When was the last time that you went offline? For me, it’s probably been years. Ever since I got my first smart phone I’ve not had a day away from the internet. Well, when you’re carrying a computer in your pocket at all times, and your job is based online, and your friends contact you via social media, how can you ever really get away from it? It used to be easy to take a break: on a Friday night you’d simply shut down your computer and relax for the weekend. There was no social media to tempt you to stay up late scrolling through posts, and no-one expected a reply to their emails until Monday morning. In fact, no-one really sent those Saturday evening emails, because they too had closed down their computer at the end of the working week.After months of hard work, I knew I needed a break so hubby and I went away for a relaxing weekend away in Badger cottage in Sweffling. It’s a charming little barn that’s been converted into a super-cosy two bedroom holiday home in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. Arriving on Thursday evening, were delighted to find original beams and character galore, a deep reclaimed roll-top bath, and a big log fire. Everything we needed was right there at hand in the well-stocked kitchen, bathroom and living room. The stack of firewood and flickering woodburner let us know that we were in for a warm and cosy weekend. Candles in every room offered a calming sense of hygge and we felt completely at home the minute we stepped inside the door.Taking time away from the internet was partially self-inflicted and partially down my GiffGaff phone not being able to get any signal. I wanted to make the most of my time away from home, of course I did, but I’d still brought along my iPad and phone in case I ‘needed’ to get online. After an inital ‘why isn’t it working?!’ frustration, I asked myself why I was even trying to get online anyway. I realised that just knowing that I could get online if I wanted to was a bit of a comfort blanket. And I also realised that I’m a grown-up and don’t need comfort blankets anymore! And if I could have logged on, it’s likely that I would have wasted the whole weekend scrolling through Instagram or saving things on Pinterest (I convince myself it’s okay to spend time doing this because it’s ‘research’). So thank goodness that I couldn’t find that 3G signal anywhere, and thank goodness that I didn’t go searching for a wifi hotspot. Because it turns out that I had the best few (internet-free) days ever…I had time to catch up with friends, in-person. We went out for dinner, met for drinks and watched an acoustic band in the welcoming and magical Sweffling White Horse pub. We stayed up too late and slept-in beyond our 6am alarm. I read the stack of magazines that I’d bought over the past few months but never opened. I ploughed through the book I’d been trying to read this whole year but that had sat untouched on my bedside table, serving as a coaster for tea cups until now.I’d taken my long-awaited sewing projects with me, but wasn’t really sure if I was going to get started on it. I’d got a teddy bear pattern from Amazing Craft – along with all the bits and pieces (eyes, joints, strong thread, long needle) I needed to make two bears – back in the summer. But had I got round to starting? Nope. And I wanted to make them. These bears were going to be my niece and nephew’s Christmas presents. Yet it remained at the bottom of my to-do list for all this time. If I’d been able to waste time online this weekend, I’m almost certain that I wouldn’t have started the project, let alone get so much of it done.Let me give you an idea of how my internet-free weekend went: Bubble baths were had (using the cruelty-free natural bath products the cottage provided), Baileys was added to hot chocolates, Christmas jumpers were worn and mince pies were munched. Normally my ‘catch ups’ are via the iplayer. But this time I caught up with Reloved, The Simple Things, Amateur Photographer and Sew Style magazines. It really was my dream weekend. It was actually quite a shock when I went home and back to reality. Hundreds of updates, emails and messages pinged through as soon I wandered back into a wifi zone. I already had notifications turned off, but it didn’t stop me from replying to everyone as soon as I could on Monday.
So, will I be going internet-free every weekend in the future? I’m not sure that’s possible – I know myself too well! And honestly, turning inspirational pictures into moodboards was one of my hobbies before Pinterest was invented, so it’s still one of my favourite things to do. But I do know that I won’t be turning on my laptop when I’m not working. And I want to prioritise reading over vegging out in front of the TV. It was lovely to put my feet up with a book or magazine instead. One thing’s for sure: I’ll be going back to stay at Badger Cottage again as soon as I possibly can for another relaxing and revitalising weekend… And I MUST fit a bath in my next home!
Let me know if you too have ever gone ‘internet free’ for any length of time and how you found it. Leave me a comment below and let me know how you switch off and what you like to do instead – I’m sure we can all benefit from your tips and ideas. Have a relaxing week guys 🙂