Friday, 25 May 2012

In Search of a Simple Life......

.......I guess that has always been my dream, but lately, it has been consuming many of my thoughts.

We are all so caught up in the fast paced, hi tech life. It's a hard thing to get off of once you are on it.

Computers wired up to the world 24/7

Phones that are 'all can do'

Televisions that have a million channels

A pressure to achieve everything, be everything, have everything, do everything

My eldest does most of his homework on his schools' interactive website. All school information is either emailed or texted these days. It's a hard thing to try and walk away from......well when you have young kids anyway.

I often dream of living somewhere fairly tv....just a simple little radio to keep me up to date with the world. A laptop to fire up every now and then should I need to do something....but one so old that it doesn't make me want to be on it.

It's still a dream....and probably only ever will be, but I have been trying this past year to strip things back a bit, and make a start on making life a little simpler.

Having always been a house mag fiend, and a person that would buy quite a few every month, I found I started to get quite unenthused with them. I noticed that as their prices went up, so did their advert quantities, and their main content became quite limp and unsatisfactory. I realised that it was becoming a complete waste of money. I disliked the fake room set ups, the pages that insisted you must have this new fangled item for your home.

I found that far from being inspirational, they started to make me 'despise' my house. They made me want something completely different, that, if I thought about it hard enough, I didn't actually want. They weren't giving me ideas to pretty up my house, it was like I was being drip fed an idea of what a good house should be, and mine was never going to match up to it. I didn't like that much. So I stopped buying them. I would rather get books that inspire me to build on what I already love rather than having something just because it's the 'in' thing. I now only get Mollie Makes, and if another one takes my fancy one month and i've felt i've deserved it, then I will get it. I bought a Country Living on Mother's Day for myself, and that was my extra luxury mag buy in a year. I figure, for the price of most monthly mags now, you could get a really nice home book from Amazon.

However.....I did treat myself last week. I had been holding off, but vouchers of several sorts allowed me to be a little extravagant. Well for me, anyway.

I bought ............

I spied it the moment it hit the stands a while back, but resisted getting it because I didn't think I needed any more crafty distractions. My mum does embroidery and cross stitch. I dabbled in it briefly when I made a Tilda pillow a couple of years back. I did enjoy it, but then I found Crochet, and there has been little time and space for anything else since. I saw my mum a few weeks ago who had started work on a new cross stitch. A big picture that I loved. My mum totally inspired me, so I went back to the shops and picked up a copy. These pages caught my eye.....

pretty little teacups....

There are lots of Jubilee inspired makes, and although, the Jubilee bug hasn't really hit me, I do love this picture of shelf simplicity.

Bright and colourful....

Pretty floral.....

I also bought this. It has a rather extravagant price tag of £9.99. It is basically one very thick magazine. However, it's like 20 Country Living magazines rolled into one....Without ANY adverts! It's like a Country Living home book. Pretty inspirational homes, taken from many issues, real, relaxed, simple country living. Much more 'me'.

I also picked up a Homespun Style and the second Primrose Bakery Book. These have been my reading these past few weeks and I cannot get enough. I want to turn off all the gadgets and just make and bake. And when I get a few spare moments, I want to hang out pretty washing when the sun does begin to shine and go for long walks to get the fresh air deep into my lungs.


This brings me on to my other effort to strive for more simple living......and the reason for my tiredness! Sorry to disappoint ladies, I am not up the duff! I really should proof read before I hit the publish button. It didn't occur to me that that is what you'd all think!

I also decided at Christmas that I needed to up my fitness. I needed to walk more. Not only that, but I had been having a grey cloud hanging above my head for a while and felt like I needed the fresh air to help clear it.

At the beginning of January, I started walking the boys to school every morning. We live at the top of a big, steep hill. It has always been a bit of a pain. When the elder Bears were small, trying to lug a double buggy up it was a killer. The pavements are all on a slope too, making it a virtually impossible task. Now that there was no buggy to push and Baby Bear was at an age where he could tackle the walk himself (no 'carry me i'm tired' whining), I thought it could be done. I agreed with the Bears that we would walk to school and I would collect them in the car at the end of the day. They seemed okay with that, and my plan was to get into a routine for a while and then introduce walking back too.

