Letter: Prioritising quality of Life

Lots of thoughts are buzzing round my head as we close this New Year 2013 issue.

1. The importance of correspondence, written with real ink on lovely stationery. And how little anyone does it anymore.

2. How absolutely no-one I know is able to do nothing, convalesce or rest properly.

3. There is dog hair making itself happily at home in a multitude of crevices around the house.

4. I spend an extraordinary amount of money on lunches during the average working week. Not dining out, mind: I’m referring to the sandwiches, salads and soups I eat at my desk.

5. The ever-increasing desire to return to the spiritualist I saw a year ago to check if all is as it should be, because things feel a bit wrong.

And I think these seemingly random thoughts are all related.

How? Well, in a way they’re all to do with quality of life, and the price we pay to achieve it. After all, why write letters when you can speedily mail a picture postcard via an app from your phone with a text as the message? Why cook when there’s a plethora of places serving ‘home-cooked’ foods for your convenience and pleasure? Why be off sick when you can dose up and carry on! And why should it matter if there’s the odd furball floating around the house? Children growing up with pets suffer from fewer allergies – fact!

Except, there’s pride to be had from a dust-free home. Receiving a real letter is a joy. Recuperating properly saves further days off in the long run. And I actually like cooking; nothing says home like the aroma of something roasting in the oven wafting through the house. It strikes me that these are all rather wholesome, dare I say it, old-fashioned pleasures. At one time, they were also priorities. What’s more, I know I’m not alone in hankering after pursuits we no longer seem to have time for.

But is it really that we don’t have time, or more truthfully that we don’t make time? I love to go for walks, but before Stanley Basset came into my life, I rarely did, despite having the South Downs on my doorstep. Now, when I’m at home, we walk every day, rain or shine. And so with this in mind, I share my New Year’s resolutions, most of which I’m embedding already (remember last month and the new diary buying? It all started there!). I will mess about a bit less in the mornings and therefore have time to throw something into the slow cooker before leaving the house. Most recipes really do take less than 20 minutes to prepare. And that will mean that dinners and proper lunches are sorted. I’ve signed back up to the Boris Bike scheme and am now (leisurely) pedalling my way from station to office and vice versa – so that’s some regular exercise taken care of, and it’s considerably cheaper than the Tube. I have also invested in one of those new ‘Dyson Ball’ vacuum cleaners. They really are as brilliant as they promise: doggy dust balls be gone! No loss of suction, etc. And while I’m not yet set to devote Sunday mornings to penning mass missives, I will write New Year cards to spread some tangible love, rather than sending texts. Hmmm, perhaps I don’t need to visit that spiritualist after all…


First published as my Editor’s Letter in the February 2013 edition of ELLE Decoration UK

ELLE Decoration cover February 2013

ELLE Decoration cover February 2013