These are a few of my favourite things……

“Buy me diamonds and rubies
I’m crazy bout Bentley’s
Gucci dresses and drop top kompressors
Wine me and dine me
Bring those platinum rings
Those are a few of our favourite things”

– Big Brovaz, Favourite Things

It saddens me that nowadays many people think that the higher the price tag the better something must be. Interestingly it’s thought that the things you own with the highest material value are often not the things that add the most value to your life.

So just for the record here are a few of my favourite things………

  • My family – ¬†I’m lucky to have such a close family both in terms of relationships and distance. We get together a lot as my Mum, Dad, Grandmother, Sister, Brother in law and Nephews all live within walking distance.
  • The view from our house – It never fails to cheer me up, whatever the time of year, in sun or snow all I have to do is take a few moments to take in the view and I’m happy
  • My cat – my old lovely lady of a cat has been my companion for 14 years. I love my cat and she loves me ūüôā
  • Discovery – By nature I’m inquisitive and I love finding out about things. People, places, ideas – you name it I love to discover, whether by reading or experiencing directly.
  • Being near the ocean – The sight, the sound, the smell, the touch, the taste. Being near the ocean awakens all of the senses.
  • Laughter ¬†– you can’t beat a good old belly laugh can you?

These some of the things in life that make me happy, really happy. The best thing about these things though is that they aren’t really “things”at all

What about you? What are your favourite things?

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Enjoying life’s simple pleasures in Norfolk

Last week Summer finally arrived in the UK and by perfect coincidence we had planned to spend the week in our caravan. I love spending time in the caravan, the time we spend in it gives us the opportunity to get back to basics – life seems much easier when we only have room for essentials and aren’t distracted by the rest of our belongings.

Our destination this time was the heart of the Norfolk Broads, in my opinion the perfect place for us to embrace some of life’s simple pleasures…….

Sitting on deserted beaches and spotting seals watching us amongst the waves.

Preparing and eating simple but delicious meals ‘al fresco’

Enjoying the solitude of the Broads at dusk from our canoe.

Watching kingfishers skirt above the water, their iridescence catching in the sunshine.

Sitting, appreciating the warmth of the sun on our faces just watching the world go by.

The feeling of bare toes in soft warm sand.

Lazy unhurried mornings……..and afternoons and evenings.

 

These were some of the simple pleasures that we enjoyed last week. How about you? What are your favourite simple pleasures?

One Lovely Blog Award

I’ve just been nominated for my first blog award! Annie at Biocadence¬†passed¬†to me the One Lovely Blog Award.

There are some fun rules that go with accepting this award…….

First¬†you must thank the giver and link back to them: That one is easy. Thank you Annie, receiving this award made my day ¬†ūüôā

Second¬†I need to share seven possibly unknown things about myself, so here goes……

1. I am terrified of crabs. This goes back to when I was 5 years old and one bit my big toe in the sea at Scarborough.

2. When I was 16 dyed my hair purple. When I was 18 I had dreadlocks. I may look like a respectable(ish) Mum now but I’m a hippy at heart.

3. I have a cat called Purdy, she is 14 years old and has adopted me as her human.

4. I was once a bass guitar player in a band.

5. My secret guilty pleasure is Disney World in Florida. I’m not a Disney fan but that place is like a complete contrast and escape from everyday life.

6. I’m a left handed capricorn.

7. I hate celery but I love pickled eggs!

Third is to nominate 15 other blogs you like for this award.

So in no particular order these are the blogs that I nominate……..

  1. The Hedge Combers
  2. Lightlycrunchy
  3. Journey To The Green Dream
  4. Carina of Devon
  5. Minamalist Living
  6. The Happy Hippy
  7. A Good Day To Live
  8. Persuing Enough
  9. A Life in the Country
  10. Notes From The Frugal Trenches
  11. Living Lagom
  12. Backyard Feast
  13. The 10 Year Challenge
  14. Live Nakedly
  15. Back Road Journal

I hope you visit everyone’s blog and are as impressed with them as I am, there are some truly inspirational people out there РEnjoy!

