First off, can you tell us about you? Let’s hear about your passions and a few fun facts!
Ooh, fun facts – I currently have 10 tattoos, but plan to get a few more. I have a foster puppy named Lupa who is all kinds of adorable. My office has 50 plants dotted around it! In terms of my passions, anything artistic and creative is a big yes from me, be that painting, writing or crafting! Gardening has recently become a massive one too… oh god, I’m my grandma.
I know that you’re originally from England, so was wondering about the story behind that! Why the change of country and what do you like best about the cities of London and Melbourne?
Maryam, you’ve stumped me on the first hurdle! I’ve tried writing the answer for this at least 3 times and I’m rapidly realising how incoherent my life is. So I’ve actually been blogging for around 5-6 years. My first blog landed me a digital marketing apprenticeship at 17; I completed that and worked my way up a few jobs, then got the amazing opportunity to sell my old website. At that point, I had an early life crisis, thought I was totally wasting my youth and decided that in September of my 19th year I was going to do something fun!
My blog content at this time was largely travel focused and in researching an article I stumbled across a website – essentially a travel forum. And on this forum, a 22-year-old girl from Birmingham had a post up asking for travel buddies to Australia. Cut to me ignoring all basic principles of stranger danger- myself, this girl and another girl ended up meeting and off that one meeting booking a one-way trip to Australia! And that’s how I ended up here.
In terms of what I love best about both cities, weirdly enough it’s that they’re incredibly similar! London has a fabulous, fun energy – everything’s open until 6 am, you never run out of things to do and it’s also just beautiful.There’s just a really unique and palpable London culture. I’d say Melbourne is pretty much London, on a way smaller and more chilled out scale. I miss the beauty of London and the canals, but Melbourne is so much more livable in terms of pricing and lifestyle.
I enjoy your unique DIYS, bullet journal spreads and various crafting endeavours immensely! They seem to make up the majority of your posts. Was this the original vision you had for your blog and how has your content evolved from when you were a beginner blogger?
That’s so sweet, thank you! Crafting and creative projects were a large part of my initial plan for my blog. I named Beautiful, Inspiring, Creative Life based on keywords relating to craft posts because, well, capitalism and SEO rankings. My dream is totally to be that bohemian stoner grandma one day.
What’s your heritage and in what ways does it influence you and your lifestyle?
Ooh – I get asked quite a lot in real life! My mum’s Jamaican and my Dad is supposedly Irish. I’d say coming from a mixed background makes me more socially aware of racial issues and inequalities in general. I don’t post about it on my website too much, because (unpopular opinion warning, don’t hate me) I think money is far more effective, so I do monthly donations to a few charities I care about. I worked at a charity fundraiser for about a year and my partner is the manager of a fundraising office, so charity is quite a large aspect of my life. I think being from a mixed background and coming from a predominantly black area has a large influence on that.
I’m curious as to how you began working for your local bank in the pension, call centre and financial hardship sectors! It’s not a job most young people would be interested in. What have you learnt throughout your time in this role and how has it served you?
A happy accident, to be honest! Due to visa restrictions, non-Aussies can find it pretty tricky to find roles in our fields – if you’re on a working holiday, you can only work for 6 months with one employer. I managed to land one short term call centre role in the finance sector and that spiralled into 3 different ones!
I’m so unbelievably grateful I did land those roles though. I’ve learnt a lot about budgeting, the real value of money and how scarily real old-age poverty is.
What advice would you give to others looking to make a significant lifestyle change like moving to another country? I’d also like to make the leap in a few years and need all the encouragement I can get!
That’s so exciting! I would say to research hostels in the area or look at Workaway. I know hostels can be a bit grim, but they’re a fantastic way to meet friends straight off the bat – and friends who are all in the same boat. Workaway is another great alternative because it gets your job and accommodation sorted before you land in the country!
I believe you should never underestimate the value of having hobbies. When you put consistent time and effort into an activity, it is inevitable that you will reap the rewards of doing so- there are invaluable skills to be made, communities to be a part of and much more. In my case, the hobbies I keep are strongly tied in with my identity and sense of self. They have become the work I enjoy doing- an investment into my current self and the developing of who I hope to mature into. When asked what I do, I tell people that I blog and content create. I never could have imagined a passion of mine would grow into something so substantial or be where I find meaning. In light of these words, I ask you to look at your own life- what have you cultivated for yourself that has brought with it purpose, fulfilment and a reminder that you are living out your true calling?
As people, we need three hobbies- one to bring out our creativity, another to provide for us financially and a third to keep us in shape. If you ask me, our mental health and wellness almost always dictates our physical health, so why not prioritise making our minds a good place to be?
Mindfulness practices are beneficial in a multitude of ways- they help us to regulate our emotions through regular check ins, develop our focus, become non judgemental observers of our feelings as well as decrease the frequency and severity of stressful, anxiety inducing and depressive thoughts.
