A Simple Life Escaping the Rat Race. How to Live a Simpler Life...by Topsy Turvy Tribe

A Simpler Life…Escaping the Rat Race

I have a confession to make, some of you might find this really, really shocking…

I haven’t bought any clothes for myself for a whole year. 365 days, 12 months, a whole year.  There I said it, phew, it’s out there now.  I know you might be concerned for me, worry that something is most definitely wrong and concerned for my mental sanity but it’s OK, really.  I haven’t lost my marbles, or gone fruit loop and all of my faculties are well and truly intact.  Yes there are a few things I have coveted, I would like a cosy jumper, a new scarf, a new dress, a new top, some new jeans…OK I’d like a whole new wardrobe but the point is I haven’t bought any of these things because I do not need them.

Wants and needs are two completely different things but in today’s society lines seem to have become a little blurred.  Chaos, our threenager recently had a tantrum when we were out at the park with a cafe attached…’I want, I want…I NEED a toy from the ma-sheen!’  Actually, No, you really don’t need a toy, you may certainly want one but needing one is altogether a different kettle of fish.  Obviously it is a little difficult to rationalise and explain to an overanxious threenager that  a) the toys in the €1 machine are rubbish, will break and end up in landfill within milliseconds and b) that he already has loads of toys and c) it’s a complete and utter waste of money!

We are living in Spain now, before that we were in housesitting in Portugal and before that we lived in Kent in the UK.  Hubbie and I both had good jobs, (teachers) both worked very hard and had lots of lovely things.  Then everything went Topsy Turvy after our youngest son’s illness and major surgery to remove a tumour.  We decided to put our priorities in order, quit the rat race and left our flat, jobs, friends, family and most of our possessions in storage.  We left our ‘stuff’ and the UK behind us to find a cheaper way of living, spending our savings so that we can spend some quality family time with our boys.

Since we quit the rat race we have never been happier and more content with our lack of stuff!  I sew and upcycle old clothes, use cloth nappies (I even made my own cloth wipes (as a non-sewer I was quite impressed with myself).  We try to be as frugal as we can, especially when it comes to money and travelling with our two toddlers and food and drink.  We cook everything from scratch, forage in the garden and try to do our best to utiltise what nature makes available to our little tribe.

Leaving the UK made me realise what a crazy consumerist society we are engulfed by in the UK.  In the UK you feel the urge to have a full face of make-up on and change out of your lounge wear into some nice clothes just to pop to the shops.  Everything is geared towards convenience and your possessions, or lack of them, reflect your place in society.  It seems like there is so much pressure in todays jam-packed  society to have ‘things’.  A plethora of possessions cluttering up your life, a newly decorated home, a brand new sofa, an extension to house your new things.  Keeping up with the Jones’…a new car, a super large flat screen tv, the latest iPhone and tablet and laptop and of course you definitely need [insert your latest ‘thing’ here].  Is this a modern thing?  I know that people will always covet things they don’t have, but has it gone a little too far?

It would seem though that in Central Portugal things are done rather differently.  Yes there is a big problem with poverty, the average wage in Portugal is a measly €500 a month so the majority simply cannot afford new things.  They make do and mend and spend as little as possible.  Central Portugal also seems to draw a multitude of different nationalities who are looking for a simpler life.  German families who are free to homeschool (homeschooling is illegal in Germany), English, Austrian, Spanish…you  name it.

How much do you spend on your child on their birthday..on their friend’s birthday?  We went to a beautiful birthday party for a 10 year old Austrian boy who had lived for most of his life in central Portugal, what struck me was the gifts people brought him.  Simple, creative gifts that were not all about the monetary value.  His favourite gift was a Venus Fly Trap. A plant!  Can you even imagine the reaction of your child or your child’s friend?  I know that I am generalising terribly here but I do wonder how a 10 year old brought up in the UK would have reacted…

Maybe we should put a large chunk of the blame onto advertising and in particular TV.  You are unable to watch children’s programmes on TV without being bombarded by tantalising trailers for the latest must have toys, gadgets and gizmos.  It’s inevitable that your child wants what they see, after all that’s how children work!  Maybe because ex-pat children living in central Portugal didn’t really watch TV, (don’t worry they weren’t that off-grid and still accessed YouTube or downloaded cartoons and films), they didn’t then covet the latest toys quite as much.  The children also spent so much of their time outside, learning through play and having fun.  It wasn’t just the children either.

enjoying-the-simple-life

The people who lived in our Portuguese village were from lots of different countries but they were without exception the friendliest people we had ever met.  We were invited into everybody’s homes and made incredibly welcome.  Despite being so very different the people there all had something in common, they had all escaped the rat race, many changing their professions, lived off the land and wanted a simpler life.

