Tragus piercing : all you need to know

Ever since I was 13 years old I wanted my tragus pierced. I must have seen it on someone else and thought it was pretty cool. And before you say it, no, I wasn’t particularly ‘alternative’ or trying to rebel, I just thought it was nice.

But at 13 my mum was having none of it. She said ‘when you’re in college’. Well, a few years later when I was in college it was ‘you’re about to study law at university’, then when I finished university and law school it was ‘you’ll be having interviews for training contracts and jobs, you don’t want them to notice it do you?’

So it wasn’t until last year, at the age of 27, that I decided to get my tragus pierced once and for all. I was no longer studying and had held down a job as a solicitor for a couple of years by that point, so I figured – what is there to lose? I debated about whether or not to tell my mum about my intention to get the piercing, but decided to in the end. I did it in a very off-hand, its a run-of-the-mill-thing kind of way. She didn’t say much, thankfully, though I knew she disapproved.

So on 30th September 2016 (I remember the date because I’ve been thinking about the after-care process ever since!) I trotted off to a local recommended piercer and had it done.IMG_1834

The piercing

I laid down on a bed and the piercer clamped my tragus with a metal tool, pulling it forward so it was 90 degrees to my head. Then she used some kind of needle to create the piercing, pushing from front to back, whilst threading the stud through at the same time. She then screwed the ball on the front and it was all done. Super quick – about 15 minutes in total.

Did it hurt? Well, yes. But it was very quick and sharp, causing me to flinch. It didn’t throb or ache much afterwards but, as you’d expect, there was a bit of blood. Only a few drops though.

I was told that it could take up to a year for the piercing to heal so I bought some cleaning oil to help the recovery process. Apparently a large majority of infections in a tragus piercing happen in the first couple of months, and they can look like this:Infected-Tragus-Piercing-Signs-Bump-Risks-How-to-Treat-Tragus-Piercing-Infection


Ew! & I’ve left the really graphic ones out so as not to put you off your snacks!

I was very regimented and stuck to cleaning my ear twice a day with the oil. I put a t-shirt over my pillow and turned it around each day before replacing the shirt every third day (as I was told to do). At the beginning of November I thought ‘pah, this is easy. No infection what so ever! Bet its even healed, I could probably replace the jewellery now’.

The infection

It was a typical case of speaking too soon. Not long after that my ear started to develop a swollen red mark around the front of the hole. Just as I thought it was going down, it would appear at the back – but never on both sides (I have no idea why). Sometimes the jewellery would have a crust on it, which initially sounds gross but then we realised that it was where I was washing my hair and not rinsing in my ears enough and a residue was building up. You need to turn the pressure of the shower head down and then let the water drip in your ear for about 30 seconds or so, then ‘tip’ it out by turning your head the other way. I think if you had short hair and didn’t use as much shampoo you probably wouldn’t have to worry about this.IMG_8542 (2)

I carried on with the oil, but after a few weeks realised it wasn’t having any effect. I knew that most people used a saline solution but it had seemed a bit of a faff to make every day. By mid-November I realised that I needed to do something and salting my ear seemed to be the cheapest way to do it.

A saline solution is just salt and water, but you can’t use table salt as that salt can sometimes be treated before its sold, so you’re best off with regular sea salt. I ground about 1 ½ teaspoons of salt into a tumbler and added hot water. After leaving it for a few minutes to cool down, I then dabbed some folded paper towels into it and held it on the piercing. You are meant to do this for about 10 minutes but aside from being the slowest 10 minutes of your life, you will also find your arm hurts an awful lot!

I salted my ear for the following 2 months and it really did help. The red swelling subsided in fits and bursts, though always appeared again after a couple of days if I stopped salting. For Christmas Sam had bought me a hoop and a diamante ball-stud, so I decided that I would switch the jewellery just before my birthday in January. It had been 3 months by then and I was anxious to see how well the piercing was healing. We couldn’t get the original ball-stud out at first because it had been screwed tight by the piercer, so we bought some latex gloves (which give you a lot more grip) and Sam managed to unwind the ball-stud. We replaced it with a diamante stud.IMG_8421


Its now been just over 1 year since the piercing. Most of the summer my ear was fine and not red but it has started to have a slight red swelling on it again the last few days. I don’t think it helped that I knocked it really badly a couple of weeks ago, causing it to bleed. But otherwise it has gotten better, albeit it is a slow process.

Thinking about it?

Although I’ve had a bit of trouble with my tragus piercing, which seems to be ongoing, I would definitely recommend getting it done if you are thinking about it. The chances of you have such a bad reaction as the people in the horror stories above is pretty slim – unless either you have not gone to a recommended piercer, or your post-piercing cleaning routine is bad. Its normal to have some aching or swelling given you have just made a hole in your skin, but it shouldn’t be hurting a lot for a long period of time.

I love my tragus jewellery, especially my diamante stud. I feel a bit different, but in a girly way, not a tomboy-grunge kind of way like I should be hanging out in the back streets. I had my left ear pierced which is the opposite side to where I part my hair so I can easily hide it if needed, plus it is not so obvious that way. My mum doesn’t like it much, she says that its not as noticeable as I think it is, but thats fine. I had my ear pierced because I wanted it done, not for other people to see and like it. Just for me.

