Here we go, broken record time again…how, how, how, is it the end of October already? I seriously feel like I have blinked and the whole of autumn has just passed by in a whirl. I know that mostly it’s because we have been looking forward towards half term and our moving date and we have been busy and preoccupied with planning and packing but still the weeks do just seem to be passing by in a blur.
I think once we have moved I am going to take some time out, slow down and just savour and appreciate the days. That’s my aim anyway!
In fact, today is moving day so I am scheduling this ahead of time as I will be busy directing and unpacking and hopefully successfully and smoothly moving into our new home.
So, for October, we have loved:-
* The autumn weather and days spent out admiring the bright, beautiful colours and the excuse to crunch through falling leaves.
* Planning out new rooms in our new house.
* A weekend away in Birmingham for me and James and a sleepover at the Grandparents for Meg and Eli.
* Picking our own pumpkins.
* The start of the Apprentice.
I was very organised with our photos this week and had thought ahead to the fact that we would be packing manically this last week. I was right, typically, so it’s a good job we sorted it as I have absolutely no idea which box I packed my camera in and I’ve already had to unpack so many boxes to find kitchen implements and notepads containing vital pieces of information. Major oops!
But here’s to October and autumn and all things orange and cosy and comforting. My favourite time of the year.
If someone had asked me to write this post 10 or 15 years ago I think my main theme would have been something along the lines of a meal at a luxurious restaurant or a shopping spree buying clothes from all the high end brands.
It’s funny how your perceptions of what makes you feel good can change as you get older. When I was asked to create this post by Slotfruit I did spend a good deal of time considering the question…what does make me feel like a million dollars?
1. A good book
I don’t just mean any old book but the kind of book that pulls you into another world and takes you on a journey. Not every book fits this bill but when I find one I like to try and savour each moment. To curl up under a blanket with a hot drink (preferably with the rain hammering down outside but obviously even in England we can’t always guarantee the weather!) and lose myself in a good book for a few hours. If I can score a log fire from somewhere too then that just makes the moment even more precious.
2. Giving a gift
My love language is gifts and that means I love to research and give the right presents to people. If I give a gift you can guarantee that a lot of thought has gone into it and I just love the moment when you see someone’s face light up because they know you’ve really considered what to give them, whether it’s your time or a physical item. It isn’t about the gratification though but the knowledge that you have been able to make somebody else feel blessed, or a little bit more special that day.
3. My children’s laughter
I don’t know about anyone else but for me, there is no greater sound than when I hear my children laughing together. It is like sweet music to my ears and a truly heart warming sound. Meg has the best laugh, it’s really infectious and when she is truly laughing hard at something you can’t help but laugh along with her. Sometimes Meg and Eli will just break down into fits of giggles and James and I have no idea what is going on but just have to sit back and smile and appreciate the moment.
4. Treating myself
Although my budget might have changed somewhat in the last decade, the feeling of giving myself a little treat still remains the same. Whether it’s buying a new notebook or getting a manicure, taking some time out for me can be a real pick me up, especially when things are busy or stressful.
Obviously, these are just a few of the things that make me feel special. There are a lot of things that can bring an instant smile to your face, that perk you up when you need them most, but everyone is different and I’m sure there are things that raise your spirits that I might have missed. I know people who play games like the lottery to try and win some money (and then some who play those games and splash the winnings to make them feel great!) and then there are others who need nothing more than a trashy movie and a comfy duvet.
What about you?
This is a collaborative post.
I don’t think it’s any secret that I love being near to the beach. It was one of the major plus points for us moving up north..that we were absolutely desperate to be near to the sea and the novelty still remains almost two years on.
Whether I’m walking the dog, looking to wear the kids out or simply need some fresh air to clear my head (and usually my writer’s block) I head down to the beach. We are lucky in that there is a long stretch near to Southport including the National Trust beach of Formby which makes the ideal picturesque place to go.
They might not be the sandiest of beaches, and sometimes the sea is pretty hard to spot but I wouldn’t change being this close to the beach for anything. It has become my go to place without a doubt and I find the sea air so refreshing and uplifting.
Sprinkle, squish between my toes,
The smell of ocean to my nose.
I can feel each grain of sand,
It falls from air into my hand.
The shells I find along the shore,
Picked up by birds that fly and soar.
They sparkle like the ocean’s waves,
And carry sand from all the lakes.
I walk along the tip of the sea,
That’s where my feet leave prints to be.
I walk all the way to the end of the land,
The land that holds this beautiful sand.
For the majority of people, the bedroom should be the perfect place for you to go when you want to unwind after a busy, potentially stressful and non-stop day. It is my favourite room in the house, and not just because I would spend all day in my bed if I could!
I have always been a terrible sleeper; the slightest noise wakes me up and once I’m awake it can take me a lot longer to drift back off. Over the years I’ve developed a number of hacks which have helped such as not watching television in the last hour before I go to bed, having a notebook on my bedside cabinet for anything I think of in the night and making sure my phone is turned away from me so if any alerts flash up then I’m not disturbed.
One thing I’m really keen on this year, especially given that we are shortly to be moving into a new home, is to redo our bedroom so that it becomes less a place for dumping washing we haven’t yet gotten around to putting away and more a place where we can both retreat to after our busy days. Words like ‘soothing’ ‘relaxing’ and ‘cosy’ are my keywords and my inspiration.