It was a relief and a weight off our shoulders not to have to be concerned about having the latest clothes, toys, shoes or car.  To let our children walk around barefoot or paddle naked in the stream.  To be able to simply enjoy being together as a family without any critical eyes watching you .  To be frugal, wear our clothes until they have holes in and mend them and to enjoy living in a supportive community.

So back to my point, I guess you don’t need to move or literally escape the rat race to reach out for a simpler life.  A few small changes can help you live with less ‘stuff’, that is, if you want to change!  Make a commitment to try and scale down your shopping, only buy what you need, not want, as you know yourself you don’t need the latest car or mobile to be happy.  Save some of the money you could spend on ‘stuff’ to spend more ‘time’ in the present…enjoy and revel in what you do have, your friends, partners, family and children.  Life really is too short to be governed by our need for possessions, try taking some time out to live the simpler life.

Try making these small changes in your life:

how-to-live-a-simpler-life

 

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Post Author: Topsy Turvy Tribe

128 thoughts on “A Simpler Life…Escaping the Rat Race

    Soppymum

    (September 11, 2016 - 7:06 am)

    Love this. Living abroad has also made me realise how caught up we were in that way of life. Family time is the most important thing and you don’t need all the gadgets to do that. I hope we can continue this when we go back in a few months! Hope you have a good experience in Spain as well. Portugal sounds amazing #kcacols

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 11, 2016 - 5:05 pm)

      Thanks for your comment. It is great to step back and get some perspective by living or travelling abroad,but all too easy to live like the majority when you’re part of that culture!l. Hope you don’t find it too much of a reverse vulture shock when you go back to the UK!

    Alex

    (September 11, 2016 - 7:28 am)

    You sound like Hebrews 13:5; let your way of life be free of the love of money and be content with the present things. Wether you believe in God or not, these are wise words, and a recipe for a happier life. It makes me happy that you are raising your children like this. Where in Central Portugal are you? My parents live near Mortagua and know lots of expats in that area??

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:00 am)

      Thanks Alex, yes totally wise words! We were just near Serta, about an hour the other side of Coimbra from your parents. Portugal is a fabulous place I bet your parents have a great life there. We are now in Spain about half an hour from the coast, it’s amazing how much more populated it is here but still very relaxed and trying to live the simpler life!

    thetaleofmummyhood

    (September 11, 2016 - 8:01 am)

    This is a great list, such easy things that make a massive difference. Life sounds like it’s treating you well!

    #KCACOLS

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:01 am)

      Thank you for your lovely comment. It is easy to live a little simpler, just a few small changes bit by bit!

    Nadia - ScandiMummy

    (September 11, 2016 - 8:49 am)

    You are completely right and we have created a “I want” society where even adults have major tantrums if they don’t get what they want. Wishing you all the best for the future wherever it will take you. Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS Hope you’ll come back next Sunday

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:02 am)

      Thank you for your lovely comment Nadia…Adults having tantrums too…oh no!

    Tara

    (September 11, 2016 - 12:19 pm)

    Great post and fantastic tips at the end. I try and live a simple life but I still have a way to go. I tell myself that even a little helps.

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:03 am)

      Thank you Tara. Glad you are giving it a go, I know we have a way to go too but you’re right every little bit does definitely help and it’s definitely the effort that counts!

    Clare Bailey @Bailey's Blog

    (September 11, 2016 - 2:06 pm)

    What a refreshing read. I think in the UK we do have too much. I am trying to scale things down in a small way e.g. holidaying in this country only (which I have done for 21 years) and buying second hand clothes for myself (nothing brand new for about 18 months now – you can pick up some real bargains!) I really envy your lifestyle!

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:05 am)

      Thank you Clare! Second hand clothes are great, especially nowadays. You can pay new for something from Primark and it falls apart way too quickly, spend the same money at a charity shop on second hand quality clothes and they last way longer!

    justsayingmum

    (September 12, 2016 - 8:35 am)

    Just wow – I know if I showed my husband this we would be half way to putting our house on the market and doing exactly what you’ve done. We hate the consumeristic nature that we have got ourselves into – it’s ugly and doesn’t make the world a more beautiful place. I am in total awe of what you have dome and look forward to reading more #BigPinkLink

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:06 am)

      Thank you for your lovely comment…you never know until you try! Consumerism is ugly, just a few small steps and we can try and avoid it a little!