Recommended cleaning routine

You should follow whatever cleaning routine your piercer recommends to you, especially in the first few weeks after having the piercing done. After that, the fail-safe fall back is the saline solution:

  1. Grind 1 ½ teaspoons of sea salt into hot water. Stir it so that the granules melt.
  2. Leave it for a few minutes to cool, then fold up some paper towels.
  3. Dip the paper towel into the solution and apply to the piercing with the jewellery in(!)

Do not rub. Do not scratch. Just let the solution soak into the piercing. Every couple of minutes dip fresh paper towels into the water and re-apply.

Do not wear earphones or headphones for at least 3 if not 6 months so as not to irritate it.

Different types of jewellery

There are various different types of jewellery you can buy for your tragus, from hoops to ball-studs. Unlike a traditional lobe piercing, the ball-studs screw on at the front, rather than the back because that would just be awkward otherwise!

I hope you’ve found this useful. Before I had my piercing I looked up everything from the process to possible infections and found that the internet can be a very misleading place! A lot of websites may have well have just said that my ear was going to fall off and that the piercing wasn’t worth it. It was hard to find an honest non-horror-story review.

Some lovely famous faces with tragus piercings:

Our Cornish (Coasteering) Adventure

Over the August bank holiday weekend Sam and I took a trip down to Cornwall, which is one of our favourite places in the UK. We’ve been many times before but absolutely love it down there and always take any excuse to go back. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We stayed just outside of Padstow, in a small campsite in St Merryn. It was the perfect location; great transport links for Padstow and Port Issac, and on the way home we were able to stop in at Tintagel and Boscastle too.

Padstow is a beautiful Cornish village. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIt is situated on north coast and has a wonderful little harbour. The shops are quite commercial; the typical surf and fudge shops I’ve come to expect from Cornwall, but I think its the restaurants and cafes that entice the visitors in. Pubs, gastro-pubs, up-market restaurants and nook-and-cranny cafes, all serving fresh delicious sea food. You can buy freshly-dressed crab and mussels from stands around the harbour – as well as the traditional Cornish pasty if you fancy something more meaty! Padstow is quaint, but you really don’t need more than a couple of hours there.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES I would definitely recommend going in the morning if you can, as by lunch time and the afternoon the crowds are immense.

Harlyn Bay is where we did our coasteering. My parents had bought us a voucher for Christmas and we were so pleased as it meant tying in a new venture with a trip to the coast. I’ve wanted to do coasteering for a couple of years now (perhaps in an attempt to still feel young and fit despite my advance towards the big 3-0!) Sam is not a confident swimmer so I was a bit unsure whether or not he would enjoy it or would be too apprehensive – but he LOVED it. Coasteering is a meander across the rocks and seaweed along the coast, jumping into the sea and rock pools at designated spots. I would definitely recommend it for those of you who want to do it but have reservations. We filmed a little video to show you just how good it is – so you don’t have to take our word for it!


This was the hottest day of the summer – about 28 degrees. I thought we’d be bundling up in jumpers and blankets for the short drive back to the campsite but how wrong I was. I kicked back with some snacks back at the car and sunbathed!

Port Isaac in my view, is a cuter, lesser-known alternative to Padstow.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThere is one car park at the top of town and from there you can do a short walk along the coast, round and down to the village. It has a wonderful little bay with fishing boats (very active fishing boats judging by the amount of fish we saw in the market). We stopped for a Cornish cream teaSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES in a quirky little cafe where everything from the jam to the scones themselves were homemade.  A perfect respite before we continued on up the hill and enjoyed a welcome break overlooking the bay and soaking up the sunshine. Don’t forget to call in at the little fish market on your way through.

Some people may be familiar with Port Isaac as it is where Martin Clunes’ Doc Martin is filmed, but I’m pleased that, for the most part, it has not become too tourist-y.

Tintagel. Famous for the ruined castle and Arthurian legends of Merlin and the round-table. This village has really take on the myths surrounding the village as many (little) shops contained everything from dream-catchers to figurines. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Just to the left of a Cornish-pasty shop is the very steep walk down to the bay. But don’t worry – you don’t have to walk back up! There is a Landrover service for a small surcharge, or you could cheat like us and walk via a quaint church on the headland. We didn’t pay to go into the ruin or down to Merlin’s cave as it was sooo hot and there is not much shade, but we did enjoy it from afar and had a lovely walk back around on the coast.

Make sure to stop for a Cornish pasty in town – they’re well worth it! You only need a couple of hours here – perhaps a few if you are going to go across to the ruin.

But then you can take a short drive to Bossiney Bay. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESPark up in a car park just off the road out of Tintagel and take a short 5 minute hike half way down the cliff. You should come to a cross road (ahem, cross path), and if you continue for a few yards there should be a parting in the hedgerow, giving you a clear view of the bay below. The rock formation here is quite famous as it looks like an elephant with its trunk dipping in to the water. Its also quite a safe bay to paddle in when the tide is out.

Boscastle was our final stop on our little tour of north Cornwall. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Just a couple of miles up the road from Tintagel is this little village. There aren’t any shops per se, but several pubs and cafes and a thoroughly enjoyable walk alongside the river, leading out into the estuary. You can walk along the river wall right out until you view the sea; but walk on the right not the more publicised left-hand side as the views are more impressive.