I have never been without a car, but I started to feel that with all the walking I was doing, I could do without mine. I was hardly using it during the week either, so I thought it would make sense. Mr H wasn't so keen on the idea. He kept telling me I would regret it, but I thought all the time it was there, I had the opportunity to be 'lazy'. Other people do it.......why can't I? So last month I stopped using my car. I walk everywhere now. And BOY have I NOT got used to it! I thought having done a lot of walking in the run up to having to do it all the time would have prepared me well! NOPE. I have been dead on my feet. A big unnatractive rain mac and wind blown hair have made up my days these past few weeks. And after 2 weeks I realised that I needed sensible footwear. I walk the Bears down the hill to school in the mornings, then when they are all dropped off, on go the headphones and I power walk back up the hill to get the heart rate really going. I walk fast generally, but I have been really pushing it back up the hill. I wont run though. We don't get on well. I soon realised my beloved boots were not up to the task, and my poor aching feet begged me for sensible footwear. Sensible comes in trainer form, and I LOATHE trainers. I really really do. Anyone who knows me well, knows just how much I LOATHE them. My sister-in-law saw me in them and almost keeled over! I have never, ever wanted to own a pair for general everyday use. If you are sporty or a 'walkie' then fine, they are justified, but for everyday use, they just make me shudder and think of shell suits. I knew I had to get a pair and searched around to find the most comfortable pair of trainers that looked the least like trainers. I ended up with some proper trainers by converse. They are comfy and my feet are happy, but I still feel all bloke-i-fied. And it doesn't matter how girly I am underneath it all, I still feel like a bloke, and I am NOT appreciating my loss of femininity! At least with the sun finally shining this week I have binned the mac, my hair looks semi decent and I have had a few flip flop moments. Far more me.

I am also finding that I have a total lack of patience for pavement dawdlers. Why does everyone walk at a snails pace and take up the whole pavement? They also sway! Does anyone else get irritated by that? You go to move past them down one side and they sway towards it, so you go to move the other side to get past and they sway back? Geez, it does ones head in!

Also, my calves kill, I have shin splints, my back aches (from me being an idiot and thinking I could get away with carrying 18 pints of milk (yes we get through a lot of milk a week, often more than that) and a huge pack of chicken for a casserole in my rucksack back up the hill one morning! I now have to take my trusty granny trolley with me should I need to visit the store for cupboard essentials on my way home! Peachy.). I also, foolishly, decided on a whim this morning on my walk back that I needed ice today, and we had run out. So big bags of ice and fruit juice was lugged up the hill in my little ruck sack. I will pay for that later!

I was doing really well on the weight loss front having lost a stone from christmas to the middle of march. In these last few weeks I seem to have put more on than has come off. I try to tell myself that muscle is heavier than fat, however, the amount of sugar and stodge I have been craving recently (see last post) is telling me otherwise! So do I feel fitter? NO I DON'T. I hope it is having some sort of positive effect though. I'm too stubborn to tell Mr H perhaps it was one of my less thought out ideas! The walking does make me feel much sunnier inside though, even when the weather is so dull and grey. Be strong strong! Hopefully the warmth that we have been having this week will help.

So, that is why I am tired. I am walking EVERYWHERE!

My current version of the Simpler life is one I am going to have to get used to. But i'm sure I will. I just need to give it time and persevere!

I hope the weather has been kind to you wherever you are. We have welcomed sunshine and warmth this week in the UK and it has been bliss (if not going from one extreme to the other)!

Right....the heat is already getting to me.....and would you believe it.....after my last post with the wasps nest, I have realised that some honey bees have decided to make a nest, in a gap between some tiles by my back door. That means that with all the doors and windows open, I am seeing a lot of these little dudes in the house. I don't mind honey bees. in fact I like them a lot. We have a lot in our garden, and they are not naturally aggressive, unless they are defending a hive. So will just have to nip that one in the bud.....sorry little honey bees.

Have a super duper weekend all!


✴✴✴Oh, and I just wanted to say.....sorry for the annoying sign in when you leave a comment. I hate the new word verification so I took it off but was then inundated with spam and had to put it back on again. What a pain!