    Coombe Mill

    (September 12, 2016 - 8:50 am)

    Welcome to my world! We did just the same but Cornwall not Spain, that was in 2002 when the kids were tiny, I don’t miss the rat race at all, in fact after a weekend in London and hideous M25 traffic I’m delighted to be back in Cornwall today. It looks like you are leading a charmed life in Spain and it’s amazing what you don’t miss when you are not part of the South East of England rush. #MarvMondays

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:08 am)

      Thanks Fiona, it looks like you have a great set up in Cornwall and really are living the dream…and I agree the M25 is the pits!

    Sarah Stockley (@kipperscurtains)

    (September 12, 2016 - 10:17 am)

    I really admire you guys. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a while. I think you are doing an amazing thing. Like you are rarely buy new, don’t get me wrong I love clothes, but I have so many. We also love to forage, I’m still sorting through all the apples we picked yesterday. Sarah #mg

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:19 am)

      Thanks Sarah, it’s so nice to get such lovely feedback, love your Instagram too, and #explorerkids is fab! Hope you are enjoying your apples, don’t they taste so much nicer when they are free!

    Something About Baby

    (September 12, 2016 - 11:55 am)

    What a wonderful way to live. I’m not sure it’s something I could do (well, actually I’m not sure it’s not something my husband could do!) but I guess until you have such a life-changing reason to have a go, you can’t imagine changing your way of life. I’m starting small this year with Christmas and not going mad and buying things our son needs rather than a mountain of toys that are forgotten about in a week. Well done to you, and I look forward to following your adventures! #marvmondays

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:23 am)

      Thanks for your comment! Starting small is a great way to go, I guess we just jumped in head first. Christmas is a little crazy isn’t it. We try and buy the kids only one main gift each then a few bits as they always get loads of presents from their relatives too!

    Mother of 3

    (September 12, 2016 - 12:54 pm)

    Such a wonderful post! I love the idea of embracing a simpler life…

    winnettes

    (September 12, 2016 - 6:54 pm)

    You are so right about the consumerism in the UK, it’s so hard to avoid. This simpler life sounds fantastic. I’m sure the lessons your children are learning in life are invaluable and probably not achievable here in the UK.
    #BigPinkLink

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:33 am)

      Thank you for stopping by to comment! I guess it is easier overseas as you don’t have the same home comforts or mass advertising but it’s still possible to step back and make a few small changes.

    Hooks and Dragons

    (September 12, 2016 - 9:18 pm)

    Your life sounds idylic. There is a lot to be said for making do and living within your means. I probably fall somewhere in between at the moment. I do repair and make do where and when I can, but am still bow down to comercial pressure at times. #MG

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:38 am)

      Thanks for your comment, we all bow down to commercial pressures, as long as we make a conscious effort to try then I hope we are trying our best to do our bit!

    Lucy At Home

    (September 13, 2016 - 5:59 am)

    We have never had much money (we’re a family of 4 living on a below-average wage as I’m a SAHM) but we’re happy. Admittedly the TV broke this week and that’s a bit of a nightmare as we haven’t got the money to sort it, but generally, we’re fine with not having “stuff”. My daughters have never had much “stuff” so they don’t expect it. I think it may get more difficult, though, when they get older and realise how little they have compared to their friends. I definitely couldn’t move to another country, though, but it sounds like a wonderful life you have there. #TwinklyTuesday

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:40 am)

      Thanks Lucy, we never had much as kids either and I think it really taught us the value of money. I’m sure that by the sounds of it you have brought your daughters up to be grateful that you are able to be at home with them, mummy has got to be so much better than money!

    workfromhomemumuk

    (September 13, 2016 - 6:32 am)

    I love this! I agree what you say about society! I love the photos of your little ones exploring the world instead of being stuck in front of the tv or a tablet 🙂 I can’t wait to go on little travel adventures, im on my own with 4 under 8 so not possible to go far at the moment 🙂

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 11:53 am)

      Thanks for your lovely comment. It must be tough with two by yourself, even ‘travelling’ to the local park must be a mission, as long as you have urge to travel I’m sure that you will when they’re a little older!

    Sarah

    (September 13, 2016 - 7:58 am)

    Wow! You are living the dream!! My husband and I talk of doing something like you have but I’m not sure we have the guts…we really need to just go for it! Having said that we’ve done all the bullet points with the exception of buying clothes – that’s really my weakness. Best of luck on your adventures #twinklytuesday

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 12:01 pm)

      Thanks Sarah, I guess we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our youngest son’s illness. It really was the impetus to change everything! Sounds like you are making an effort to be less drawn into consumerism though…It does take lot of mental effort not to buy any new clothes!!

