9 Sept 2021

Hello September

Hello September

Ello ello dear reader, hope you are well. It is officially September which means, as will come as a surprise to no one, that I have jumped into Autumn mode with both feet. I’m trying to ignore the random heatwave that we seem to be in and am gleefully hunting out the first signs of golden leaves, googling the return date of Bake Off and shopping for autumnal scented candles. I just can’t help myself. 

Summer seems to have passed in a bit of a blur of long overdue weekends with friends and family, garden renovations and weddings. Finally emerging out of the weird haziness of the first half of pregnancy still feels like a novelty and being back to near-normal levels of energy for the past few weeks has not gone unnoticed every morning. Having said that, I have such a desire to slow down now we’ve reached September. My usual back-to-school vibes are on steroids when combined with pregnancy hormones and the desire to organise the heck out of everything is very, very real. The baby currently kicking around my belly button region will be with us before the year is out and I would like to spend these final handful of months feeling cosy, organised and, most importantly, as rested as possible (at least as much as I can when my bladder/boobs/heartburn like to wake me up several times a night). We’re limiting plans to what has already been booked which should hopefully leave us with a good few weekends to hunker down at home and prepare for bubba’s arrival. 

Which is needed because I do not feel prepared; I doubt it’s possible to ever feel prepared about something so life changing but I imagine at least trying to vaguely prepare oneself for childbirth is probably a good idea. So, over the next few months, you’ll probably find me wrapped in a blanket, burning candles and watching Bake Off… with a bit of baby clothes shopping and hypnobirthing on the side. 

Enjoy your September! 

26 Aug 2021

Postcards From A Slow Week In Coverack, Cornwall

Coverack, Cornwall

This was the most relaxed week we have had in a long time. Coverack is a small village in Cornwall; on the Lizard peninsula. It’s quite the trek from where we live so we broke up the journey on the way with a couple of nights in the Cotswolds, however, we still got caught in holiday traffic and it ended up being about a six-hour drive. Not the one. But it really was worth it. Coverack is the perfect place to retreat to if you want to do an awful lot of nothing and switch off. 

A few little postcards from our week: 

Coverack, Cornwall

We arrived to quiet, the sea gently lapping and fish & chips. What better way to start a holiday?! 

Coverack, Cornwall

Coverack, Cornwall

Coverack, Cornwall

The sea was always a crisp, clear blue and we spent plenty of time meandering between cafes with the horizon as our view. There was plenty of people watching; our favourite pass time was watching people learning to paddle board and kids and their dogs jumping off the harbour wall. Not sure who was having the most fun! 

Coverack, Cornwall

Coverack, Cornwall

The one day we decided to venture out of Coverack was when we walked a small stretch of the South West Coast path. The views were stunning but in hindsight, this may have been a slight error; turns out we’d accidentally picked a particularly difficult bit which wasn’t a great combination with my ever-expanding belly. We did 6 miles, decided walking back wasn’t going to happen and called a taxi. And I got a few mad looks for scrambling over rocks with my bump. Still, great views!

Coverack, Cornwall

Coverack, Cornwall

Oh I do love British holiday food. Shout out to Archie’s Loft who did great pizzas, ice cream and scones. The ice cream in particular was very good, with the flavours changing everyday and always just being a little bit different (there was a ‘cream tea’ flavour with chunks of scones and real jam!).

Coverack, Cornwall

Did you even go to Cornwall if you didn’t have a Cornish pasty? Should you ever go to Coverack, stop by Elizabeth’s cottage; she will make you a homemade pasty right there in her kitchen! You need to drop by the day before to pre-order.  

Coverack, Cornwall

Coverack, Cornwall

Coverack, Cornwall

My favourite morning – we headed to the beach first thing because that’s when the tide was out. We intended to go for a swim but there seemed to be a lot of jelly fish hanging about so instead we paddled, stretched out in the sun on the picnic blanket as the tide came up to tickle our toes and then had take-away sausage baps for breakfast. 

Coverack, Cornwall

Our lovely cottage was tucked behind the houses on the front so we didn’t have a view (unless you stuck your head out the skylight and craned your neck) but the front was so close that we took our drinks down to one of the benches so we could enjoy them with a view of the sea. 

