Isn’t this time of year crazy busy? There’s all the end-of-term stuff if you have children: sports days, moving on workshops, visits to colleges, exams, revision, sports team parties. If you work you can feel like you have to get everything in order before people disappear for the summer, of before you take a vacation. And if, like us, you are experiencing soaring temperatures it’s hard to get much done without wilting. Not that we’re complaining. Summer is grand and the long days mean there’s more time for being outside. It’s just that July seems frantic. So, we thought we’d look up some of the best personal organisers and diaries to help stay on top of things.
Getting organised needn’t be boring or rigid. In fact, like Mrs Miniver standing in front of a shelf of diaries, prepare to enjoy yourself. There’s something very reassuring about opening up the clean, blank pages of a diary or planner. It feels like things can be rationalised and clear, rather than just stumbling from one event to the next. As well as the inside pages, the cover and look of your organiser is important. It will be in your purse, on your kitchen table or by your side on your desk most of the time, so choose something you love to look at too. Chose carefully so that you really use it.
We are thrilled that the wonderful Jen from Little Birdie is joining us this month for our A Simple Path interview series. Jen is a freelance writer and photographer, originally from Scotland but now living in Yorkshire with her husband and son. Her work encapsulates all we are trying to do on this blog: celebrate a slower, more mindful way to live, whilst acknowledging the realities of everyday life.
Jen’s work is honest, beautiful and authentic. She understands the pressure we can all feel to have the ‘perfect’ life and tries to support and encourage rather than portray an unrealistic version of her world. She loves to write about, and photograph, nature, food, her gorgeous home and the simple, slow moments in life. Reading her posts is like being surrounded by a waft of fresh air. We think you’re going to love this interview.
Welcome, Jen. Thanks so much for being here.
With summer fast approaching it can be tempting to wish away the time between now and your vacation or the start of the school holidays. When you work hard and have a busy life it’s natural to yearn for a chance to slow down and take a proper break. But it doesn’t have to be like that. You can take advantage of the warmer weather and longer days, building in moments of calm and restorative peace wherever you are. Here are 6 tips for a slow living summer that will ensure you are ready to catch any chance to switch off and unwind, even in the midst of the hurly burly of everyday life.
At work or play, these are 6 simple ways to boost your wellbeing and start enjoying the whole of the summer, instead of counting down the days until your vacation.
We are thrilled to be joined this month by the lovely Emma Lavelle of Field+Nest. Emma is a writer and content manager who, like many of us, has a ‘portfolio’ working life where she combines working for herself with working for others. As well as treating us to her stunning photographs with their trademark elements of nature, exquisite detailing and her gorgeous auburn tresses, Emma writes on interiors, travel and slow living. But her life hasn’t always been like this. Emma experienced the burnout that many people feel when they are pushing themselves too much at work. What’s so inspiring about her story is how she turned this around, from being a stressed-out, under-appreciated employee to being an empowered, creative woman who has managed to construct a life that provides balance and pleasure as well as job satisfaction. She may very well, in fact, be living the dream.
Want to know how she did it, and her thoughts on who inspires her and how she finds time for the small stuff? Read on.
1. Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
I have many hats. Some days I’m the Creative Content & Partnerships Manager at Rose & Grey, styling shoots, buying collections, posting on social media & writing content. Other days, I work for myself, writing content for websites and stories for independent magazines. In the evenings, I’m a blogger, working on my own site, Field + Nest. The long story of how I ended up where I am can be read here but the short version is that I used to work in the fashion industry and became very disillusioned with how disposable everything was in fast fashion – both the garments themselves and the attitude towards the staff from those managing the businesses. I decided to try pursuing my first love of writing and found myself in a position where I only had to work part-time. Falling into interiors was a happy accident that I haven’t looked back from.
2. If you had one piece of advice or wisdom to pass on to your younger self, what would it be?
You love to write, so be a writer. It isn’t just a hobby, your blog isn’t just a frivolous pastime. Your primary school teachers said you should be a writer, so don’t quit English at college – study hard and continue to pursue creative writing.
3. What is it about slow living and the simple life that you find appealing?
Back when I worked in fashion, everything was so fast-paced and I barely had any time for myself. I was working late, working through my lunch hour, commuting for hours each day – eventually I crashed and burned. Taking a step back from the rat race and deciding to only work for someone else part-time has vastly improved my quality of life. I take pleasure in the little moments, things that I didn’t even used to notice. Everything from food to travel to style can be slowed down, made more sustainable and enjoyed more.
4. How can we counter the pulls of content-sharing and curating images of our lives with the need for being in the moment?
We need to take breaks and occasionally step back from Instagram and other forms of online content sharing. What is the point in presenting a picture-perfect life if you aren’t getting the chance to actually live it? Limit your online time each day and don’t forget to put down your phone and camera and actually live in the moment.
5. Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by the wonderful women I have met through Instagram. Women who have their own creative businesses, who have raised wonderful families, who take beautiful photographs, who juggle many creative pursuits and who have shunned the idea of a ‘normal’ life to do what truly makes them happy. Lou Archell, Sara Tasker, Abi Dare, Kym Grimshaw, Siobhan Watts, Freya Dowson and Elizabeth Curtis all immediately spring to mind.