        Sarah

        (September 13, 2016 - 12:24 pm)

        Very true, but it’s nice to hear that the best of times can come from the worst of times. We really do try – we’ve got an ambition to be as self sufficient as possible one day. But yes, the shopping habit is going to be the hard one to break. My husband is very good at spending on quality so it lasts for ages but I find it EVER SO HARD to resist the lure of a zara sale…. Best of luck to you I really admire you xxxx

    Lisa Pomerantz

    (September 13, 2016 - 8:34 am)

    Quitting the rat race is just what I needed to read as I sat down with my cuppa and and tuned in to my Mac (2011). It sounds like you are living beautifully. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I will share it too! Here in the US, we need a lot more of this. M’wah! <3 #mg

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 13, 2016 - 12:09 pm)

      Ah thank you Lisa, such a fabulous comment! We are really enjoying our way of life at the moment…long may it continue 🙂

    rightroyalmother

    (September 13, 2016 - 6:37 pm)

    I would, honestly, do this in a flash if I was a) brave enough and b) on my own. NW would never have it but I often fantasise about doing exactly what you have done. I lived in Madagascar for three months in my early thirties and was the happiest I’ve ever been, living with the poorest people I’ve ever known. We are conditioned into thinking ‘things’ are the be all and end all and I feel very sorry for our children – and as if I have a momentous task on my hands to try to counteract all the consumerist pressure they will encounter in the UK. Brilliant post. #twinklytuesday

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:03 pm)

      Madagascar must have been a fascinating place to live. It really does change your perspective when you live a ‘different’ life. Our children are conditioned so we can only try our best to teach them about true values, wants and needs!

    Lady Nym

    (September 13, 2016 - 9:00 pm)

    I do sometimes worry about how ‘greedy’ (for lack of a better word) my boys might grow up to be. It’s hard because I like to make them happy and they are so overjoyed and grateful when they get a new toy or magazine but they don’t last long. The appreciation is temporary.

    I don’t think I need much for myself. I tend to have phones years out of date, some of my clothes are a decade or more old and many have hole in! But I do worry about future generations and their view of ‘stuff’.

    #MarvMondays

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:05 pm)

      Thanks for your comment, if your boys are grateful then that’s a great start. I have witnessed friend’s children being given presents and discarding them without really looking at them and saying ‘next’! Hopefully we can teach our children to be truly grateful and appreciate the value of ‘things’ and just how privileged they to live in a rich western society.

    Rhian

    (September 14, 2016 - 5:54 am)

    It’s an interesting perspective and it’s great that it seems to be working for you. I don’t waste a lot of money and it pains me to do so, but I don’t think I could (or would want to) cut every frivolous purchase out. Sometimes it’s not just about what we want, but how we feel and it can feel nice to give to others. I want to teach my child not to be greedy and to appreciate what she has but also to be generous in her own way. Good blog. #bestandworst

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 14, 2016 - 7:51 am)

      Thanks Rhian for your perspective!. I guess it’s all too easy to be wasteful but as long as we are mindful. We still have treats too,especially the children but we try not to buy just for the sake of it! Thanks for your comment.

    Mrs C

    (September 14, 2016 - 6:08 am)

    It sounds amazing! Although not quite the extreme, we moved to the country for similar reasons and to simplify life x #bestandworst

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 14, 2016 - 8:02 am)

      Oh lovely, it makes such a massive difference moving out of a city/town to the countryside. Hope you love it!

    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons

    (September 14, 2016 - 8:01 am)

    It’s noticeable that the level of consumerism in the UK is huge. It’s interesting to read your comments about kids tv – we tend to just watch CBeebies, but when I visit my sister’s and she puts other kids channels on I’m always struck by the level of adverts – so in your face, bright colours and loud noises, it’s impossible to ignore them. Funnily enough, I also get comments from her about how my son hardly has any toys (not how I see it – our living room is filled with them!). I love your comment about the plant as a birthday gift – I know my son would love that, he’s really into plants and gardening, and I hope that’s something we can keep alive as he grows older. #FamilyFun

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 14, 2016 - 8:22 am)

      Thanks Katy! Consumerism really is rife in the UK and seems a little out of control. I have similar friends who’s children have so many toys and Christmas is just extreme…the amount of money spent! It seems like there are a lot of us who have had enough though and are trying to scale things down! Let’s try and keep our children connected to nature and hour we can make a little difference 🙂

