At Upcycle Arcade HQ, since becoming a full-time furniture upcycler – I say full-time very loosely – I have been able to spend much more time indulging in one of my increasingly important hobbies: gardening. I say this as I find complete tranquility and calm in tinkering about in my area of paradise. Gardening for many has become an antidote to lockdown blues and whilst I thankfully, did not suffer such downturns in mood, I do feel simple, unbridled contentment in my garden.
Cottagecore: It is the celebration of an idealised rural life. It values traditional and crafting skills with an emphasis on the wholesome purity of the outdoors. It values simplicity and the soft peacefulness of the pastoral life as an escape from the dangers of the modern world.
Cottagecore is a brand new term for me. The ideal became hugely popular on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cottagecore gardening is intended to be environmentally friendly. Think of a garden spilling over with blousy blooms, rambling roses and climbers, native flowers in a mêlée of bee-friendly borders. Patches of pristine lawns turned over to meadow. Attracting pollinators and encouraging biodiversity is the aim of the game.
GYO (Grow Your Own just in case you didn’t know) is heralded as is baking and cooking from scratch using locally sourced produce if not your own, each reflecting the philosophy of self-sufficiency. This is not new: Tom and Barbara lived The Good Life quite successfully for three years in the 1970s!
Living in the countryside is not necessary for this lifestyle. Cottagecore is an ideal. It creates a warm feeling when one thinks about how wonderful it would be to live a simpler, more bygone existence. Lockdown has given many people the chance to appreciate what they have and also to get on board with sustainable living in all or some of its guises. The ideas of Cottagecore can help to satisfy a desire for “an aspirational form of nostalgia” as well as an escape from many forms of stress and anxiety.
My bookshelves are loaded with what I now see as potential Cottagecore-friendly books ranging from gardening, crochet, sewing and crafting. A couple from Michelle Mackintosh – Care Packages and Sustainable Gifting – as well as Kirstie Allsopp‘s Handmade Christmas stand out as great examples. These sit alongside my growing collection of family photobooks.
A new discovery which embraces everything Cottagecore (it seems) is the podcast Grow, Cook, Eat, Arrange from Sarah Raven and Arthur Parkinson. I’m hooked! Not a usual podcast subscriber, this ticks every box and I have learned many hints and tips about sowing, growing and cutting flowers as well as recipes for your homegrown harvest. And luckily for me, Sarah Raven lives down the road from my Mum so I intend to pop along when her lovely garden is open to visitors. I may indulge in a gardening course while I’m there.
The whole ethos of Cottagecore is all a bit idealistic really but it feels nice. It is a welcome comfort to return to when the world is spinning a little too fast as it invariably does sometimes. It helps the busiest of minds quieten down if only for a while. For me? I am crafting and creating on a daily basis nowadays and loving the freedom to enjoy the beauty of my garden when I’m waiting for paint to dry. Harmony and tranquility in spades.