My go to mindful practice usually involves a quick tidy up of my space and the rearranging of my room decor. In ways, it makes me feel as if I’m new again. A small reminder that each and every one of us is capable of completely reinventing ourselves at a moments notice. Little changes here and there do add up. In the list below, I’ll be sharing a few of my mindful hobbies for when I’ve got more time on my hands.
Colouring gorgeous illustrated pages- my Paris themed book is an absolute dream to fill with colour and bring to life!
As kids, the objective put to us when colouring is to stay in between the lines- this isn’t easily achieved without our full concentration and attention to detail. Adult colouring books are generally more complex than the drawings you complete in younger years, making them the perfect wind down activity when you’ve got a spare few hours. Once you find a book you’re interested in, the time will fly. Colouring books are usually themed- perhaps you’re a nature lover, nomadic wanderer or dog person. I find travel illustrations to be my favourite and will spend an evening with only my array of colouring pencils, dreaming of all the places and time zones I could be in at that very moment.
Trying out yet another recipe from Tieghan Gerard’s Half Baked Harvest cookbook
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again- Pinterest is an absolute haven of inspiration for me. I have boards dedicated to every aspect of my dream lifestyle and am constantly finding new pathways and directions to follow. My favourite board by far is dedicated to delicious gourmet meal ideas and never fails to make my foodie heart happy! A well cooked and presented meal is nothing short of artistry. Visually appealing and tantalising to the tastebuds? You bet!
Tieghan Gerard, author of the Half Baked Harvest shares recipes that tick all my boxes. I’ve been on a mission for a few months now to make as many of her meals as I can! So far I’ve only gotten through one recipe but I can say without a doubt that I’m impressed- I made the Greek Lemon Chicken bowls with Sizzled Mint Goddess Sauce. I was blown away by how easy preparation and cooking was. It made the perfect easy weeknight meal and was so clean and flavourful. I truly believe that if I made a meal of Tieghan’s every day, I wouldn’t crave takeaway anymore!
Cutting out collage kits and assembling them on blank sheets of paper
Collaging is one of the easiest and most enjoyable hobbies you can take up as it requires little materials, isn’t costly and there are zero limitations or rules on what to do!
Once again, I like to head to Pinterest to source my collage images. You can always collect quotes, bible verses, scenery, cute animals or other images of your choice but I like to find printable kits that are specifically for collaging. They can be quite interesting and diverse! All my finds are listed under an art/diy board. Rookie Magazine, although now archived, have a great selection if you’re not sure where to start. Frankie magazine have also been known to include a collage kit or two in the bi-monthly editions. If all else fails, it can be fun to pull out old books and magazines. Spend a while trawling through their individual pages and see if anything catches your eye. Cut out anything and everything you think may come in handy.
Reading the latest edition of Frankie Magazine or Teen Breathe
As you may know, I was a big reader as a child. Wherever I went, I did so with a book in tow. Wherever the books were, you would find me also. I was never labelled a nerd and always praised for my adoration of words and the stories they’d make up. I spent many hours in fictional worlds and that has become invaluable to me as I’ve gotten older.
More recently however, I’ve spent less and less time reading. I’ve noticed that I don’t have the patience to be sitting still for so long, focusing on the one task at hand. I can’t read for long sessions as I fail to really absorb the content and can’t recount much of what I’ve read. I write frequently but read less often. What I do read on a daily basis comes from the wordpress reader. I enjoy this time immensely but do believe deep down that reading should be an offline activity. No kindle for me!
Each morning I have a spare half an hour during homeroom- usually I’ll catch up on my inbox and then head to wordpress but I want to get in the habit of staying off my device for this short time. Instead, I should pick up my beloved Frankie or Teen Breathe magazine and make my way through the articles.
Trying out my hand at floristry- arranging dried flowers in crystal vases
Oh, be still my heart. I’ve seen pictures of floristry workshops on Instagram and always thought about how much fun they’d be. A good weekday activity when it comes time for holidays again! I have a few vases in my room that I like to fill with eucalyptus, babies breath and other lovely blooms. I also have a palm leaf above my full length mirror which I adore. It’s a bit wild but sits just right in its space.
There are proper floristry schools you can attend that will provide you with work experience and real qualifications. The fact that this is a course offered by TAFE certainly piques my interest!
Soaking in the bath with candles, plants and my favourite indie playlist
There is nothing I enjoy more than a good soak in the bath with beautiful essential oils, epson salts and greenery surrounding me. I can very literally feel the stress leave my body as the water surrounds and refreshes me. I can choose to have everything be quiet or pop on a playlist of choice- usually I’ll listen to alexrainbird’s indie/pop/folk compilations.They last a good hour or so and feature many talented independent artists. Each song is so heartfelt, moving and beautifully poetic. I feel much better equipped to take on my next task after a bath. That deeply relaxed state you end up in is such a dream, honestly. Extra points if bedtime comes next!