✴✴✴Oh and also, many asked where you could get the bits featured in the last post. The biscuits came from M&S food hall and the Bonne Maman yoghurts and Caramel spread came from Waitrose. 


  1. I read your blog a lot but don't comment often. I wanted to say a massive well done on your walking venture. I too hate trainers and do silent screaming behind the snails weaving in front of me. I completely understand. Even if you don't feel fitter you definitely are and the kids will be fitter and I wish everyone would do the same! Congratulations and keep walking.

  2. We did got rid of our car 2 years ago. Like you we walk most places if the weather is dry. I shop every day but must admit to hopping on a bus back home with it. I'm 2 1/2 miles from the town centre so it can get a bit heavy to lug bits home. I keep meaning to invest in a shopping trolley.

    I understand what you mean about having a simpler life, away from electronic gadgets and gizmos. Sadly they're an intricate part of our home business.

    Oh and why do we all subscribe to the thinking that our homes aren't good enough? I sometimes feel that we live our lifestyles for others and not for ourselves and our loved ones.

  3. Read Foxs Lane's blog and Come Walk With Me. :D You seem to do great with Simplifying Your Life. I am with you. haven't posted in a million years it feels like and right now I just want to lay on a quilt under my plum tree, watching the clouds move and listen to my kids laughing on the swings in the apple tree. :D Kärlek, Annette

  4. so agree with you about adverts in magazines nowadays and will be hunting the gorgeous homey one out so thank you! My car has just died so I am back to walking - although I always looks so hot and bothered after the school run! x

  5. Oh, I do love your blog, with all its lovely pictures and insights. I said goodbeye to it all about 4 years ago and never looked back: no tv, no computer - just that old laptop for work (and blogging, obviously). Unfortunately, I do still need a car since I live in the absolute middle of nowhere, but still...

    I hope you don't mind my minding your business, but re. word verification: you can also opt for 'blog owner approval'. Comments will be sent to your inbox and they won't be published until you approve of them. No more spam, and no need for word verification!

    Good luck, and thanks so much for sharing all of the lovely things you do and think :o)

  6. How your post made me smile.... I too began the 'must walk' initiative earlier this year but with one thing and another I fell off the rails and found myself back in my car all too soon! However just this week I've started putting heel to tarmac again and managed 15kms over 3 walks this week. I HATE EVERY MINUTE but I know it's doing me good and I know I'll reap the benefits later (in lost kgs) so onward, forever onward..... I've decided that nothing that's good for you is enjoyable but needs must! So keep walking - I'll be with you in spirit!!! lol x

  7. I was reading in the paper this morning that women in the fifty's had much smaller waist sizes than they do now,because of all the housework they had to do..without the aids we have today.It's hard with all the technology..there's really no going back with that one,but it sounds like you are on the right track towards living a simpler life.Your home should be a reflection of yourself,not what a mag says it 'should' be like.Oh YES! I get people walk straight into me! I feel like saying,'am I invisible,or what?' Grrrrr!
    Sounds like you could do with a little on a deserted island somewhere! :0)

  8. I love your philosophy and the track you are on for a simpler life sounds perfect. My hubbie and boys are all gadget freaks they just love the latest thing and it makes me quite sad.
    I hope the blue lifts with this sunny weather and cheers your soul. Hugs xx

  9. I'm with you on the magazine thing. I used to get heaps of them, even the "posh" home ones and keep pictures of rooms and house I loved, but realised it was just making me unsatisfied with my life! I still get Country Living but am learning to just enjoy the things around me and not keep wanting more stuff. Good luck with the walking :) xx

  10. Well done with all your walking. I'm sure it is doing you good even if you can't feel it at the moment. I love the idea of a simpler life. We have made things very busy, stressful and complicated for ourselves these days!

  11. Definitely with you on the trainers front! I'm promising myself when my poorly toe is better `i will return to swimming 3 times a week....and I fantasise that one day I will wake up and think - I know, I'll go for a walk! - but that's somethingto work on!

    I think there are many, many of us who would like to simplify more than we are actaully able....we have very quickly become enmeshed, if not reliant on electro-techno stuff. But at least we are not sleep-walking into total reliance. I also cut right back on the magazine front - I blogged about how little content there was versus style a few weeks ago.

