It's the Simple Things

In life we are bombarded with images and sales pitches on things we should want, aspire to have, save up for or buy immediately.

Sometimes it's nice to take a step back from all this and just appreciate what we have and find ways to enjoy life that do not add to financial stress etc.

Anyway, I was thinking about the things in life that mean the most, I enjoy the most or simply make me feel safe, comfortable, confident, and a lot of them are just simple things.   So I guess there's some truth in simple things can mean the most.

Here are my top five simple things;

1. Going for a walk with my dog Hero

Hero is my baby, he's an amazingly intuitive dog, he's loving, he's cuddly, he's soft and he's always by my side.  He's also infuriating when it comes to the ten minutes before his walk time - oh I swear he doesn't need a watch he can tell the time and he has an unhealthy interest in cushions - which somehow always end up in my garden.

I often find myself at work wondering if I can get away just so I can put on his lead and head out in to the rural areas around my home and wander.   Hero's a good listener and I often to talk to him - yes I'm a crazy dog lady and that won't make sense to non-dog people- also as a writer I sometimes wonder out loud how conversations would go or how a story would sound and he's a great critic plus if people see me jabbering on they do think I'm just a crazy dog lady.

Walking with Hero clears my head, gets me out in the fresh air, gets me back to nature, we spend a lot of time watching for squirrels and rabbits, and you meet interesting people - granted mostly other dog people who you end up calling by the dogs name not their own.

2. Curling up with a book

Some of the best advice I received as a writer, is to read and read as much as I can.  I was a reader from an early age and I've always enjoyed a good book.  There's something wonderfully relaxing in loosing yourself in the words and worlds of story.

I have a 'reading' chair in my house, but if I'm honest curling up on the couch or in bed is just as good, winter or summer - but there is something very cosy about curling up with a good book in front of fire in the darker nights.

3.  Baking

When I was little I spend a lot of weekends with my Nan, she was in the vein of many women of her time.  She'd got a job during World War two and worked until her retirement age, she ran her home, kept it cleaned and didn't believe in ready meals or takeaway.  I don't think she ever had a takeaway!

On my weekends with her she would teach me how to bake and cook mostly traditionally British food, from Yorkshire puds to queen cakes, I could make pastry and bake cakes that would look so delicate and pretty.

I've never lost that interest an whereas my Nan had collection of recipe cards which she stuck to - to the point she could recite the recipes from memory I'm a little more of a rebel and make things up as I go.

There's something quite cathartic and homely about taking the ingredients and turning them in to something.

I still remember the cake recipes for Butterfly cakes with their sweet butter cream and light and delicate queen cakes which would be served warm for tea.

Maybe it's the memories the smells of baking elicit or maybe it's just that reassuring memory of doing something someone close taught you to do that makes it special even if the cake doesn't rise or the pie is made with store bought pastry!

4.  Spending time with family & friends

I love my family, I have a close relationship with my mam and we spend a lot of time together.   I have a small family which has it's fair share of bruises and scars from the things we've been through.  But we are together and we work.

You don't need a laundry list of friends to be happy, I would say I have a small handful of close friends who I spend the most time with and it isn't always about going out.  We have just as much fun on a night in.  I love having my friends come to my home, cooking for them, having some nice drinks and playing daft board games, it allows us to laugh, joke, catch up and just enjoy each others company.

5. Spending time at home

I have a lovely home, it's not a show home, its a lived in home.  It won't be to everyone's taste my style is my own.   While I love images of clean white bedding, or light carpets and couches  they are not for my home - well if you look at point one and imagining coming home on a rainy day with a wet and muddy dog, even after towelling off or a bath white is never going to stay white!

My house is my home and it's filled with the things I love and the things that make me feel whole.

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