2016: the year of spaciousness

Because there's more to life than work


Leave a comment

Chill winds

Strong northerly breeze keeping temperatures well below zero all day today. I’m still getting over a bad chest infection from last week, so nature was absorbed today either at a remove through the car window, or in quick dashes between the car and the house.

Crocus in sunlight

Crocus tommasinianus

The light was amazing today though – pure blue sky and clear sunshine ensuring that every crocus in the garden was wide open. These are some of my favourite crocuses (I’ve written about them before here) as they seed themselves around so prolifically, and are much earlier to flower than the usual crocuses you see.  I love the contrast between the pale mauve outer petals and the deeper middle ones.

Crocus in bud

I suppose their origin in Eastern Europe accounts for their early bird nature – nothing much seems to affect these beautiful early blooms.

IMG_2915


Leave a comment

New starts

Helleborus orientalis Feb 2016

Hellebore Oriental hybrid in vase

So with the sunshine today, felt it was time to dust off the blog and start to write again. I’d begun to feel tired with my old blog – it had been fun to keep a sort of online diary of things outside work, but there wasn’t a lot of purpose to it other than that.

Recently though, I’ve been thinking about taking it up again, and although the theme is still taking shape, I know roughly what I want to write about:

  • The importance of paying attention to nature on a daily basis – especially when you live in a town or city
  • The increasing ‘tidying up’ mania that seems to be affecting the few wild spaces in those areas
  • The need to manage our own space in a way that encourages nature even on a tiny scale – I call it ‘micro-wilding’. It’s not quite the rewilding movement (I’m not planning on any wolves in my garden, though we do well for smaller scale wildlife), but it’s a start.
  • Using what we see in nature as a source of inspiration for creative activity

I’m not sure yet how that will pan out, and I may ultimately move away from this blog to start a new one – but for now I’m just experimenting.

So the pic above? A Hellebore – one of the orientalis varieties, and flowering much earlier than usual after such a mild winter. A plant that really benefits from a ‘laissez faire’ approach to gardening. Notoriously difficult to raise from seed yourself (the seed has to be really fresh), left to their own devices they’ll happily provide you with lots of new seedlings each May/June that you can easily transplant elsewhere. If you’re an enthusiastic ‘weeder’ though, forget it, as you’ll have them up before you’ve realised what treasure you were throwing away. And treasure is the right word: you can easily pay between £5-10 for one of these at a garden centre.

Helleborus orientalis centre Feb 2016

Centre of Hellebore Oriental hybrids

Let nature do what it’s good at, and you’ll maximise beauty and save money. Not a lot in life that you can say that about!


6 Comments

Reflections on the past year – and spring flowers

IMG_2588

Wow, I’ve been so busy with work that I actually missed my blogiversary on the 19th – can’t believe I’ve been doing this a whole year! Thanks to everyone who’s liked my posts over that time, as well as the hardy souls who follow my blog 🙂

IMG_2589

What’s changed since I started the blog?

  1. I’ve learned that I can make a success of running my own business – just coming up to the anniversary of going full time on that, and all is well
  2. I’ve also learned that knowing when to take breaks and rest your mind is absolutely vital to being able to continue to do that
  3. I can actually work our digital camera for the first time in ten years
  4. I’ve got a lot more into gardening and nature as a result of paying more attention to what’s happening in the world around me
  5. IMG_2594I’ve become more relaxed about posting – I blog when I feel like it rather than trying to impose a schedule. As an awful lot of my life is deadline focussed, it’s quite nice to have something creative that isn’t.
  6. I’m following about 100 more blogs than last year at this time – it’s a real highlight of my day catching up with what everyone’s writing about
  7. I’ve posted comments on other people’s blogs for the first time – I’d never done it before this year, but it’s really nice connecting with people half a world away
  8. My knowledge of geography of the USA has got a lot better – I like to see where other bloggers live and as so many of them are ‘across the pond’ I’m finally starting to get a grip on some of the states

IMG_2597

Its also fun to look back on last year and realise that spring has hit a lot earlier than last year at this time – although the sunshine through my patio door today is deceptive, we’ve just come back from a walk and the north wind is absolutely bitter. We could just see snow on the hills in the Lake District in the distance, so even though we’re past the equinox there’s a whole lot of warming still to happen. But the colour and light in the garden today tells me it won’t be long…

IMG_2593

I’m looking forward to another year of blogging and seeing what it teaches me – not to mention what I’ll learn from everyone else 🙂

IMG_2598


4 Comments

On making time

Title of this post is quite ironic really as my poor OH has just spent the last half an hour trying to get WordPress to upload my pics – don’t know if any of you have had problems with this in the last week or so, but looking at the forum it seems I’m not alone with this glitch. Photos keep vanishing and reappearing on my site. But they’re back for now…where was I? Ah yes. Making time.

IMG_2493

IMG_2496If a sunny Saturday morning isn’t a good reason to create some time, I’d like to know what is.

IMG_2497A bee floated by me as I took the photo above and the garden was full of birdsong.

IMG_2498Laptop & weekend work schedule abandoned, we headed for the woods and the sea:

IMG_2501

IMG_2504The storms here on the north west coast haven’t been as bad as many other parts of the UK, but there’s still been a fair bit of coastal erosion. The dunes in particular have seen some dramatic ‘blow outs’ – in one place the sand had virtually covered a small wood and it was extremely weird to be wading about in sand amongst the tops of its branches…

IMG_2505It’s hard to tell scale here, but this ravine is about 50 feet deep, amazing wind sculpture on the sides, looks like sandstone until you touch it and realise it’s actually still just sand.

IMG_2506Clear skies across to Wales – and so much sand blowing along the beach that we felt like we’d been scoured by the time we got back to the woods.

January and February have been busy, exciting and rewarding months, but what I need more than anything right now is some calm, settled weather, sunshine and longer days, and a gentle glide into spring.

 


8 Comments

Recharging my batteries

It’s Friday afternoon, I have a host of work that I should be doing, but I know my brain is tired. So I’m stopping. Doing stuff I enjoy, that engages my senses, reduces the stress response – and returns me fresher and brighter afterwards. So on the agenda is:

Embroidery – I’ve been working on this kit since Christmas and am so enjoying doing this for the first time in years.

IMG_2399Stroll round the garden – looks like it’s going to be an early spring this year with a few flowers already out like hellebores,

IMG_2404

IMG_2405heather,

IMG_2402and the silvery seed pods of honesty just hanging on.

IMG_2411A little light baking – I’m planning on making a lemon drizzle cake from this month’s Sainsbury’s magazine.

Reading – currently enjoying ‘By Blood’ by Ellen Ullman, unsettling and gripping tale of someone who overhears sessions with an analyst in the room next door…

A long, hot bath with the luxurious smellies I got for Christmas.

Browse through the blogs I follow.

Spot of meditation…

I feel better already – what have you got planned to help you wind down this weekend?


Leave a comment

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.