domestic, domesticity, downshifting, downsizing, flowers, green, life lessons, natural cleaning, simple pleasures, simplicity

Small Pleasures

This is the view of my kitchen window sill, I thought I would post it here, because it was while I was doing the washing up last night that the title of this post occurred to me. 

I have been on quite a journey two years ago I was living in a large detached house with a garden and a large art studio, but when I left I spent a year living with other people. It isn’t until you have to cook in someone else’s kitchen that you begin to really appreciate your own. 

I know the view from my window isn’t rolling hills, and my kitchen is a quarter of the size I used to have, but, as I washed the dishes by hand I realised I had learned a good lesson, happiness is found in small pleasures.

I remember a time when I would stack dishes in the dishwasher it would be a chore, but now, I wash my dishes by hand as I don’t have room for a dishwasher, and it has surprised me just what a simple pleasure it is. I am connected to my beautiful things, it is only as I am putting loving care into cleaning my favourite pan, that I remember what a pleasure it is to use it. My plates are very pretty and as I wash them and wipe them clean, I am given a moment of the joy of owning such a charming pattern. I am connected with small things that make me happy. 

We are bombarded with images of large houses and big gardens, but I am happier now in my small flat than I ever was living in that large house. I don’t spend my weekends worrying about the garden, weeding and watering. Yes, I do miss sitting out in the fresh air, but if I really want to do that I can sit in the communal gardens and enjoy them while the gardener cuts the grass. It takes me no more than an hour to clean my flat, but in a large house, it never seemed to get tidy. 

That isn’t to say I don’t miss some things, like having a fresh egg from my own chickens, or having room for a big party, but on the whole, I feel happier and more content that I have in years. 

The larger bottle is de-ionised water that I have collected from my tumble dryer, and the other little bottle is vinegar, the best cleaner by far. Washing up uses less water than a dishwasher, and now because I don’t have a big house to keep clean, I often use my airing cupboard to dry most of my clothes, again, as I hang them to dry, I can appreciate them, rather than throwing them in the dryer. I love pretty bottles, it makes cleaning a pleasure, and it is magical to clean my possessions as I spent a year without them. I do enjoy having appliances that make life easier, but I think we also lose that connection with our possessions. 

More is not always better, some times it is about finding the simple pleasures.  

beach, downshifting, downsizing, life lessons

A simpler life

After a year of living with friends, it was so wonderfully finally to move into my own little home, I was so excited to have my own kitchen again. It really did surprise me what a simple pleasure it is to cut with my favourite knife, or to have my own cake tins, or saucepans. I had never really given any of those things much thought before, but having spent a year struggling with blunt knives, saucepans that only seemed to burn food and a cooker where I continually switched on the wrong ring it was a true delight to be cooking with gas! 

I realised that I was downsizing, the small two bed flat was a quarter of the size of the four-bed detached house I had left behind, optimistically, I thought that I would only bring the contents of my studio, bedroom and a couple of items of furniture. I say optimistically, because even though I had left more things than I was bringing, the flat was full to bursting in no time. 

I was lucky, to be living on the top floor, and was delighted to discover a large loft space that covered the entire area of the flat, so I organised a lot of my storage in the loft giving me enough room to move. The great advantage is that the cleaning is so simple, no stairs to hoover, no huge rooms to clean, everything in its place and there is no-one to move things or make a mess. 

It was the first time I have lived alone since I was 18 and engaged to be married, after 23 years of having children around, it did seem to be very luxurious to be able to think of just my needs. The time and space is wonderful, and I found far from being lonely, I enjoyed living on my own. 

Every time I opened a box, it was a joy of re-discovering all the pretty things I had collected over the years, some of which had remained packed away for over 10 years simply because they did not fit. China is a passion of mine, it was thrilling to be able to sit down with a teapot and drink from the bone china. 

West Sussex is a lovely area; I love walking on the beach every day, there is something fantastic about sea air being only five minutes from the beach it feels so refreshing. The sun shines more here, as it tops the sunshine tables often. I miss walking in the woods, but I am sure in time I will find a nice place to stroll. 

I think that sometimes life does throw us an opportunity now and then, a couple of years ago, I was living in a large house, with a big studio and doing a very demanding job, now I feel so grateful for my little flat, working on my own and being content, life really is simpler and better.