    Mainy - myrealfairy

    (September 14, 2016 - 10:04 am)

    great post and spot on. I get what you are saying and for me though I only really understood it when i left the UK and I spent two years living in the peruvian andes in the sacred valley. Everything was turned on its head and I adapted and loved it. It taught me so much about myself and values. Back in the UK now and it’s easy to slip back into some comfy materialistic traits but theres a definite change for the better. I’d love to do it again with my boys soon as they could do with the experience now as its pretty crazy here with whats available.
    mainy 🙂
    #mg

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:09 pm)

      Wow I am so jealous of you living in the Sacred Valley, what an awesome place. I spent a month travelling in Peru 10 years ago and it really is an eye-opening country to visit. The people have so little there yet seem so happy with their lot. As long as we can try and share our perspectives on consumerism with our children, hopefully we can help teach them to be less materialistic! Thanks for your comment!

    fatherof5blog

    (September 14, 2016 - 10:46 am)

    Your story has struck a cord with me. Unfortunately my partner would never agree to have a simple life like you do, she does love being a consumer. However, I’m a minimalist, I have a small drawer of clothed, a pair of home shoes and work boots.
    I like it this way and I do envy your life choice #KCACOLS

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:17 pm)

      Thanks for your comment. I used to love shopping when I was single. I guess sometimes your life has to change for you to change the way you think!

    tammymum

    (September 14, 2016 - 2:35 pm)

    I love this, I started reading it in #bigpinklink but I can’t see a comment so no doubt a baby needed my attention. I am in just in awe of you guys after everything you’ve been through and to really make the most of life and up sticks and really make the most of life. There are so many lessons to learn in this post and you guys are living proof that it can be done. You’re right we really don’t need 90% of all we think we do. We get so swept up in our lives and others lives that it gets lost a long the way. I am guilty of this too! Thank you for reminding me and highlighting what’s really important. Thank you for linking up at #familyfun. I hope You can come back again next week xx

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:23 pm)

      Ah thank you so much for such a lovely comment. Sometimes something major has to happen to rattle our cage and make us realise what is really important!

    The UnNatural Mother

    (September 14, 2016 - 7:09 pm)

    Im gulity of buying far too much stuff and throwing away perfectly good things . The £1 kids machines are my arch enemy. Im so please i have found out more about your story and wish you luck in the future.#FamilyFun

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:30 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment. I tell my kids we will save up the £1 from each machine to put towards a quality toy or one from the charity shop. We have been ‘saving up’ for quite a while now 😉

    happywawa15

    (September 14, 2016 - 7:49 pm)

    I really enjoyed reading this. Your new life sounds fantastic. I’ve often said having money is expensive – the constant drive to buy new things to make earning lots seem worthwhile is relentless and exhausting. #familyfun

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:33 pm)

      Thank you for your comment and I totally agree…having money is expensive and exhausting!

    Poppy Reflects

    (September 14, 2016 - 8:02 pm)

    This post is so on point. It really resonates with me as I often want to give it all up and live a simpler life more about the enjoyment of each moment than the things and objects in it. I am so happy you are enjoying your life in Spain with your boys and I wonder where life may take you next x #KCACOLS

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:34 pm)

      Thank you for such a beautiful comment…I’m definite we wouldn’t have quit the rat race if it wasn’t for my youngest son’s life changing illness. I’m just glad now looking back that something so wonderful has come from something so awful!

    Fridgesays

    (September 14, 2016 - 8:04 pm)

    #marvmondays the word frugal makes me chuckle. I’ve no idea why? Haha. I agree that need and want are confusing and not just for children. I also think it’s worth buying higher quality, it lasts longer and there is something fabulous about wearing beautiful items. I’m currently
    Working on a capsule wardrobe but I’m not throwing out items until ‘there time is up’

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:36 pm)

      Frugal is a bordering on a rude word really…a bit like fudge! A capsule wardrobe sounds like a fab idea!

    Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum

    (September 14, 2016 - 9:15 pm)

    I love this, I’m definitely going to take away a few of your tips on how to live a simpler life. Its a topic that regularly comes up in our household as does moving abroad, I love reading about your family life. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:38 pm)

      Thank you Hannah for such a lovely comment. One thing I’ve learnt after my youngest son being so ill is to just make things happen. It took a massive life change for us to do it!

    alifeinpracticeblog.com

    (September 15, 2016 - 6:09 am)

    This is incredible, you guys are amazing, I’d never have the courage to do what you did, I’m so glad you’re happy! xx #sharingthebloglove

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:40 pm)

      Thank you for your comment. I guess it does take guts to step outside your comfort zone but at the time we were just looking for a way to be together whilst our son recovered.

