So, slow living…..

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that I have changed the strap-line of the blog, I wanted it to better explain the thinking behind what I write about. I didn’t realise until very recently that our sort of lifestyle was a thing until it popped up on my Pinterest feed when I was looking for some capsule wardrobe ideas. Yes, sometimes even I think about clothes….

Our ‘slow living’ lifestyle was borne many moons ago from financial necessity after the children were born and I soon realised that I couldn’t afford to work and pay the ridiculous amounts expected by the childcare providers of central Glasgow. We have always been pretty frugal and we were able to make one salary and tax credits serve us well. We didn’t have a lavish lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination, but we had a warm home, food in our tummies and a desire (and ability) to make any small wander a memory.

Fast forward twelve years and I am now working part-time from home in a job I adore which gives me the freedom to manage childcare, volunteering, crafty gubbinses and long walks in the countryside. It doesn’t pay a fortune, being part-time and as a contracted freelancer I don’t qualify for any perks of employment; but if we look at payment in broader terms – flexibility, a great team of people to work with, a real sense of being appreciated and job satisfaction – then I am rich indeed. It has certainly really helped my mental health and stability, sometimes I’m on the phone to clients feeling wretched but you have to fake it till you make it, and by the end of the hours I’m generally feeling much better for having spent my time productively.

I know that I’m so fortunate to have the time to potter that other people can only dream of, and I am really grateful to have time to bimble about the place being arty, or cook from scratch, or wander through the woods, curl up with crochet or a good book or go foraging. I have friends at the community garden and the crafting group that I wouldn’t have met had I been in a situation where I’d been heading into the office at 7am and getting home at 7pm, shattered and cranky and fit for little more than a night in front of the TV.

Sometimes I do look at other people’s beautiful homes, their photos of amazing holidays abroad, their fancy dinners in amazing restaurants and whilst I am happy that they are having such a lovely time and they obviously get such pleasure from such things, it’s just not my sort of thing. I’m much more a camping and picnics kind of girl. Most of my most wonderful memories involve situations where we spent very little, or nothing at all. Meals that we’ve cooked together, and the ensuing round-the-table conversation between us all; afternoons spent on Welsh beaches, paddling and watching the waves; campfires; climbing hills.

Our (rented) house is cosy and warm(ish), it is a worn and rather battered ex council house with a tin roof that doesn’t look the prettiest (particularly when I have a love of inglenooks, wood burning stoves and flagstone floors). The furniture is mostly second hand, some is skip-dived, most could probably do with being replaced; but this house has been good to us. We’ve raised two children here, the neighbourhood is warm and friendly, each scuff mark and sticky fingerprint on the walls at the back door tells a story of a growing child and whatever that day’s adventure held. It’s not picture perfect, but it is home, and it’s where my heart is.


And so, with Autumn upon us and the darkness creeping in earlier each day; I shall kick through the fallen leaves and pick up conkers. I shall cook hearty stews, curl up with the boys for our ‘hot chocolate and books hour’ after school,  bake cakes and light the candles in the living room to banish the gloom from the corners and from my heart that misses spring.



Of chairs and cushions and blankets

It seems like an age since I had five minutes to dedicate to sitting down and doing my WordPress thang – those of you who follow me on Instagram where I can be slightly more photographically creative but considerably more lazy word-wise will see that I have, in fact, been pootling and pottering with the best of ’em. I had my very lovely family up from Wales to visit after my birthday this year, which was amazing; and I’ve taken a few days to recharge my batteries (and cleanse my liver!) and get used to having a quiet, empty house for much of the day again.

My sister took all the Christmas presents for family back to Wales with her, there are a couple of handmade goodies in there (I say ‘goodies’, the recipients might not be blown away by them but, as my sister pointed out, they will no doubt be better than the goats and clay ovens I bought for African families in my family’s name one year, gifts they seemed to find both bewildering and hilarious. I swear I’m making her a crinoline lady bog roll holder next year.). This, of course, left me with a noticeable lack of things to do, crochet wise, so I finished off the cushion covers I’d been working on. These are starter projects, I really cannot emphasise that enough. I’m just a beginner, self-taught from YouTube tutorials, mostly.


I needed something desperately to jazz up the rather drab and old-fashioned three-piece suite that we were given as a freebie a few years back. It was from a house-clearance, and we were incredibly grateful to  have been given the nod over this suite as the one we had that the landlord put in for us had been slowly disintegrating for thirty odd years before we even got it. It’s wonderfully comfortable, with seats big enough to curl up in, and a sofa long enough to really stretch out on, but I have always felt it lacked a bit a zing and we’ve never really had the money handy for jazzing it up.

