2016: the year of spaciousness

Because there's more to life than work


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In every end is a beginning

IMG_2389It might be the end of 2013, but nature isn’t seeing any cut off point and has already started preparing for another year. The first bulbs are pushing up all over the garden and with a bit of luck and not too much cold weather, we’ll be seeing flowers before the end of January.

It’s also the end of calling this blog ‘2013: The Year of Being Me’, because quite frankly that just isn’t going to work from tomorrow is it? When I started this blog back in March I never thought it would last so long, and so didn’t really worry about the longevity of the name. Have I achieved my goal of ‘being me’? To a degree, yes – I’ve certainly taken time to appreciate the smaller things more, and I think I’ve noticed things more this year through blogging. I still think there’s work to do though on creating a life that feels balanced and authentic – and so have decided to call next year’s blog ‘2014: The Year of Discovery’ as a gentle reminder to keep on exploring and finding out the best way forward.

If I hit 2015 with it, I can worry about another name then 🙂

IMG_2388Wishing you all the very, very best for 2014 and hope it holds lots of wonderful things for us all to discover.


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Quiet Time

IMG_2373This past week has been soooo relaxing. It’s been great to get up when we like, eat when we’re hungry, and get out and enjoy the weather between storms. We had a fantastic walk down by the salt marshes on Boxing Day where the sky was just full of different flocks of birds – think a lot of them must have been sheltering there from the gales.

IMG_2367Yesterday we headed up to the Lakes. OH had some Christmas money to spend and his eye on some new trail running shoes, the ones he plumped for eventually are indeed things of beauty.

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It was perfectly clear with lots of snow and ice on the highest mountains: discretion was definitely the better part of valour and we admired from a distance, choosing instead to wander on some of our favourite lower paths.

IMG_2377This is down near Friar’s Crag in Keswick, one of our regular walks. We both love the huge pine trees down there, although sadly they’ve had a bit of a battering in recent years from the high gales that sweep down the lake to this little outcrop.

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IMG_2379The light looks like summer, but the wind was stingingly icy, and we only lingered for long enough to take the photos. In summer, we can sit here for ages looking out at the water and hills…this is one of my favourite spots in the world. It was also a big favourite of John Ruskin: this place was his earliest memory and there’s a memorial to him here which you can see if you click through on the link.

IMG_2378Even the roots are beautiful!

It feels easier and easier to slow down the more time I take off…I want to try and hold on to this feeling when I return to normal routine in a few days time, and remember to allow myself space for regular pausing and appreciation. I’m really looking forward to 2014 and what it holds.

Later edit…OH insisted I add a pic of his new shoes – they are rather beautiful!


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Merry Christmas!

I’ve just hit that wonderful ‘pause’ point where you know there are no more ‘to dos’ to get out of the way and just nice stuff lies ahead. This Christmas season has been great for me as I’ve had a long run up to it – for years now Christmas hasn’t felt special at all and I think a lot of that was because I generally worked all day on Christmas Eve and was back at work on the 27th…not much time to get festive really. Being my own boss this year has enabled me to have a proper break, and along the way a lot of the sparkle and magic has returned.

Dramatic sun and showers today:

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Shortly after this a huge hailstorm hit – and then straight after we had sun again. We headed down to the beach and dunes for a walk. Staggering to see the damage from the St Jude’s storm the other week – an entire jetty has been picked up and thrown about 100 yards away at right angles to its original position. Thee are tree trunks and masses of debris everywhere – will be interesting to see how the dunes recover from this reshaping next year.

I always think it looks so odd to see snow on sand:

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The wind was icy, so we headed to our favourite coffee shop for a cake and a warning brew (plus a very welcome tot of port!) before home to finish wrapping the presents and make the tiramisu ready for tomorrow.

IMG_2361Merry Christmas everybody!


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Solstice

I always love this day – it feels like the year is turning again and all of the delights of another year and another spring to come are laid out before you. Logically, I know we haven’t even hit winter yet, but it doesn’t stop me feeling ridiculously optimistic. Tiny step by tiny step, after today there will be more light each day, and in the next couple of weeks we’ll start to see the first bulbs pushing their way up. If ever there was a time for anticipation, this is it.

I finished work yesterday for Christmas and am thoroughly enjoying all the preparation for the big day. Most of the food is bought (in a surprisingly quiet store), presents are wrapped (though need more bows and ribbon), and there’s time for stories by the fire with coffee and mince pies. I’ve also dug out some of my favourite festive reads: one of them I thought would be worth sharing with you:

IMG_2336The book is ‘Images of Christmas’ by Dorothy Boux and Eliane Wilson and it’s all handwritten in this beautiful calligraphy script. I’ve had the book since I was a teenager – calligraphy was one of my pastimes then – and every Christmas I look at it again and the poems, drawings and stories still enchant me.

IMG_2337Do you have any favourite festive reads to recommend? If so, please share!

 


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Raindrops

The temperature seemed to have dropped a full ten degrees today, the wind delved through every layer of clothing I had on, and the rain hit hard from grey and glowering skies at about 3pm. Yet shortly afterwards, this happened:

IMG_2333The sunset hit suddenly – and every raindrop on the washing line was lit up by its rays like a miniature row of Christmas tree lights.

IMG_2334Is that why we like Christmas lights so much? Does it remind us of the effect of a low winter sun shining through the rain on tree boughs after a sudden storm and make us think of brighter things to come?

IMG_2335Such magic after such a grey day.


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It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas…

I have so missed blogging! The last few weeks have been so busy – so much for my motto ‘because there’s more to life than work’: for the last few weeks there has been nothing but work! All good – but it’s so lovely to now be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and am starting to feel really excited about having some time off.

What’s helped during the last few manic weeks?

  1. Running – just a bit of time out in the open air is an instant de-stresser, and we’ve had some beautiful sunsets too.IMG_2283
  2. Chatting to others, especially online – sharing comments with other bloggers and talking to others in similar situations is a great way to feel you’re not alone when you hit a difficult patch. I follow so many wonderful, inspiring and creative bloggers, and however busy the day, it’s rare I don’t make time to have a quick flick through my reader and see who’s doing what in various corners of the globe. So a big thank you to all of you for really extending my horizons this year.
  3. Staying in the moment – I think we all get overwhelmed if we look at the whole of what we have to do. By picking just one of the most important things, and doing it until it’s done, all the energy goes into the doing, rather than the worrying.

And so, tonight, finally, I have finished posting my Christmas cards and got the tree up. With a whole week to go as well!

IMG_2326The pic’s a bit blurry, but I’m loving the smile on the angel and a bit of sparkle never hurt either…bring it on Christmas, we’re ready for you!