The tide was out when we arrived and we were able to see the chains staking the boats to the seabed, seaweed snaking along it and over the rocks. Well worth a visit and again, only a couple of hours are needed.




If you are planning a visit to Cornwall – enjoy! And if you want any recommendations of where to go or stay just comment below.

back to basics: a strive for balance

I’m sat here with a cup of tea, my fourth in only a few hours, and some mini shortbread biscuits. Aside from the horrific morning I’ve had, I’d say I’m as relaxed as I possibly could be at this moment in time. In a minute I’m probably going to put some cheesy film on Netflix whilst I finish writing this.

But it was whilst I was chewing on my second shortbread that I started pondering life. Not the big ‘why are we here questions’ – that’s far too deep for a Sunday. But I’m sat looking out on my [badly maintained] garden and all the greenery; the trees, plants and my sunflower. My sunflower is my pride and joy. I grew it from a seed and its now nearly 4 feet tall. But it doesn’t seem to like much rain – the clue may be in the name? Anyway, with the amount of rain and wind we’ve had the last couple of weeks its looking pretty sorry for itself. And I’m thinking, given my stressful morning, why do I feel so calm all of a sudden?

I’ve pretty much always loved the great outdoors – albeit camping out in it took a bit of getting used to. Perhaps, I thought as I munched, its living in the countryside and all its calming influences. Hearing the wind whistling through the trees and rustling the leaves. The birds chirping to each other (though I do not appreciate the ravens who have made their home in next door’s tree who circle and squawk very loudly at all hours of the day and night).

No traffic noise. No pollution. Not being reminded of work at every turn or the fear of bumping into clients whilst you’re dressed in ripped denim and an oversized cardigan with slightly greasy hair (its a look I rock most Sundays). Being able to see the seasons pass. When I lived in Guildford it went from summer > winter > summer. I barely saw any open spaces to see the leaves fall and then the buds starting to sprout months later.

You can lose yourself in nature. Walking, cycling, just getting out there and immersing yourself in it. You don’t need company, you can go it alone. & maybe we all should more often. Get away from it all. From everything. You can lose yourself in thoughts; a flask of tea and a notepad and you can be someone else entirely.

 “There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.”

– Lord Byron

We live such fast lives nowadays. Always trying to get somewhere quicker than we did yesterday, moaning about everything; service, the weather and that guy who walks so slowly off the train. Doesn’t he know you have somewhere to be?

Its got me thinking about my commute to work tomorrow. A 40 minute fast-train ride. I see the same people everyday. I know where they stand on the platform for the carriage they want. The business men in suits, newspapers under their arms and smart phones tucked into a pocket. The lady who had a walking stick long after her twisted ankle healed, simply so she could get on first out of pity. Everyone moves in unison. A shuffle, a step and then settling in for the journey. The same mumblings to the conductor, day after day. The hoard of people, seamlessly moving towards the barrier and out, into the big city to go to their desk jobs and bark orders down the ‘phone. Drones. Coffee, coffee and more coffee in cardboard cups; the Starbucks logo quite possibly the epitome of modern day living.

People passing through without really noticing their surrounds, at least, not til its too late.


Head down, looking at a ‘phone. Images that flood our daily lives from social media. Idealised images that are far removed from reality and which cause you to question your life. Some aspire to craft a life like that which they see online, as if everything is perfect and in vibrant colour. And if they try hard enough, maybe they will succeed and appear to have such a wonderful life as they would lead you to believe. Social media is here to stay for the foreseeable future, yet how relevant is it in our life? To have your life documented online for the world to see; but only the good parts. Not the bad, the ugly the dirty or the reality of it.

Don’t get me wrong, the irony is not lost on me. I’m a blogger and I have a Facebook and Instagram account.

To always be connected and close to those around you. A positive, depending on the circumstances, but also so often a negative. My ‘phone is ‘meant’ to be connected to my work emails. It was for nearly two years until 3 months ago when I disabled it before I went on holiday. I had full intentions of re-installing it with the swipe of a button on my return, but figured I would see how long I could get away with it. 3 months on and I can’t imagine having access to those emails ever again in my downtime. I hadn’t realised it before, but simply hearing the buzz when an email came in caused me to worry. What if? What if that email was the one that would show that I’d done something wrong? The beginning of the end of my career. Dramatic, I know. I’m not even a worrier compared with some of my colleagues; calm, level-headed I’m described. But I can’t not read it. That little red circle hovering over the envelope symbol glaring back at me. So I do. And its always nothing. Something I could have dealt with in the morning.

& thats it. For me, in a nutshell. Its all about being connected. And I just don’t want to be. I would throw my ‘phone in the river at a drop of a hat if I felt that I could. But I can’t. Modern life wouldn’t allow it. How could I possibly know if my train was running on time? Or what the people I follow on Instagram are up to?

So I strive for balance. I do what I must during the working week and try to fit in. To show that I can do it. An old person in a young body. But downtime is me time. And if I want to make onion soup and live in wellingtons and not wear make-up, well I’m damned well going to. I’m far from perfect. I don’t take good photographs and my vocabulary feels like its become limited to only those words that I need to use being a lawyer. But I’m learning. Every day is a school day and with each day, I’m settling in to myself and appreciating what I have more. Sometimes, I feel older than my years as if I’ve lead a full, enriching life and I’m looking back it on it with hindsight in my 80’s. Maybe I just want to make sure that here on in, I’m doing the right thing. Noticing the right things. Being true.

