The reason I started this blog was that I had so much energy and stress but still felt I wasn’t making the most of my life in London. So I came up with the HPL rules and became more mindful about my life – I try new things, stop and observe what’s going on around me, appreciate my relationships. In a way, I slowed my life down to prioritise what was important to me.
I was lucky enough to be sent the Slow London guide by one of its authors, Hayley Cull, and it has got me all excited about the HPL rules all over again. The premise of the book is super simple – it aims to get us off the treadmill of London life and make us slow down and savour our time, appreciate the small things, rather than simply spending time, cramming in all we can.
Slow London – Live more, fret less, ride donkeys
It is based upon 5 simple critera – local, natural, traditional, sensory and characteristic. It describes itself as “a manual for those who have daydreamed about down-shifting to Dorset but couldn’t bear to leave their friends, their jobs and city behind..” and doesn’t that apply to most of us?! The bit about tree-hugging went a bit far for me (but hey I’ll try most things once) but I was with these guys all the way otherwise.
The guide encourages us to use our senses and appreciate London’s views, sunsets and sunrises, history, nature and wildlife (and go on, hug a tree while you’re there); work to live, work smarter and take more breaks; eat organic and local food; walk or cycle and get in touch with nature (check out the HPL’s gardening attempts for inspiration – as they say “People don’t flourish under fluorescent lighting“); read more, learn more, visit museums, parks, galleries and libraries; take time to peruse London’s markets and local shops and actually enjoy the art of shopping again. They respond to those who think London can only ever be fast moving: “..even in a city of eight million people, its possible to slow down and smell the roses.” And it’s not all tree-hugging hippiness, it still embraces modern technology, just suggests sometimes we might want to listen to vinyl rather than CD, write a letter rather than email.
Imagine you are a snail – only a really really cool one
There is so much in this book that I agree with, and that ties into the HPL’s happiness rules, that I constantly get excited and jot things down when I’m reading the book. Its inspired me to take time over coffees and shopping, visit new museums and parks, try not to separate my work and my life so much, walk and cycle a bit more, check out my local markets and delis. So, Londoners – savour time don’t spend time! Let your heart be your clock not your watch (unless you have something important to wake up for, in which case this is largely impractical)! And buy the book – probably from a local bookshop not online!
I also thought I’d mention Slow Down London which the book is linked to and which organises various slow events and courses. Take a look if you’re interested. Oh and it’s Walk to Work week so what better way to start slowing yourself down and appreciating the world around you.