Live Your Best Life: Melanie Barnes
I’m so pleased to bring you another conversation with an inspiring woman for my Live Your Best Life interview series. I’ve been enthralled by Melanie’s beautiful and atmospheric images on her Instagram feed, Geoffrey and Grace, for a while and it’s from there that I discovered her blog. The women I talk to for this series don’t have everything figured out, their lives aren’t perfect – nobody’s are! Day by day they’re doing what they can to live their best life, and inspiring others at the same time. Here’s my chat with Melanie…
Welcome, Melanie, tell us a bit about yourself and your life, and how you got to where you are today.
Hello, I’m Melanie. I write the lifestyle blog Geoffrey and Grace, which is all about how to embrace slow living and live a more wholehearted life. I am also a freelance writer and photographer, and write, and take photos for magazines such as The Simple Things, Project Calm, Lionheart, 91 magazine, and Wildling. Before having my daughter I was a yoga teacher and a massage therapist, and way back before that I was dancer. The body and how it moves, and our connection to our body has been a life-long interest of mine. I believe in order to experience those wonderfully wholehearted moments every day it is essential to slow down and reconnect to our bodies. I am married to a wonderful man, Leo, and we have a daughter, Bailey, who is five, and we are lucky enough to live by the sea in Sussex.
Do you have any inspirational quotes or mantras that hold particular meaning for you?
A personal mantra I return to time and time again is “All is well”. I am naturally quite an anxious person, so I find this mantra really helpful to calm any general stress. Since my word for 2017 is ‘Ease’ I am loving the following quote, and have it on my office wall, “Go easy on yourself. Whatever you do today let it be enough.” Tiny Buddha
I love that quote, it’s something we could all do with keeping in mind. So how do you recognise when life’s beginning to get on top of you?
My body is good at letting me know… I feel (extra) tired, irritable, and small things become overwhelming.
What do you do then to get back to how you want to feel?
Rest, slow it down even more, cut things from my schedule that aren’t essential, and make sure I’m not putting any unnecessary pressure on myself. The first thing I try to remember is to make sure I’m breathing properly. By deepening and slowing my breath down regularly throughout the day, I can notice my mood changing almost instantly. Lastly, I also make more space for yoga and mediation.
What’s in store for you in the future, what are your plans, hopes and dreams?
It’s so interesting for me to think about this question right now, as I have been feeling on the precipice of some big choices. I’d love to have another baby and those that follow my blog will know that I have been quite open with our experience of infertility. At some point there will need to be some sort of punctuation on that part of our lives, but I’m still not sure how that will manifest itself.
Creatively, I want to continue writing and exploring my photography. I love my blog space and am thinking about how to expand that, and I also have a few other creative ideas that I’m letting just float about for a bit.
Thank you for taking this time with me, Melanie. My final question is, what does living your best life mean to you?
Having time to live slowly and with intention. Making sure there is space for the things I love; time with my family, time to be creative, time to get outside and explore nature. A life free from unnecessary stress and anxiety, where we are able to be kind to the planet and live peacefully.
For more information on how to embrace slow living head to Geoffrey and Grace where you can currently sign up to receive your free Slow Living Retreat e-book – 7 days to slow down and reconnect back to yourself… coming soon. You can also say hello over on the blog www.geoffreyandgrace.com and you can find Melanie on Instagram most days. Plus, she’s on Pinterest and Twitter.
Learn to live more mindfully and by doing so live with more joy in my e-course beginning on 10 April. Be Here Now is open for registration and you can find out all about it, and join, here, I’d love you to join me.