My life with Sam is great and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Except, perhaps, to go back 20 years to a world without ‘phones and targets and to the ease of a time where there was no immediate expectation of reply.

So, appreciate the beauty around you. It doesn’t have to be green and breathing. It can be grey, concrete or a tower block. But just make sure that you are happy and doing whatever it is you’re doing,  for you and live for the important things in life. Not the latest craze or getting the perfect photo, not messaging inane rubbish for the sake of it.

Just, going back to basics.

My shortbread is making me feel bad. I know its full of butter but it tastes so good. If only I could eat a normal amount and not the whole tin.

On the move to pastures new

I am so happy! We have just bought a house!

We returned from holiday a few weeks ago having found a buyer for our house. And, to be honest, I did feel under a bit of pressure to find somewhere suitable to buy quite quickly, simply because I don’t like messing people around. I don’t know why – our buyers haven’t given us a time frame or conditions – but I supposed I felt like I didn’t want to feel like I was keeping them hanging on.

Anyway, we decided to view as many properties as we could that took our fancy, though they were mostly ones we had already discounted from the look of the pictures, the work involved, or simply had a weird floor plan.

The first house we viewed looked lovely from the outside but there were no inside pictures. Why, I asked? Well, the agent said, a clearing company has only just removed everything from the old lady’s house. But we were assured it was a ‘lovely house’ and ‘totally, worth viewing’. I’m not going to say much about that house, save that THERE WAS A TREE GROWING INSIDE. An ACTUAL tree (well vine, there were grapes). It came through a hole in the wall and covered the entire, large (and tall), conservatory. Branches as thick as my thigh with grapes hanging down. I had thought initially that perhaps the tree had grown in recent months due to the lady’s lack of mobility, but then quickly realised that that growth was not from a few months but was twenty years’ worth.


I found this little gem in Tesco’s earlier in the week. Its a quirky light bulb glass (straw gives it away I guess!), but I’m going to put fairy lights in it

Then we viewed a house way outside of our ideal ‘circle’ (which is actually more of a rectangle). It was in a village which I thought would be twee but just, wasn’t. The following weekend we viewed 4 houses in one day. A second which was also outside of our circle/rectangle area, but which had huge outbuildings, albeit it needed a tonne of work. That was followed by a lovely detached thatch, but it had a weird layout and the garden was literally 90 degrees; there was a kids’ blue slide on the lawn and honest to God the poor thing must have slid down it and straight into the dining room it was that steep.

Then we viewed what would later become our home.

A house that I had thought was out of our reach and had simply wanted to view it for comparison purposes. It was 10 times better than the pictures and I pretty much loved it instantly. Beautiful large kitchen, log burner and mantle, exposed beams, wooden staircase and and tall ceilings and windows. Me and Sam are taller than average, but didn’t have to duck anywhere. It felt like a home. A home for us, for our future children. To have cosy winters around the fireplace, walks in the countryside (I may have to invest in more wellies), and to be able to just be us. But it didn’t have a garage for Sam which was top of the (his) list. Nowhere for the mini or the lathe!

Then, afterwards, we viewed the last house. It was a large 5-bed new build with a garage. It ticked all of the boxes on paper, but that was pretty much where it stopped. Neither of us really knew what to say as we were walking around with the agent. We muttered a lot about the ‘amount of space’, the proximity to town but neither of us were feeling it. You just know, don’t you, when your other half is thinking the exact same thing as you.

We couldn’t really get the country house out of our heads. No, it didn’t have as much outside space for Sam and yes, the third room was smaller than we had hoped for, but it was a home. A home. That’s when I realised the others were just houses, not homes. I could picture us living as a family in the cutest house in the area. The following day we drove out there and explored the country lanes some more – first gear around some of the bends! – and fell in love with the place even more. No corner shop. One bus a day, or thereabouts. But it does have an amazing pub, bakery, cute little village hall and more walks than you can shake a stick at. Sam said ‘I don’t even care about the garage!’ and that’s when we knew could well be living there soon!


Anyway, we’ve agreed a price and now our sellers just need to find a home themselves. Fingers crossed we’ll be in by Christmas and can have the fire going and fairy lights strung over the mantle piece!!

I was sat in the car this week and thought, what do I want from this house? Is it a wish list? What could I do without?  And I just kept coming back to a feeling. A knowing feeling, but one I couldn’t really describe.

I am not someone who makes decisions with their heart. I’m very much ruled by my head and often it can be months if not years before I evaluate a past decision.

But, this time was different. I still had to think about certain things, such as getting a future child to nursery/school and making my commute.

This house has everything. A safe, beautiful place in the country where children can be children and I can bake bread to my hearts delight whilst sipping my usual Earl Grey.

From my amazing little teapot!


We got married last June and had hoped to be in a position to move house this year. We were pretty confident our little 2-bed house would sell quickly but were really concerned about not being able to find something suitable to buy.

We started looking around mid-December 2016 but it wasn’t until the end of April that a house finally came on the market that we thought was suitable. In fact, it ticked all of our boxes so after the first viewing we put our house on the market.

Since then we’ve been on a bit of a rollercoaster. I thought it would be easy: sell your home and find another to buy. Yeah right!

