6 Upper Mugrave Road

Cheam Village

Surrey

SM2 7AZ

United Kingdom

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ROBIN - INSPIRING STORIES VOL. 9

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I'm very excited to introduce Robin and her family. The first time I saw her photos on Instagram, I was immediately taken by her aesthetic, posts about simplifying her life and not to forget her cute daughter. I was very pleased when she said she would love to be a part of our series; here is more about her life and choices she makes. 
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Where do you live? Do you have children?
I live in Canada, in a suburb of Toronto, with my husband (Patricio) and daughter (Ramona) - and two cat brothers, Henry and Oscar.
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2. Do you work?
I work as an Early Childhood Educator/preschool teacher in a non-profit Early Years centre. Since my daughter was born, I haven't fully returned to my job, only working a day or two a week. I feel very lucky that I'm able to stay at home with my daughter - it's not something I imagined myself doing a few years ago before I became pregnant, but it's the only place I want to be now!
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3. How do you relax?
I'm not very consistent about it, but yoga and pilates relax me. I've been trying to meditate more in my daily life, and not surprisingly, it's been very grounding. Reading relaxes me as well, when I make time for it (basically it seems I need to make more time for restful activities for myself!). And is it weird to say that folding laundry relaxes me? I used to hate it, but now I look forward to it. It's like it's own calming ritual.
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4. What is the last book/magazine you read?
The last book that I finished reading was
Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne. I finished it a while ago, but it's given me so much to think about it. I am currently reading Self-Reg by Stuart Shanker, and The Whole-Brain Child Daniel J Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.
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5. What is your latest favourite band/musician?
My daughter recently became obsessed, to put it mildly, with Billy Joel.  While I could do without listening to Uptown Girl on repeat every day (she plays it over and over and over and over on her turntable), it's been sort of fun to become familiar with a classic artist I didn't know much about before - because of my toddler! I'm almost always listening to Feist or She & Him (like for years now, haha), and a lot of the Mary Poppins soundtrack lately. 
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6. Where do you shop items for your child? Any favourite shops for kids clothes or toys?

I try to shop secondhand mostly, but I love slow fashion brands like Tortoise and the Hare Clothing and Red Creek Kids.

One of my favourite Canadian shops is Nest.ca, a webshop that offers a wide range of natural toys, art supplies, and home goods. I also love the Toronto Waldorf School store, Paper Pipit - and Ava's Apple Tree, a small brick and mortar store in east Toronto that sells Waldorf-inspired goods. Those shops have as many toys for me as they have for my daughter.
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8. Last year you decided to start simplifying your life. To live with less items, purchase and waste less. Can you tell us more about it?
It's lifestyle that was very much blossomed when I became a mom - even before my daughter was born. Most of the things around me seemed to lose their value around that time - it was like a switch turned on that didn't allow room for extraneous things. Time felt more precious with the arrival of my daughter, and I didn't want to waste it with, or constantly tending to stuff. It seems like early last year there was a real breakthrough though - understanding that there needed to be a goal, not just purging, and then regaining more things.
Ultimately, for me, my goal to simplifying is less things, less waste. Not just waste of resources, but also time. My time is better spent doing the things that I love and focused on the people I love, rather than with belongings.
The book Simplicity Parenting that I mentioned earlier felt like an extension on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up for parents, beyond just minimizing our belongings. It spoke on simplifying our environment and our daily routines, to find connection with our children, our spouses, even ourselves.
Speaking a little bit on how we keep things simple: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up by Marie Kondo helped me with the process of refining what we had (I didn't follow it implicitly, but it helped a lot).
It's a large topic, but simplifying and minimalism relates greatly to the environment for me. I mentioned before that we buy used whenever possible - this choice isn't just good for the environment, but also helps us save to afford higher quality goods when needed. Alternatively, when items no longer have value to us (typically baby-related items) we sell, donate or lend them to others who may need them.
I try to consider each purchase that I make and the impact of it. I think about the materials, where they were made, how they were made, if it will last or go out of fashion, if it can serve more than one purpose. But all of that being said, I also don't think every item has to have a direct purpose - some belongings just make me happy! And having fewer things, especially those truly special items, helps me value the belongings that I do have more.
I share this William Morris quote often, because I think it's a great measure for the worth of our belongings: "Have nothing in your home you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."  
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9. Your blog is lovely. Why made you to start it and what does it mean to you?
I started my blog as a creative outlet, to combine writing with an interest in photography. I feel a little sentimental thinking back on when I started, when it was just my husband and I and we documented our dates and adventures - and compare it to now, with our daughter. I don't update it often enough anymore, but I'm trying harder to, because it's such a beautiful way to document our lives as they unfold, measure our growth, and to share and be a part of others experiences as well.
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10. Can you tell us what items do you like from our shop and why?
There's no hiding that I love wooden toys - there's such a weight and quality to them that plastic just can't offer. The leaf puzzle and Tree Learning cards are probably my favourite. I love that with the puzzle you learn to recognize different wood grains, and with the cards you learn to recognize trees by their leaves - I'm always eager to enhance my nature literacy. I also love all the watercolour art featured in prints, cards and games. My husband is an artist, and I appreciate seeing quality work being offered to children in the form of a memory game, or animal identification cards.
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 Thank you so much Robin for being part of our stories!
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