Can You Live A Simple Life In The City?

My dream house would be a cottage in the country. It would have a door in the middle, with roses trained around it. It would have a large back garden to grow all my vegetables and I would have room for flowers too. It would be so quiet. We would live a very simple life with chickens, pigs and maybe a couple of goats.

In reality we actually live in a town, just over a mile from the city centre. It takes just 30 minutes to walk to the high street.

If I step into my small back garden, I can hear the hum of traffic from the busy A47 at the end of my road….it’s a lot different from the house I dream of, but I know my dream house is just that – a dream, as our whole life is here in the city.


I like to think we have the best of both worlds. We don’t suffer from savage winters that leave us without electricity for weeks, we have lots of supermarkets and food shops very near to us and we can ‘nip’ to town if we need to and we are not isolated.

I know I can’t have complete peace and quiet in my back garden and it’s certainly not big enough to keep pigs or goats, but I do have a small lawn, I can hang my washing out and I can hear the birds singing.


What I am trying to say is, it’s not exactly my dream house but we make the best of it. I can’t grow all of my vegetables in my back garden, so I took on my four allotments to grow organic food for my family and they are just fifteen minutes walk away from us ….it’s the best of both worlds.


I try to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the high street, so I can avoid buying things for the sake of it. I use vinegar, bi-carb and lemon juice to clean our home and wash clothes using my homemade laundry liquid and nearly always hang my washing out to dry.


I cook from scratch and I make jams, pickles and chutneys etc. using the produce I have grown at my allotment. This all helps to avoid unnecessary chemicals and expense….but it also helps us to live a more simple life.

Sixteen years ago we began to cut household costs dramatically, so I could stay at home to look after my two daughters and this opened up a whole new unexpected life for us, which we now wouldn’t change. No longer do we get caught up with the ‘round-about’ of buying things to make us happy and we don’t keep up with the ‘Jones’ anymore with expensive cars and holidays. In fact we only own what we need to and we have simple, cheap holidays in the UK that we so look forward to.


I have been asked a few times how our daughters feel when they miss out on the latest ‘this’ or ‘that’…. but they don’t miss out. What they have learnt is they can’t have things straight away and they have to save for things they really want. I think it is a good lesson to take through life, as you really appreciate what you do have. My daughters have turned into lovely, kind and considerate teenagers and I am very proud of them.


None of the above came easy at the start, but we took one step at a time and here we are sixteen years later living a happy, simple life in the city.


Thank you for reading my blog today, I will be back next Friday.

I hope you have a lovely week.





29 thoughts on “Can You Live A Simple Life In The City?

  1. I don’t know anyone who has the life they dream about. But one time in my life those who I thought I had a much better life then me. Sometime if you real look in there life it isn’t what it seems.
    Sure we all have our off days…But I don’t have any desire to change my life.

    Coffee is on

  2. I can relate to that dream and live close to the M1. When choosing holiday spots its either French gites or English cottages in the countryside. Before taking an allotment we looked for somewhere with a large garden but couldn’t find anywhere where both the house and garden were what we were looking for.

    As an ex-teacher I came across many children who were material rich and attention poor. Many were easily pulled into trouble and felt they should have everything they wanted immediately. Parents compensated for not being able to give time to the children by pandering to their every whim when all they needed was to feel loved.

  3. My life is similar.I gave up my car,holidays abroad to be able to be at home,walk my son to school & lead a simple life cooking with basics food stuffs.My garden is my sanctuary where I listen to the birds sing and watch the butterflies & grow the occasional things to supplement our diets. Yet I can cycle to the city of Gloucester along the canal to the docks & have the benefit of that a couple of miles away. I still dream of the big lottery win (1 ticket a week!)and a house in the country but until then very happy where I am !