    Yes, I think it does us good to sit back and take stock every now and then. Huge kudos to you for all the walkinng you're doing!

  12. Oh that made me laugh! I can relate to the walking bit. My daughter and I decided to take up evening walks this week and it nearly killed me! I had began to walk 18 months ago before my business took off and I was really enjoying it but then when I got busy I just didn't have the time. I think the fact we chose the hottest evening of the year so far to do it didn't help. Off to M&S in the morning to hunt down the biscuits! Have a lovely weekend x

  13. For a quiet style life like you described have of the people in Alaska live this way only they not only don't have t.v. computers they don't have water or a working toilet and shower.....but they are happy!
    I couldn't live like this though...this is remote enough for me 7 miles from town and plenty of moose and bears!

  14. Love reading your blog-rarely do I comment but I wanted to say how right you are about the magazines! I live in California and have stopped buying them too.
    LOVE Pinterest and that has been such an inspiration. There are so many wonderful creative people out there!
    Great way to "save" pictures without holding on to all the bits of torn out pictures and there are No Ads!!
    Love the books you bought and you are inspiring me to get out there and walk. I live in the land of beautiful sunshine and awesome beaches-live a couple of miles from Redondo Beach. So there is no excuse to not "just do it"!
    Thank you for taking the time to "talk" to us followers-We....I love ya!!!

  15. I too have recently begun to do alot of walking. Unfortuately I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis so I had get new shoes too. I have health problems so I can't walk like I would want to. Plus these hills are killing me here! But hopefully by the end of summer we will both be able to smile at our success in walking :)

  16. So much of what you wrote, I completely relate to. I am trying to simplify my life a bit more as well. I buy Mollie Makes once in a while...I'm trying not to get into that mode of "magazines" and stuff. I walk to work daily, try not to clutter my mind. I want to knit more, learn to crochet, etc.

  17. Blimey - well done with all that walking. Must make you feel virtuous! I'm feeling very pleased with myself having lost weight easily on the Dukan diet. It's not for everyone, but boy, it really works and I found it really easy. Just a thought if you want to lose a bit.
    I agree about the mags. I LOVE mags,(esp Mollie Makes and Country Living, plus a LOVELY French one I subscribe to called Marie Claire Idées - loads of fab crafty stuff with patterns etc) but I'm finding that Pinterest is like an online mag where you can pinpoint stuff you really want to look at. Bit addicted to it, actually!
    Thanks for your lovely post. Baking and crafting sounds a great way to spend time if you ask me!

  18. I loved this post, your wanting a Simpler Life has definitely struck a chord with me. My life desperately needs simplifing. I couldnt agree more with what you said about the home/interior design magazines,theres only 1 or 2 that I now rarely buy, books are so much better & there are so many real inspirational sites/blogs on the net. As for the walking, I too walk everywhere & have come to the realisation that Im going to have to give up my Converse for a pair of proper trainers :-( xxx

  19. I think we all desire a simple life every now and have the courage to make your life a bit simpler....I admire you for that!

  20. Feeling your pain with the trainers! I detest them. It puts me off being more active just in case I have to wear a pair.
    Will be looking out for that magazine!

  21. Check out some of the trainers at . Patagonia make some funky coloured ones and quite a few brands make them that look more like sandals rather than a lace up shoe which are definately more girly. Not all brands ship outside the us but most do and great selection at good prices. Keep up the walking - bet you are fitter than you realize. I always go by how tight my clothes are rather than my weight. If my jeans feel tight I need to do more exercise!