Coverack, Cornwall

On our final night, we popped out after dark to see the little village lit up and the lights reflecting in the water. So peaceful! 

Coverack, Cornwall

Coverack, Cornwall

17 Aug 2021

A Mini Getaway To The Cotswolds

 Cotswold getaway

Back at the beginning of this year, in the depths of a winter lockdown, we booked a cottage in Cornwall that had a good last-minute cancellation policy. In was a stab of hope in an otherwise pretty grim time and I spent quite a long time refusing to think about it. After three holidays cancelled because of Covid, I struggled to believe we’d be going further than our back garden this summer. 


However, as the lockdown began to ease and other human beings were allowed back into our lives once again, we tentatively started to consider the idea that we might be going on holiday after all and, with a whole two weeks booked off work and Cornwall being very far away, decided we’d make a bit of a thing of it and bookend the trip - therefore also breaking up the journey - with mini breaks. 


With our impending arrival around the corner, we decided to make one of these the opposite of child-friendly whilst we can and booked a luxury foodie break in the Cotswolds based on a recommendation from friends. And then, because of course, less than 48 hours before we were due to arrive, the hotel called and said they had to close due to staff self-isolating. 

Cotswolds

Cotswolds

Remarkably undeterred (a sign of the last 18 months), I was online with minutes and based on little more than some pretty pictures, one room left and price range, we’d found and booked another hotel in a different part of the Cotswolds less than an hour after our original hotel calling. I’m normally one to check out a place online in detail before parting with cash so this could have potentially been a disaster but we got very, very lucky. 


Based near Witney, an area we’d stayed in last year, Minster Mill sits alongside the River Windrush in a small, very pretty Cotswold village. It is everything you’d want from a hotel nestled in the Cotswolds; picturesque, peaceful and with plenty of good food on offer. Our room was part of a converted barn and had a gorgeous view from the windows running along the length of one of the walls, a huge bed, stylish bathroom complete with L’Occitane products and - always a way to judge a hotel room - top quality biscuits. 


Because we’d booked so last-minute, we hadn’t been able to book ahead for anything else and we were warned on arrival that the spa facilities (yes it had a spa) and restaurant were very busy. Once we’d settled into our room, I thought it was worth chancing our arm so we popped down to the spa and asked if they had any availability to use the facilities during our stay. To which their response was; ‘you could go in now if you want?’ I’d shimmied my pregnant belly into a too-tight swimsuit and was back at the pool entrance within five minutes. They were only allowing up to 6 people to use the spa facilities (pool, sauna and steam room) at any one time and, not going to lie, I very much enjoyed the peacefulness of it. I couldn’t use the sauna or steam room (pregnancy problems) but spent a solid two hours drifting in the pool until I resembled a wrinkled prune. 

Cotswolds

Cotswolds

Cotswolds

We then settled ourselves by the river in the early evening sun, ordering ourselves drinks and some whipped hummus with espelette pepper and flatbreads which was just as tasty (and fancy) as it sounds and gave us good first impressions food wise. We ate dinner in the bar although their ‘bar snack’ menu amused me because I don’t really consider steak and chips to be a snack. The highlight was almost certainly the whipped chocolate mousse with white chocolate crumble & raspberries for pudding which we both had and was so good. After a big downpour, we were also treated to a double rainbow right outside the window; a great dinner-time view. 

Breakfast was included in the price of our room and I gotta say, top marks for a hotel breakfast. We had what can only be described as a ‘posh’ full English on our first morning and French toast with bacon and maple syrup on the second, and they were both delicious. 

Cotswolds

Cotswolds

Cotswolds

Cotswolds

Cotswolds

Our only full-day was very slow and very much channelled ‘holiday mode’ vibes, which for us is basically napping and eating. We spent our morning wandering around the local village and hotel grounds; it was all incredibly tranquil. Completely by chance, we discovered the Minster Lovell Hall ruins which we didn’t know was there; it was very pretty and peaceful. There were people paddling and swimming in the river which I was all for joining but we had to get back for our afternoon tea reservations.

