where i go when i’m not here

It’s Friday morning and I’m sitting on the sofa in the sunshine with the door to the garden open, revelling in the warmth and fresh air. I don’t work on a Friday, so the day is my own, and I have no plans. I ache from last night’s jive dancing, but I have tea and a purple dressing gown, and right now I can hear nothing but birds singing.

I love this time of day. Not particularly early, but before the day’s really started. When I’m the only one awake, and nobody wants me to do anything. Often I run, but today I’m letting my legs rest, so I’m wandering around the internet instead.

I’m peeking into other lives, taking inspiration and cheerfulness from pictures of kitchens and days out and gardens, and it’s occurred to me that I’ve never really shared where I go. It’s not a secret, and it changes often, but there are some places I visit over and over, and I thought you might like to see them too. These aren’t friends’ blogs (I might do a separate post about those) – these are places I go to for colour and light and calmness, and to make me think about what I want my own life to look like.

I peek into Rhonda’s garden at Down to Earth, in an attempt to grow enthusiasm for cleaning and simplicity. Sometimes I make bread, and soap, with varying success. I wrote to Rhonda when I first started my own blog, and she took the time to reply with kindness. Her support carried me a long way on that journey, and I like to see what she’s up to. Her life is so very different to mine.

I love the colours at Attic24. Such a crochet rainbow!  Lucy has inspired me to having fresh flowers in the house, something I used to think was wasteful and which I now struggle to be without.

I go through phases with Cold Antler Farm. I so much admire Jenna’s grit and determination, leaping into the unknown with faith and willing to have a go at whatever comes her way. I don’t think I’m cut out for livestock beyond chickens (if that).

I’m not entirely sure why I read Soulemama. Amanda homeschools her five children, sews in a way I could only dream of, but the glimpses of her home, family meals and knitting by the fire, food from the garden, are so enticing that I can’t resist. It feels like a gentle world to look in to.

Beauty that Moves is similar, in a way. A soothing place to be, a world so different to my own. I’ve done a couple of Heather’s courses about wholefoods and found her such a supportive presence. Her home seems very peaceful.

I love Madelyn Mulvaney. I took a couple of her online courses a while back, one called The art of living cheerfully, and she is so wonderfully uplifting. I sometimes feel mundane in comparison to her poeticness, but she makes me want to jump into life with both feet, to experience the delightful pleasure of teal-coloured fingernails and a nice cup of tea.

Mean Queen is different. I don’t think you’d catch Ilona with teal-coloured fingernails. She used to be a lorry driver, and now spends quite a bit of time with cats. She stretches her pension as far as it will go, buying reduced food, making things herself, and managing without things she doesn’t need. Then she pulls on her walking boots and rambles off around the country, taking photographs. I love her no-nonsense attitude.

I do amble around other places, other lives, of course, but these are the ones I come back to again and again. A motley crew, seemingly little in common, but with them all gathered together like this I can see a group of strong women, knowing their own minds, writing about finding beauty and purpose in their everyday lives. Photographs of meals and gardens and tea, stories of ordinary days and extraordinary lives. Every one an inspiration without even trying to be.

Now I’ve peeked into their lives, it’s time to turn back to my own. The sun has gone behind a cloud and I’ve closed the door now to encourage four large bees to seek shelter elsewhere. I think this might be a pottering day, a tidying-up-then-lunch-in-a-cafe kind of a day – my favourite.

What about you? Where do you go for inspiration and cheerfulness?

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