Inspired by family, wild nature and simplicity, Jessica Cresswell enjoys a slow pace of life with her family in the Kent woodlands. She offers a view into her down-tempo, peaceful (not to mention covetable) life with her beautiful blog, The Woodland Wife.
We share a common ground with Jessica, given our shared love of nature and all-natural products, so we caught up with her to discover more about her at-ease, ethical life…
I think it is something that has always appealed to me, even as a child I felt my happiest outdoors in the woods we lived behind in Wimbledon; at the age of 11 my parents moved me and my sisters to the Sussex countryside and I was in my absolute element.
It wasn’t however, until I met my husband ten years ago that I realised there was another way of living; at that point, I was in a 9 to 5 job, he was self-employed and able to set the pace of his day for himself. In 2012 I became self-employed and mid 2013 when we welcomed our daughter, I became more aware of what was really important in life.
So, inspired by motherhood, our day-to-day life in our woodland home and wild nature around us, I felt passionate about living a simpler, more sustainable life in what I view as a fast-paced modern world. I feel that by slowing the pace (which can be a challenge at times!) as a family we feel a much deeper connection and understanding of who we are and we continue to aspire to a life of material substance, in the TRUE sense of the word.
Living in the middle of the woods in Kent my day usually starts with getting our daughter off to school; once home, the dogs are walked through the woods and then it’s home to have a chat about the day ahead with my husband who makes absolutely beautiful traditional oak framed buildings in the neighbouring workshop and framing yard.
I then press on with my work which varies daily, from dealing with The Woodland Wife enquiries first thing to creating content for the blog and social channels. Once emails and content are complete, I then take some time out with our four hens and getting on top of all the little jobs that need doing around the place. Once all the chores around the house and woods are complete, it is usually time to set off and collect our daughter! Once home, we set off to the woods again to reconnect, catch up on her day while taking in everything around us.
Our days are slow, allowing us to focus on each day and exploring the environment in which we live… however, living somewhere like this takes a lot of work just maintaining it, from seasonal woodland management, to fixing up the property, looking after the animals etc, so life is pretty busy even if the pace is slow!
Absolutely, I often tell people how we actually feel a ‘part’ of the seasons living here.
We are surrounded by woodland, the back of the house looks out onto chestnut, the front over to the pine plantation and more chestnut coppice, so the seasons change before our very eyes. As a result, my two favourite seasons are Autumn and Spring.
Autumn seems to happen very gradually to start, then there is a sudden shift and everything that was once lush and thick becomes, golden and spindly. Then after the bleaker Winter months when the trees are completely bare, Spring creeps in and breathes new life into everything around us; from new bracken, to my absolute favourite moment when the bluebells appear, and everything turns blue!
It’s incredibly difficult to choose a favourite as I really think you have done such an incredible job with the collection this year… each piece has something very special about it. I love the soft feel and the deep colour of the teal jumper, it’s just perfect from throwing on over a pair of jeans and heading out for a walk the length is also ideal as I do like a long jumper.
The Fairisle cardigan cardigan is a massive hit with me and my daughter, she actually had something similar when she was tiny and I longed for one like it, now I have one, it is worn a lot and is unbelievably warm which is just what I need as I always feel the cold. It is perfect for layering up, or having under a coat, definitely an Autumn favourite for many years to come.
The coatigan is also worn a lot, I just love the colour and pattern, it’s inspired! The fact it has pockets is brilliant as I am often tasked with carrying things for my daughter whilst out and about, but it is also fabulous if I’m out on the school run and don’t need a big heavy coat. The coatigan is wonderfully soft and incredibly warm, so much so I wear it as a huge cardigan indoors, and my daughter just loves cuddling up to me on the sofa when I’m wearing it. I would definitely wear this of an evening too, as the stylish pattern makes it ideal to pair with some smart jeans and heeled boots. Definitely another all-rounder and perfect for years to come.
This is a tricky one for me, I try not to look too far ahead, so my plan for the moment is to simply continue as we are and to live each day as it comes.
Creatively, I plan to continue sharing more great product and brands like WoolOvers, to show people that there are well made products out there which are made to last, rather than spending money on products to wear once and discard. I also plan to continue writing about our life here in the woods and what each season brings as my main aim and focus for the blog is to create content so that The Woodland Wife continues to be a source of inspiration, as well as a source of discussion for those seeking a slower and/or more sustainable lifestyle.
All images © thewoodlandwife