Slow Living In Colour
Yesterday I did something quite extraordinary for me. I don't have a newborn, I didn't feel under the weather, I just felt like a little nap. And I felt marvellous afterwards!
Ok, so it helps to work from home to allow such an indulgent hour of your working day, and I am not saying this is going to become a daily or even weekly occurrence, but whilst dozing off I thought about the week just gone and how I am slowly trying to embrace a different pace.
After possibly the most hectic but strangely simultaneously restful Christmas, I've decided to start the year in a different frame of mind.
It turns out I can be just as productive, possibly more so, without running around like a headless chicken!
Instead of feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by our daily routine and to do lists, I have planned out each day, built pockets of time into a packed schedule to do nothing. Simple things like sitting down for a cup of tea. Not walking around the house with a half drunk cup, that ends up cold on a window ledge.
For some reading this it might not be the revelation it has been to me, but it turns out it doesn't make a scrap of difference to how much I can achieve in a day to stop and slurp a hot drink! It's too easy to get caught up in busy fool syndrome. When you spend your time telling people how busy you are, rather than just getting on, slowly and steadily. I've heard myself say that, I have watched myself like I'm experiencing some sort of out of body hallucination, tearing around, flapping like Big Bird.
I am so fascinated about this idea of slow living, it has been alien to me in the past because it's felt as though it was a cool gang I just couldn't be part of. The internet can be an intimidating place and in the past I have been overawed by the moody hues in photographs, the homes with no "stuff", the balls of knitting wool, signalling a serene approach to life. I look at those images and crave that serenity. I can't seem to master or feel remotely comfortable with wistful glances into the distance as I stand in a field. I've tried and just don't feel myself. I can't help the big cheesy grins, that highlight those "laughter lines" that I haven't noticed have appeared and are multiplying as I head towards 35.
Muted just doesn't fit.
But that's not what slow living is about. It's about what it means to you. It's not an aesthetic, it's a way of life. For some that naturally embodies nature and a paired back home, they genuinely live that life that you see in Kinfolk magazine, for others the brightest colours of the rainbow are at the heart of their approach to living a slow lifestyle.
In a week where we will have scooted to Bracknell, to Poole, walked on a sandy beach, through muddy grass and planned out major renovations to the house, in amongst school runs, after school play dates, swimming club and ending the week in Bristol and Bracknell for more newborn nephew cuddles, it feels impossible to imagine that could have any association with the principle of taking life slow.
But in every one of those days there was a slower pace. We arrived in Bracknell and I sat, and didn't move with little Logan on my chest for about 2 hours! The laptop was open to the side, emails got replied to, but I sat and just breathed him in. You know that stage when you just want to snort them, as they burrow into your neck, their velvety skin so soft and smooth with a layer of whispy fur that disappears as they twist and turn in their moses basket.
We borrowed the wifi at my in laws' house in Poole for the day, which meant I could get twice the amount of work done, uploading photographs in the blink of an eye, as opposed to setting them overnight, only to find our internet has dropped off and you have to start all over again in the morning. The curses of countryside internet here. I sat and rifled through my plastic storage box of newborn clothes, we had lunch together in one of our favourite bistros and did our annual life brainstorming session, looking at changes that will help our house, our health and happiness. We managed to be as productive as a day sat chained to the laptop at home as we were, driving 2 hours, having lunch and walking the dogs along the blustery, bitterly cold beach.
It's changing your approach that makes the difference.
We've said for the last year we must get the boys out more on a Sunday. It's too easy to let the hours pass by, lazing around in pyjamas. Don't get me wrong we all love a quiet day, we all need those days, but in a flash it can be 1pm and we wonder why they have become restless and ratty. It goes the same way, almost every time. Lovely, lovely, lovely, a little bored, a little restless, wrestling, wrestling, fighting, fighting, crying, shouting, us shouting.
We decided to join the National Trust, being spoilt with Stourhead almost on our doorsteps. And after a little cajoling out of their slightly wiffy pyjamas, we headed out in wellies and gloves.
We may not go every week, but I want to show the boys how much fun you can having doing nothing. Well nothing but walking and exploring. You don't need plastic toys, the tv, the iPad or one of our phones. They love reading and playing board games as much as the precious iPad and the new computer game Mr Jump, but I want them to use their imagination.
We sauntered through the grottos, under the caves, roaring loudly, we stopped to chat to other families, it might just be me, but are all National Trust properties the friendliest places on earth?! Rich laughed at my colourful combination of a yellow rain mack and bright pillar box red wellies but no one batted an eye lid.
Slow can still be colourful.
It's not about whether you dress in calming colours or whether you decorate your house in a muted palette. It's about how you feel, your attitude and outlook. A friend of mine Fable and Folk runs the #slowlived hashtag on Instagram and I scroll the the gallery in awe.
Moments which inspire me to consciously build in quiet times to my day.
Appreciating little details more, feeling on top of life, is the key to embracing slow living. And in turn, in just a couple of weeks I can feel a difference in the house. Less shouting, (we still have to work on the morning getting dressed and out of the door on time for school routine that regularly ends in raised voices) more evenings off the laptop. Unbelievably, working in more normal working hours helps your home-work balance! Who knew?!
I took a day this week to create some blog posts. A whole day of making, snapping, arranging - it was heaven. Not for a collaboration or client, just for me, and you! I took some more photos for a new monthly series Real Life vs Insta Life, building on this post from last year and I felt like I had achieved so much that day. That it's not smoke and mirrors, it's my life, just how I chose to present it is up to me.
One of the over riding feelings my sister has been talking about since they brought Logan home from hospital is calmness. They've not overwhelmed themselves with visitors, they've kept Yasmin in her routine and given themselves hours to just sit and look at him.
It's funny how second time around you have all the benefit of hindsight, and that's how I intend to approach this year, as if I have lived it before and take time to appreciate what I might have missed. Less of a whirlwind more of a long lapping wave. Still with momentum and strength but with structure.
Are you trying to slow down this year? What are you changing to help you feel calmer?
Happy weekend everyone, we are off to celebrate Sammy's sweetheart and her Daddy's birthdays today, sleeping over then heading to see the sweet boy and his big sister tomorrow. Bliss.
And don't forget it's the last weekend to join in the #capturingcolour competition with Rose and Grey Interiors. Show us the colours of your weekend over on Instagram to win a £100 voucher to spend on whatever you fancy! Full details here.