Sunday, 5 July 2015

Stress free living

It seems like forever since I returned from our recent break in Italy; it is in fact only four weeks ago. It has occurred to me recently that I have simply been living life in the fast lane and somehow (not sure how??) I've managed to get into that state of affairs whereby you have so much packed into each wonderful day that you don't enjoy any of it. Life just becomes a whirr!
What I have come to realise is, that when life is in this stage you merely exist in order to get through one activity and on to the next, there just isn't time to stop and ponder and wonder, no time to absorb and appreciate.


This cannot go is a very precious gift that we have been lucky enough to have been granted and it is here for us to enjoy. Dashing from one experience to the next does not allow us to assimilate the experiences, it barely gives the senses the opportunity to be turned on.
At the beginning of the week I made up my mind that I have to slow down and do the things that I like to do. I also have to learn to say 'no'. This is my life, I need to be in control.

Whilst sitting for an hour or so (child free) at the beginning of the week, soaking up the wonderful rays of vitamin D, I found a rather lovely exercise in a book I've borrowed from a friend; it's a daily ritual encouraging the individual to wake up and focus on the wonderful things and people in you life. Ten minutes each day just lying in bed, thinking about the day ahead. I'm also trying to focus on the positives in life. Mostly I am a very positive person but every so often, I have to realign and remind myself. It's easy to allow the negatives to take hold, they creep in very slowly, but once they take hold life takes a rather dull outlook. Not something I want to be part of my life.

So I'm taking things easy and so far things are looking good this week as a result.
I've had time to spend outside pottering about in the garden. It's working out really well. I'm so pleased I set my thoughts into actions and got myself motivated on the garden project.
The salad bed that I built at the beginning of the Summer, is looking fabulous and LOOK! My first Sweet Peas have started to flower. Simple things hey but really lovely. There is something really special and totally romantic about having freshly picked flowers on the table and Sweet Peas are some of my 'all time favourites'. I tried to grow them in this same patch last year; dreaming that they would grow up the window and I could admire them from inside and out, but it was not to be. I planted them too late and only picked a single flower before they were claimed by the first frost. This year I cheated and bought the plants and popped them into my newly created salad garden nice and early. It seems to be paying off :-)

The nasturtiums have rather taken over my salad garden and seem to be inhibiting the growth of the salad. As they are so delicious and peppery themselves I don't mind too much. Might have to re-think slightly next year though so that I get the best of both worlds, salad and nasturtiums :-)...the flowers are out on them now too and have added vibrancy to the bed.

Sweet Peas. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago and like the nasturtiums the flowers on these have become more abundant.

The field is looking amazing too! Last year I tried very hard to get something going in our communal garden but there wasn't much enthusiasm for my cause. This year however....well this year I had a better set of plans and somehow I have managed to inspire my lovely neighbours too. It really is truly amazing what can be achieved when you work as a team. I reported on the improvements made by my lovely friend with a mini digger but now there is more to report. We now have four vegetable beds established and (get this) vegetables planted AND....the war against the rabbits seems to be working. So far they have been deterred by out fencing efforts and have left our immature offerings alone. Yeah!!!!!
Next year we plan to extend the four beds and dig a further four but for now the area is covered to keep the light out and hopefully to keep the weeds down.

Thanks to the lovely Angela, we have some vegetables growing :-)

Yesterday I tackled the weekly grass issue and set to work with the mower and strimmer. I DO now understand the excitement chaps that is involved in using a strimmer! There is something highly satisfying about blitzing ( occasionally entirely decimating) an area. Fear not! I am a lover of wild areas too and have left many of them to just flourish in their own little ways. It's rather lovely having the mix of 'manicured' and 'wild'.
Two other little projects that we have been working on are firstly establishing a fire circle (it has long been my dream to have a fire circle to share with friends), it's there in place. Just needs to be utilised!
Secondly, I've been working on encouraging the children to build a really cool den.
I once heard a programme on Radio 4 about the importance of the den in a child's development. The building and emerging from the den stage was likened to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. My boy is definitely still in this stage....he doesn't stop so he must be a caterpillar!
So, I've pointed out a whole stack of long lengths of wood that were small sucker trees until last Autumn and the gazebo that has been feasted on by hungry rodents in the garage; which I thought might make a jolly decent covering and I've left them to it in the hope that they will create something to enjoy. Will see what happens!
Other than that, my lovely grandma came to stay last weekend and she (much to my initial horror) set to work clearing the weeds from my front garden. Nobody understands that I actually quite like the weed coverage of my flower borders. Some of the weeds are edible!! Okay, so I came around. Weeds are prolific so I can pick them somewhere else. The garden was rather choked with ground elder (not a good weed really - it does have a tendency to suffocate everything else). Whilst in 'clear out' mode, the dog rose by the front gate disappeared too! I have to admit that as I drive up towards the house it does look better now that the rather large mass of spiky untidiness has gone. My attention is now drawn to the rather pretty red rose that was hidden amongst the ivy and dog rose ramble :-)

Today I was rather excited by my latest mini project. I have honestly NEVER been a fan of geraniums, but last year they caught my eye as I popped into the Coop one day and I bought a pack of six baby plants. I never actually got around to planting the poor little darlings into any kind of pot and although they survived remarkably well and I enjoyed their loveliness as I emerged through my back door. Like almost every other plant I have ever owned, unfortunately they were only to see one season! I was rather taken again this year by their vibrant colours and I was so tempted to buy them, however, I resisted the urge until the local market had them on special offer and so I bought twenty or so baby plants in a variety of shades. Geraniums were everywhere in Italy in bright terracotta pots and they looked so amazing against the red brick buildings. I've had a collection of pots stored in the garden for years just waiting for this moment. Today their moment of use came to fruition.

Don't they look pretty!
*Must just remember to water them!!

I've been working on a new Summer blanket....this one started to take shape at the beginning of Spring when colour started to emerge once again after the sleepiness of Winter had passed. The shop lighting wasn't great; I realise in hindsight, I am aware of that now when I take this little passion out and about. It's such a stark contrast from my muted ripple blanket. I'm not actually sure that I like it!

What do you think? It is rather bright! Not sure whether to carry on or to quit and make my creation into a cushion??!!
Now thinking I should have opted for greens with a hint of colour........oh well, the joys of colour selection!!

I am soooo loving having some time just to be. Midsummer has already passed. I'm going to enjoy the second half :-) XXXX

Can you spot kitty? She's been sunbathing almost non-stop for the past two weeks :-)