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Live the life you want to lead

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

In the half a year (or more) that I’ve been away from here, things have slowly started to move in my life. For years I’ve been aiming halfheartedly and haphazardly at simplifying my life. This morning (while cleaning out a bookcase!), I had to laugh when I saw the collection of books on simplicity. There are more stashed in other locations. I can’t even remember what most of them are like. Were they helpful? I guess not particularly. If they had been I would have it all sorted by now….

About six months ago I came across a little mantra – Live the life you want to lead – and somehow it struck a chord and it stuck with me. Since then, with that in the forefront of my mind, I’ve been taking steps – some baby, some a little bigger – in the direction I want to go.

And it’s working.

I’ve taken a long hard look at my life and thought about what I really want and more importantly, what I don’t want:

  • I love my job at the university, but would I rather work 60% than 80% and have a bit more time for me? Yes? I asked for it and got it.
  • Do I want to get back to running regularly even though my betablockers make it really hard and give me a wee bit of asthma. Yes. I’m suffering but I’m getting out there 2-3 times a week and feeling  proud of myself for trying, even if my running is rubbish!
  • Do I really want to be church treasurer. NO!!! (did you hear how loud that one was?) I resigned, amazingly someone else volunteered to take over and my last day is Sunday with the Annual General Meeting. (Did I tell you how happy I am about this?)
  • Do I want to have less clutter? Yes! Every day I do a tiny bit of sorting out. Even if it’s only recycling old magazines that I probably won’t ever look at again. I haven’t had any really major purges anywhere, but just slowly and steadily reduced. OK, so no-one else in the family has noticed the difference. But I have. And with it has come a feeling of lightness and freedom.
  • Was I happy about being a helicopter mom and always worrying about my children and interfering in their lives – did I achieve anything? No! So I am slowly learning to let go, let them fly (they are grown-up after all), make their own mistakes….I think our relationships are better and nothing too horrible has gone wrong so far.
  • Did I need help with managing my mother and her dementia from a distance? Yes. Did she want help? No? Does she like help now she has it? Yup, she loves it! And I get a whole lot less worked up about things!

I suppose I realised that nothing would change on its own. I had to start to take steps to make it the way I wanted it. Even if they are little steps and it takes forever, I’m going in the right direction.

I’m taking time to stop. To read, to sit outside and soak up some sunshine when there is some. I’m enjoying a nice coffee and a walk in the old town. I’m going to see films and meeting friends. I’m doing a lot of yoga and feeling all the better for it. I’m slowing down, walking instead of taking the tram, watching TV and knitting in the evenings sometimes instead of always being busy.

It isn’t a life that will set the world on fire. I’m not going to run a marathon or write a best-selling novel. I have nothing to prove to anybody. I’m happy in my own skin and my little life is nice. It’s simple and it’s really nice. And that’s OK.


Minimalism…or not?

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

I’m in a quandry.

Completely torn in two directions.

I dream about living a minimalist life. Away with clutter and too much stuff, bring on the streamlined look – less to look after, space, light, freedom. I really want to live like that.

But I’m having a terrible job getting rid of anything.

I’d decided that when I got back from vacation I would start paring down my wardrobe. I have waaaaaay too many clothes, partly because I make a lot and partly because I keep things I like forever.

Now that I’m looking at everything I can’t bear to part with anything. (Well apart from two manky sweaters, which I knew I would never wear again in a million years). The rest? Can’t let go….

I look at things and realise that although they aren’t my favourite thing to wear, they still have a lot of wear in them and it just seems wrong to get rid of them, even though anything decent gets donated to the church bazaar, so has a chance of going to a good home. Most of the clothes I possess I bought because I actually liked them. And I actually still do (mostly).

I’ve realised that what I really want to do is wear things until they wear out and then get rid of them. (I mean I worked hard to earn the money to pay for them). But realistically it would take me about 50 years to get to a manageable level because clothes today just don’t wear out. At least not if you have as many as I do and so don’t wear things all that frequently…..