  4. Can You Live A Simple Life In The City?” I think it what you want to make it if you have not been over to read a lovely forum called down to earth it well worth a view minutes of your time or Rhonda’s blog on blogger called the same your bread looks lovely I am in the middle of re staring my sourdough starter as the last on died what part of the A47 are you I also can here it from my home too

  5. We live between a city and a town.The main road passes at the end of our fairly big garden, but sounds are drowned out by a high hedge of trees. I potter around my garden all day,every day and enjoy the birds and bees and growing our own veggies. On a small wage we live frugally, but Happy. Lovely blog 🙂 You can see my veggies and garden here if you like…. There’s always a Welcome for visitors 🙂

  6. You are a wonderful example of the art of simple living … very practical and at the same time hopeful and forward looking. I have learned a lot from you and put it to use in my own life. God bless.

  7. The simple life really is the best one.
    I expect if you could move you probably wouldn’t.
    You seem to be doing very well just as you are.
    Best wishes,
    Angela (Devon)

  8. I hear you whole heartedly! Life is what you make of it, and home is where you make it!
    I must say, I always hang my washing, there is no other option for me, but when I looked at your washing my first thought was, those whites are so WHITE! LOL! My whites ar on
    Y that white when they were clean to begin with or, at least, it depends on what dirtied them.
    You sound like Rhonda, who writes Down to Earth. Have you ever read her?

  9. Dear Mrs Thrift thankyou for your very interesting blog. I ‘self built’ my ideal eco house in a village where the birds still nest and sing. I have made bread sand grown veg nearly all my adult life then cared for various members of my family. Now is time to sell as I ‘m getting to infirm to manage it all. BUT the house has ( beautiful) wood windows and picket fence.. The garden is a riot of green veg,fruit and flowers,frog pond etc and I can’t sell it because despite 3 shower /bathrooms it’s seen as too high maintenance and modern people with buying power can’t do with it. Be warned that I have to radically change a lot of my principles to get sold in order to downsize.:-(

    • What a real shame you have to sell it and I’m amazed you can’t sell it. The only thing I can think of is exactly what you said “it’s too high maintenance for modern people with buying power” as these people spend their whole lives working for their wealth, without stopping to enjoy it as they think it’s the ‘buying’ of material things makes them happy….it is such a shame they can’t stop to smell the roses.

      Good luck green lily

  10. Hi
    Beautiful post!!!! I live a similar life how you. i bake my bread,cook from scratch and hang my washing out whenever it possible.Unfortunatley I have not four allotment,i have only a tiny garden where I grow so much as possible.
    You know I love your blog!
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    warm hugs Regina

  11. I really enjoyed this post….and it’s lovely to see all the comments which illustrate that there’s quite a lot of us out there who share similar life outlooks. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like the odd ones in society! Funnily enough, I’m reading this whilst watching a program on consumerism…Am pleased to say my life is more like yours than the ones on the tv. Have spent a nice evening down on the plot after a day of repairing the garden gate and painting the outdoor woodwork to keep it going for a few more years (hopefully). Work does tend to get in the way of doing more of these things but maybe one day……..

    We live in Norwich, not a million miles from the A47 too….it’s a long road!

    Thanks also to Sue at GLA as I just discovered your blog through her site!
    I have a (very poor and sporadic) blog too
    Hope you have a great weekend!

    • Thanks for reading my blog Lou, it’s lovely to have you here. I also love Sue’s blog at GLA and I’ve realised we do a lot of things the same at our allotments. I’ll pop over in a minute and have a look at your blog too (I love new blogs to read)

  12. there is peace in simple. We don’t have the best of everything. I am starting to find I am falling behind with technology, which could be a problem.

    I feel quite lifted today. I took 6 bulging carrier bags of paperback books to the charity shop.

    Have you ever had a problem with ants in courgettes? they seem to be munching the leaves and the courgette! eek???

    • I wonder if the slugs made a hole and then the ants came second…this happens with strawberries. Ants usually hang around when the weather is dry, so keep them well watered and hopefully they will go somewhere else

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