Why The Simple Life?

I was recently asked why were we looking to simplify our lives? I think that the person asking the question was looking for a succinct answer Рconcise and easy to understand Рunfortunately all they got was me rambling on.

Which is probably how this post will come across for which I apologise in advance. You see I don’t really think that there is an easy way to explain what we are doing mainly because we are doing it for various reasons.

So why are we doing it?

One of the reasons we are doing it is that by reducing our¬†consumption it allows us to free up our income for other things. By not subscribing to keeping up with the Jones’ we are able to spend our income on the things that matter to us and eventually we hope that this will enable us to reduce the time we spend earning money.

At the moment our short term goal is that it enables us to save for our Son’s higher education, should he wish to study further. With university course fees costing as much as ¬£9,000 per year ( I hate to think how much this will have risen by the time he goes) we want to be able to help him by not having to start his adult life with thousands of pounds worth of debt (and of course if this isn’t the path he wishes to follow we will have a nice safety net for when we finally give up the day jobs).

The long term goal is that by living simply it will allow us to reduce the time we spend earning money. Looking at it at a basic level the more money that we spend equates to the more time we have to spend earning it which means that we spend less time doing the things that we want to.

Simple living is fast become a way of life to us. It isn‚Äôt just about getting rid of stuff, decluttering and getting organized, although this certainly helps with simplifying life. ¬†It’s about focusing on our priorities in life and for me living a simple life really does help me¬†recognize¬†the important stuff.

In the past I spent money on stuff thinking that it would make me happy. It didn’t of course because most of what I bought had no real purpose, it was a want rather than a need, put into my head by some clever marketing ploy.

As we have simplified our lives alot of those wants have disappeared. Of course I still want things but those wants have altered, where as once a new handbag may have topped my list now it’s more likely to be something with a purpose such as a new spade or a packet of seeds.

So the next time someone asks us why we are doing all this the answer will be simple – I’ll just tell them to read this post.

A Weekend Away

This bank holiday weekend saw us taking a short trip with the caravan to a little site not far from the West Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge.

Hebden Bridge is a lovely place to spend a weekend, a hub of crafts and creativity it is full of independent shops and is situated on the Rochdale Canal and close to the Pennine Way.

Here are some highlights of our weekend.

Walking along the Rochdale Canal we passed some interesting communities living onboard canal boats and making the most of self sufficient living on the banks.

We passed many other families along the way who were also enjoying the canal.

And a trip on a canal boat took us to a lovely pub serving homemade food and real cider.

The next day we visited Hardcastle Crags, a beautiful wooded Pennine valley. After a quick call to the farmers market to buy handmade pasties and puddings for a picnic lunch we set off on our way. Donning our walking boots we explored rivers, rocks and waterfalls.

It was a great opportunity to see creatures in their natural enviroment.

Not only did we have a wonderful weekend it was also a chance to enjoy¬†life’s¬†simple pleasures.¬†

My Bucket List

A few months ago I reached my 40th a significant birthday and as a result of this I’ve been thinking more and more about lifetime ambitions. Now I first became aware of the term ‘Bucket List’ when the film of the same name came out in¬†2007. It¬†stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two terminally ill men who go on a road trip with a list of things to do before they kick the bucket.

So I’ve been thinking about what I would like to achieve and this week have compiled my “Bucket List”

1. Learn to ride a horse.

2. Climb a mountain

3. See my Son grow up to be happy and live the life he wants to.

4. Live by the sea.

5. Create a beautiful garden.

6. Grow old and happy by my Husbands side.

7. Live in a foreign country, even if its just for a few months.

8. Keep ducks.

9. Buy a campervan and tour around the British Isles.

10. Visit the Pyramids in Egypt.

I’m sure that there will be many, many more things added to this list as time goes by and hopefully I will be able to cross a few off. Now its your turn – what’s on your bucket list?

