Ten Favourite Things 001

Here are some things I'm enjoying at the moment...

001. The 'How To Be Amazing' podcast, particularly the latest episode with Brian Greene, who somehow manages to make string theory, physics, and Einstein's Theory of Relativity really accessible, interesting, and even pretty funny in places....

002. This quote, just because. (Pretty obsessed with pinning quotes to my 'Words' Pinterest board right about now).

003. I want to make all of these slow cooker breakfasts.  Nutella French Toast casserole? Yes please.

004. I am obsessed with the Channel 4 TV Programme 'Not Safe For Work' at the moment, I'm excited that there's another episode on tonight - it's so real and raw and yet really funny at the same time (particularly amusing if you work in an office or in Public Sector).

005. Can I be here now please? A misty morning, a dog and a blanket - what more could you need?

006. This article by Luke Leighfield on how to fight internet overwhelm.  So many good tips for how to switch off and tune out...

007. This article on why it matters that there's a second blue moon this month (on Friday) makes a whoooooole lot of sense as to why I feel so in flux at the moment.

008. Jon Klassen's artwork is so awesome, and never fails to put a smile on my face.

009. I am forever swooning over Lisette Loves' photography lately - check out her Recipe Recap and prepare to drool and be seriously impressed at the same time (and if you make the giant cinnamon roll please can you send me some).

010. This song by Amber Run is on repeat on my Spotify currently...

What are you enjoying at the moment?

A bathroom update

Our bathroom has been a bugbear of ours ever since we moved in.  With peach walls, more cladding than a Swedish ski lodge, mildew that had grown its own mildew and fixtures and fittings straight out of the 1970s (literally, I think), it was far from a relaxing place for a soak in the tub.

We bought our house four years ago now and have slowly been updating it room by room, repainting, steaming off a lot of horrendous wallpaper, pulling up carpets and generally renovating the majority of the house (there wasn't a single room that didn't need work).  We had our kitchen completely refitted last year and the bathroom was next on the list to rip out and start again with.  We've been saving for a little while and looking at various loan calculators but we've not quite got there with our finances, or had the motivation to start looking at bathroom suites and taking on another big project.

My Mum has been saying for years that we should just paint the bathroom all white in the meantime just to freshen it up and get rid of the peach, and last weekend we decided to take her advice.  I am a real one for not starting anything until I am 100% ready to commit to a big project, but sometimes it's good just to make a start or a little change in the meantime.  So we headed off to B&Q and bought paint, filler for all the holes and messy bits around the sink and windowsills, new towel rails, shower curtain and toilet roll holder, and a new bathroom cabinet, and cracked on with a lot of painting.  (Actually I can't take any credit for this, Tom did all of it - well, the bathroom is pretty small, there's really only room for one person painting in there...)

knot shower curtain: b&q, £12
plants and plantpots: ikea {old}

glass bottle: next {old}
bathroom cabinet: b&q {instore only}
spotty soap dispenser: h&m home, £4.99
shelving unit: ikea, £35

There's still lots I'd like to change (those gold taps, awful!) but I can't believe the difference it's made, it feels like a completely new room and it's so fresh and bright. Even just painting the windowsill and the radiator made it feel so much cleaner, you don't realise when things accumulate a yellow tinge until the rest of the room is all white! I'm really chuffed to bits with it and I wish we'd done it years ago (sorry Mum, you were right).  Now we can keep saving for our dream bathroom (I will be taking inspiration from ghostparties beautiful bathroom - seriously, that girl has incredible taste!) but still have a lovely space to relax in in the meantime.

Do you have any home projects you've been putting off for years?

*post contains a collaborative link


Giveaway: A Barbour Cedar Trench

I am finding this weather totally impossible to dress for at the moment - one minute it's cold and pouring with rain, the next it's sunny, the next it's 24 degrees... but still pouring with rain.  I tend to be okay with dressing for work as I work in an air-conditioned office (so it's always freezing cold), but choosing the right jacket is more of a quandary, especially on days when showers are forecast.

Luckily I have found my solution in the form of my beautiful new Barbour Trench.  I've always been a fan of Barbour jackets and already have a beautiful Barbour waxed jacket, but this one is absolutely perfect for keeping dry and still looking stylish.  Finding a jacket that's not too hot for warmer days, chic enough to wear with office attire but keeps you dry when the forecast changes has been no mean feat, but this trench totally ticks all of my boxes.  The best part? I don't have to be the only one being smug about my perfect new outerwear - you can win the exact same jacket if you hop down to the Rafflecopter at the end....

Barbour Trench/Mac Outfit Post Barbour Trench/Mac Outfit Post Barbour Trench/Mac Outfit Post Barbour Trench/Mac Outfit Post Barbour Trench/Mac Outfit Post
skirt ;; h&m {old}
shirt ;; asos, £28
shoes ;; schutz {old}

You can win the exact same jacket (well not the exact jacket - I'm keeping mine!) by entering the Rafflecopter below.  The jacket is the Barbour Cedar Trench in  Dark Pearl, and you can pick the size you want.  The giveaway will be open for 10 days, so what are you waiting for? Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Being 30 and turning 31

This time last year people were constantly asking me how I felt about turning 30.  I told them I was excited - that it felt like a new change, a move into adulthood and a leap towards something more secure and slow.  I already had the house, the mortgage, the dog, would be getting married at the age of 30, and felt a strong sense of anticipation at leaving my 20s behind and taking on new hopes, dreams and challenges.


Sometime around a month into being 30 I started to think more and more about what being 30, and moving into this new realm of 'adulthood' meant to me.  I started to think about the things I believed I 'should' want - the house in the countryside, the 2.4 children, the part-time job, the homemade jam bubbling away in the kitchen, the dog walks whilst pushing a pushchair, the weekends at the playpark, the craft projects, the fresh flowers on the kitchen table, the cashmere sweater, the stack of Ideal Home on the coffee table...