  22. A simple life is what I would love more than anything too!! Love those magazines, and what a beautiful rose fabric!! I just ordered those sweet birdie clips!! So cute!! Have a lovely and restful weekend!! xo Heather

  23. Ah I share your pain with the walking and the trainers! I too live on a HUGE big STEEP hill, but have been walking my son to school this year also, in an attempt to get fitter -am I fitter, well I sure dont feel it, but my bloody knees are killing me, ha ha! I fell down a flight of stairs with my son when he was a baby - 'took' the fall, least he be harmed in any way, but snapped both my legs and ever since have had to wear ugly, practical shoes so the pain isnt too bad. Life ah? Good on you hon, for trying so hard though - may the simple, sweet life find you soon. Becks xxx

  24. hello lovely, i so enjoyed reading this post, i feel the same in a lot of ways. firstly, walking i find a very good thing for me on the school run. At times id love a car and be able to drive but then our walks seem so worth while we notice nature through the seasons, lots of fresh air...its nicer in spring/summer without gales and rain at all angles hehe.
    my legs and body could not jog/run to save my life, but i love power walking. Actually, a dear friend took me on a jog- never agaiin!!!! she's also been a keen jogger/runner for 5 years and me a beginner a very bad combination!!!! hehe. she also had the amazing ability of talking all the way round the park...i, on the other hand could hardly breath.
    So, power walking is my new best friend...its something that should be personal too, your own pace and enjoyment, i dont think fitness should be torture.
    I also love just having a radio for company, i realised how much more i looked at the world in front of me before having the internet. now, i see my self dreaming of what i havent got.
    So, ive made such a real effort of getting out and about in the country and by the coast, no excuses just getting there and walking and enjoying what i have not what i havent got!

    there are amazingly beautiful places on every bodies door step its just seeing the wood from the tree;s.

    happy weekending beautiful xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  25. Dear Vanessa, dare I say it, I sort of lost you ... my Google reader deleted everyone a while back, then my laptop started ailing, and I suddenly realised that I'd been missing a whole bunch of blogs. But I have a new lappy, a new Bloglines account, and finally I'm catching up with everyone (it's going to take a while!). It was lovely to slide back in here this morning, to your pretty, chatty space, and feel as if I'd never really left.

    Now, I once lost all my baby weight by power walking four miles everyday before supper (that's on top of all the other walking I did in the day, and the running around after four small children), and I have to say it didn't leave me feeling anywhere near as tired as you describe. As I know I'm not some kind of super woman, in fact the opposite, I wonder if you're low on iron, or possibly it's your serum ferritin that's out of kilter. That happened to me - haemoglobin levels just inside the normal range but serum ferritin through the floor - and I did feel just like you, exhausted and craving sugar to keep me going. Maybe worth getting your GP to check you out. Take care won't you x

  26. I loved reading this post so much. I agree with you so much, on house magazines, which I've also stopped buying. Even the articles are really just adverts because they make you want to buy rather than have any ideas that you can adapt to your home. I agree on the walking too, generally people walk so slow, I'm always overtaking! Well done you on doing so much walking though, I still don't do enough. I have started running (a little bit) though. I'm yet to reap the benefits but hopefully if we can stick at it, it's got to happen right? Good luck on finding a simple life, or at least a simpler life!

    S x

  27. I love your blog and I loved this post.
    I know exactly how you feel and, as a teacher, life is pretty hectic most of the year. There's always some marking or planning to do. Which is why I love August so much. Time to just potter around and chill out, taking life much more in my stride.
    Take care of yourself.

  28. I found you via your crochet on Pinterest. Your blog is beautiful!! I fell in love with it and I will be back

  29. I join the ranks of others who rarely comment, but your post really moved me to agree with you! I recently unsubscribed from ALL of my mags except CrossStitcher which has some really nice inspirational projects :) I treat myself from time to time to a good mag or a nice book (which is about the same price!).

    And, I love walking about - you see and experience so much more. I look forward to reading more about your adventures! x

  30. Oh for a simple life! I feel exactly the same. I read an article last week about our children being raised in an environment where we are with them but not completely with them. Mum's pushing swings while checking emails on their phones etc. I'm reading my wee boy a book about his great, great grandad who lived in a hut in the bush in the early settler days here in NZ. Mr 7 can't quite believe that people had no electricity, owned only one set of clothes and had to grow/catch their own food. It's been a great reminder for me too.

    Have a lovely week hon,

  31. yeah, with you on the trainer thing. I was a county athlete in my teen years, and due to loads of training, I always had 'proper' trainers for it, but I could NOT get to grips with the idea of wearing them for fashion or leisure. Yukarooney. And walking makes you sweat loads doesn't it?? I have been through phases of walking everywhere, and given it up for the very reasons you highlight!! Funny.