We had quite a bit of interest in our house but it took a few weeks for someone to make an offer. We didn’t accept it because it was slightly too low. In the meantime, we started second-guessing the house that we thought was so amazing. It was at the top end of our budget but there was something not quite right about it, and we just couldn’t put our finger on it. The house was large, right number of rooms, a garage for Sam, within walking distance of the station for me. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the house when I first saw it on my own without Sam, but came round to it on the second viewing and could see the potential.

Things moved slowly on; our house was still on the market and the sellers of this other house wouldn’t take it off the market for an agreed price – even though the sellers of the house they were buying from had taken their home off the market for them! It was so frustrating. So, as a result, we kept looking around in anticipation that they’d find a buyer before we could sell ours. They did, and to be honest, we accepted that. The house, we’d come to realise, was everything on paper – but it didn’t feel like a home. We didn’t have that ‘cosy’ feeling.

I’m someone who thinks with their head, not their heart.

But if this process has taught me anything its that you need to trust your intuition and to step outside the box.

Our next home will be a family home; a place where we will raise our children in a loving, safe environment. I’ve got visions of walking the children to school around the corner and then carrying on to the train station for work. To spending weekends filling the kitchen with the smells of baking, soup and roast dinners. Having fairy lights over a fire place at Christmas with mugs of hot chocolate, but with space enough for the kids to play and to store our things without feeling on top of each other. Being able to be surrounded by my books but for them not to be intruding into our lives and taking up valuable room. For light, space and air.

To be able to grow and prosper as a family.

And that, is the crux of the matter.

We’re country bumpkins. Even the townscape is too much for us never mind a city. But of the small towns we like around here there are few houses on the market. We’ve also had to consider schools; primary schools really but with good transport links to a secondary school. We don’t plan to move for at least 10 years, and longer if we can help it, so these are things we have to think about. Its looking though we will move to a town for the amenities; schools, extra-curricular clubs for the future children and transport links for us to carry on with our work. Living in the country is wonderful; the clean air, the woods and the wildlife, and being able to set out for a walk from your front door rather than driving to a particular location. I guess we just don’t need the fast bright life of the city. Our idea of an evening out is a trip to the cinema or a restaurant and being home by 10pm. But, just maybe, we now have to put that to one side and to focus on what would be best for us and a little one – and that means making life a bit easier by not having to travel for 30 minutes to get anywhere.

But what house is a whole other question. We are both attracted to period homes but few of these have garages and some not even off road parking. Off road parking is a must have, but Sam has had to decide whether he wants a garage (currently housing our mini) or a workshop space. We’ve also gone full circle and are back considering new-ish builds too as they offer more space for the money.

We’ve viewed a fair few houses now and everything is nearly there, but not quite. Houses that are on a busy road >have a bad layout >are too far for Sam to get to work > have inadequate local schools >needs so much improvement work it should be bulldozed. Etc.

We will remain hopeful though! We’ve sold our house now so we are in a good position to buy. Fingers crossed something will come up!

In the meantime, my Pinterest is bulging with decor ideas for our next home. I love wood, subway tiles and trailing greenery with hues of grey to break up the walls and soft furnishings to bring it all together. Here a few of my favourites:

Feta & olives; a fly and flop to Greece

We’ve had a hectic few months so when our holiday to Greece finally rolled around a couple of weeks ago, Sam and I were both ready for it.

What with being very busy at work and trying to move house (whole other story!), we both felt exhausted so a holiday was long overdue. We’d been away over Easter to Devon, and went up to the Lake District in May, but its not the same as a week (or 10 days in our case) in the sun. One of my favourite feelings in the whole world is stepping off the plane and feeling the hot dusty air hit you square in the face. Within minutes your skin has a slight sheen to it – especially if you have to get one of those buses between the plane and the terminal. And I LOVE it. You just know you are on holiday then.

We had a beautiful holiday; though I can’t say much about the island itself as we didn’t leave the hotel! We went to Crete at the end of June and had good intentions to explore part of the island, including the temple of Knoss not far from the airport. Very quickly though, we realised that that was simply not going to happen. We did a couple of walks into the local village, Elounda, but that was it!

I love tanning; I would say it one of my best talents. If I didn’t come back from holiday looking like a native with very obvious tan lines I think I’d question what the point of the holiday was. That sounds awfully shallow, but I do find myself checking how well I’ve tanned each and every day. If I had pale English rose skin I obviously wouldn’t bother, but as I have an olive skin tone I treat it as an annual personal challenge to see how dark I can go. Sam on the other hand doesn’t usually like sitting in the sun for days on end. But even he was happy to fly and flop this time. He even got his chest and back out in the sun and has gone a wonderful golden colour.

Greece is beautiful. I’ve been to Mykonos, Santorini, Kos, Rhodes, Corfu, Athens and Olympia, besides Crete. And it really does look how it does on the internet! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESCute cube-shaped white-washed houses with blue shutters, pink and white bougainvillea growing up the sides and stunning views out over the sea. Tavernas with rickety wooden tables and chairs but the most amazing feta, olives and all types of salads and seafood on offer. I think I was Greek in a past life, because I can’t get enough of it.

We didn’t obviously see much of Crete save for the journey to and from the airport and two short hops into Elounda. Crete is the most southerly of the Greek islands and very mountainous. It doesn’t have the picturesque buildings I described above (for the most part – there are some quaint towns on the west side of the island though). It is more rustic, more weathered I guess. It is not as green as the more northern islands, such as Corfu, and has a hardened feel about it; plants that are clearly used to drought conditions and high temperatures.

