I very much enjoy the life that I have created for Lucia and myself, apart from the rubbish illness obviously, and being virtually house bound for so many weeks has allowed me the luxury of thinking about how I live my life and if there are any things I could do to improve it. It has been a really interesting process and has led me to the Slow movement, minimalism and a smidgen of self sufficiency. These are not new concepts to, me or even new practices, but they are gathering support from many others and there is a wealth of literature and forums out there now that are easily accesible.
Slow is a movement that I first came across a few years ago on a lovely trip to Champagne in France where my ex husband and I had been invited to visit some of the Champagne Houses and sample the wares (I know!!). However, the day after our arrival I was rather poorly so stayed in the hotel room reading while my pals went off and drank their body weight in fizz. The book I had brought with me was In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed written by Carl Honore. Essentially it is a collection of essays in which the author ‘examines our compulsion to hurry and chronicles a global trend toward putting on the brakes.’ We live our lives believing we must do everything as fast as possible when this isn’t actually the only way to live. The Slow Movement has gathered pace, including the Slow Food Movement which describe themselves as follows on their website. ‘We aim to reinvigorate people’s interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us. Recognising the importance of our local food traditions and the years of accrued knowledge and culture that accompanies this, Slow Food promotes true enjoyment of good food, and food production systems that provide good, clean and fair food for everyone.’
I have been a long time reader of The Simple Things magazine which I adore, the focus is on taking pleasure in the smaller things in life, appreciating the things around us, taking the time to live well. I would highly recommend it. I also came across a wonderful blog called Me & Orla, that advocates a simpler way of life, including minimalism. Minimalism is a movement that has been going for a very long time, and no, it doesn’t mn selling all your possessions and living with one cup and plate! My favourite source of information is The Minimalists blog who describe minimalism as follows, that there is nothing ‘inherently wrong with owning material possessions. Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves. Want to own a car or a house? Great, have at it! Want to raise a family and have a career? If these things are important to you, then that’s wonderful. Minimalism simply allows you to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately.’
I also love Be More With Less. This blog also encourages #project333, basically you choose 33 items of clothing to see you through 3 months (a season essentially), it takes away a certain amount to choice, makes like simpler. I am fascinated by it but haven’t taken the leap just yet. Currently I am concentrating on a ‘spending ban’ apart from food and toiletries, I am not including Lulu in this ban but I am making more conscious choices when it comes to purchasing things for her. Such as cardboard toys, which can be recycled once she is bored of them, I have my eye on a little cardboard cottage she can paint and decorate herself. I am also tackling a wigwam for her using this amazing post from Corinne, and I am using a duvet cover I no longer like. This will definitely make it much cheaper than the average price of £100 to buy.
I worry that I’m not really explaining this properly but it makes sense in my head, I don’t want to find fulfilment in rushing around and then saying at the end of the day ‘wow, I’m exhausted it must have been a good day’, I want out of the ‘cult of busy. I want to appreciate the things I have, all the books I have bought and not yet read, use the sewing machine that has been in its box for nine months, use the bottle of Jo Malone body cream -not save it for a special occasion. So I shall. This also involves a certain amount of de cluttering which I always find hugely difficult but when I’m in the mood – very cathartic. Its something I’ve been doing since my ex husband moved out a few years ago but on occasion it overwhelms me but I’m still doing it, and that is better than not! I won’t allow myself to be miserable, denial is not something I get a kick out of, I’m still buying the expensive Clarins face oil because its great on my skin and I’m worth it but I’m not going to buy all the magazines I used to which I rarely got round to reading and then threw away. I feel like I’ve found my place in the universe, philosophically anyway, and as I continue my investigations into this way of life the massive bonus is saving on money and gaining on good times.