2016 Aspirations

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When catching up on the Downton Abbey Christmas special, the post-festive season adverts told me it was time to start getting fit, redecorating the house and booking holidays. These themes did arise in our New Year’s Eve reflections on the year past and the days ahead, but they weren’t the only features of our discussion. We are content with the framework we have established for our lives, prioritising sustainable living, fostering community, exploring creativity and honouring God. In 2016 we hope to continue on this trajectory, which means making more incremental steps to thread these throughout the fabric of our lives.

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Secondhand first in the wardrobe

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I don’t enjoy shopping. Saturday afternoon in a shopping centre is my idea of time poorly and stressfully spent. I do however love an hour spent pottering around a street lined with charity shops, taking the time to hunt for bargains and to marvel at some of the stranger donations that have arrived onto the shop shelves. I’ve written in the past about second-hand wares in the home (read ‘the why’ and ‘the how’) but I’m immensely satisfied that most of my clothes are secondhand. Without the opportunity to pick the version of your desired item in any colour or size, shopping second-hand can be more challenging, but more rewarding for it.

Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years to help make the most of secondhand shopping: Continue reading

Local adventures

Castleton SignHolidays have always been a big part of family life for me.  Each year as a family we would have a treasured three weeks traveling together, moving every few days, keen as we were to keep exploring new places. We’d take a stash of books that we’d all work our way through, sharing hushed conversations about unexpected twists in the tales, away from those who had not yet read them. As most of our holidays took place on boats, we’d often dine on delicious locally-caught seafood in small tavernas. Continue reading

Grow

plant_potshanging basketsAn unintended consequence of our house move is that, after all that moving and sorting, it’s actually the small rectangle of space found beyond the back door that draws me most. From our first days in the house, in dry weather (wooly jumpers overcoming the challenges of temperature) I could be found out there, usually sat with the laptop or a good book, a coffee or glass of wine. The impact this small space has had on my well-being has been pleasantly unexpected. Continue reading

Making home from second-hand – part 1 (the why)

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bookshelf2A month. The act of leaving one home and starting to make another has taken over five weeks and left room for little else. Having cleared the items deemed surplus, life outside of work has become packing, moving, unpacking, arranging and rearranging that which survived the cull. It hasn’t been particularly stressful, just tiring and demanding of our time. It has also been enjoyable; a season when we have tangibly experienced the joy of community as our friends gathered to help pack boxes, move furniture and even clean our old oven (a sign of real friendship, if ever you needed one). Continue reading

Decluttering

decluttering bookshelvesThis May is mostly about moving house. We came to this home as newlyweds, so there is a definite sadness in leaving it. It has its imperfections (shabby around the edges, an awkward staircase for negotiating a bike up, a distinct lack of cupboards), but it is the first place we made ours, and it will always be special for it. It’s time for a new adventure though, and it seemed a good moment to start decluttering our lives. Continue reading

Abroad

DSC_0639It seems a cruel irony that the very things that often motivate people to want to live more sustainably (love of the earth, interest in different cultures, curiosity about everything and everyone…) also drives a desire to travel. I was privileged as a child to travel abroad most summer holidays, which undoubtedly influenced my decision to work in sustainability as I was exposed to different environments, people and cultures (read more about the impact of visits to a Greek aquarium here). In recent years though, we’ve opted for local adventures, usually seeking British mountains and coasts for our refreshment and inspiration away from daily life. Continue reading