In 1994 a country girl who’d been teaching in London had an epiphany in a bookshop in Muswell Hill. City living was not for her. Later that year she moved with her East End husband to a Wiltshire village. And yet this is no fairytale of bucolic life, renovating a ramshackle cottage, upcycling furniture, keeping chickens, living off-grid and negotiating the internal politics of the Parish Council. At home in a new environment with three young children this blog began as a way of documenting one family’s adventures.
Low cost, feel good activities were vital to our well-being. We were free to enjoy the great outdoors, the garden and the kitchen in a leisurely and comforting way – what the Danish call the art of hygge. But a teacher has a passion to educate and it wasn’t long before I was sharing my experiences with others via family learning programmes for Health Authorities, hands-on activity days for primary schools and innovative resources for a number of schools, social enterprises and agencies including the National Trust.
The benefits of getting outside, reconnecting with nature and each other and slowing down are well documented.Young people today have to navigate a complex and ever-changing world, facing challenges and pressures in numerous aspects of their life. 90% of school leaders have reported an increase in the number of students experiencing anxiety or stress over the last five years. Our cottage garden and kitchen and the Wiltshire community where we live remain an escape for us.
I write about well-being and deliver training and tuition for parents, teachers and young people. Although informed by extensive research and my own professional qualifications, above all my ideas are tried and tested on myself, my family and my students. Like any other family we are not immune from the negative effects of modern day stress.