Image: Pinterest

Proud to be Carafans!

Our Home From Home

One of the best decisions we have made as a family was to buy a caravan. Whilst caravanning may not be as cool as its close cousin camping, having a caravan has allowed us to explore the length and breadth of Great Britain.

This, our current caravan is actually the third caravan we have owned. We bought our first one in 2004. It was a lot smaller, older and more basic but as novice caravanners with a 4-year-old son it suited us perfectly. After a couple of years of owning it a local farmer wanted rid of the one he used whilst visiting agricultural shows. As he needed the space in his barn where it was stored in a hurry he so sold it to us cheaply and so for a short time we owned two caravans!

Last Easter in the Lake District

We have been fortunate to own our current caravan now for the past 4 years and with its mod cons it has enabled us to extend our caravanning to an all year round activity (we have even caravanned in the snow!). It has allowed us to explore the length and breadth of Great Britain – from the tip of Cornwall to the wild coast of Scotland and introduced us to some wonderful family activities, canoeing, boating, cycling and geocaching are just some that we now enjoy.

Stunning Derwent Water

Even after 8 years of caravanning we still have an endless list of places we want to visit. So far this year we have planned four trips, the first of them being next week staying within our own county of Yorkshire. The following trip is one that I am very excited about 4 days on the shores of Lake Bala in Wales followed by 4 days staying on the Mawddach Estuary.  Plenty of time to canoe, walk and cycle Рwe even have set Mount Snowdon in our sights!

Later in the year we then have a couple of trips to the lakes planned, one on the shore of Coniston Water and the other on Derwent Water.

So next time you are stuck in traffic behind a caravan please don’t get angry, smile and wave – it could be us!

A Bad Case of Cabin Fever

Like Henry David Thoreau I dream of living in a cabin in the woods. ¬†You can imagine my delight when I stumbled across the Cabin Porn website whilst browsing the internet. (don’t worry about the name there is no nudity involved just lots of gratuitous shots of the most desirable cabins I have ever seen.)

These are just a few of my favourites.

Images from freecabinporn.com

5 Simple Pleasures

The weather has been so damp and miserable in our part of Yorkshire this week but these are the things that have made me cheerful.

1. The view from my kitchen sink

View from the kitchen

Even if it’s pouring down with rain outside this view never fails to lift my spirits.

2. Blossom

Beautiful Apple Blossom

The blossom makes me hopeful, it’s a sign of things to come.

3. My Gardening Books

This week's reading material

I may not have been able to get outside to garden because of the weather this week but with the aid of my books I have been able to plot and plan for the weeks ahead.

4. The first cup of tea of the day

The best drink of the day

The best drink of the day – need I say any more.

5. Fresh Eggs

Which came first?

We were gifted a dozen freshly laid eggs this week and they were delicious. We have been thinking about having hens for a while now but in this case the eggs have definitely come before the chickens.

These are the things that have made me happy this week, I’d love to hear about the things that have made you smile.

Timeless Simplicity

The first book that I read about living a simple lifestyle was Timeless Simplicity by John Lane. It is still one of my favourite books and one that I have read time and time again.

Everything about this book from the simple woodcut illustrations to the inspirational quotes speak volumes to me.

”¬†This is a book about simplicity – not destitution, parsimoniousness or self-denial, but the restoration of wealth in the midst of an afflence in which we are starving the spirit. It is a book about the advantages of living a less cluttered, less stressful life than that which has become the norm in the overcrowded and manic-paced consuming nations. It is a book about having less and enjoying more, enjoying time to do the work you love, enjoying time to spend with your family, enjoying time to pursue creative projects, enjoying time for good eating, enjoying time just to be. “

You can find out more about the author John Lane at http://www.greenbooks.co.uk/Contributor/15/John-Lane.html