Afternoon tea was by the river again and, wasps aside, was the perfect way to while away an afternoon in the sunshine. There was a huge selection of tea (they brought out samples beforehand!), the usual sandwich selection plus some gorgeous scones and pastries. And then I read my book in the sun whilst Gary had an afternoon nap. We roused ourselves just a little for dinner at the hotel’s sister pub, The Old Swan, who served up great pub food but specialised in pies and boy were they good. I ate mine faster than Gary (I am a famously slow eater) because I couldn’t help but inhale it. We also indulged in a baked Camembert for starters and everything about it was perfect, from the size (not sickeningly big) to the white fig chutney. 

We headed back to our room with jeans that we couldn’t do up ready for a snooze and a drive to Cornwall in the morning. 

27 Jul 2021

Pregnancy | The First Trimester

The First Trimester

Whilst I (not-so) patiently wait for this second-trimester ‘glow’ I was promised and has yet to show (whenever you’re ready pal), I thought I might get down some first trimester thoughts before they disappear completely; it’s amazing how quickly the details start to fade. 


I very much enjoy having this blog as my version of a scrapbook and am keen to keep documenting memories here, but I’ve not quite decided how much of the little one is going to be shared online (both before and after they are born) so there may be certain aspects of this that I’ll brush over - particularly around ‘trying’ for a baby because, quite frankly, there is such a thing as TMI when strangers and family members read this blog. 


So, I found out I was pregnant early April time after spending the majority of Easter weekend lying on the sofa wondering why the heck I felt so tired. Peeing on a stick is neither glamorous nor as ‘movie’ like as those clear blue adverts would suggest and whilst I was certain that I wanted a baby, I mostly found the experience underwhelming. Partly because this wasn’t the first time we’d been here and partly because the implications of a positive pregnancy test are so huge, it was almost like my brain couldn’t catch up. So I simply looked at it and went ‘huh, interesting’, waved my (capped) pee-soaked stick in Gary’s face whilst he was chopping veg and then ate dinner in front of the telly. 

We told my immediate family when I was six weeks, my friend Beth at seven weeks and then intended to keep it to ourselves until after the 12-week scan. However, there were a couple of occasions that forced our hand (hard to keep it secret when you're not drinking at your good friend's hen do) so a small handful of people found out earlier but otherwise, we mostly kept to our original plan! 

They say the first three months are the worst but seeing as I’ve not yet experienced an entire pregnancy, I can’t really comment on that at the moment. My first few months of pregnancy, though, seemed to fulfil most of the cliches; relentless nausea, tiredness, heightened sense of smell, gagging inexplicably, bloating and a desire to hide in a duvet cocoon until it all passed. What I wasn’t expecting was how all of the above would make me feel like my personality and creativity were being sucked dry. My days essentially consisted of get through work, lie on the sofa all evening, go to bed. Repeat. If I hadn’t been so preoccupied with not throwing up and the fear of baby not sticking around, I would have been incredibly bored. I don’t think it helped that we were still in lockdown when that test popped up with a ‘pregnant’ and we were so done with being stuck at home. I just didn't feel like myself for a long time and, whilst I know it's perfectly normal, I will freely admit that I was wishing for it to pass. 


Like with most things though: you do get through it. I know a lot of people worry about those first few weeks of pregnancy and I know some have it really rough but in my so-far-average-experience of pregnancy, a fair few of my worries turned out to be unfounded. I didn’t really enjoy those first few weeks and wished the nausea would let up for just.five.freaking.minutes. but neither did I spend all day everyday with my head in a toilet as I’d anticipated in some of my more pessimistic moments. Low points included lying on the bathroom floor at 2am, aggressively searching the supermarket for a packet of pickled onion monster munch, spotting in a public toilet at a beach in Norfolk, trying to pee into a tiny tube in a medical centre (why do they make them so small, WHY) and the sheer bloody amount of burping (which has yet to pass; I’ve basically accepted I am now Pumba).