    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons

    (September 15, 2016 - 12:18 pm)

    Just stopping by again to say thanks so much for sharing this with us at #SharingtheBlogLove – it’s such a super post!

    elizabethdoren2

    (September 16, 2016 - 1:51 am)

    Bless you. I do my best with gardening and farm to table. There’s an immense feeling of satisfaction when you make something from the scratch.

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:41 pm)

      Thanks for your comment. Growing your own is wonderful isn’t it…not only that but so much healthier and nutritious too!

    thetaleofmummyhood

    (September 16, 2016 - 7:49 am)

    Just popping back from #PicknMix x

    Two Tiny Hands (@IsntitprettyKTB)

    (September 16, 2016 - 11:33 am)

    I couldn’t agree more. We live quite a simple life and don’t really strive for new and exciting things. I’m with you on the clothes thing too, I have however bought a couple of things but by nowhere near as much as would have done in my younger life. I repair and patch up trousers all the time. Thanks for linking up to #FamilyFun

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:42 pm)

      Thanks for your lovely comment. Glad to hear that we’re not in the minority!

    Becster

    (September 16, 2016 - 11:53 am)

    I love this post! And I am in awe an rather jealous of your simple lifestyle! Sounds quite blissful! 🙂 #KCACOLS

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:43 pm)

      Thank you! We love it and it’s funny how much easier it is living a simpler life!

    Kaye

    (September 16, 2016 - 8:22 pm)

    I’ve been thinking about this alot lately and a simpler life sounds amazing. I read a post about minimalising the clutter (huge plastic toys) and leaving the educational stuff recently and seeing a change in how children play, rather than watching TV. Same applies for us I suppose! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. xo

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:54 pm)

      Thanks for your comment Kaye, we’ve definitely seen a change in the way the boys play. As we only have a few toys out at one time and don’t have very many toys they play so much more and interact so much more with their environments and nature. I agree that the same most definitely applies to us too!

    alisonlonghurst

    (September 17, 2016 - 8:41 am)

    Your post really resonates with me. I travelled around the world with my 4 children and I just love the sense of freedom a backpack gives you. I find the simpler life so incredibly liberating and hanker after it now. Everything you talk about consumerism and so on in your post is totally true. The trouble is, you have to physically remove yourself from it in order to truly get away from it, because it sucks you in. Your point about trying not to let it is a valid one. Alison x #fortheloveofblog

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 12:56 pm)

      Thank you for your comment Alison. It’s definitely much easier to avoid consumerism when you’re not a part of it! We can but try our best not to get too sucked in!

    mackenzieglanville

    (September 17, 2016 - 9:05 am)

    This is such an inspirational post, it is something i have been looking more into over the past 6 months actually, but I am struggling to not buy and spend.I know we don’t ‘need’ all these things and I find it helps if I stay away from shops, but still I find it harder than I wish I did. I think you are doing an amazing thing, not only for you and your family, but for the environment too #mg

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 1:09 pm)

      Thanks for your lovely comment Mackenzie. It is really difficult not to buy things when you have the money and the opportunity but once you get into it, and get over the hard bits it really does make you realise that we have far too much and need far less!

    relentlesslypurple

    (September 17, 2016 - 7:51 pm)

    I am honestly envious! Your new life looks absolutely amazing. #sharingthebloglove

    randommusings29

    (September 18, 2016 - 1:00 pm)

    I’m a bit two ways about this. I’m not particularly materialistic, but I do feel like money is meant to be spent. I don’t want to work all week and then deprive myself of things I want, it seems pointless working so many hours. However, I do like the idea of the simple living thing, especially somewhere like Portugal!
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 18, 2016 - 1:14 pm)

      Thanks Debbie. We’re not trying to deprive ourselves of anything we have just changed our priorities from needing and wanting ‘things’ to being happy not working 24-7 and enjoying just being together as a family. Don’t get me wrong we still spend money, but I’d rather spend money on petrol going on a family day out than a few pounds on a rubbish plastic toy, so I guess it’s all about our priorities at this moment in time!

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    theparentingjungle

    (September 19, 2016 - 11:11 am)

    I really love this post, I was looking around my sons room yesterday and realised half the stuff he has he does not play with because I get him lots of things in the panic that he will somehow miss out…I get most of it from chairy shops and Gumtree, same as clothes so don’t think I am ridiculous with spending but I definatley get caught up in the want..rather than the need! I am glad your family hae found contentment 🙂 #abogginggoodtime

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 19, 2016 - 8:39 pm)

      At least you are buying second hand which is so much better for the environment! We are all guilty of wanting to give it all to our children…but I guess we need to remind ourselves that they’d much prefer our company than a new toy and remember what’s more important in life!

