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.



I’ve started so I’ll finish -on bullet journals and being a control freak.


Last week, I started writing a blog about ranting, and how I don’t think I have the energy to rant and get angry about politics and the unfairness, cruelty and utter bastards in charge of the planet and its destruction anymore.

Clearly I didn’t have the energy to finish writing the blog either, because it has sat in my draft folder in a sad state of incompleteness ever since. Is ‘incompleteness’ a word? I know it’s a theorem, but it sounds clunky as a word. It will, however, suffice as a reasonably good word to explain that yet another thing I started has not been finished.

This is all becoming a bit of a habit, this starting-things-and-not-finishing-them; from the sketchpads and the beadwork in my drawers to the ever-growing ironing pile and the increasingly weed-filled herb garden, and I find myself getting increasingly anxious to the point where I can’t cope with anything other than hiding in my room, under the duvet, freaking out with a thudding heart, a swimming head and that horrible feeling that you’re going to faint.

OK, I admit that I am a bit of a control-freak and I would micro-manage my life if I could, because I do like to try and balance ‘must-do’ jobs like my job that pays bills, and the housework with things that I enjoy doing to calm down – my pottering and pootling, if you will. What’s happening at the moment is that I am getting so inexplicably worked up and tense about my paying job (and I don’t know why, because my job is lovely and so convenient) that by the time I finish at 1pm, I am drained and exhausted and just want to sleep. This means that my other essential tasks, like the bloody infernal ironing pile, get left undone until the kids scream that they’ve been wearing the same t-shirt for three weeks and haven’t seen clean pants since November. When I fail so badly at being a good haus-frau, I find it really difficult to do anything enjoyable for myself – I like ‘me time’ to be a reward, something to look forward to after a morning of fifty phonecalls or an afternoon of cleaning the oven (bah, who am I trying to kid?).

Jobs piling up, hormonal brain getting more forgetful, anxiety building more and more….what’s a gal to do, eh? Pinterest to the rescue once again, with an exceptionally well-timed money-suck email all about bullet journalling which is, as far as I can tell from the fifteen or so pretty identical videos I watched and the websites I drooled over,  something of the reinvention of the wheel, a big Filofax for people who like nice pens and washi tape. Washi what? Google it, crafty people. You’ll thank me.

I was caught hook, line and sinker. My mind spun out of control with how perfect my life would be if I could just buy a beautiful journal and write little colour coded lists in it everyday, along with lists of lists and lists of lists of lists all referencing back to original lists and a perfect index at the start that appears to magically order itself without any mistakes in perfect, colourful handwriting.

(I could hear my therapist calmly advising me that she spent considerable amounts of time and NHS money convincing me that I could survive without meticulous lists and forgetting the lentils in the Co-Op or not doing exactly an hour of ironing every day was nor probably going to bring the Earth to the brink of disaster, but did I care? I cared not a jot. I was looking at pretty, pretty journals….)


They see me coming every. damn. time.


I spent ages looking at all these gorgeous journals and eventually settled on this beautiful ‘Bullfinch and Cherry Blossom’ journal from the Peter Pauper Press, which has 160 sumptuous, barely lined sheets of satisfyingly thick paper and a good sturdy cover for lugging about in bags, trugs and wicker baskets. I haven’t tried using my Letraset ProMarkers or my Sharpies on this thing of beauty, because I think they could probably soak right through the paper, and that would be a crying shame. My Staedtlers (pictured) are perfect for the job, but a standard biro would do. I just like colours to cheer me up.

I’ll not go into details about how you’re supposed to order everything, because you can click the wee linkydink above and take the tour and besides, I’m such a rebel I’ve already thrown out the rulebook and done it my own way. Did I mention I was a control freak?



Is it working? It’s too early to say, and I haven’t yet made the inevitable horrible mistake like miss some pages or write the wrong date or spill wine on it (the sort of thing that sends me into a snottery rage and then a spiral of despair at my general uselessness). There is something very satisfying about thinking about what needs to be done – jobwise, around the house, or admin work for Scouts, the community garden or the Scarecrow Festival  – the day before and jotting it down to prepare myself; and there is a huge sense of satisfaction in giving them a little tick once completed. There’s also a lot to be said for reminding myself that doing lovely things for my own peace  – whatever it is- by writing it down as though it were a self-care task rather than something selfish and indulgent that I ought not be doing helps me to balance my day out, and it does seem to be having a positive effect on my anxiety levels. I’m looking forward to seeing how it grows as time goes on, and what else I could incorporate into it (dreadful reprobate rule breaker that I am), and if it doesn’t work then I will chalk it down to experience as something I have tried that perhaps wasn’t quite my thing.

However, tonight I go to bed not only with everything I had scheduled for today neatly ticked off as completed, but with additional things done and really enjoyed, because I had time in my slightly-more-structured day to do them, to indulge in them without feeling guilty or that I ought to be doing something more useful or worthy. And that feels really, really nice. It’s a sensation I’d like to feel more often.