As it happened, my cushions didn’t stay there long. Oh no.

The big yin had a cub camp this weekend over Stonehouse way, and we had to drop him off at the Scout Training Centre on the Saturday morning, so off we pootled. It’s a rather lovely, largely ignored part of South Lanarkshire, just the sort of place I would like to have a wee cottage.


Disused viaduct near Larkhall

Disused viaduct near Larkhall




We were on our way home from dropping him off, and decided to have a wee noseyabout in the car, we weren’t really in a hurry to get anywhere and it was drying up to be another glorious day after some rain in the morning; it really was one of those gorgeous, clear late mornings where you could see miles and miles of gently rolling countryside, with the odd glimpse of the (reassuringly familiar) sprawl of Glasgow and the tower blocks of Motherwell when you reached the summits of some of the hills.

We were headed down a narrow country lane when I spied just ahead a hideous mess. Seriously, who are these people who just clear out their garage / shed / attic and, rather than take it to the dump (or, rather Civic Amenity Centre) decide to drive out to a lovely part of the countryside and just dump it at the roadside? Honestly, what goes on in these people’s heads?

I was tutting and muttering under my breath at the sight of the abandoned, broken and dilapidated junk (baby things, mostly – buggies and highchairs and those awful baby walker things you plonk them in and they invariably end up in A&E) AND THEN I SPOTTED IT!

“STOP THE JALOPY!” I shrieked.

(I didn’t, but, you know, poetic licence)

I’d been looking for a wee chair to use downstairs, either in the living room or in the ‘void’ (a room/space between the kitchen and living room where the front door is that I haven’t told you about yet). Something small and neat enough to be easily moved between the two rooms, and upstairs occassionally as required; but a cosy chair suitable for crafting, supervising homework, or, if you are small of stature, daydreaming or curling up and reading comic books (notably, in this house, The Phoenix Comic).

And there it was, forlornly dumped alongside half of Babies ‘r’ Us, unloved and unwanted.

I knew the fly-tipping was recent, as it had been bucketing down that morning and yet the fabrics of the other goods underneath and beside the chair were bone dry, so it must have happened within the last hour. I quickly checked the general integrity of the chair (seat, legs, arms) and checked for signs of woodworm and any damage from maybe months spent in a damp shed; then happily jammed our new baby in the car boot. Then drove off at speed, lest the chap hurtling down the hill behind us thought it was us responsible for the fly-tip.

So….here we are, the great reveal and the umpteenth gifted / skipdived / found dumped in the wild item to grace our living room:





Isn’t he fabulous? You’ll notice a pile of wool in the background – I thought it would be a great chair to use for crochet as I can put it near the window and make the most of the natural light. Ha! Some hope. Fin has declared it ‘the ultimate gaming chair’ and, as you can see, this is now their favourite spot for Phoenix reading. Oh well….

For those wondering, I did immediately email the council to inform them of the fly-tipping. I am a responsible grown-up like that.

With the cushion covers and the Christmas gifts finished, I was itching to get onto something else and I have had my eye on the gorgeous cosy stripe blanket on the amazingly inspirational Attic 24 website for a fair few weeks now. I am so grateful to my friend Sarah who sent me a link to Lucy’s website when I first started on my crochet journey, it really is a joy to read. Whenever I’m feeling a bit down in the doldrums and in need of some cheer, Lucy and her gorgeous creations and the way she writes about her life never cease to make me smile. I think we all need a little Lucy in our lives!

Attic 24 Cosy Stripe Blanket (pattern and tutorial in link above)

Here it is shortly after starting. I am very aware that I don’t have Lucy’s fantastic eye for colour and, at the moment, I am being very cautious about my choices and should perhaps be throwing caution to the wind a bit more. I was very happy with the colours at this point – I have done a few more rows now and I must admit I am feeling a little uneasy that mine is too clashing now I have worked more primary and secondary colours in. But we shall see – this is only a teensy fraction of what will be a single bed sized blanket / throw so I think it is probably far too early to speculate or, indeed, worry. There’s far too much worry in this world without me adding to it.

Well, well, well, would you look at that? Yet another hour set aside for blogging where I had in my head what I was going to blog about and then ran out of time on the preamble. This post was going to be about hunkering down for the winter and the mental recalibration that involves, but that will have to wait until next time, where I also hope to show you an update of the cosy stripe blanket.

Until next time!