Going back to basics

We've never had it so good - apparently. But has the introduction of the internet, mobile phones, low-cost travel, iPods, credit cards and choice, choice, choice made us any happier? Have we forgotten that the simple things in life are sometimes the best?

Back to basics

Take some tips from gentler times gone by and you could live a better future. Follow our guide to living life more simply and see what a difference it can make!

1. Shop at the market

Instead of the weekly trolley dash around the aisles, use your local butchery, bakery and deli. Trade the loyalty card for fresher, sometimes cheaper produce, and expert advice. Farmers' markets (where local farmers sell their dairy, meat and vegetable produce) are now frequent events around the country.

2. Turn off the telly

Try to have at least one TV-free evening a week. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve in those hours usually spent slumped in front of the box. Sticking holiday snaps in an album, catching up with an old friend on the phone or flicking through glossy brochures or cookbooks in search of inspiration all make far more worthwhile alternatives.

3. Take a holiday in Britain

The world is a smaller place and long-haul destinations and European mini-breaks increasingly cheaper. But Britain has an amazingly diverse landscape that is sadly overlooked. So dig out the bucket and spade and head to the Devon, Cornwall or Norfolk coasts; don the hiking boots for a trek around the Lake and Peak Districts, or be a culture vulture and visit the historic cities of York, Bath and Edinburgh.

4. Try walking or cycling

Your boots may be made for walking, but all too often they're just used to do the driving! Walking and cycling are not only good for you, but better for the environment and your pocket as well. So think twice before grabbing those car keys.

5. Get to know your neighbours

Be like Ross and Rachel from Friends and get to know your neighbours - they might even become your best buddies. And use your local services such as the library, leisure centre and park, to feel like part of the community.