Alcohol free living: two years in

It’s been two years since I quit booze. I’d wanted to cut alcohol out for ages. For a while there were lots of broken promises and fresh starts. But I had this developing discomfort about drinking; like it was a waste of time, sapping energy which could be channeled elsewhere. Alcohol always made me feel rubbish […]

Read More

Explore: sea swimming in Devon

In the last few years swimming has become an exercise staple.  From spring through to autumn, I take to the seas and rivers and so when the warmer weather arrived it was time to get back into the brine. My usual swim spot is Torbay, South Devon.  Torbay has lots of advantages because its waters are […]

Read More

Explore: running through history

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It seems when restrictions were partially lifted, people were afflicted by another contagion; one where ‘good old British common sense’ was replaced by a mania in which people perceived themselves invincible. They started throwing themselves off cliffs into swirling seas, marching up mountains in flip flops or queuing for three hours to buy a Big […]

Read More

Life on the doorstep

It is June already – how did that happen? One minute I’m getting up at 5.30am in the pitch black to go and photograph a wintry sunrise, the next I’m wide awake at 4am because the dawn chorus convinces my half-asleep brain I’m in an aviary.  And now we are on the cusp of British […]

Read More

Mental kindness – and unleashing the inner child

I wanted to write a long and thoughtful article on looking after your mind all the time, not just when Mental Health Awareness Week rolls around. But, quite honestly, I’ve not been able to find the words. I started procrastinating and that led me into beating myself up about it. The teeny tiny internal critic […]

Read More

Some lessons. 700 days alcohol free.

This morning I happened to check the app which tracks how long it has been since I quit drinking.    And – wow! – it’s been 700 days since I gave up booze.   It got me thinking about how different life is.   Today I woke up early, did yoga, some cleaning, messaged my […]

Read More

Forget the new normal, stay with the new for now

Over the past couple weeks talk has turned to what the ‘new’ normal may look like. Things won’t be the same again, we are told. It’ll be very different. The same people can’t tell us what our hinterland beyond will look like, it just won’t be what we were used to before. You become caught […]

Read More

Things I love right now

Rain showers I do love hot weather, really I do. I’m very happy that the dry spell is helping farmers after a shocking winter. But I’m blonde and fair skinned. I’ve only got to step outside the house sans factor 50 and I wonder if I might melt like a Mr Whippy. Along comes a […]

Read More

You don’t need to race to run

I’ve realised I’m changing. Usually I am here, there, everywhere. Racing around, running myself ragged.  And now… now, I am not. I’ve slowed down. I’ve spent more time looking, observing and enjoying what is around me.  These last few weeks have provided me with a deeper appreciation of what running means to me and the […]

Read More

The ugliness of social shaming 

Seriously, we are in 2020 and people still act as if running is an elite club. While on a running forum this week, I observed a discussion where people lamented the amount of other people they’d seen out running.  What’s with all these new runners, they raged. Who the hell are they! I’ve never seen […]

Read More

Being brave doesn’t mean you’re not afraid

So here you are and today you do not feel great.  You woke up feeling slightly terrified. Panic rises and falls in your chest. You switch on the news and switch it off again. It all sounds so bleak and you don’t think your fragile state can handle it right now.  Thing is, you don’t […]

Read More

Remembering the human touch

In my last blog post I used the term ‘physical distancing’. Someone (well meaning, no doubt) suggested I was confused. Did I not mean social distancing?  No, I replied. You see, I use this phrase in much the same way as I try avoiding the word ‘lockdown’.  The first time I heard ‘social distancing’ as […]

Read More

Remembering the light in the dark

These are, as everyone is saying, strange times. 24 hours can seem like an eternity. Once you get used to the new norm, the cards are tossed up and land in new and unfamiliar positions. Things are… weird. I guess you may be feeling it too. You’re not quite sure what you feel; sometimes a […]

Read More

Alcohol free living: 600 days then and now

Do you ever look back at yourself and wonder what the hell was going on? I do. Sometimes it’s not pretty either. In my drinking days, particularly in my 20s, you’d probably have looked at me and thought I was a laugh. Up for a good time. I see photos of a smiley girl with […]

Read More

Progress, not perfection

Today I did not get a personal best at a local parkrun but I’m delighted all the same. Why? Because I proved to myself I’m on the path to progression. A few years ago, and as I lay prone on a treatment bench, a physiotherapist – in a sublime display of How to Lose Friends […]

Read More

Staying alcohol free – each day at a time

You may have reached the end of Go Sober for October without touching a drop of booze. Or you’ve moderated your way through the month and feel full of resolve to erase alcohol completely. Either way, kudos to you for making such a positive change. Leading a life without alcohol in it, even just for […]

Read More

Step outside your comfort zone and admire the view

“It is not that I am so smart. But that I stay with the questions much longer.” – Albert Einstein. Hey folks! It’s been a little while since I last published a post here; not for lack of interest but because I’ve been so darn busy. It’s been a fun time; I’ve explored new places […]

Read More

Find your tribe

Let’s talk today about finding your tribe. Finding your tribe is a powerful primitive force. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (a motivational theory tool used in psychology to model human needs), love and belonging are one of the five tiers. Healthy human beings, Maslow theorised, have a certain number of needs. These are in a […]

Read More

About Me

Hello! I’m Emma, the author of Devon Maid. I’m a self-confessed story junkie, journalist, marketing/communications officer, (slow) runner and advocate of positive wellbeing. Devon Maid is my blog and place to share with you an exploration of places: the mind and the great outdoors. It’s also my sanctuary: a platform where I can write candidly […]

Read More

Thoughts: Why I’ve quit (most) social media

At times social media has made me feel anxious and quite cross. It wasn’t always like this. When I first joined platforms like Facebook and Twitter it was a lot of fun; free from ads, pushy influencers and showy-offy projection. What started as good time in the amusement arcades turned into an unpleasant rollercoaster ride. […]

Read More