    A Mum Track Mind (@amumtrackmind)

    (September 19, 2016 - 6:45 pm)

    I absolutely LOVE this post. I am a bit of a serial over-shopper and sometimes I get so fed up with all the stuff that I’ve accumulated that I have a big throw out and ten trips to the charity shop /tip. Those days are so cathartic and it makes me realise that in no way do I ever need all that stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it is lovely to have a little treat here and there but I would love to live a simpler life.
    I’m really enjoying following your blog and seeing where and what you’re getting up to. I wish I had the balls to pack it all in and live life like that! Thanks so much for sharing on #fortheloveofBLOG x

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 19, 2016 - 7:31 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment. Before we left the UK we had over 20 bin bags for charity and even more for the tip. It really is scary how much we buy. It really is a relief leaving the rat race and not having to buy buy buy to keep up all the time x

    dearbearandbeany

    (September 19, 2016 - 9:28 pm)

    You are right we are really bad at over spending in the UK! Before I had children I just brought whatever I wanted, when I wanted it (within my limits of course) But since having the girls I hardly buy anything for me anymore. And I am really strict on setting a budget for their birthday and christmas and sticking to it. They won’t appreciate it if they are given too many toys that they don’t know what to do with. My niece is really badly spoilt and she actually gets bored opening her presents. I would hate my children to ever be like that. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

    Mummy in a TuTu (@mummyinatutu)

    (September 21, 2016 - 1:47 pm)

    This sounds absolutely idyllic and something I am in desperate need of!! Really interesting and great tips!
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

    mudpiefridays

    (September 21, 2016 - 10:18 pm)

    This really appeals! I was thinking the other day that as I am on maternity leave and need to make my Monjey last there will be no treating to a new to going on! My treat is to stay at home longer with my baby! Wise words! Popping by from #Dreamteam but that’s also for linking up with #bloggerckubuk xx

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 23, 2016 - 6:27 pm)

      Thank you, it really is the best treat to be able to spend time with your baby, enjoy every minute!

    […] of packing in life as we know it and heading abroad for a simpler way of life. Andrea’s post, A simpler life… Escaping the Rat Race, is such an inspiring read – after their youngest son was diagnosed and treated for a tumour, […]

    Elsie Pop

    (September 22, 2016 - 6:44 am)

    Incredible post! You also might’ve just saved me a fairly hefty investment in a new phone! I love the story about the venus fly trap – they’re awesome when you’re a kid, it’s a shame simple things like that aren’t appreciated to the extent when we’re surprised that kids love them now. A simpler life sounds idyllic. xx

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 23, 2016 - 6:29 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment. I really hope our post has helped you, it is so difficult not to get caught up in consumerism, if you phone still works, keep it and save some money for an experience, not a product 🙂

    mummymiller

    (September 22, 2016 - 8:54 am)

    This is a great post, I totally agree about the consumerism, people but so many things because they want them not because they’re needed. Children nowadays expect to get what they want, when they want it which is a shame. Thanks for sharing #sharingthebloglove

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 23, 2016 - 6:30 pm)

      Thank you, it really is true that in Western society we seem to be raising a generation who really don’t want for anything because they have so much and have huge expectations to boot. Let’s hope that we can slowly put things right.

    Tooting Mama

    (September 22, 2016 - 6:24 pm)

    I love this post. Well done for escaping the materialism and consumerism that really does engulf us all. We don’t actually really need very much to make us happy. Some of the best things are pretty much free like spending time with our kids.

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 23, 2016 - 6:31 pm)

      Thanks for your comment. Spending time with our families really is priceless 🙂

    Mummy and Monkeys

    (September 22, 2016 - 10:31 pm)

    This is a really interesting post. I often think I would like to live where spending isn’t the norm or expected. Im usually quite careful with money and often feel guilty for spending it when I don’t really need to. Comes from really having none when Kyle was little.Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 23, 2016 - 6:33 pm)

      Thank you for your comment. It is a relief to live somewhere where people don’t spend frivolously, it actually makes life easier!