We got married and it was an amazing, wonderful, perfect day.  And now all anyone can ask me is, "So when are you going to start trying for babies?" People have started to assume that I'll be winding my career down now to concentrate on having a family.  They tell me I need a four-door car, not a two-door.  They nudge and whisper when I say I don't want a drink or I feel a little peaky in the morning.

I tried to ride the wave - buy the cookbooks, imagine myself with a child on my hip, have the dinner on the table, put in a request to cut my hours at work, find hobbies that fit in with the lifestyle I thought I should have....

Then I started to think about what I 'do' want.  What makes me feel alive, what gets my blood pumping.  Hmm. A mish-mash of maybes and kindas and 'do I really?'  But the ones I know? They're a different list to the 'shoulds'. The blogging, the socialising, the pub beer gardens, the holidays in the sun, the travelling, the movie nights with friends, the occasional blogging event, the trips to London, the yoga and running, the backpacking around countries I haven't explored yet, the throwing dinner parties, the scribbles in notebooks, the swimming in the sea, the city lights, the 4pm white wine spritzer...

I don't feel drawn to having children, not now at least.  I am not very good at sewing, or making jam. I am messy, and my home magazines stay on the coffee table gathering dust.  I take pleasure in walking the dog and being out with friends and their little people, but I do not yearn for the laughter of children in my own home.  I get a massive kick out of a good day at work, and I want to push myself to be great at work - I am not ready to go part time, or to compromise on my career.  I don't like sweaters or sensible clothes, I like ripped jeans and tattoos.  I like writing a blog post that other people tweet me and tell me they can relate to.  Bossing a meeting at work. Working out I have enough savings to buy a new Kate Spade bag.  Having the nice watch and the slim work trousers and the heels that I can just about walk in, and striding into the office feeling like I could take on the world.  

img credit: as above

What do I want more than anything now, as I enter the last few weeks of being 30? A good haircut, some more thigh tattoos, more time for scribbling in my notebook, a personal best on a 5k run, a day in my joggers watching Netflix, a night out where I come home as the sun is coming up, a cocktail on a roof terrace, a really awesome yoga class, a shopping trip to New York, a good book, an afternoon nap, a long drive at night with an awesome playlist, a blogger meetup, a picnic in the park, a glass of champagne, a flatter stomach...  Not things I imagined I would want at 30 (or feel as if I should want).

But now I am almost 31.  Officially in my early 30s.  A year ago if you'd asked me what age I want to be - what age I'd ideally like to be, what age I feel, I would have said 30.  Standing on the precipice of all of that security and comfort and sureness. Now I'd disagree.  I feel old enough that I've started figuring out who I am - old enough that I feel calm, and confident and able to ask for what I want. But not old enough to embrace the things that others tell you that you 'should' be doing in your 30s. Maybe I'll never feel ready for those things, and maybe I will.  Maybe I'll always love my independence and yearn for that spontaneity and freedom.  Maybe every year I'll take more steps away from 'should' and towards 'must' {for what I mean by this, check out The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna}.  The one thing I do know? Life is an adventure.  Life is a journey.

img credit: chic-type.com

How do you feel about getting older?  Do you feel as if every year you get closer to who you really are, and what you really want? (It's tough, right?)

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Getting itchy feet and eyeing up hotel stays

I spoke to a friend yesterday who gets married in a few weeks, and he mentioned that another friend had advised him to book lots of trips and weekends away in the months after getting married to overcome that 'post-wedding lull'.  I wouldn't say I have post-wedding blues because, let's be frank, I hated every second of wedding planning and though the day itself was perfect, I was glad to have my life back when we returned from honeymoon.  But there is an overwhelming feeling of 'what now?' once you get married.  Another friend went on their honeymoon on their first anniversary so that they had something to look forward to in the months after the wedding - I really like this idea.  I am certainly feeling in need of the next adventure now - now the dust has settled from the wedding, we're back from honeymoon and have been married three months, I'm feeling in need of a new adventure.  Itchy feet has well and truly set in!

>> img credit: society6.com

I'd really like another trip to look forward to now, something to plan and have in the diary to count down to. Tom has a new camper van that I expect we'll take a trip in soon, but in the meantime I've been nosing around for inspiration for our next trip.  I came across an article from LV= on the world's most unique hotels and have rather fallen for these Igloo Viewing Pods in Finland (at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort).  Kakslauttanen is one of the best places in the world for watching the Northern Lights, and at the resort they have glass igloos housed around a log cabin, so you can sleep in the comfort of a cosy, warm lodge whilst watching the Northern Lights overhead.  Can you imagine anything more perfect? 

>> img credit: lv.com

After the heat and humidity of Bali I definitely fancy a bit more of an adventurous, cooler holiday next and Finland and Iceland are high on the list.  I'm not sure I'm quite brave enough to stay in this ice hotel in Sweden though, it makes me feel cold just looking at that photo! That's pushing the boundaries of a 'ice/snow' based holiday!

>> img credit: lv.com

I was quite excited to see the treehouses at Deerpark in Cornwall on the list of unique hotels though - remember when we stayed at Deerpark in March?  The hot tub amongst all of the trees was a particular highlight! I'd love to go back and stay there again.  It was such an amazing weekend.  This was our cabin - the treehouses are even more amazing! 

In the meantime whilst we book our next trip I definitely need to make the most of the weekends and get some fun things arranged to look forward to, or I'm going to go a bit stir crazy (and my Travel Pinterest board is going to keep filling up!)  Where's next on your list?

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// post contains a collaborative link