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Emerging for Spring

I’ve been taking a little break from my blog and social media in general, deliberately trying not to post anything over Christmas and New Year. Sometimes I like the challenge of keeping my own website updated; other times it feels like a chore. I’m lucky that this remains a hobby, and I intend to keep it that way.

I wrote the title of this post a couple of weeks ago, after the first round of snow hit Southampton. The general consensus of snowed-under Britain was that you should stay indoors, something I was glad to do. This weekend we had planned to tame the garden, but the weather had other ideas. So here I am, inside again, finding odd little things to do.

We’ve had the opportunity to catch up with a backlog of house chores that have been begging for completion since Christmas. Last weekend we rearranged the furniture in J’s bedroom so he had a bit more space. I’ve cleared the junk out of the downstairs toilet (it’s now usable again for the first time in 5 months)…
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October – Red, Yellow and Blue?

September passed in a blur and here we are, almost at the end of October.

This might be a quieter period for me (although looking at the calendar I have no free weekends until mid-November) and I want to spend more time writing.

October is one of my favourite months. Yes, I know, how Instagram of me – but I’m an early bird and a photographer, so Autumn morning light just can’t be beaten. Conkers littering pathways, scarves you can get lost in and wearing boots every. single. day. Flame red leaves. Mustard yellow jumpers.

But the blue – the blue is subtler. It arrives in the evening with the early dusk, just as you’re sitting down to eat. It stretches out on your lap while watching TV. It perches on the sink, waiting while you brush your teeth.

It’s there first thing in the morning, in the 6am darkness. The first few seconds of your new day, your fresh start. It feels like an old friend arriving at the door, but I never know how to entertain it. A familiar yet unexpe…

Hit the road, Jack

Bonus fact: I used to play bass in various jazz bands. Jamie Cullum is more jazz-pop, but at the end of this clip is the sweetest duo, Jamie and Tim Minchin doing a quick cover of Hit The Road, Jack. It gives me happy shivers.

So there are two reasons for the name of this post. I obviously love the song, but I have also been uncharacteristically busy during July. Over the last 3 weekends we have been to Truck festival, then on a family holiday to Lyme Regis, before flying out to Oslo for a long weekend to see friends and celebrate Tom’s 30th birthday.

Truck festival was a bit of a disappointment this year, and I know we aren’t the only ones who felt that the team running it could have done better. I won’t go into an unnecessary amount of detail about it, but in a nutshell it has lost the family friendly vibe and seems to be aimed at teenage festival goers. It’s a shame because the last time we went for a stag and hen do (admittedly it was 3 years ago) I quickly decided…

Ev’rybody wants to have a cat!

I set myself a challenge to update my website with at least one blog a month this year. Yes yes, I know, I’m a month (or two) late… But I promise I have a good reason.

These little boys have moved in with us. Tom has always wanted cats as he grew up with them, but I have absolutely no experience with them whatsoever. I am a huge animal lover and I’ve been vegetarian for 9 years but I’ve only ever had what I consider to be “prey” animals as pets. When I was little we had guinea pigs, hamsters, fish and water snails. We looked after the odd budgie and the occasional rabbit, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to get on with a couple of prowling, yowling predators roaming free around the house.

It’s safe to say we’ve been getting on pretty well. I’m an anxious cat myself, so I did a ton of reading before they came to live with us. They’re still kittens and I wanted to make sure that I knew a bit about how they should be cared for. I asked my cat-owning colleagues for adv…

The great outdoors

There’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned walk. The type of activity that might be suggested on Christmas Day, when everything is shut and there are no other options. Layers of clothes that you wouldn’t wear on the high street. Stuffing your feet into wellies and accepting blisters in favour of warm, dry toes. Kids groaning and dragging their feet because they’d rather be in front of the TV; adults trying to shift hangovers by gulping fresh air (and dragging their feet).

But my favourite part about walking with friends and family is the chat. If you know the people you’re walking with well enough that silence isn’t considered awkward, you get around to talking about all the interesting stuff. Patterns in the clouds. Idle week-day-dreams that won’t be contained. Politics rears its head, and it is blissfully ignored; it doesn't matter out here.

There’s nothing I love more than a sky that touches only treetops. It drips at the edges of my vision into landscapes…

Top 3 books of 2016

Ah reading. It’s one of those things we all say we wish we had more time to do, but like any good habit sometimes you just gotta stick at it while it’s boring until it becomes fun. Or, in the case of books, if you’re struggling to read it put it down. It’s probably not interesting you.
I challenged myself to read 10 new books last year. I wanted to find a way to fit reading into my daily schedule again, so I decided to commit to put my phone away on my commute and use the bus journey to read instead. I can’t read in bed because being in bed makes me tired, and I manage an average of about 2.5 pages before my eyelids begin to droop.

My general rule is if it’s time usually spent looking at my phone, I could be reading instead. At breakfast, instead of scrolling through Instagram, pick up a book. Read in the evenings instead of sticking the TV on and ignoring it (better still, turn the TV off). Stop pretending I’m going to tidy the house and curl up with a book and a cuppa. …

Traveling Solo

Last weekend I went to Brighton to see Amanda Palmer play her music in a church. I’m no stranger to Brighton, really, but it’s the first time that I’ve been completely on my own. Usually I visit friends, or it’s Record Store Day when I’m there. It was strange to be in a different city without anyone to meet and no one else’s time schedule to keep to.

I stayed at Paskins Townhouse near Kemptown, a pretty little B&B nestled in a row of terraced houses which runs perpendicular to the sea. I was given my key, advised on breakfast timings and went to settle in (connect to the WiFi).

I had a couple of hours to spare before the gig started. I had originally planned to get chips and sit on the beach, but suddenly the miles of stony shoreline seemed vast and vulnerable. I didn’t want to just sit in my room and eat sandwiches, that seemed to defy the whole point of having a solo travel experience. So I took myself out to dinner.

After you get over the initial “do people t…