The term ‘slow living’ is no stranger to the world of Instagram.
A new ‘slow living’ hashtag is added every second of every day, there’s millions of them (that’s my guestimation, anyway). I’m using them, your using them, our friends are using them, even the Instagram dogs are at it. And now that the Hygge movement (and all the relative hashtags that follow) have crept across our shores and is making it’s way around the country, I fear we’ll soon all be living so slow that even Earth will have to step on its axis brakes a little.
We aren’t doing any wrong by using these hashtags, they’re just words and harmless ones at that (I’d be a bit of a hypocrite if I did start bashing them), but I do think that the ethos behind it is often lost amongst all the photos of hot coffee, chunky knits and firelight, just like a photo using the love hashtag would be. This is something myself and Dorian the owner of The Welsh House spoke about at length during my recent stay there, how overused it is. We all tag it, hashtag it and give out the impression that we’re living that perfectly slowly life, but are we really? Let’s be honest, there’s nothing slow about Instagram, is there?
“The central tenet of the slow philosophy is taking the time to do things properly, and thereby enjoy them more.”
Instagram is often the main component that stops me from doing things properly and enjoying them. This proved to be a problem when it came to writing this post about my stay at Bryn Eglur, as the only term I could come up with is slow living. Bryn Eglur epitomises it, the real slow philosophy that is. Phone signal is low, sometimes non-existent, there’s no WiFi, no T.V., so all of the modern day interferences that distract us and prevent us from connecting with each other (on a one to one basis, not online) have been taken away from you and surprisingly, it feels good.
The internet service on my phone was unbearably slow, so my usual habit of checking social media every 10 seconds stopped, it was pointless. No T.V. meant there was no risk of being sucked into the Saturday morning tele that we’re not remotely interested in, but can still manage to watch for an hour at home. And thanks to the lack of WiFi, the iPad suddenly didn’t seem so attractive and instead the girls used a part of their brain that isn’t tapped into as much as I would like, their imagination. And they soon sort out other sources of entertainment instead – foraging, jigsaws, playing cards and of course, scrabble.
Our usual 11.30pm bedtime was soon adjusted to the dark nights and we found ourselves yawning and softly padding up to bed to actually fall asleep at 9.30pm, no screen time and online news reading before bed nonsense. This did make Penny’s 6am wake up call the morning after the clocks went back, a lot less painful. Instead of crying, I jumped out of bed with her, happy to eat croissants while looking out of the window to complete darkness. We all did and each morning we stayed there we did something that’s become a rarity in this family, we sat and ate breakfast together. In fact, all of our meals were eaten together and instead of burying our faces into our screens, we talked to each other.
We went on our adventures throughout the day – visiting Castle Kilkenny and wandering the nearby fields – but it was the evenings there that were enjoyed the most. The girls would help light the fire with Dominic while I made a round of teas and hot chocolates (I found being out of the room when this activity was going on stopped my heart from jumping into my mouth). Then we’d all huddle together, excited to start the evening entertainment. We discovered that Penny can play card games, and well, without any help from us, ‘Dirty Bella’ being her favourite and after a few wins and a mean competitive streak, I think we may have a professional poker player in our midst. Once Penny was asleep the multiple games of scrabble that were filled with heaps of questionable words began; when there’s a lack of internet and dictionaries, there’s no way of telling if a word is actually a word, so we found saying yes to most stopped any arguments. As I’d forgotten to pack my book, Amelia and I shared hers. Luckily, I’d packed The Diary of Anne Frank for her which we both loved, so we’d each take turns reading and then discussing each page. And in order to cater to our new book club, and in true Davis style, our food shop for our stay involved filling the drawers with crisps, popcorn and chocolate which barely lasted a second night.
Our stay at Bryn Eglur made us spend real quality time together unlike any other getaway has been able to. Unfortunately, once we arrived home the bubble burst and we were back to our usual bad habits however, our time there gave us the injection of quiet life that we so needed. And although the phones are creeping back towards our faces, the iPad and T.V. time is mounting up again, our short stay at Bryn Eglur has made me more conscious of how much I’m missing when my head is elsewhere. Yes, the kids drive me wild at times (yesterday I was chased from room to room as I tried to listen to a Podcast, so much so that my only option was to hide amongst the dirty washing in the Utility room), but moments like this morning where we all played ‘tendy cafes’ together with our phones firmly out of arms reach, gave me all the heart eyes.