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.