Slowlived

Wellbeing, Slowlived

The importance of being honest with yourself.

I've sat down to write a 'Life Lately' post so many times over the past few weeks, a catch up, but something always stopped me. A crushing fear of not being good enough. Of my words not being well written, my photos being under par, my blog design not reflecting me. All of which by the way I know sounds silly, but one can't help how one feels.

Slowlived, Wellbeing

On spending more time outdoors

Being outdoors is one of those things that many of us know are good for us. Like reading more, spending less time online, drinking less alcohol. But it's often one of those things that gets pushed to the sidelines when we're time pushed, when actually those are the times when we need it the most.

Slowlived

Sunday Rituals

Sundays are very much family days for us. Since I've started having Sunday's off work this day has been transformed, dare I say it, I'm even slipping into a day of rituals. Now 'ritual' is one of these words, a bit like 'authenticity' that's insta-trendy. Words like these I usually try to avoid using, because using a word that sometimes makes me roll my eyes just feels a bit silly. Maybe the problem lies with me, in that I've never really been one to have habits, a regular this-is-what-I-do groove, rituals.

Slowlived

Nature's "Loafers"

The New Forester is a loafer, a dreamer of dreams, a poet, in all but the production. He is content to be a fly on the wheel of life without caring to help its impetus; he is, in fact, somewhat of a "gentleman," in his kindly, idle gentleness. But monotonous work he will not do. For a while he may gratefully accept it; but when the haymaking or rine-ing come round he will take his leave of you, very courteously but very firmly, and will express no penitence if you find him loafing idly in the Forest - his market place - when these occasional jobs are over. Doubtless there are worse ways of life; but a result of this lack of sticking power is that the forester rarely excels - "unstable as water," etc.

Slowlived

Slowlived (viii)

 #slowlived

A long overdue Slowlived share to celebrate the slow and mellow vibes that it brings into my days. I last popped a roundup up before Christmas, which seems like an age ago doesn't it? There's nearly 5,000 photos shared using the slowlived hashtag now and I've made a mental note not to beat myself up over which photos to pick to share. This time I've gone for the photos that stood out and spoke to me - I hope you enjoy then as much as I have.

 If you would like to join in simply tag your mellow, slow living inspired images #slowlived. I'll share a selection of them here and on Instagram once again next week.

Slowlived

Hygge, and looking ahead

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Many of us are familiar with the Danish concept of Hygge: no literal translation, just the creation of cosiness with good food, drink, and fireside happiness with loved ones.

Midwinter isn't even upon us yet. But whilst we keep warm and illuminate the shadowy corners with candlelight, we can plan for our slow re-emergence and the arrival of spring. Watch those green shoots emerge from the soil, plan your garden, dream of longer days.

Further reading

 Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/alicemile/voila-le-printemps/

http://www.pinterest.com/sarahjanelane/springtime/


Curated by

Sarah Hardman

Sarah lives over at Mitenska, where she chronicles life's simple pleasures.

She's a keen photographer, writer and tea drinker. Her favourite things include collecting treasures from her daily rambles, baking cake, rainy days and cosying up with a good book.

She resides in the Pennines with her partner and little boy.

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Slowlived

How I have started to slow life down

Doing offline things slowly has been relatively easy to do, ironically quite quickly, because the results on how I was feeling were glaringly obvious. Happier, less tired, more content, relaxed.

I am only at the beginning of slowing things down and have been trying to do so intuitively rather than doing 'generic slow living things'. I have started by trying to recognize moments in the day where I feel more tense than others, the idea being I'll work on little chunks of life a bit of a time to see if it's possible to positively improve my day. Here's the first thing moments of my day that I identified as 'things I do but don't really enjoy as much as I know I could':

Slowlived

(v) Slowlived

I think there's something really special about this time of year, it provokes you to slow down. To spend time in the kitchen making stews and crumbles, to savour long walks, to enjoy the day before the night draws in early, to sit by the fireside and just  be still. 

Slowlived

Re-calibrating

Yesterday evening Kitty and I took a walk down a public footpath through the Exbury Estate and I am so glad that we did. I felt much better for posting about how I feel about blogging at the moment recently, it's always good to get thing off your chest and thank you for your lovely comments and messages, they have made the world of difference. I still have much thinking to do but I feel much clearer headed already. This walk with Kitty was important, life changing is a little over-dramatic but mood changing is a fair description.  I hadn't been out for a walk in the forest for weeks and now I realize that that's a key part of my emotional well-being, being outdoors, connecting with nature around me. 

I get so sidetracked with my blog at times. With a lot of travel content recently I thought 'I should focus on travel and make this blog about that'. Which I did, and I enjoyed it. For a bit. That's the thing, it's easy to feel like you should have a focus. Having a focus makes you more desirable to work with, it's easier to market yourself to people. But it's not for all. I can't focus on one thing, it's not in my nature. I like to be able to do as I please, I'm a flighty person. So I just need to embrace my nature, forget a focus, let creative diversity  steer me and just be me. Being true to myself is more important than worrying about what people will think. I need to get back to being myself, to pouring some genuine emotion and thoughts into my blog and not just factual content.

On our walk, Kitty was telling me about what she's been learning at school. 'Parasites are in the water in Africa mummy, and it makes people ill. I want to help'. BAM, I felt grounded. Kitty is the earth to my live wire, she reminds me in her innocence and pure little mind of what is important. As we walked and talked I noticed the different grasses, the evening light, the different wildflowers and I felt as if my eyes opening from a long sleep. Time to get back to being me.

I was looking at Eleanor's blog Creative Countryside, after following her on Instagram. I was thrilled when she submitted a lovely piece on Early Summer over on Folklings (which remains my place of blissful zen) and started reading her blog. I'm starting her 7 Steps to Slow Things Down free 7 day email course, I love it's tagline 'ditch the chaos and embrace positive change'. 