Do any of you have this problem? How have you solved it?

What a first world problem…..


Living the life I want to lead

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Today I had a day off work. Jet-lag had me up and about bright and early and I was running in the woods by 6.15 after watching a wonderful sunrise. All the holiday ironing was done by 9.30 and I managed to take in a yoga class at lunchtime and do a couple of hours of jungle control in the garden in the (hot) afternoon.

I’ve been meaning to have days like this for a long time but just somehow haven’t had the energy. I came back from holiday full of resolve to actually make the life I want to have. Don’t get me wrong, my life is just fine, but there have been too many ‘I really want to do….’ comments followed by no action recently and now I want to just get on with it. Stop mucking around and do things. I don’t mean anything big – just little things that make me happy!

My picky eaters are out of town, so I made a delicious veggie lasagne for dinner

And even though I ran out of lasagne sheets it was fab. Eldest daughter and I will be eating it all week by the looks of things, so it’s just as well it’s nice!!

And then a small trial batch of granola (how many years have I been meaning to do that?)

This is seriously to die for stuff – but I think I might have been a bit heavy handed with the coconut oil. I’m waiting for it to cool off and hoping it will be a bit less oily then. Utterly divine! I looked at several recipes and then just threw a whole lot of my favourite things in and hoped for the best – cranberries, cashew nuts, coconut, almonds……yum!

And then I finished off with some lemongrass and ginger cordial

It has to stand for a couple of days for the flavours to strengthen. And then apparently it goes well with vodka! Well who knew?

I also finally signed up for the farm delivery service – this little lot is supposed to be the ‘couples fruit box’ – how many bananas can two people eat?

The service is a start-up founded by a group of young people a couple of years ago and it has now spread all over Switzerland (only about 20 years behind most other countries!). It’s mostly local organic produce and they guarantee to deliver within a day of it leaving the farm. You can actually choose which farm you want your eggs or your raspberries to come from. I’m not sure how bananas fit into the local production mind you!

Now all I need is for  Park Run to come to Switzerland and I’ll be in 7th heaven!



Slow piecing

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

I always like to take a little hand work on vacation – so that when it’s quiet and I get some time to myself I can listen to my audio book and sew or knit. This time it was EPP using lovely fabrics from French General – most from the Pondicherry range.

I haven’t done EPP for ages, decades maybe……usually my quiet go-to is sock knitting, but I have been itching to work with this fabric since I bought some yardage and a layer cake in Amish country in the spring. I love French General and have made at least one big quilt with their fabrics in the past – I can’t get enough of that red/beige combination. This range is subdued but with lovely interesting fabrics with an Indian theme. I’m planning to visit Pondicherry later in the year, so it really spoke to me.

I reckon I’ll need at least 100 hexagons for a quilt, so this should see me though a lot of long cold winter nights!

It’s good to be home.

And good to be back here too!


Coming home

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

I’ve been away. Literally and figuratively. I took about 9 months out of work and gave myself some time to think about what I want out of life. Now I’m coming back – I’ve started a new job, very different to what I had before and I’m moving forwards to live the life I want to have. It means changing my mindset, learning to say no, downscaling, actually DOING the things that give me joy. Because there is only today.

I’m planning on coming back to the blog more often, but not on a schedule that creates pressure. I’m being gentle on myself and on the world. Life isn’t always good, but mostly it is. I don’t want to look back and think ‘I should have….’. This is it, this is me. More time, more creativity, more home, less stress and tiredness. I want to enjoy my life – in a quiet sort of way.

I’m travelling home from holiday today. We had a great time but I’m looking forward to being back at home. The joys of the mundane!! (Ok, well maybe not the washing!). I’m looking forward to getting back to the sewing machine, to seeing my cat, to weeding the garden and cooking simple meals.

Simple life.

See you,

Helen xx