High points included seeing our little blobby wriggling around and waving their arm stumps on an ultrasound screen at nine weeks, seeing the reactions of our family and friends, meeting my lovely midwife, marvelling at what my body is doing and being blown away by how much baby had grown when we saw them again at our 12-week scan. 


My main learning so far? There is nothing remotely glamorous about pregnancy but it’s a bit of an adventure all the same. I know how lucky we are to be in this position and I cannot wait to meet our little one. 


25 Jul 2021

Home | The Utility Room Renovation

Utility room renovation

 We’ll call this Gary’s Lockdown 3.0 project. It took the best part of two months’ worth of winter weekends and a battle with the plumbing, but the utility room has now been completely renovated. 

Technically, this started back in February 2020 when we had our kitchen done. When they were ripping out the old kitchen, we asked them to rip out the units in the utility room as well, and lay the same flooring we were having laid throughout the rest of the ground floor. It then sat – looking a complete mess – for the best part of a year. We quietly closed the door on it in those brief moments when we’ve been allowed guests round and resolved to get to it at a later date. Hitting the point felt like a bit of a milestone because it was always low on the list of priorities; we’ve made it that far down the list! 

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation
Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

We wanted to get the right balance between cute downstairs loo and utility room. It had to have storage, it had to include space for a washer/dryer and it just generally had to be practical. But it’s also a room with no natural daylight (there is a window, but it looks out into the garage) and the bathroom guests are most likely to use – and we ourselves will obviously have to use it on a daily basis – so I didn’t want it to end up some dingy room that you want to spend as little time as possible in because you’re worried about what might be lurking in the corner. I don’t think I have any pictures of the original room, but you can get a sense of the original work top and units by looking at the before photos from our kitchen renovation as they were the same. 

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

The image in my head was white and bright with splashes of gold & green whilst not losing any practical elements and keeping it all as cheap as possible. By chance, we had an almost perfect amount of white worktop left over from our kitchen renovation so that was our starting point. We hunted out cheap-but-nice kitchen units (including one for an integrated washing machine) which Gary eventually found in B&Q (one of their cheapest options but I don’t think you’d know) and I went on the hunt for gold door handles and pastel green tiles. I had images of a counter sink which, again, we managed to find pretty cheap and we spent far too long trying to hunt out a decent gold tap, eventually settling on one with a pull-out hose as we thought it could be handy with future kids/pets (countertop and tiles look pretty but are also easily wipeable). 

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Gary did all of the installing and I will never not be impressed at the way this man can just start sorting the plumbing and tiling like it’s no big deal. I, meanwhile, focused on the finer details (we both work to our strengths), sourcing out a matching green hand towel, gold towel & toilet roll holders and artwork for the walls (including a round gold Oliver Bonas mirror which I love). We got two command broom grippers to go on the back of the door for our broom & mop and there’s just enough of a gap down the side of the units to squeeze in our small hoover and collapsible washing basket. I sourced a daylight-like bulb and an open ‘lampshade’ (again, gold) to try and bring in as much light as possible whilst Gary painted the room white. It definitely doesn’t feel dingy! 


All in all, we love it and I like how it feels like a nice surprise every time I walk in and remember that it’s actually a pleasant place to be in rather than a windowless necessity of a room!

Utility Room Renovation


24 Jul 2021

Photo Diary: Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Back in June, I went to stay with my friend Lizzie in London for the weekend. On Sunday morning, we were up bright(ish) and early(ish) to walk over to Columbia Road Flower Market, something that has been on my London bucket list for yonks now. For a girl who really loves an abundance of pretty flowers and cute shops, it was really my kinda place. I think we got there for around half 9ish and whilst it was busy, it was manageable busy rather than uncomfortably rammed. We spent a long time there, walking back and forth in the sunshine and soaking it all in before getting down to business and deciding what flowers and plants we were going to bring home with us. After a long walk back to Lizzie's flat laden down with huge bunches of flowers (and a large plant destined for Lizzie's balcony), we went and had brunch at The Allotment Kitchen in Stepney City Farm which was like a little city oasis and perfect for brunch on a sunny Sunday morning. Here's a big ol' photo dump of flowers and sunshine: 

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market