We want our bedroom to be a stress-free zone and I’ve been gathering a couple of ideas on Pinterest and Instagram which I am hoping to put into place over the next few months. But if getting the perfect bedroom is also on your to do list then read on for my tops tips on how to get the perfect, relaxing bedroom space:-
I am a bit of a bedding magnet and will often head straight to the bedding section when we go into any homeware store. I’m not sure what it is but I am drawn to gentle colours, pretty patterns and absolutely any kind of throw. It has become a bit of an obsession but it took a long time before I knew exactly what kind of bedding worked best.
When it comes to the ideal bedding you want something which is soft and comfortable, nothing beaded or scratchy, or anything which won’t wash well. In my experience 100% cotton is best as this can survive being washed regularly (which we should all be doing!!) without losing shape or becoming bobbled and worn. We have tried various materials over the years and this is always a winner for us. Plus it is super soft when just washed.
The tog of a duvet is a huge and constant debate which takes place in our house, namely because James is always too warm at night and I am always too cold. At the moment we are living in a old house which is a nightmare to heat so we have a 15 tog but I’m sure when we move to our properly insulated new build house we will need something lighter. I’ve even seen duvets where you can half and half togs like this one. Something I think we definitely need to invest in!
The thing about bedrooms is that they are often the last place we think of to redecorate because we spend most of the time in there with our eyes closed. However, if your heart sinks every time you go in then you probably need to change the colour scheme and make sure you go for something you love and which will last the test of time.
If you struggle to fall asleep at night then opt for muted, gentle colours but if you struggle to get up in the morning then go for bright pops of colour which will energise you first thing in the morning.
Although it can be nice to fill your room with trinkets and pretty things, try to keep these to a minimum and ensure that everything has its own place. Buying good quality bedroom furniture is a worthy investment to make; especially if you opt for something neutral which can remain even if you decide to change your colour scheme in the long run. If your room is overrun then consider buying additional storage or moving things out of the bedroom and putting them somewhere else in the home. A clean and tidy room is a must if you struggle to fall asleep.
I have a fairly relaxed bedroom cleaning routine which is to change the bedding at least once a fortnight, to vacuum once a week (especially as our bedroom is also the place that I do my hair and make-up…yuck) and to put clothes away once a week or as needed. Both Meg and Eli and James are terrible at picking up their clothes, preferring to drop them all over the floor wherever they happen to be standing, so I generally whip around once a day and put clothing in the relevant place as well. We try to encourage the making of beds each day which can do wonders for the look of a room. If you’ve implemented the above storage option then you should find keeping your bedroom neat and clean isn’t too much of an arduous task.
Finally, to the last element which can really make a room a relaxing and cosy place to be; lighting. Get the lighting right and generally everything else will fall into place. We very rarely put the ‘big’ overhead light on in our bedroom opting instead for either natural light during the day and low, subtle light from lamps when it gets dark. Soft lamplight can make a room ambient and inviting as well as not being too strong and overbearing when you are getting ready to go to bed.
I’m looking forward to sharing our new bedroom with you in the next couple of weeks so do keep an eye out on my Instagram feed!
This is a collaborative post.
It has been my experience since becoming a parent that sometimes days don’t go according to plan in the slightest and sometimes they manage to go off seamlessly without a hitch, leaving you with a warm and fuzzy feeling (until they descend into chaos again of course!)
Last week was one of those really great days. We spent the morning pottering around sorting out different bits and pieces which needed doing around the house whilst the kids played nicely, then we went out to our local pumpkin patch (which I know I have talked and shared about non-stop on the blog recently!) and we followed our outdoor adventures with a visit to our local Brewers Fayre pub to check out their newly launched Autumn Menu.
The idea behind their new menu is to provide great pub classics at affordable prices (their Daytime Value offer, for example, which runs 12pm-6pm, Monday to Friday, allows guests to enjoy two starters for approximately £2.50, two mains for £10.99 and two desserts for £2.50 – prices vary within restaurants) The dishes featured on this menu are all perfect for a crisp, cool autumn day so we were keen to try it out.
The kids menu is all Beano themed and Meg and Eli were more than happy with the dishes on offer; Eli opted for Spaghetti Beano-ese and Meg had a burger. There was a good range of children’s options and Eli is a particularly fussy eater so we are always wary of trying somewhere different but he was more than happy with the selection…he even had to stop and think about what he might want to eat which almost never happens.
As for a family meal out…we didn’t see much of either child to be honest as our local Brewers Fayre also has a lovely soft play area so they really only returned to the table for food and drink and even then it was under slight duress! That didn’t matter too much as it gave us a chance to chat whilst knowing that Meg and Eli were kept suitably occupied.
When it came to the adults food I opted for one of the new choices on the menu: Ultimate Sausage and Mash. It was certainly a huge portion and extremely delicious, perfect for the season too. As with the kids menu there was a great selection of food; although we were excluded from the offer I checked the Daytime Value offer and there was a good selection of dishes available which I thought was great.
And of course we couldn’t round off the evening without trying some dessert…I can thoroughly recommend the chocolate fudge cake!
Aside from the food, one thing which really stuck out to us was how attentive the staff were. The manager popped by a few times to check everything was okay and was really engaging with Meg and Eli, joking with them about eating their dinner or having to do the washing up and just really being quite friendly. I noted he did this with every single table around us as well, so we weren’t just being singled out for the special treatment!
I think little extras like this go a long way to making an experience truly enjoyable; we hadn’t actually eaten at this particular pub/restaurant before but it has made us want to go back the next time we are planning a meal out.
We were invited along to visit our local Brewers Fayre and the cost of our meal was included. However all thoughts and opinions are our own.