But Greece is all about the food and Crete is no different. We enjoyed many Cretan specialities (including raki which nearly blew my head off) and every dish was amazing. If you do not like olives, oils, mussels, soft cheese and salads, Greece isn’t the place for you. It has the most eclectic culinary mixes; tea infused oils, mint, basil and oregano salads with beetroot, walnuts, feta and artichoke.

The best pork and lamb, falling off the bone, and more types of fish than I thought I’d see in one sitting. I managed to lose 1 stone in weight in the lead up to our holiday, but I came back 5 pounds heavier!

Our holiday was just that; a holiday. A break away from the reality of our lives in the UK and time for us to just relax and be us. We didn’t just sit in the sun all day, we swam in the sea and the pool (I have an irrational fear of little fish so the pool is much safer!) and spent endless hours sipping wine and tea on our beautiful garden terrace overlooking the sea in our dressing gowns. It was wonderful spending time together doing nothing in particular. Sam and I can spend all day with each other and not get bored, talking about anything and everything . We treated ourselves to a rasul spa treatment; a self-applying mud treatment which rejuvenates your skin. We have come back refreshed, tanned (!) and with more love for each other than ever before.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I would thoroughly recommend visiting the Greek isles – though I’ll have to see more of Crete before I decide either way!

My body: coming to terms

A few weeks ago I posted about a calorie-tracking app that I was testing and my struggles with weight-loss generally.

Last year I put on a few pounds in the lead up to my wedding, and then more than half a stone after the wedding. It wasn’t until late August when were having a weekend break in Paris did I feel truly uncomfortable and decided to do something about it.

I joined a gym. Standard, I know. But I’ve always been ‘in’ to exercise – cardio mostly. But exercise doesn’t help you lose weight. It makes you feel better about yourself initially because you are doing the right thing for your body. But then after a few weeks you get quite despondent because you aren’t seeing results, or the results aren’t as quick as you would like. And then you slip up, eating junk food you’ve been desperately trying to avoid and before you know it your diet is over and its not even been a month. Your gym membership feels like a burden – a monthly cost you can’t afford and time out of your day when you’d rather be at home. You know the drill. The circle. The ups and downs. Call it what you want but most people, no matter where there are on their weight loss / healthy lifestyle journey will have been there.

You need to address your diet. And that is the biggest change you can make, I think. If you are very overweight and have had a truly bad diet then its going to feel like you have to traverse a mountain. For others who are looking to shift a few pounds or a few stone, its possible, but you may not know what is wrong with your diet in the first place. Too much food, obviously, but what changes do you make? And where do you begin? Do you reduce your carbs, increase your protein intake, cut out alcohol/sweets/takeaways?

I started using a calorie tracking app because even though I’m fairly savvy and know roughly how many calories are in many foods, I think there are a lot of hidden calories in things you don’t really think about: cooking oil, ketchup etc. And my first discovery? 1,600 calories (my daily number of calories to lose a pound a week apparently) is LOW.

1,600 calories looks like this.

This is a typical ‘good’ day for me:

Breakfast: wholegrain toast with butter and a cup of tea [total calories 204]

Snack 1: banana [103 calories] and a KitKat [106 calories]

Lunch: Slim Fast shake [203 calories]

Snack 2: pear [103 calories] sometimes I have a nectarine instead and these are slightly lower in calories

Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognaise [spaghetti [249], quorn mince [150], chopped tomatoes [47], mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and courgette [101], grated cheese [82]. Total calories 630

Evening snack: chocolate biscuit x3 [240]


As you can see, I am having at least two pieces of fruit and vegetables with my evening meal. Yes, I have had a chocolate bar in the morning but I get up very early and have a long commute so 10am is middle of the day for me! Plus KitKats are the lowest calorie chocolate I can find.

Many will say a Slim Fast shake for lunch I shall neither healthy nor sustainable, but I find it help she me monitor my calories to keep them low during the day.  I am very much an evening eater so if I didn’t restrict my calories at lunch time I’d be gaining rather than losing weight.

Having recorded my calories every single day for 60 days, I realised that seeing it all written down really encouraged me to eat better. But just half a biscuit or one more piece of fruit on top, and I’d be over my total for the day. Its hard especially when you see how little you are eating but how many calories are in those items!

I haven’t made a huge overhaul to my diet as I eat fairly healthily anyway. My downfall is portion size and snacking. Swapping unhealthy items for fruit has been hard because I never used to like fruit, and even now there are very few fruits I will eat. But I’m getting there and, more importantly, I’m enjoying it.

Reducing my portion sizes has been the biggest lesson. Pasta or rice the size of my fist on a plate rather than taking up most of the plate :/ I still look down and think “the plate is half empty”  but after a few days and weeks your stomach muscle starts to shrink so you don’t feel as hungry and get full up on less.

This makes me sound like I’m starving myself – I’m not, I just had huge plates of food before.I come from a family where finishing everything on your plate is encouraged and piled high. Not stop when you’re full up.  I now try to only put on the plate what I want to eat and I think is a reasonable amount to eat and that takes time to learn. You really have to listen to your body.