There isn’t a cure or a ‘fix’ to simplify our busy lifestyles - instead it’s all about taking manageable and purposeful steps forward. And don’t be fooled into thinking slow living is a waste of time; it will in fact save you time.

This course is for you if you’re looking to reclaim a few more hours of the day, hope to reconnect with what’s really important in life and if you’re ready to embrace the positive changes that lie ahead.
— creativecountryside.com/slow-things-down/

I think this might be beneficial for many of us, I'm starting today if anyone wants to join me. And thanks again for all the positive support this week, it's very much appreciated x

Slowlived

Downshifting

 

Downshifting, as a concept, shares many characteristics with simple living, but is distinguished, as an alternative form by its focus on moderate change and concentration on an individual comfort level, a gradual approach

 
There are two primary aspects to downshifting. One is about connection – connection to life, family, food, place – and the other is about maintaining a healthy balance – balance in the personal, work, family, spiritual, physical, and social aspects of their life.
— slowmovement.com
 

More and more I find myself thinking about living a healthier life, spending more time with my family and pursuing things that make me happy, being online less and off line more. Culling down the time I spend with one eye on my mobile, I know that I can do all I want and need to do online without the wasted hours procrastinating on the internet. 

I want to read a book. I want to sit down and start illustrating again. I want a morning where I can just potter with the kids. I want a simpler life. That's I a lot of 'I wants' granted, but the winds of change are blowing and I'm feeling positive that simplifying life is as achievable thing.

 
 

The downshifting starts now, three days away with my children and, joining us, my mother and her best friend. I've not been away with my mum since I was a child and we spent over a decade apart. Relationships between people can be complex, mother and daughter relationships exceptionally so. But we've worked through things, even though there was a time when we thought that we never speak again. I know some readers have complicated relationships with their parents but I would like to take a minute to say 'don't give up' and 'it's never too late'. Cheesy cliches I know, but true.  

So this break is going to be very special for us all. I have booked a couple of nights away at the lovely Somerset Yurts. We reviewed a long weekend there last year and ever since Emma, one half of TeamYurt, and I have been chatting online. Emma blogs at Spuddler and contributes to Folklings too, she takes super photographs and has two gorgeous boys and is expecting baby number 3 this year. I'm super excited to spend some time with her whilst we are staying.

Isn't it lovely when blogging leads to finding great new things? In this instance a great place and great people.

And now if you'll excuse me I must finish packing, I'll leave you with some photos of the yurts being assembled recently. Photos courtesy of Emma.

 
  SOMERSET YURTS

SOMERSET YURTS

 Somerset Yurts

Somerset Yurts

  SOMERSET YURTS

SOMERSET YURTS

  SOMERSET YURTS

SOMERSET YURTS

 

Slowlived

Balancing family and blogging - slow parenting

I'm been reflecting a lot of late. Turning 40 last week brought an influx of emotional analysation with it. It's hardly an epiphany but I'm not the only one getting old round here. A spate of fallen out baby teeth, trousers that once needed turning up three times now hanging above the ankle means one thing - my children are growing up and I'm not entirely comfortable with it. Not because I don't want to want them blossom and grow, but because I am constantly feel that I'm pre-occupied and missing on just spending time with them doing 'stuff'.

It seems I've been so busy thinking about 'slow blogging' and how cool the concept of 'slow living' is that I've totally missed the blatant simplicity of 'slow parenting'. 

When you live so much of your life online, or share so much of it with people over the internet it can be easy to get swept up in the online community and lose sight of what's really important - your offline community.

I started the year by vowing to walk a different walk every day of the year - and it's been really good for me. A new Range has meant that I've been learning to bake more and more. But there's been a significant shift in my mindset - these things are no longer viewed as blogging fodder. That's not to say that I won't share some of these thing occasionally but actually just enjoying the process of kneading dough or walking in the forest is rewarding enough for me, without having to attach it to blogging.  

I am walking more with my camera - but behind the lens less. I take way more photos than I share and keeping some back for us feels important, special. Kitty and Oz have started taking photos with my camera and despite my body image qualms I am seeing how important it is that I am in photos with them.

It can be terribly easy, as I know many of us have discussed in the past, not to compare our blogs to others. And moving on from that thinking, if you read blogs regularly, it's also easy to start to feel like you should be doing more with your children - making, baking, going places, creating memories. Inspiration is a wonderful thing, in moderation. Stepping back and just spending time together outdoors is so special. It's free, it requires no glue or glitter, there's no end product to aspire to - it's stripped back quality time with the people that matter the most - and those natural moments when you are close, walking and talking, they are just as special and memorable (if not more) than an action packed day out or the mother of all homemade cardboard fairy princess towers a la Pinterest.

More and more now I find myself segmenting 'blog life and content' away from 'family time' and I don't think that's a bad thing. I'll still share things on here - but there'll be other moments that I'll hold back and keep close, to look to on grey days.

Now, coming up to my 4th year of blogging I feel I am finally getting the balance right - how about you?

NB: Have just read this magnificently written post from Wordathlon and have to share this quote:

Some moments are not meant to be captured. Some moments are just for the heart, for the time that they happen, like smoke from a blown out match. Beauty and fascination can and should exist in a temporary state, too. Sometimes it’s important to just be right there and to drink something in, deciding not to focus on the possibility that you’ll forget what you’ve seen and knowing that it’s OK if you do anyway. Life’s tapestry is rich. If we hold onto everything we deny space for surprises and spontaneity. Sometimes it’s more important to hold someone’s gaze and give them a memory than it is to point and shoot.
— https://wordathlon.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/anaesthetising/