I started my blog a year ago today, so it is as good an opportunity as any to look back on the last 12 months.
To say that the last 12 months have been a significant turning point for me is an understatement, so much has happened and so much has changed in my life.
I started a blog, like most people do, as a sort of online diary, for my own benefit. It is a good way to order thoughts and keep a record of things I have done or things I have liked. I just looked up my very first entry from 10th April 2011, which you can find here. It is hard to imagine that I wrote this while I was still living in London, still with this house I now own just a dream and when I was making my first tentative steps towards a new life style and goal. One year on and it is all different, but I am happy to say, that I have achieved a lot of what I set out to achieve and that is something I can be proud of.
I was inspired to start writing myself after being an observer on many other frugal living blogs, there are so many wonderful ones out there. When I got my first few comments I was delighted, at least what I was doing meant something to someone besides myself, enough for them to read it and write a comment. What I have discovered, of course, is that I am not alone in the way I feel about modern living, my desires and dreams for the future, something I had always felt a little isolated and alone about, suddenly there were others who understood these things and how lovely that was for me.
My life has changed for the better and every day at home I appreciate what I have done, what I have got and the joy that it brings me.
So it is with some irony that today, 1 year on, is the first day of a 2 month job back in London for me, leaving my dream cottage alone for some weeks. The city that I learned to dislike so much will once again become my home for a brief while.
However, lots has changed. Being here as a 'guest' is different from being here as a resident. If I have a hard, horrible day, with all the ghastly crowds on the public transport, and just by closing my eyes I can be back in my home. Knowing that it is all still there, waiting for me makes a very big difference to my attitude. 8 weeks will, hopefully, fly by and it will be an opportunity to catch up with those friends that I left behind here, all those that thought that I was mad and tried to talk me out of moving. Well, thank goodness I didn't listen, because I was right and they were wrong!
It seems fitting that on the event of my blogging aniversary I should perhaps set out some more things that I want to achieve in the coming year 'til April 10th 2013:
This last year, I got the house and got it largely sorted out. So, the next year will be a lot about the garden. I have good plans for it, because, although I want it to be a place I can utilise to grow food, it is also to be a place I love to be in. I have a plan and plenty of inspiration. Some if it costs money I haven't got yet, but plenty of it just involves hard work and imagination - I can do all of that.
My working life, well, I have posted a little about this before, I need to get some sort of balance between what I do, what I want to do and what direction I am taking. Not necessarily any massive decisions, but I would like to have some clue about what I want in the future. Perhaps that will all become self explanatory when I have lived and settled in Lancashire even more.
More practically, I would like to have the opportunity to live, with equal financial freedom, but able to put aside a little for savings. Not everyone cares about this, but it is a long time since I was at financial rock bottom - of course that was bound to happen this year, when I threw everything I had at this house. Now It is time to give myself that little bit of security that I like. I would like to start overpaying on the mortgage that I owe, so that I can achieve that financial goal of clearing it within the next decade and develop a small emergency fund.
One thing I would really like to do, is to learn more about foraging natures larder. I have used the elderflowers, elderberries, nettles, wild plums, blackberries and wild garlic and I feel confident with all of those delicious ingredients, but I want to know more. Sadly, being away in London will make my explorations of the country through Spring, few and far between, so I will miss a certain amount of the ingredients this year, but I am sure there is more through late summer and autumn, just waiting to be discovered.
So there it is. One year on and I have loved the journey so far. It has also been lovely sharing it with like minded people on here, so thank you for being followers, thank you for your much appreciated comments - sorry if I have ever missed replying to some, I try my best, but some fall through the cracks when I am busy. I promise, I enjoy reading every single one. And thank you for all your encouraging words and advice when I have needed it. Also thank you to those whose blogs I enjoy reading so much. Catching up on them all is a lovely part of my early morning.
Here's to another year of frugality, country living and happiness.