So, after trying my damned hardest and some 9 months after I first decided to make some changes, I reached my ‘goal weight’. I did have some problems with my scales (they kept saying a different number every time) so I can’t be sure exactly how much I’ve lost, but I think it is about a stone. I’m pretty pleased because I’ve lost it in a sustainable way even though its taken far longer than most other people.

Here are the things I’ve learnt along the way:

  1. Look at your portion sizes. Your stomach is supposedly the size of a grapefruit. Imagine it stretching with too much food!
  2. Carbs are good in moderation. Everything is good in moderation but carbs are not evil. Eating pasta or rice will not make you put weight on unless you are eating to excess.
  3. Introducing fruit and more vegetables is not hard; add an extra vegetable to your evening meal and swap a snack for fruit during the day.
  4. There are a lot of calories in meat! Having meatballs instead of quorn mince adds an extra 400 calories to your spaghetti meal! Plus there is more fat. I’m at an advantage in that my parents are vegetarian and I’ve grown up familiar with meat alternatives, but I would definitely recommend making a swap once a week.
  5. Exercise helps maintain your weight, but does not help you lose it. You have to change your diet too.
  6. MOVE MORE. Take the stairs, not the lift. I’ve started taking the stairs at the train station instead of the escalator (about 2 floors’ worth) and I feel much better in myself.
  7. There will be foods you love but which you realise are not good for you. Bread does not agree with me. Just making a simple change from white to whole grain has been astronomical. I don’t feel bloated, lethargic or uncomfortable. Listen to your body – you don’t have to cut it out just find an alternative.

This is old news, I know that. But it’s not a fad diet, just simple obvious decisions to lead a more healthy lifestyle. Find something that motivates you; an outfit, an old picture, anything. Don’t be negative if you take your time to get there like I did, enjoy the journey and think about what you’ve learned. Try to make those little changes last a lifestyle and maybe you’ll never need to crash diet again.

Ive only lost a stone and could do with losing more, but I’m happy where I am at the moment. I’m now turning my attention to the outside of my body and to firming it up. I’ve been doing a basic routine of sit ups, crunches, leg lifts, russian twists etc at the gym plus my usual short run, and my tummy has become much flatter as a result. I’m going to try and improve my legs now and get some tone. Wish me luck! I have no idea what I’m doing and only bought kettle bells the other day, but its the trying that counts.

And whilst doing that, focusing on eating right; not clean, but healthy nutritious food with the odd naughty treat!

Everyone is in the same boat; just because they don’t talk about their body hang ups doesn’t mean they don’t have them. Stay positive!

A trip around North Devon: Clovelly

I realised its been a while since I last posted, but so much seems to have happened in that month I’m not sure where to begin.

I thought I’d start with a review of our jaunt down to the North Devon coast over the Easter weekend (I’m actually eating an Easter Egg whilst I write this as we have some left over!) We went with a couple of friends and decided to be based near Clovelly; none of us had been there before but after a quick google search and seeing so many pretty pictures of it we simply had to visit.

Clovelly is a small fishing village situated on private land. The main high street is pedestrianised, with good reason; Clovelly is incredibly steep and has narrow cobbled streets. The villagers use trolleys and crates on wheels to transport goods up and down the village. In years gone by, the villagers used the same crates to carry fish up from the harbour.

& it is so quaint!


Follow the cobbles down and you will make your way past a pub called the Up and Along Bar. It sounds quirky, but its not much to write home about – just a standard pub for a drink.

Carry on a bit further and you’ll reach the only cafe in Clovelly serving Devonshire cream tea. We sat out the back overlooking the bay and it was quite glorious; beautiful sunshine with an amazing view to boot. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The scones and jam were lovely too.

From here the road becomes steeper and more windy as you descend to the bay. If you are slightly infirm or if it was wet, I imagine the cobbles would be quite treacherous. Otherwise its certainly a talking point (and gasps of air on the way back up!)

This photo shows how steep the path becomes

But eventually you will come down to the bay. There is a very popular pub to the one side and stunning views out over the sea to the other. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The tide was out when we were there which made it even better; you could see the ropes and moorings and could almost feel how dangerous it would have been to be in a tiny fishing boat near all the rocks. As we were enjoying a pint a couple of canoes made their way in and were very careful on the approach.

I love the sea; blue, grey, calm or thunderous, in shorts or in a coat, there is nothing like looking out onto it.


If you head out across the beach after about half a mile you will reach a small waterfall trickling over the top of the cliff. Its worth a wander on a warm day though do be careful on the rocks! Most were large and would rock back and forth as you stood on them. I grazed my ankle on a good couple of occasions.

Although most of the houses are guesthouses or holiday homes, the villagers really pull together to make the village pretty. There were so many pot plants, colourfully-painted homes and trinkets outside that made me smile as we walked along.

My top tips for visiting Clovelly:

  1. You have to pay a fee (£7 each) to go into the village. This is paid in the gift shop where you park your car. However, if you approach on foot via a footpath to the east (on the right-hand side as you look down to the village), then you avoid the toll altogether! Your tickets are not checked once in the village, so if you don’t need to travel by car perhaps consider walking? However, I think some of the money raised does go toward village activities so if you are good person you may want to pay the fee.
  2. You only need half a day in Clovelly and that includes stopping for cream tea, fudge, and a drink or three. There are only 2 pubs and 1 cafe plus a handful of shops so there is not a lot to do. The village is picturesque and that it what is so attractive about it. I would definitely recommend the cream tea at the cafe half way down and a Devonshire pasty (not to be confused with a Cornish pasty or you’ll get a slap from a resident)
  3. If it is a sunny day take a picnic and eat on the beach; you will really make the most of the village and its scenery.
  4. Wear good footwear! Trainers or the like, but not flip flops as you probably will slip and fall.