6. What are your essential homeware items/ things you couldn’t do without?
It’s funny, I’m currently in between houses as we renovate our new home in the countryside and most of my belongings are in storage. It’s made me realise what I really ‘need’. The things that I find myself carting around between the homes of friends and family that we are currently staying with are: a notebook, my laptop, my camera, a comfortable linen jumpsuit, my MOA green balm and facial oil, and my dog, Evie.
7. What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?
Sitting in my garden, surrounded by flowers and vegetables that I have grown, writing my second novel.
8. What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
Wild camping in Scotland. On the second night, we pitched our tent in the middle of nowhere beside a small stream. As we huddled around a camp fire, two otters swam past just a few feet away. In the night, I woke up to the sound of something large shuffling around outside our tent – we woke in the morning to find hoof prints circling around us.
Thanks so much for joining us Emma, it has been a delight!
We are so delighted to be joined this month by the lovely Jessica Cresswell. Jessica, her husband and young daughter live and work in a woodland. In between tending her hens and looking after the woodland (which is surprisingly time-consuming) Jessica writes a blog, The Woodland Wife, and takes stunning photographs of her everyday life.
The lush forest trees are not the only greenery here – our faces are green with envy at her simple, outdoorsy lifestyle. But it’s not all idyllic, and Jessica and her husband have made big sacrifices to attain a slower, off-the-beaten-track way of life. It’s wild in the woods, in the best sense of the word.
Here are Jessica’s thoughts on taking inspiration from the rhythms of nature, parenting, slow living, keeping on asking questions and how to be mindful when you are feeling anxious. Enjoy – this is a goodie!
We at Linenbeauty know that you care about your home. You want great quality furnishings and fittings that will stand the test of time, not following fleeting fads. You love the look and feel of linen and natural fabrics, the sense of calm created by clear uncluttered spaces and you understand the impact that our surroundings has on our wellbeing. But you also know it’s not always possible to live in an immaculate house, that life does come with inevitable clobber and that striving for perfection is not necessarily a good idea. Which is where a bit of magazine escapism comes in.
We love to curl up of an evening with some glossy magazines and a pot of tea and imagine ourselves into another world. Interiors magazines are good sources of ideas, as well as a fun way to nose about in other people’s spaces. Sure, browsing online is fun and handy, but there’s something far more pleasurable about print copies – the smell of the ink, the vividness of the images, the fact that you can stash them in your bag or read them in the bath. Reading print versions is also a chance to give yourself time away from screens, from the distractions of Pinterest rabbit holes and social media notifications. Making time in your day or weekend for some quiet reading is a proper treat.
So, pull up a comfy chair, light a candle and nestle down with a cosy blanket and a pile of fabulous magazines. Here’s our edit of the best independent homes and interiors magazines.
Whether or not you celebrate the festival of Easter there are plenty of reasons to make the next few weeks special. There’s the coming of Spring now the Equinox has passed, there’s the lengthening of the days which means more time outdoors, there’s the chance to plant seeds and see what has self-seeded in the garden over the winter months. Many of us have the urge for a Spring clean, sorting through our wardrobes and storing away winter woollies, and decluttering after a season spent mainly indoors.
We are thrilled to be joined on A Simple Path this month by Signe Voltelen of SLOW, and urban farming and slow living business. Signe is an architect and urban farmer who not only teaches people how to live off the land but also helps brands style and host beautiful events and gatherings. In all her work Signe strives to reconnect us with the land and nature, to understand the world around us and learn to live in a mindful way. She wants to celebrate the beauty of nature by empowering people to bring their own gardens to life, or to bring nature into their homes and businesses.
We are so excited to be joined this month by Chris from Sweet Simple Vegan, who shares his wisdom on all things slow living, following your passion and building a foodie brand. Chris and Jasmine have a huge following (check out their Instagram: @consciouschris and @sweetsimplevegan) and are working to encourage more of us to adopt vegan principles in our daily lives. Whether you want to go vegan or just live a less animal product-heavy lifestyle, they will inspire you to get creative in the kitchen, and to be more mindful in the everyday.
And we bet that the mouth-watering pictures below will have you rushing for farmers’ market veggies and some luscious vegan recipes. Just look at the colours in those meals, the freshness just bursting out of the bowl. Totally yum.
Thanks so much for joining us, Chris. We are delighted to have you here.
Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
We have such a treat in store for you this month! The brilliant Sarirah Hamid joins us on A Simple Path to share her wisdom and thoughts on all things slow living. And on life in general. Read her fascinating insights on self-doubt, embracing gratitude, tea and how to make time work for you instead of against you.
Welcome, Sarirah. Thanks so much for being here.
Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
I run a beauty trend storytelling and data analysis business called Pretty Analytics. Most of my days are spent researching trends, working with data and creating content. My background is in computer science but I spent 2 years working in beauty retail buying after graduating so I wanted to create a business that fuelled my passions for data analysis, tech and beauty.