We’re just home from a wonderful holiday in Iceland (which deserves a separate post) feeling thoroughly refreshed and inspired, and enjoying a few days at home before we return to work.
This weekend it was warm enough to sit outside sipping our morning coffee for the first time this year, and it was lovely to notice all the changes that have occurred in the garden while we’ve been away.
Before we left the tulips were still green with only the tips hinting at the colours hidden within, and just a week later the first petals are starting to unfurl. Unfortunately, I’m a bit of a haphazard gardener so I forgot to write down the varieties of bulbs I planted, and the only tulip I can identify with any certainty is ‘red riding hood’ because of its distinctive leaves.
Elsewhere in the garden, the primroses are appearing, and I’ve cut some of the hyacinths that were toppling under their own weight and put them in a vase on the mantelpiece.
Of course, the best part of coming home is being reunited with our cat, Mara, who stays with my dad whenever we go on holiday. As much as we love travelling, Mara is such a big part of our little family and so many of our daily routines revolve around her that we miss her terribly while we’re away. For her part, Mara is very much a family cat who loves nothing more than the three of us being snuggled up on the couch or in bed together. Luckily, Mara is such a sweetheart that she never holds a grudge and is always full of purrs and affection when we return.
It’s good to be home again after a lovely holiday, enjoying the sunshine and preparing for the week ahead with a little spring in my step. Have a lovely week. X
Our windowsills have been even more crowded with plant pots than normal as the chili, courgette and squash seedlings jostle our houseplants for space. I never know when to start sowing seeds as it’s not unusual to have frosts in April here, and there’s a risk of seedlings outgrowing their pots before it’s warm enough to plant them outside, but I sowed the courgette and squash seeds on the Spring Equinox. All the green and yellow courgettes have surfaced, but unfortunately only one each of the hunter and uchiki kuri squash seeds germinated.
It’s an awkward time of year in the garden, as we’ve been hard at work but there’s little to show for it yet, except for a few daffodils and hyacinths providing a welcome splash of colour.
In a rare week without snow in February, we hired a tree surgeon to cut down the three fir trees at the back of the garden. Part of me thinks cutting down healthy trees is heinous but having spent an exhausting afternoon digging up their shallow but tough and far-reaching roots, I’m glad to be rid of them, and we’re planning to replace with them with apple and willow trees.
We’ve turned the compost, and moved the compost bins to a location that gets more sunlight as they were in the shade before, it was a messy job but less smelly than expected.
Over the Easter weekend, my husband built a fruit cage to prevent our feathered friends from stealing all our berries. He’s recently added a Japanese wineberry, a blackcurrant and another blueberry to his fruit bush collection. We’ve also planted two more crowns of rhubarb (holstein blood red and champagne) to keep the mystery rhubarb my mum gave us company.
When I first started my blog, we didn’t have a garden (though it was something we both dreamed of), and I had no idea how much writing inspiration I would find in our little garden, nor how much I would enjoy reading about other people’s gardens. Our garden is very much a work in progress, constantly evolving, and although it’s been hard work at times, gardening has brought us so much pleasure and a real sense of achievement. Have a lovely weekend. X
Before Courtney Carver was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she thought exhaustion, stress and debt were all normal parts of life, yet her illness became a catalyst forcing her to evaluate her lifestyle and choices; since then Courtney has started a blog Be More with Less, and become an advocate of living simply to increase happiness, health and love.
In Soulful Simplicity, Courtney explores how the myth of more keeps us trapped, indebted and unhappy. Shopping becomes a distraction and a way of numbing uncomfortable emotions like boredom, sadness, frustration and disappointment, and many of us fall into the marketing trap that somehow a new phone, car or pair of shoes has the power to change our lives, change how other people see us, and change how we feel about ourselves. Yet no matter how much Courtney bought, it was never enough, and it wasn’t until she started de-cluttering, downsizing and simplifying that she learned to appreciate what she already had, and what really mattered in life.
I’ve never been someone who lives to work, and my career is well below my other priorities like family, friends, health and hobbies, yet the reality is that many of us spend as many waking hours in the office with our colleagues as we do at home with our loved ones. Unfortunately, we can’t all give up our jobs to become full-time bloggers, but Soulful Simplicity offers useful advice on how to cultivate space, time and calm in a culture that promotes the idea that happiness can be bought and confuses busy-ness with productivity.
I started reading Soulful Simplicity during a period of acute stress when both my husband and mum were struggling with ill-health, and Courtney’s message that sometimes less is more really resonated with me and inspired me to examine how I spend my own time and money. Have a lovely week.