30.03.2020- On the beauty of slow living

Monday, 30 March 2020

Whilst there’s no doubt that the times which we find ourselves living in at the moment are extremely uncertain and very scary, I think that it’s really important to try and find the positives in the situation where we can. Last week’s amazing #ClapforCarers moment really made me realise that we can take small positive actions during the course of this crisis to take back a little bit of control and look for the good at a time when many of us feel powerless and swamped by the seemingly never-ending stream of sad news from one day to the next. 

As human beings, we’re so used to be able to have things to look forward to, and to be able to make plans for the future, whether that’s something as simple as going to the cinema, going away on holiday, or a larger life event like getting married. However, over the last few weeks (and undoubtedly across the next few months too), we’ve found ourselves having to rearrange things, cancel meet ups and postpone events which we’ve looked forward to for so long. Of course, this is all with the most important purpose in mind- in helping to shield the most vulnerable members of our society and protect the NHS, a service which we are so so lucky to have. Living with few opportunities to forward plan at the moment is something which requires a certain degree of adjustment, but at the same time it’s important to recognise that this time- state sanctioned as it is- can be something which teaches us to let go of bad habits and focus less on the long term, and more on living in the moment from day to day. 

If I’m being brutally honest with myself, I tend to struggle without a fixed week to week plan, and the industry which I work in means that I very often need to try and structure my free time as far in advance as I can- planning time off and co-ordinating my weeks and months so that I don’t feel too swamped or overcommitted. This isn’t to say that this is a strategy which always works, and indeed in the run up to Christmas last year I think I felt more burnt out than I ever have before (complete with bonus twitchy eye to add into the bargain). Between the start of last November and the end of December, every weekend in my diary was accounted for too, which definitely didn’t help in terms of feeling overwhelmed by life, the universe and everything. And now, suddenly, many of us find that we’re suddenly with free time at our disposal- having gone from having none whatsoever. 

Determined as I am to seek out the positives, this sudden luxury of an extra few hours at the start and the end of each day without having to worry about commuting as I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home, and weekends which will be based in one place for the foreseeable future feels like something to be embraced as an opportunity to take a step back and recalibrate. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that there have been so many instances during my adult life where I’ve felt that I haven’t had enough time, and usually the things which tend to fall by the wayside amidst the home to London commute, 10-6 working (and overtime) are the things which I know I should put always aim to put first- namely spending time with my family, looking after myself both physically and mentally and actually a moment to switch off and do what I want to do rather than what I’ve already committed to or what I feel I should be doing at any given moment. 

Living in a constant rush as we tend to do so much in the modern world, it’s very easy to just live for the weekend, which inevitably comes and goes much too quickly, but now with the collective focus of the world on simply getting through one day at a time, we’re being forced to shift our attention from the macro to the micro. Instead of looking at the bigger picture, we’re able to celebrate small moments of victory and joy- both together (from a distance) and also individually. The small things which I’m finding positives in every day at the moment are ridiculously simple: communicating with friends, taking time to actually plan and cook my meals rather than grabbing something on the go or in a rush when I get in from work- and even the simple happiness of feeling the sun against the back of my neck during a lunchtime wander to the bottom of the garden. 

I’ve also found time to reignite passions of mine which have been parked for far too long- including baking, doing some proper writing and focusing properly on reading. Also (and these are words which I never thought I’d be typing), if my recovery from surgery a few years ago taught me anything, it’s that you have to find the little wins in each day, and take things one step at a time- literally at times. There’s no question that life as we know it is very much in flux at the moment, but we can all without question do our part by stepping back, embracing a slower pace, and supporting the services that need our help. When all of this is over, let’s remember this time as one where we were able to reconnect with a slower pace, taking time to switch off rather than always being on, communicating with kindness and empathy and realising what’s really important.

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)

25.03.2020- What I Wore Today #306

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

I'm not going to preface every post with a note about how strange the current situation is, but where I can I'm going to try and keep a usual routine of posting ticking over- more for my own sake than anything else. Structuring my weeks around this little corner of the internet has been a real boon to me at the best of times, so hopefully it will continue to be so for the next few months too. I've got plenty of outfit posts in the archive to share, and whilst it might seem frivolous to be sharing content about my new skirt/dress/jumper, I firmly believe in the importance of switching off from the constant stream of news and tweets and taking some time to embrace other things too. Total distraction tactics of course, but totally necessary for self-preservation and mental wellbeing at the moment. And, more than that, it's a lovely comfort to be able to look back on the snaps which I look over lunch breaks with my dear friends:

Hat- Le Bonnet Amsterdam
Jumper- H&M
Skirt- H&M
Coat- c/o Very
Bag- Whistles
Shoes- Dune

You can probably tell from the leaves on the ground here that these shots were captured way back at the end of the autumn when I saw the lovely Hannah for lunch. Our usual haunt really comes into its own during the autumn and spring, so I'm sad not to be seeing it just at the moment, but I know that when we do finally make it back there we will make the most of it more than ever. This skirt from H&M is a piece which I picked up last year and it was the perfect autumnal addition to my wardrobe- even better, it comes with added *swish* value too. 

(Image credit: Hannah Hobson, please do not reproduce without permission.)

23.03.2020- Walking Wonders: Leith Hill

Monday, 23 March 2020

Last month, before the world as we know it completely span upside down, my lovely walking friends and I headed out for another training walk ahead of our Trekstock Hadrian's Wall challenge. It feels so strange to look back at these photos now, especially as at the time we were so blissfully ignorant of what would be happening only a matter of weeks later. I was in two minds about whether to share this post, but looking back on such a lovely day soaking up the great outdoors has really helped me to try and recalibrate after last week, and although our trek has now been postponed until September, I'm really trying to find the light amidst the darkness. Celebrating the beauty and healing power of being immersed in nature is one thing which has helped me through so many upsets in life so far, as I know it will do again once all of this is over:

Our walk took in the Leith Hill and Holmwood Loops in Dorking, and although the conditions were very challenging (more like a mudbath in places), right now I'd take it for an opportunity to be back out rambling in the wild with my friends. Highlights included Leith Hill Tower- the highest point in the South East- and being able to see as far as the Wembley Arch when we reached the top of the hill. As I've touched on in a few previous posts, there's something which is wonderfully rewarding about pushing your body and celebrating what you can achieve if you put your mind to it. With that in mind, I'm responsibly (and with distancing in mind) keeping up with my usual routine of running and walking, getting out in the fresh air (even if it's just in the garden) once a day to keep physically active and banish cabin fever. It's undoubtedly a scary time for everyone, but looking for the little positives in every day- even if it's something as simple as seeing some spring flowers in bloom- is really helping me.

How are you holding up?

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell and Hannah Last, please do not reproduce without permission.)
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