Featured, yurt life

Yurt living: Winning and losing

4 February, 2016

Yurt living is a mixed bag, you know.

Ways in which we are winning:
We swim in the river everyday, sometimes four or five times

Most days I do the dishes, tidy the yurt, or do laundry (one of the above- if I do more than one I make myself an award “World’s Best Homemaker” and give a speech to all assembled about how both awed and humbled I am)

We spend a lot of time with friends – the family we live on the land with, friends who come and camp, locals we are getting to know and love.

The girls and I spend a lot of time in the forest, climbing hills and looking at moss (that has been an ambition for motherhood of mine for many years and it is every day life for us now, which really does make me a bit breathless)

The girls and I are besties. We have so much fun. Dance parties and hammock picnics and movies in bed and playing all the Toca Boca games on the ipad.

 I fermented and pickled a shitload of beetroot I grew last week. 

 Tim has built a bathroom and almost built a loft to go in the big yurt. (We are waiting for that to be done before we move in there.) 

 I painted our bath and painted the bathroom floor. 

 I planted more beetroot and lettuces and herbs. 

 Tim and I ate up an entire decade of marriage! yeah baby! 

❤️ 10 years married today ❤️ We were so young and determined… Now we grow beetroot barefoot 😬 How love grows 😊

A photo posted by Lulastic & the Hippyshake (@lulasticblog) on

Ways in which we are losing:
I’m not really spending much time on the computer which, for a writer/ vlogger/ blogger/ social media person means that I’m not being productive at all. I feel a bit down about it, a bit like I suck.

We still don’t have a bathroom. Or a kitchen.

My family come in 10 days and it is probably going to be still rough as guts. It is a deadline we gave ourselves in September (to be all sorted) and we are totally gonna miss it. (In fact, I was going to call this post “The best laid plans of mice and men” – you know from that poem about things going awry by Robert Burns but then I realised that if I do that I would have to tell the story about how I thought you said “awry” like “OAREE” rather than “A- RYE” until my brother in law corrected me about 3 years ago. Got to 29 saying oaree. Really did. And there’s that story!

When I painted the bathroom floor it took me FOREVER and I got so worked up about it that I did it three times and the second time was the result of totally flipping out with the paint and literally throwing my brushes to the ground. (It looked cool…. but I still didn’t keep it, too bold for our au naturale life. Think there might be a whole post about floors coming up soon….)

When I fermented and pickled all the beetroot I got so frenzied by it all that I turned real angry at everyone. 

 Our little yurt is filling up with piles and piles and piles of things… the piles go down when the puppy drags something out from the bottom and eats it. We’ve lost books and Russian dolls and barbies and cables and slippers to her insatiable jaws. This IS our yurt, with the piles pushed aside>>>

New little crochet blanket free from the dump shop, like totally made for this moment forty years ago 😆🙌✌️#nicejumble #yurtlife

A photo posted by Lulastic & the Hippyshake (@lulasticblog) on

You cant even move in our bus, it has so successfully been turned into storage while we wait to get in the big yurt.

My courgettes keep turning into marrows. And now I have 9 marrows that I can’t even GIVE away.

Some days it feels like we’ve achieved nothing more than buying some second hand taps from the internet.

I’ve got about 70 billion baby leeks that needed to be planted yonks ago but I can’t seem to make it happen. There is such a crowd of them and they are so needy.

We feel like we are slogging away, Tim building in every spare minute, but the end result just keeps receding into the horizon. Endless DiYing.

And then there’s things that defy all lists about how well you are doing in life….how in the middle of the night last night I had to go to the toilet, the outdoor composting loo in the forest of gorse and I was bummed about it, like, WHAT IS THIS LIFE WE LIVE THAT I HAVE TO DO THIS and then when I went I met a little hedgehog there! And me and this cute little hedgehog hung for a while. I love a hedgehog.  

 And also, I do know that life isn’t about winning or losing. Even imagining a scoresheet is ridiculous and stupid, particularly if parenting is your main thing – it often looks like absolutely nothing has been “achieved” and the reality is the whole day has been a weave of tiny kindnesses and picking up of lego. 

I’m aware of things like Instagram (pretty much the one internet thing I am keeping up with a bit) making people look like winners- my life might look like it is all harvesting coriander seeds and waterfalls because I’m not going to take a photo of me covered in beetroot juice with a raging face, hey? And I get comments like “Your amazing life!” and we have chosen this life, because we have come to value freedom and wilderness so much. But it isn’t free of frustration or melancholy or the occasional metaphysical EEK-WHAT-ARE-WE-DOING moment or simple root-vegetable-rage.

So yeah, I’m a winner and a loser and a lover and a mother.

How you doing?