  32. oh, and meant to say - actually, the only time I really got on with walking was when there was a POINT to it - like when my son was little and I pushed the buggy to supermarket instead of taking the car, and when we had a dog. Other than that - sweaty and pointless....

  33. I brought a pair of fit flops 3 years ago when I lost 3 1/2 stone from dieting and walking half an hour a day. They are the most comfortable things to walk in ever and are well worth the money as I'm still wearing them now I live in them. They helped tone my calves up a treat. when I first stated I was shattered and out of breath but after a couple of months I became fitter so perserver.
    Think of the petrol money your saving and the wool you can buy.
    I totally agree with you on the magazine front. The only magazines I buy now is Style at home as its good value and I love the home ideas and makes section. I love Mollie Makes too but onlyh buy it if there is somthing I would make out of there.
    I totally understand about simplyfing life and know where your coming from. Im 35 and was diagnosed with adhd at 33 after having a stressful career and low self esteem all my life. I've slowed down work part time and am expecting my first baby. Money is much more tigther but Ive sold my car and cut back and Im so much happy and my relationship is better . Money is not everything and I dont value myself my career anymore I'm more happier being a home maker. Im on no adhd meds now and only a low dose of anti depressents. So my health is much better.

  34. Well done with all that walking Vanessa. I would say personally not to weight yourself but to measure yourself instead - that will give you a real view of how you are doing with your fat loss. Measure your thighs, waist etc and see how they go down with all that walking :-)

  35. I so LOVE you blog! So very pretty and sweet...XoXo Ps. If I were to teach myself how to crochet ~ could you please recommend a fabulous book and a fun project for beginners :-)

  36. I really need to walk more as well. There are some cute trainers out there. I have Nike Shox and adore them. They're super comfy.
    I wish I could walk my girls to school but we live 6 mi from it. Hopefully this summer I'll get my duff out. They say 5 x a week and 30 minutes each is good.
    Keep it up and take a break perhaps on the weekend?

  37. I know what you mean about magazines that have these fabulous "show homes" it can cause a discontent if we are not careful. I think it's good to actually make and bake something I have personally spent far too much time and money on magazines it's like some strange addiction. There I have said it ! Thank you for listening dear friends. I am going to try to do some more knitting in the future. I love your point about books.
    Sally :)

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  39. I know exactly what you mean! I wish I wasn't tied to my laptop most days (I work freelance from home) and could just have a simpler life! Even when my laptop isn't it I answer emails on my phone. Sometimes I wish I could switch it off and that's why I love remote Devonshire holidays-no signal! I got rid of my car in August and I don't miss it. Though I bought a lighter buggy this month for the little 'un, pushing the last one laden with shopping and general stuff was a struggle! Hope youu manage to find a 'happy medium' between walking and relaxing soon!

  40. I know what you mean and have the same thoughts. Because I`m also very tired I `m changing my diet. No more meat, fish and dairy products. After one week I`m already feeling better. Maybe something to look into.

  41. Whenever I log onto your blog, and am immediatly struck with the feeling of coming home - thankyou for always posting such uplifting images and continually brighten my days ! It is winter here in Australia and your sunshiney post full of colour and spring brightness has done just that !

  42. I always love stopping by your beautiful blog when I can but this post has really rung true for me today. We are down to one car at the moment and the location of my husband's job is moving next week, so he can no longer take the train to the office. I have been in a complete panic about not having my car - it's completely irrational! Although I have a young baby, I work from home and live 5 minutes (at most) from a town centre lol
    :-) Reading your post and the comments from your lovely readers has just given me a whole new perspective on becoming 'carless'.

    We will be saving on horrendous monthly train fares, I am trying to cut back on spending anyway so less easy for me to pop in the car to the shops (!), it's green and healthy - what on earth was I worried about. Thanks so much for inspiring me to think more positively today x

  43. Just wanted to say thanks for the heads up on the Country Living magazine. It's great. I'm trying to ration myself and read it slowly. House porn or what! I'm not sure it's going to wean me off some of the others I buy but it's definitely worth the money. So thanks.


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