Slow and steady wins the race as they say. And it’s been a very contemplative week here at my little desk in the corner of the kitchen. Despite the usual exterior busy-ness (especially this week with the kids on Easter break) I’ve swapped the school run for some quiet time in the mornings before the house stirs and the noise starts.

Sitting out in the pre-dawn garden, it’s been lovely to listen as my little corner of the world wakes up. First the neighbour’s rooster gives a bold hurrah, then a solitary crow caws, and then the village church bells chime six. As if on cue, the birds let loose with a riot of noise that is breathtaking to listen to. It’s a private music festival in my own garden – free of charge.

I’ve chosen this quote above as a reminder that sometimes it’s easy to measure our value by what we achieve in life. We’re so busy doing (and showing what we’re doing on social media) we forget that just being ourselves is enough. Taking stock and experiencing some quiet  (in a room of one’s own or not) is a vital part of staying grounded when all around us feels hectic. So in the spirit of a more thoughtful few days, here’s what I’ve loved this week.

** This book started the week: Finding Your Way in a Wild New World by Martha Beck. Those who know me know I am a huge fan of Martha’s. If you’re looking for your next step in life or your own life purpose; if you have a vague feeling you should be doing something but you’re not sure what; if you feel drawn to helping people…  then buckle up, this book is quite a ride. Martha has one foot entrenched in the spiritual life, but the other very firmly set on solid ground as she sets out four principles for living a truer, more meaningful life.  I loved it just for the personal stories of her adventures in Londolozi, South Africa.

** This blog post: Carrying on in the quiet mindset, I came across this blog post from 2010 by artist Sherri Lynn Wood. If you feel like you’re in need of a little TLC, or if something needs mending in your life/heart/mind, her lovely post My Paris Coat  – Surrender to the Mender (a series of three) talks about what it means to be mended and receive the kind of love and care that mends a troubled heart.

**31 of the most uplifting lines from literature to brighten up even the darkest of days  got me thinking about other books that have inspired, and from which I’ve used the  Virginia Woolf quote above.  Proof if ever you need it that sometimes the answers to all life’s problems can be found in good fiction.

** Reaching the parts other magazines don’t reach…. there came a point some years back when my favourite fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines started to feel like they missed the mark when it came to my own life. And then a few brave new titles started appearing on the magazine racks. Rather than features about cosmetics and diets and fashion must-haves, these talked about creativity and mindfulness, self-care and inner wisdom. It seems the publishing world has caught on as there are now more than a dozen similar magazines on the shelves, but my heart stays true to just three: Flow magazine (initially a magazine for paper lovers but now so much more); Breathe, and The Simple Things. Breathe now has a magazine for teenage girls and has recently ventured out to one aimed at boys too.

** And lastly, perhaps aptly: I was looking for a little icon to have on my desk, a reminder to slow down, take stock and not rush ahead, even when my mind is racing. I came across this little tortoise. He’s not the prettiest of objects but he is a reminder that, while slow and steady may not win you the race in real life, you’ll arrive less frazzled and more serene! And they live to be 100 years old, so they must be doing something right.

Be more tortoise.

Dawn x

If you like any of this week’s Friday Five please pop over to Twitter and tell me which ones have struck a chord, #myfridayfive