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  • Lorna 4 February, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Even your losses sound pretty impressive to me! We’re pottering along in our happy world of home ed but have so many ideas and plans that I’m working on my head is bursting!! Hope you have an amazing time with the family 🙂 xx

  • Adele @ Beautiful Tribe 4 February, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    I love that you’ve written this. Too true that the Internet can make us think it’s all amazing for other people, what’s wrong with me? It’s so important to take a step back and remember that everyone has all sorts going on behind the scenes. Your life IS amazing, though. Thanks for sharing it. It’s inspiring and challenging. x

  • Jess @ Along Came Cherry 4 February, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    The going out to use the toilet in the night is the one thing I struggle with when camping / glamping! Mainly because I am a total wimp and scared of the dark! I absolutely love that painted floor but can see how it’s a bit bright for you long term. Always enjoy reading about your yurt life! xx

  • Julie-Ann 4 February, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks for the honesty Lucy, it’s always good to have a reality check when we’re exposed to all these ‘perfect’ lives and mothers on social media and it’s easy to feel like you can’t compete. Thanks for showing us that behind the pics you’re just normal too (albeit way cooler!) xxx

  • Susana Galli 5 February, 2016 at 1:18 am

    I love this sentence “we have chosen this life, because we have come to value freedom and wilderness so much. But it isn’t free of frustration or melancholy or the occasional metaphysical EEK-WHAT-ARE-WE-DOING moment or simple root-vegetable-rage”, because no matter what kind of life you choose there will be frustrations and sadness, but, you can choose if you want to be frustrated with the traffic everyday, or because you don’t find the time to plant the leeks!
    I grew up in a house with an outside toilet and my gran had a potty (not the kind you use for children, but then I don’t know the exact name in English) for night time, that I had to clear every morning (my own, not hers!), we still do it as that’s where we stay when we go in holidays, Maybe you could find something like that in New Zealand?

  • Molly 5 February, 2016 at 4:04 am

    Absolutely LOVE this post Lucy. I’ve had a horrendous week of both girls coming down in chicken pox at the same time and have felt totally crap about not being productive this week with work or the endless renovation house projects we’ve got on the go. In fact, as I’m typing this my eldest is on the iPad and the baby’s in bed and I have a huge pile of dishes and washing to deal with but I’m hiding in the office for a minute because I’m so beat. Anyway, this post really sums up the good and the bad stuff of real life, even if it’s real life in a stunning part of the world living the dream under blue skies. xxx

  • Josephine 5 February, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Bra – frickin – vo. Best post I’ve read in a very long time. The real, the imperfect, the messiness of it all has to be celebrated much more in this cyber pressure cooker world. Nice work. Encore x

  • Kumari Linley 5 February, 2016 at 10:28 am

    As we pack up our London life to commence our own adventure in the wilds of the Blue Mountains….a strange mixture of grief and excitement seeping into my bones…your beautiful and authentic post has buoyed and comforted me Lucy. Thank you for sharing the light and the darkness…root rage and all. Your wee girls are beautiful…as are you, with your days of tiny kindnesses and Lego foraging! Sending love to your little family, from one wild Mama to another. xxxx

  • ThaliaKR 6 February, 2016 at 3:33 am

    I said AWRY as OAREE also until my twenties.

    Also HITHERTO to rhyme with Umberto. And the (common, I gather) verb, to ‘misle’ someone, being kind of sneaky and mean. Past tense ‘misled’. I think I figured that one out eventually in my teens. Epiphany.

    Love this post, love your openness, in all directions.

    My list would be similar, but with more smog and bureaucracy in the losing list (Matt just had to go TO BANGKOK for a completely pointless piece of paper for our next visa extension) and more pad thai and language learning in the wins 🙂


  • Kelly mcDiarmid 6 February, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    I have the exact same chair but in a lovely green tone!

  • Lala 9 February, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    Oh Lucy I love you. Isn’t that just the way, try to actually achieve something, something tangible, and before you know it you are a raging stress cadet! I am walking that balance all the time… between being happy-me/good-parent-me scraping by on the chores, or being productive-me/kids-come-second-me, doing something other than survival chore/project wise… and trying to discover whether there are conditions under which it is possible to do and be both ?!?
    We must come and visit you all soon xxx

  • Elaine Sarchet 9 February, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Glad to have you back and whenever your next post is that’s fine with me.

  • Jo Latif 11 February, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Hey Lucy my friend, thanks for baring your soul!
    Also HAPPY 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY to you and Tim – wee hoo!!!! A huge milestone 🙂
    You guys are amazing – keep it up. I couldn’t imagine the challenges you face and you always inspire and challenge me to live outside the square.
    I’m sure your family from the UK will be ok with whatever state their accommodation.
    It’s impressive what you have done so far on the yurt – most people employ professional builders to build their home – lol! But you’re not most people which is great! And a challenge to us all.
    So bravo to you and Tim (+ Ramona and Juno) for all you have done so far and all you are going to continue to achieve.

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  • Gemma 25 February, 2016 at 11:50 am

    I LOVE this blog post! I love hearing about your yurt life and adventures as it is so similar to mine, just different hemisphere and you grow waaay more veg! I went out to use our compost loo in the dark the other morning only to find a rat looking up at me when I lifted the toilet seat. Eek! And we didn’t get a bathroom and hot running water in our yurt until I gave birth a year after we moved in. You are doing so well and have achieved so much. You should be proud yurt sister xxx