A few deep breaths

I used to describe myself as an accidental Londoner. I must admit, I don’t really understand the appeal of cities. In my introvert brain all the amenities and culture in the world cannot make up for that many people. Or the tube. I grew up surrounded by woods, fields and open sky; in that environment I feel like the best version of myself. Our new home in Surrey isn’t in the deep heart of the countryside, but it’s pretty close. Close enough to breathe deeply and easily and energetically, without risking the disapproval of fellow commuters.

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As part of the makers year I’ve been trying to take my camera out and about with me more, particularly when the low winter sunshine is this beautiful. I love my trusty Nikon DSLR, but often I tend to use it as little more than a tool for creating blog posts, rather than a different way to see the world. I’d love to be a more technical photographer; I know what I like in a photograph, and sort of how to create it, but I couldn’t tell you why one photograph is actually better or worse than another. But now that my beloved outdoors is more or less on the doorstep, I want to take my time to enjoy it, explore and learn.

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Getting to grips with our new pace of life has been exhilarating. Chris is learning woodwork; I’m preparing to grow seed potatoes (and am the proud owner of a border fork, oh yes). My Dad telephoned me the other day to ask if he could pop over for tea at the weekend, something that would have been impossible in London. There is no shortage of picturesque villages and beautiful solitary walks to be explored. And if I want to I can curl up in the study window in the early morning before the world is awake, work on my knitting and watch the sun come up over the garden with nothing but birdsong, and the occasional passing train, to disturb my row counting.

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Towards the end of last year I more or less forgot how important it was to make that kind of time for myself, resulting in a pretty spectacular crashing burnout. I’m not talking about making the most of my spare time, although I had very little of that, but about allowing myself time to stop and breathe. For this year I’m making a conscious effort to give myself room to enjoy just existing.

This weekend I have nothing more strenuous planned then reading Pompom Quarterly from cover to cover, rustling up a Papercut Patterns Rise turtleneck top (or two) and maybe taking my new car out for a spin. In fact, that is probably the main reason that my Dad wants to come by! You didn’t know I was a petrolhead did you? I say new, my baby is a 25 year old classic, and I am completely in love with it. Friends on instagram will have already had a sneak peek! There’s something so very joyful about driving a classic car; everything from the noise of the engine, the wheeze of the turbo, to the turn of the steering wheel makes me grin from ear to ear.

How do you find and make time for yourself?

What do you think?

  • I often think how lovely it would be to live further out and have room for a few fruit trees and a bigger workspace. For a long time I wouldn’t have dared dream of living further than a bike ride out of the city area cause I didn’t drive. But now that I have my license and car my mind and world has expanded. It’s brilliant. Though my van is nowhere near as cute as your car. So good!

    • Hehe, the car is rather cute – although massively impractical (no boot space) and prone to temperamental “my battery is flat, jump start me now” outbursts! But it is amazing how access to driving makes the world seem bigger. I never used to drive in London because the other drivers terrified me, and there was no need anyway because tube. Enjoy your new-found license to explore! xx

  • Living in Cheltenham gives me the best of both worlds: I have the convenience of a city but with the green spaces I grew up with!

    Maria xxx