bright sunshine

Whole life sustainability looks different for everyone

bright sunshine

Bright sunshine

Last night I was going through my to do list and checking off a few things I had researched for some of my clients and I realised just how different whole life sustainability looks between people.

Whole life sustainability should cover all areas of your life, your mental, physical, and financial well-being, the planets well-being, your direct and indirect community.

For one person it is help in figuring out how to overcome the challenges their disability brings.  significant sight loss and memory issues due to traumatic brain injury. Learning how to cook meals that are nutritious, home made and affordable, working out a system that allows them to remember what to do when and how. Budgeting and saving even though the income is very low. And being able to find affordable ways to go out and meet new people and join clubs to ensure isolation doesn’t take over.

Another  client has recently lost her job and is suddenly on significantly reduced earnings. Because of this and because of her skill set we have worked out a barter system, I am getting help with a few big jobs that I haven’t been able to do on my own and she is getting my help fixing her budget, kick-starting her garden into producing some of the more expensive crops (mixed salad anyone?) and some super easy, super rewarding ones that give lots and lots of food over a long growing season (hello courgette!) which in turn reduces her dependency on shops.

What areas of your life are not sustainable as they are now? What would help you make them sustainable and what would you need to get started on this?

 

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OMG WHY? How small is small? {small house living}

small house means we are all close together

small house means we are all close together

When I tell people my boys and I live small I always get asked “how small”. hence a post on how small our small living is.

We have three rooms in our home. A boys room, an everything room and a bathroom

The everything room

Size 6 x 4 metres aprox

This is the kitchen, my studio, my bedroom, our diningroom, our livingroom. It is truly everything! I have a very small budget so right now it doesn’t make best use of the space and it isn’t exactly as I would like it to be but I have made it work with what I have.

What is in this room?

you know writing this all down has made me realise just how well those hours of playing Tetris as a child where spend!!

  • non perishable food for at least a month ( and enough tea for an entire army!)
  • plates/cutlery/pots/pans/few select kitchen gadgets
  • cooker with 4 gas hobs and double oven
  • fish tank
  • lots and lots of house plants
  • seedlings
  • fridge/freezer
  • approx 500 books (and many many more on Kindle!)
  • sofa bed (no further storage in this)
  • dining room table (lid lifts to store craft supplies)
  • 6 crates of craft supplies
  • potato box doubles as a seat at the table

The boys room

size 4 x 4 metres

The boys bedroom. Generally know as the lego death trap!

in this room we have:

  • 1 bunkbed
  • 1 loftbed
  • 2 chests of drawers (one for clothes, one for lego)
  • Many shelves in the alcoves for books, projects, games etc.
  • Small TV with a WII so we can snuggle up and watch Netflix during one of those many rainy days
  • 2 bookcases
  • desk with pc (under the loft bed)
  • 8 crates with toys (under the bunk bed)

The bathroom

size 2 x 3 metres

In this room we have

  • shower
  • washing machine
  • toilet
  • washbasin
  • storage for all bathroomy bits (tp-paper, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, washing powder etc)

The Harry Potter (known to most people as the cupboard under the stairs)

Size. awkward

This isn’t a room, its a built in storage cupboard. There is just about enough space for a bunch of crates. a large ikea bag of knitting yarn and my bedding.

OMG WHY?? {small house living}

wpid-IMG_20130814_141038.jpg

View from my kitchen window

If people don’t ask me outright, the question lies on their face, their eyes betray their curiosity. Their shock.  And their complete lack of understanding.

I hope to explain just why I choose to live in such a small place, how it has benefited us and the handful of downsides that I am working out how to do better.

I have always love the idea of living in a double decker bus. Or one of the tiny homes that are increasingly popular in the USA. In England however the weather is cold, grey and unpleasant an awful lot of the time so keeping a tiny home warm is a difficult task. I am not able to drive and I have no intention of getting my drivers license any time soon. So a bus, whilst tempting, was out of the question. A tiny home sounds great, if you are able to build it yourself. Then kids came along and we bought ourselves a house. it seemed the right thing to do.

Fast forward 6 years and our marriage had broken down entirely. the one and only thing we agreed on was that whatever was going to happen next had to be in the childrens’ best interest. We looked at going our separate ways, each getting their own house but the cost! It would have mean moving far from where the children had settled, far from where I had settled and where the four of us had a group of friends. it would have meant both of us adults living a considerable distance apart which would have meant the children would have seen their dad a lot less. Not acceptable to us.

Somehow the decision was made to split the semi detached little house we lived in into two flats. The children and I would live in the ground floor flat and their dad would turn the upstairs into a flat of his own. And out of nowhere my desire to live in a smaller home was realised. I now have three rooms. The childrens’ bedroom, the kitchen/living room/bedroom and the bathroom. 3 rooms means a lot less cleaning but also a lot less place to hoard stuff.

Living in a small space like this obviously has its disadvantages! For me however the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages!

Whole life sustainability <3

Home made bread

The advantage of down sizing. Home made bread ❤

What? you mean sustainability isn’t just a “green” issue?

This was the start of an unexpected conversation with a friend of an acquaintance who asked in that tone “what do you do“. you know, that slightly condescending, superiority complex tone. It is a tone most mums, especially the slightly out of the mainstream mums, are very familiar with I think( but that’s a story for another time!).

No! life, all of life needs to be sustainable. there must be a balance. not over a day or a week but over an extended period. life needs to be adjusted constantly just as the garden needs to be checked and changed so does life. It needs to be sustainable for people AND planet.

I believe we can all have a balance between working and play. I don’t think we should be all filled with stress and anxiety. I know we can create lives from which we don’t need to take a holiday. I believe in downsizing, reducing and with that expanding our lives.

I’ve never been one to chase after the Jones’ and instead was more likely to follow the Goods. Downsizing was the normal natural thing to do for me after splitting up with my husband. it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t without hiccups!

It was (and remains) the best thing I have ever done for my little family!

 

 

Home ed highlights

its been a quiet week filled with lots of walks.

my boys following the path to the mudsprings

my boys following the path to the mudsprings

tracking

tracking

leaf fungi

leaf fungi

Even though we go walking here quite often we always find something new. Like this fungi on a leaf!

snailshell

snailshell

The dangerous mudsprings!

The dangerous mudsprings!

The mud springs are an SSSI and far less exciting than they sound! you really have to know what you are looking for to see them. Sometimes if you are very lucky the mud oozes out towards the stream and its easier to see what all the fuss is about.

best time to have a train stopped!

best time to have a train stopped!

funghi!

funghi!

incense supplies!

incense supplies!

These crab apples where dug out from the mud given a rinse in the canal and taken home where I cut them into slices and strung them and hung them up to dry. once dry I add them to my own incense mixes.