    Alana - Burnished Chaos

    (September 23, 2016 - 8:25 pm)

    Such a great post. I think we could all do with living a little simpler, you are giving you’re beautiful children such a great start in life x
    #SharingtheBlogLove

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 24, 2016 - 6:51 am)

      Thank you Alana for such a lovely comment 🙂

    marinailieva

    (September 24, 2016 - 6:42 am)

    I totally love this! I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a simpler life and more family time. And I admire you, honestly! Your kids are lucky to have you. 🙂 xx #SharingtheBlogLove

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 24, 2016 - 6:53 am)

      Thank you Marina for such a beautiful comment, really appreciate it!! 🙂 x

    Sian QuiteFranklySheSaid

    (September 24, 2016 - 9:08 am)

    I adore this! I used to be so materialistic then I had children and just before my first was born Ian lost his job. So we were forced to be frugal. Ian has gone back to his old ways of spend spend spend but the frugality has stuck with me as I’ve realised how wasteful we are. My stepchildren are extremely demanding and expect things all the time, they certainly wouldn’t be impressed with a plant for a gift. But I think it’s wonderful! Thanks for linking up to #SundayBest x

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 24, 2016 - 7:42 pm)

      Thank you SIan! Sometimes it does take a major change in our lives to get us to change our ways. I know a lot of children who would have a pink fit if they were given a plant for their birthday too. Let’s hope we can change things little by little!

    Twin Pickle

    (September 24, 2016 - 5:28 pm)

    Sounds like a lovely lifestyle, especially for children. They will thank you for this later on 🙂 #sharingthebloglove

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 24, 2016 - 7:36 pm)

      Thank you! We do hope that we are doing the right thing for our boys.

    Family Makes

    (September 24, 2016 - 7:46 pm)

    I love every sentiment about this (except for the circumstances of a tumour which caused you to make the change in the first place). You have some wonderful ideals to live by, which I think we can all implement no matter where we live. Thank you for such an inspiring post. #SharingtheBlogLove

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 26, 2016 - 7:41 pm)

      Thank you for your beautiful comment. When bad things happen we have to make the best of them and we can truly say that we are really trying to make a new, better life for our family!

    Emma

    (September 26, 2016 - 11:47 am)

    I would love to do something like this, I’m a real consumer at heart but have had to keep myself in check whilst on maternity leave. I’m not doing anything remotely like you but have realised I don’t need to buy anything new that I don’t need – clothes, toiletries etc, amazing what I’m finding in backs of cupboards that I haven’t used. #SharingtheBlogLove

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 26, 2016 - 7:44 pm)

      Thanks for your comment Emma, I can truly say that I too was a massive consumer in the UK, I had so many toiletries my hubbie despaired! Sometimes it takes a massive life change, sometimes a little nudge, to realise what the important things are in life and that we don’t need to spend or have loads of ‘stuff’ to be happy and content!

    Candid Cake Club

    (September 27, 2016 - 9:06 pm)

    We’ve definitely lived a more frugal life since we became parents. I must admit I sometimes miss having the ability to be more extravagant – simply can’t afford to be these days – but equally I enjoy having a simpler and less cluttered life! #SharingtheBlogLove

    escapetothebarn

    (September 28, 2016 - 12:15 pm)

    This is really inspiring and reminds me we can still do more to have less unnecessary stuff. Before our kids, like everyone else has commented, we were much more materialistic and then our priorities changed. Over the past year and a half my husband has given up full time work to retrain as a primary teacher whilst I worked part time with the eventual aim of moving to Cumbria and having the kids out running wild. We did it this summer, neither of us are working yet and living off savings, trying to be more frugal, but most importantly enjoying all of us being together

      topsyturvytribe

      (September 30, 2016 - 3:05 pm)

      Thanks for your comment. Wow it sounds like we are totally similar. I just love seeing the kids running wild!I really do think some people put family time low on their list of priorities. Great to hear you think it’s the most important thing too 😊

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    Intoxicating Perfume | Thily Fin

    (November 25, 2016 - 12:00 pm)

    […] As you can see, this cf. joke, like most things, gets a lot better when you dissect it.  When I was a 14 year-old boy in biology class, I had to dissect a rat.  Rats are also one of those things that get better when you dissect them.  When you’re given a rat in biology class, it doesn’t seem anything like the concept of “rat” that you thought you knew in real life.  It’s all frozen and yellow… really it’s closer to the concept of “burrito” than anything. But dissecting a rat is one of the most beautiful and meaningful experiences you will have early in life.  You will suddenly become very interested in biology, and later in life it will enrich your understanding of the concept of “rat race.”  […]

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    eurovelocouple

    (January 7, 2017 - 8:31 am)

    Awesome blog post and couldn’t agree with you more. I’m all for frugal living and everyone else thinks I’m bonkers! Thanks for sharing xx

    Della Luce

    (February 17, 2017 - 6:08 am)

    This is an amazing article, we left England for many negative reasons and are travelling to recover from the anguish we felt. Looking forward to reading more from your ventures. DL

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (February 17, 2017 - 10:15 pm)

      Thank you Della, we hope your adventures bring you peace and relaxation !

    Changes | Topsy Turvy Tribe

    (March 18, 2017 - 8:42 pm)

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