Fitting the Outdoors into my Everyday Life with Rockholly
I used to hate going for walks and spending time outdoors. I was always cold, wet and miserable, shivering while wishing I was wrapped up indoors. As a child, I would stamp my feet and refuse to head outside if it was raining. I wanted to be dry and warm, even if I did enjoy being outdoors. Even in early adulthood, I wouldn't voluntarily head out into the countryside unless it was a sunny day; rainy days were for wandering around the shops, reading in bed or retreating to the pub. So, what has changed? Is it my attitude - or my attire?
I've definitely adapted more to the weather. If you want to live in the north of England, you don't really have a choice! I actually prefer walking on moody, gloomy days - the conditions are better for taking photos and you don't get hot & sweaty. Rainy or stormy days, not so much. But if I'm wrapped up in a jacket that shields me from the elements, I can't really complain.
Our move to the countryside is imminent, and we'd be foolish to make such a move if we weren't expecting to spend the majority of our time outdoors. We're planning all the different ways we can make the most of our outdoor space, researching local walks and getting excited about daily dog walks. The outdoors is already a huge part of my life, but once we've moved it will be even more so. Even just stepping out of our front door, we will be confronted with views of the countryside, tempted to head up into the hills instead of into the valley and into the pub.
It shouldn't be an inconvenience to get yourself outdoors. I keep reading terrifying statistics about how the average person in the U.K. spends less time outdoors than prisoners; something that chills me to my very bone. When you have the freedom to go outside whenever you want, why wouldn't you take that opportunity? All too often, we coop ourselves up indoors with only Netflix for company. If we were better prepared for the outdoors, like those who reside in the Nordic countries, would we head out more often?
This brings me neatly into introducing my new waterproof jacket from Rockholly. I've been searching for a new raincoat for a while, with a seemingly unrealistic list of essential qualities. First and foremost, I wanted something that was designed for women and wasn't just an afterthought to an outdoor clothing line originally made for men. So many waterproof jackets for women are just smaller versions of men's jackets with no particular care given to the cut. I was looking for a jacket that I would want to wear everyday, not just something I'd throw on for a walk. I was also looking for something that was actually waterproof, not just shower proof, that would keep me warm and keep the chill of the wind at bay. On top of that, I would prefer something that was environmentally friendly and wouldn't quickly go out of fashion, appeasing my love for slow style.
Most outdoor clothing brands use PFC chemicals to produce waterproof finishes. You can learn more about PFCs here but they are basically harmful chemicals that have been linked to everything from promoting tumor growths and affecting the reproductive system, to polluting the air, earth and water near to the factories that produce them. You probably don't realise that your homes are full of them. Rockholly achieve their water-repellent finishes without the use of PFCs, meaning that you don't have to feel guilty about looking good.
The brand have literally just launched, releasing two styles of jacket for SS18: a short and a long style, both available in navy (pictured), olive and black. Designed by Deborah Mordain, who has a long history of designing for the outwear giants, the brand's mission statement is to produce clothing that is 'inspired by the outdoors but designed for the everyday'. Literally, the answer to what I've been searching for!
We're living at my boyfriend's parents house at the moment, while we are in between houses. They're surrounded by open fields and walking paths, providing the ideal setting for taking my Rockholly jacket out for its first wear. Yesterday, the clouds were dark, the wind was fierce and the rain kept drizzling but we set off across the fields, dog in tow. I'd spent the morning at my laptop and had plans to spend the afternoon in the same way, meaning that a lunchtime walk was welcomed. This is how I see the outdoors fitting into our life in the countryside, breaking up my freelance days to clear my head and spark ideas.
Strolling down the lane, my mind was free to wander. This is when any stresses from my morning's work disintegrate and my writer's block begins to unravel. Sitting in front of a laptop all day makes your head fuzzy and isn't good for creativity or productivity - getting outdoors is the perfect respite. I returned to my desk full of ideas and ready to write.
During our stroll, the jacket lived up to all expectations, keeping me warm and dry. Is it vain to say that I'm also a little bit obsessed with its cut? The pleat at the back is so systematically pleasing! Unlike other waterproof jackets I've had in the past, the lining is neither sweaty nor stuffy, keeping me warm without feeling suffocating or clinging to my clothes. I can easily see myself throwing this on during a wet summer's day, or layering it up over jumpers and scarves in the depths of winter.
When we finally move, it will be a journey of discovery as I learn the perfect balance of meeting my deadlines and spending time outdoors. My Rockholly jacket will be hanging right by the front door, ready to grab whenever I'm craving time outside.
This jacket was gifted to me by Rockholly, but all words & opinions are my own.
Photos by Dave Rowe.