Wednesday 18 January 2017

10 reason why I love living in a small house

It's all relative, I know, I realise that the mere fact of having a roof over my head makes me richer than 75% of the people I share this planet with, but here's the thing, comparison is the thief of joy and when your friends and neighbours aren't the 75% it can be easy to feel resentful and bitter about living in a small house when almost all your friends and family live in much larger more comfortable houses.  So in light of this burgeoning sense of dissatisfaction with my lot, I decided to compile a list  of 10 reasons why living in a small house really is awesome, and to show my gratitude for the wonderful blessing of a happy home, no matter the size and appreciating how lucky I am:

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1. Less cleaning - if you have less physical space to live in then there is less to keep clean, simples.  I struggle now! I dread to think what it would be like if we had even more space to spread out our mess! So happy that I only have one bathroom to keep clean.

2. The more you have, the more you have to lose - larger houses are more expensive to maintain which means someone has to keep working harder and harder to maintain it.  My husband already works 5 days a week commuting, and out of the house for 12 hours every day, I couldn't accept him working and harder or longer. Having less also means having less to worry about, less to break, less to get damaged less to fear losing.

3. It keeps us close - when you live in a small house you are often near your family, there is no hiding away on your i pads in our house, we have one TV, when we watch it, we watch together, we all sit round the same table and eat together, we sleep together or are no more than one wall apart.  This is an unpopular position to be in in our society, it seems the government have an attitude of "divide and conquer" we're supposed to separate ourselves from our children as soon as possible, and I am sure the government would love to see us all sitting in separate rooms watching separate screens.  For us being close and together builds strong, trusting relationships.

4. Less stuff - Being is a small house means I have to be very careful about what stuff we keep in it, we can't have too much because it makes the house messy, cluttered and difficult to live in, so there is a constant process of getting rid of things, editing, refining our posessions to keep the quantities down.  This is good because having more stuff has not been shown to make you more happy and in fact in many cases having less makes you happier.  Also having less stuff means having less to lose, if, God forbid anyone ever broke in to our house we have very little of interest worth taking.  Another benefit is that we focus less on stuff because we don't have a massive void of space to fill.

5. Cheaper - We admittedly spend an exorbitant amount of money every month on our mortgage, this is due in part to the location we live in (desirable, commuter distance, expensive) and also the time we bought, which meant our house was expensive and our interest rates weren't great, anyhow, we are still paying much less every month than if we were in a larger house.  We also have to pay less to maintain it, because, well, it's smaller, there is less of it, so less to maintain.

6. We'll be debt free in 16 years - When we first got our mortgage the end seemed a million years away, now it actually feels achievable (I think having children helps put time into perspective).  Imagine not having to pay rent or a mortgage!  Only having to work to cover bills, food and luxuries, this would be massive for a family like ours  who spend a huge amount of our monthly income on our mortgage. This is only achievable because our house is small and therefore costs less.

7. No obligation to host - Not that I don't enjoy hosting but it is nice knowing it simply isn't possible to host our families or large numbers of friends, no worrying about clean up, stress of making meals for everyone, having enough bedding, I never have to feel guilty about not offering to host. It also means I can enjoy the hospitality of others enabling them to take the enjoyment and credit of being the host (aren't I kind!).

8. It's better for the environment - A smaller house uses less raw materials to build, less energy to heat, has fewer electrical items in it to run and releases less pollution into the environment and .  Win!!

9. It means we get to stay together - some people opt to move to a cheaper area where they get more house for their money but the main wage earner continues to live in or near the city during the week to maintain their income. I couldn't sacrifice any more time away from my husband even if it meant we were living in a mansion.  He's my best friend, I like him better than a big house, it's not a sacrifice I am willing to make.  So I get to see my lovely hubby every day, we sleep in the same bed every night, we eat dinner together every evening and I intend on keeping it that way.

10. We spend more time outdoors - Because our house is small, we can find ourselves getting cabin fever, or feeling on top of each other sometimes, this means we spend a lot of time outside the house, which is BRILLIANT!  We visit friends, walk in the woods, go to groups, see family, play in the playground, go to the library.....we get fresh air, exercise, socialisation and so much more.  If our house was larger we might find ourselves missing out on these things because we would opt to stay in the house more.

So there we have it folks, life in a small house is wonderful and I intend on appreciating it each and everyday.

Saturday 7 January 2017

Hello 2017

Bliadhna Mhath √ôr, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, and Happy New Year (that's Gaelic, Welsh and of course English, yes I am still in love with Outlander and I am half welsh)

I hope you are all entering the new year filled with hope for the fabulous wonders that 2017 may bring.

I am entering the year with slight trepidation.  I have honestly had such a wonderful year in 2016, it feels like it's hard to beat.  What if 2017 doesn't live up to it and is a huge disappointment? How can anything be better than 2016!

I know I need to shift this thinking to one of expectation of a fantastic year ahead.  To get my mind in the right place I am doing the Leonie Dawson Shining Life Workbooks again.  I loved them so much last year and they have really helped me to achieve a lot of my goals in 2016. I didn't achieve every goal, but I did achieve lots and I am so pleased about that, some were big (run a Gentle Parenting Retreat) and some were small (do a puzzle) and I know that writing them down, reviewing them and scheduling really helped me to achieve them.

I was so excited to get my workbooks in the post a few days ago that  I made a little video about them:

(That's my little boy chattering away in the background!  I feel bad watching back that I don't acknowledge him, I was just concentrating so hard on what I was saying for the video!!!)

A few years ago the way I set goals for the year ahead was so different from how I do it now. I wrote down ways in which I wanted my life to change but put no thought to planning how I would make them a reality.  The goals were not specific or measurable so not only did I not really know what the goal was, but I had no way of tracking how well I was doing or how near or far away I was from achieving my goal.  

I wasn't convinced by the workbooks when my friend Vicki introduced them to me a few years ago but she persuaded me to get on board and I am so glad that I did because they have totally transformed how I set goals and plan the year ahead.

What I didn't really explain in the video is how these books are so effective, particularly the life book.
To begin with reviewing the previous year is so important, it allows you to realise and think about what went well and what didn't so you can accept it and move onto the next year free from guilt and free from trying to drag unfinished business into the new year. 

In the next part of the book you begin to think about what you want from the year ahead, how you want to feel, what you want to achieve. It allows you to really dig deep and think about how you want the year ahead to look. 

Of course last year had it's ups and downs, there were parts that were really really hard, but knowing how much I achieved makes me feel so joyful and positive about the year ahead.  We can achieve so much, us mothers, and it's so important that we make time for our own goals, our own dreams.  It can be so easy to let that little light inside of us dim as we stoke the fires in our children, but we need that spark inside to glow and grow not just for our own well being and sanity but for the sake of those around us as well; because when we are the best versions of ourselves we can nurture others better as well. 

I would really encourage you do set some goals for the year ahead, break them down into steps then schedule them into your week so they become achievable. Maybe you like the look of the Shining life workbooks, if you do, then please click my affiliate link below.  (Leonie Dawson gives all her affiliates a little bit of money for every sale made through the link.)  

I wish you all a wonderful year ahead and hope you achieve everything you set your mind to.