I’m so glad you are here. If you were at my house I’d offer you a cup of tea, can I offer you a virtual one? Make yourself at home and have a good look around, you are welcome here.

My name is Elli, I am a writer, photographer and sometimes theatre-maker. I am married to Matt, and Mum to Amy, Madge and Ed (my eldest is 12 and we are headed for the teenage years – Lord, have mercy.) We live in a big, cold, Victorian house in Liverpool, the centre of the creative universe (and that’s not just my opinion) with the river Mersey at the end of the road.

I chose ‘Learning How to Live’ as the strap line for my blog, because that is what I am doing.

Following a diagnosis of depression and anxiety in 2009* I realised the way I had been living had not been working out so well. I was a mess, overwhelmingly anxious with rock-bottom self-confidence and frequent feelings of hopelessness.

Since 2009 I have been starting again, re-learning to live in a way that enables me to enjoy life and maintain my mental health. It has been a complicated and twisty process, with lots of wrong turns and false starts. It has involved re-learning how to think and handle my emotions, and fundamental changes in how I deal with just about every element of my life, from my relationships, to my faith, to what I eat.

It has been worth it.

It has been, and regularly is, hard work and challenging, but I wouldn’t swop my life now for my ignorance then.

This blog is a place I wrestle with ideas and process how I see the world which I have discovered to be complicated, broken and magnificent.

I aim to practise vulnerability and imperfection both in my life and in my writing.

This means I won’t always get it right and will at times disagree with myself, be patient with me.

I write about failure, beauty, and giving up. About faith and grace.

My blog is called The Hippo Chronicles because of a story a brilliant friend told me. If you want to read this story, and my first ever post – read List of Requirements. It is clunky, but you have to start somewhere.

*I wrote a series about being diagnosed with depression and what happened next, you can read the first post here.