The January blues and how to defeat them…

At the beginning of the week I found the gunmetal skies, half light and bleakness a little too much to bear. A deep and primal urge to hunker down and hibernate had definitely taken its hold on me and something quite urgently had to be done!

Mid-winter is here but with it comes the smallest and faintest signs that Spring will emerge within the next few dreary months, and just that little snippet of hope makes a huge difference to me. The tender green shoots of sun-yellow daffodils are bursting through the heavy soil around us and the afternoons are gradually becoming more bearable as the sun hovers in the sky for an extra few minutes of precious time.

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For me, the simplest and easiest way to rid the winter worries is to tie up my laces and get moving. Jogging, or slogging at times up and down the mighty South West Coast Path is an unrivalled remedy for the miseries. But the added ingredient of warming winter sunshine is what makes it totally and utterly perfect.

My route took me from Strete Gate to Blackpool Sands – it was a route I’d never ran before. It was quite simply breathtaking – in more ways than one. I traipsed up horrendous hills and slipped downwards precipitous slopes. All the way smiling – this new trail bought me many moments of contemplation – even a jog can do that to you on the coast path. Firstly – this was unfamiliar terrain so I had to persevere throughout the heart-pounding climbs, I’d not known what to expect but had to keep going. Secondly – the marked trail points were not always obvious to see so I had to follow my nose and hope I was heading in the right direction. I had to trust my instincts. And thirdly, I’m not very running fit! You do not have to be at your peak physical best in order to get outdoors and immerse your soul in the sun, the fresh air and to feel the blood moving through your veins.

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Towards the end of my circuit each clunk of the heavy wooden gates/pitstops meant I was inching closer to home. Before me lay the stunning Slapton Line – my finish line and the perfect way to end a perfect mini adventure. My medicine had succeeded in banishing my winter blues and I felt completely ready to begin my day. Whoever, whenever, wherever there is no reason not to get outdoors and discover a little bit more about you and where you live.

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Hello 2018…

Fuelled on a surprisingly delicious roasted celeriac and garlic soup (which I actually made myself for the very first time), I now feel prepared to open the lap top and write my first blog of 2018.

At the end of August last year we travelled to the Galapagos Islands, and lived there for two months. I found so little time for writing that I put it all nearly entirely on hold. Apart from hand writing a diary – such a lovely thing to do. When the kids were asleep in their beds, every few days – I got out my pen and pad and wrote down what we’d been up to. I hope in years to come that I can pull out that diary from where it has been collecting dust on the shelf and relive some of our adventures.

I’ll be able to post lots more about our time on Santa Cruz when the documentary we filmed there is broadcast in the Spring on Channel 4.

Returning from the Galapagos at the end of October was incredible – we underestimate how wonderful it is to live where we do. I had a total epiphany, an energising revelation that the UK, and Devon in particular is the most beautiful country in so, so many ways. I fell totally in love with our home, our friends, our countryside again. Distance truly does make the heart grow fonder. With a new-found respect and adoration for our home I decided to dedicate 2018 as a year of caring for our land, of trying to help protect and preserve the area we live in and to have some fun and adventures along the way.

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South West Coast Path

So hello 2018 – this is a year of change and improvement and of celebration.

‘Love where you live’ – yes I most definitely do and I’m going to bloody well look after it  too.

New Year Resolutions include…..

  1. Reduce the amount of plastics we use
  2. Whenever we hit the beach we do a two-minute beach clean every time
  3. Spend an hour a day outside – get out in nature and revel in it – bond with our animals in the paddock!
  4. Visit and walk throughout Dartmoor – this we have not done at all and it is half an hour away
  5. Start the girls cycling – and us, more time spent outside the better…

There’s so much more to add, but for now, these are achievable and fun. I’m already looking forward to doing so much more in Devon – there is no need to travel thousands of miles away to challenge yourself or to appreciate our natural world.

It is all waiting for us on our muddy doorsteps.