Stepping away from the laptop: A cosy cottage, Stonehenge, and lots and lots of rain.

Stonehenge

Hello and welcome to a brand new blogging series which I’ve aptly named Stepping Away From The Laptop.

As you’ve probably guessed, I love the internet. Being able to share my work online has completely transformed my life and given me the freedom to work from home, connect with people across the world, and find the fulfilment I always craved from a job. In many ways it’s been absolute bliss.

However, (and here’s where it gets icky), isn’t being online sometimes just overwhelmingly draining?

There is just SO much out there. SO many articles to read. SO many webinars to watch. SO many funny/quirky/sad/inspiring blogs to get stuck into that I’ve found myself forgetting that I actually have a life outside of my laptop.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve read some brilliant articles and blog posts recently that have really inspired and engaged me into action. And I LOVE it when you find a total gem that gives you that ‘Oh-my-god-I-totally-get-this‘ feeling.

But as someone who gets totally distracted by every shiny thing that passes my way I’m also a sucker for getting…well, sucked in. It means that as well as all the good stuff that comes into my world, I’ve also opened the door to a whole heap of useless, distracting crap that brings no value to my life whatsoever.

I mean, do I really need to understand why Myley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj have been having an online war on Twitter? The short answer is NO! NO, I DO NOT! What a bloody enormous waste of my time and energy.

And so, I’ve realised that I really need to start stepping away from the digital world more often. It’s time to set some boundaries, to do more than look at a screen, to give my health and wellbeing some priority, and to just get the hell offline.

Stepping Away From The Laptop is a new once-in-a-while series where I will report back on the lovely places I visit, walks I go on, people I see, books I read, food I eat, things I do and discoveries I make when I step away from the digital world into the life outside.

My hope is that this series will inspire you to do the same. To care for yourself. To explore the world around you. To give your body some love. And to live mindfully and gently on this one and only planet we’ve been tasked with looking after.

So, without further ado – this is the best of what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks!

1. Ollie and I are currently saving to buy a house and we went exploring last week to figure out where we would like to live – exciting! First up we visited Frome; a sweet little town in Somerset with cobbled streets, plenty of cafes and a bohemian, crafty vibe oozing from every corner. If you head that way I highly recommend checking out The River House cafe. I had scrummy vegetarian Mexican fritters – yum! Although we’ve decided it’s not somewhere we want to move to, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re over that way.

2. Next up on our list of places to explore was the Cotswolds town of Stroud. Set in the valleys and surrounded by incredible countryside Stroud really stole our hearts. Even though it rained on us from the moment we arrived to the moment we left we had a gorgeous time driving round the hills, exploring the surrounding villages, and dashing from cafe to shop to pub in-between the downpours. We’ll definitely be heading back there for more exploring and possible house-hunting – eek! If you’d like to visit Stroud yourself a few gems we discovered include The Woolpack Inn (the perfect country pub), The Black Book Cafe (like a library and cafe in one!), Hobbs House Bakery and cafe (for all your bakery needs!) and the popular Stroud Farmers Market (we got some lovely fresh fish here). We also stayed in the sweetest little airbnb cottage complete with log burning stove and piano. I reeeaally want to return here on my own for a writing retreat!

3. To top off our trip away we went and stayed with my brother and sister-in-law for a couple of days where we wrapped up and headed out to a fireworks display in celebration of Guy Fawkes night before heading out the next day to visit Stonehenge and indulge in a roast dinner at a local pub (could I be any more British?!) Despite living in the south for my whole life, this was the first time I’d visited Stonehenge since I was about 7 and I’m so glad that we went. There’s something magical about being close to a structure so incredibly old and it made me feel a strange connection to the human beings that stood on that land 5000 years ago. All in all, a fab day (despite yet more rain!).

4. Back at home I’ve really felt hibernation mode kicking in as the nights get longer and the days shorter. For me that means winter jumpers, blankets, long hot baths and lots of books – always books! The latest reads to grace my bookshelf include The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine (a reassuring read for those of you who have lots of interests and can never settle on one thing!), The Art of Shouting Quietly by Pete Mosley (a great read for quiet types and one that has reminded me how important it is to build your business around your values), and I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (a can’t-put-this-down-it’s-so-good murder mystery). I’m always on the look-out for new books so if you’ve read something good recently then let me know in the comments!

6. Finally, I’ve been turning to my camera more and more recently. Mindfulness is something that I’m really interested in but I’m such a daydreamer that I can often find myself living in the clouds more than the present moment. I’ve discovered recently that picking up a camera is really helping me to slow down, take my time and look at what’s around me. It’s something I used to do loads but when I met Ollie (who just happens to be a professional photographer) I got out of the habit of taking a camera out with me. At the moment I’m just enjoying playing about with the camera on my phone, but who knows I might even start using a proper camera soon. Watch this space! If you’d like to follow my photography journey I’m sharing my posts on Instagram.

And that’s about it! Have you stepped away from your laptop recently? Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!

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One thought on “Stepping away from the laptop: A cosy cottage, Stonehenge, and lots and lots of rain.

  1. Hi! Thanks for sharing your recent discoveries: restaurants, walks, places to stay etc. I live in Canada but have family in England and so visit your country once a year. I’m always looking for new places to try and knowing that you’ve been there and have had a positive experience is wonderful. I’m also an introvert and the author of The Dynamic Introvert: Leading Quietly with Passion and Purpose which is available in an e-book. Good luck with your adventures in 2016. Cheers, Lesley

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