Further down the rabbit hole

Our two night stay in a straw bale built off-grid yoga retreat not only confirmed to us the way we want to live but inspired us to think even more unconventionally about the size and layout of our home.

Things we LOVED

  • straw bale plus wrap around ‘conservatory’ on a chilly day and night feels cool rather than draughty
  • open plan living upstairs as well as downstairs – just a huge bedroom for the kids with moveable mattresses – space to run around
  • rainwater harvested toilet – only flush for number twos!
  • boiling the kettle on the hob, and the noise that replaces an electric kettle
  • no TV!
  • using barely any electricity – instead a few lamps and battery operated fairy light strings
  • the rhythm of our day adapting to the house – slow mornings getting warm, hot drinks and food to help, moving out into the conservatory, moving upstairs for the sunset
  • running a scalding hot bath from the back boiler of the woodburner
  • less furniture, lower furniture
  • no wall units in the kitchen, no dishwasher, no microwave, no fridge or freezer! (no problem when you’re vegan=replaced by massive fruit bowl, massive veg basket)

Things we’d do BETTER

  • better woodburner, better logs, for better heat, plus a wood-fired range for cooking
  • go smalller, no wasted space behind the burner, oversized hallway
  • use the space – design the woodburner to be sat around all sides? grow veg in conservatory
  • no more rooms – make the downstairs room the kitchen on all walls, dining and living room in the middle of the ‘kitchen’
  • no more internal walls and doors – a corkscrew entrance for the bathroom, tipis for the kids bedrooms


  • move between two ‘pods’ for Spring/Summer Autumn/Winter living- could even be in different places in the UK or UK/France!
  • hobbit house – build into a hill – think cave, hibernation, nest for winter, go small
  • back to the writer roulotte ideas for Summer living – outside kitchen, wood-fired hot tub, composting loo, spend time outdoors, go small
  • a way to combine these two seasonal pods?

What this MEANS

  • all this blue skies/green light brainstorming is made all the more possible going forward having to only think about ourselves and the kids, as Moms will be happily nestled in her own much more normal warm, cosy home, so…
  • well, we’re looking for land because as it’s not possible to buy this set up, we have to build it!
  • we’re looking for land along the coast of North Pembrokeshire because we’ve found this community to offer exactly -just like the Ariege- what we’re looking for to support our kookie ways
  • we’re looking to downsize significantly and so downsize all belongings to those we absolutely adore or can’t live without
  • we’re looking to move towards eco cleaning products and natural toiletries, cool!
  • we’re looking forward to only needing a very modest income to cover bills, and staying debt-free, by altering the design, build, and the land purchase to suit the budget, rather than the other way around
  • this means we can look forward to spending our time, skills, and energy giving back to the local community and living in a gift economy to support all the other inter-planetary travellers the new dreamland seems to already be attracting



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