Clovelly was beautiful and I’m glad we visited. We’ve been to many places in both Cornwall and Devon though I’ve realised one main difference between the neighbouring counties:

Cornwall is quaint. Most of the towns and villages are geared towards tourism and have their own prettiness and quirkiness about them. I get the feeling Devon is either ‘new’ to tourism or is going for the more rugged look. Whilst the landscape is stunning, most of the towns and villages, other than Clovelly, are quite simple and don’t have that twee, tourist-pulling attractiveness about them. I’m sure people from Devon will be up in arms about this comment, but it is only my opinion.

I will continue to visit Devon!


On the road to achievement; maintaining a positive mindset

A few weeks ago I posted a brief blog about my battle with the bulge. Four weeks on, my weight has not changed much. Maybe one or two pounds, but that’s it. Having made a significant effort since the New Year to eat healthily and really focus on my food choices, I’ve been quite deflated at the minimal weight loss I’ve achieved.

I first realised I need to shift at least half a stone in August/September 2016. I joined a gym and started having a Slim Fast drink for lunch and only two healthy snacks during the day. Slim Fast has been the only way I can limit my calorie intake during the day and still feel full; I lost a stone in 6 weeks a few years back so I know it works if I put my mind to it. I kept my usual wholewheat toast for breakfast and would eat a balanced evening meal. By Christmas I was feeling much slimmer and fitted into sparkling pencil skirt for my work Christmas ‘do. In reality, I’d only lost about 4 pounds, but my tummy wasn’t bloated as much.

So, in the New Year I tried to stay positive. We booked a holiday to Greece for the summer and I suddenly thought “that’s 6 months away. That’s enough time to do something about my weight. I want to be slim and [foolishly], I want an ‘Instagram’ body”. So I carried on at the gym but started doing some floor work as well as using the cross-trainer; I did my first ab crunch in January and haven’t looked back! I can now do 40 ab crunches quite quickly, plus 40 bicycle ab crunches as well as squats, a plank and Russian twists.

My waist has slimmed down – and I’ve put this down to the Russian twists which really work my oblique muscles.

But I have only lost a couple more pounds to be my current weight. The problem I have is that I found out my scales were broken in February 2017 so its actually quite hard to work out how much weight I have lost. On the basis that my previous scales were slightly light, I was probably far heavier than I thought last August. So in all, I have probably lost about half a stone.

I really struggle to lose weight – it takes me ages to do it properly. A pound a week never mind a month is hard. My weight seems to stabilise for weeks on end, then suddenly drops a pound. Then stabilises, then drops a pound. I wouldn’t mind but when you are limiting your calories, working out 3 times a week and recording all of your food in an app, you’d think you’d lose weight faster. Feeling deflated is an understatement. On a couple of occasions I’ve had a chocolate biscuit after dinner or a slice of cheese when I get in from work (my days are long from commuting) and feel guilty, but on those days I’d already weighed myself and knew I hadn’t lost weight from being good!

I’m not a secret eater. I can remember everything that passes my lips for the last week and am honest about my calorie intake and if I go over.

I follow a couple of high-profile fitness fanatics, who I won’t name, on Instagram. The intention was to feel motivated during the day by seeing lots of ‘before and after’ pictures in the hope that it would keep me on the straight and narrow. The strange thing is, it has.

Although my body hasn’t changed much, my mind set has. I feel I am coming to understand the ‘love your body’ mantras the health and fitness world talk about all the time. Keep positive. Focus on the end goal but enjoy the journey in between. Goal posts move. Instead of just wanting to lose a few pounds (and, I admit, still wanting an ‘Instagram body’), I wanted to be fit. Strong. Toned.

So the last 6 weeks I have focused on trying to be strong. Well, as strong as you can be from just cross-training and doing squats and sit-ups without any weights! And then this week I thought, why not? I see people at the gym who are of a similar build to me – slightly overweight but not majorly – and they seem to be able to do it. Granted, I am worried about hurting myself but I have always been into fitness so I’m not stupid and know that form and technique are important. So, I’m buying some kettlebells this weekend! I’ve looked up 3-5 simple exercises I can do with them at home and I’m hoping they will help me tone up. If I can get toned I wouldn’t need to lose much weight at all.

I guess I feel like I’ve turned full circle. From enjoying sport and team games at school to joining various gyms and running as an adult. Now I realise that running is not sustainable for me long-term as a hobby (my knees are ruined to put it lightly), so whilst I may train for the odd charity run, I can’t do too much more than that. But suddenly the focus isn’t on just doing something to say I do it. Its about me. About feeling strong and able. I want to be one of those 50 year-olds who are trim and exude a classic, healthy wellbeing. This isn’t short-term. I want to keep this mind-set my whole life.

So, the scales may not be moving much, but I figure that life is about balance. I do eat a healthy diet full of fresh vegetables and fruit. I don’t drink much, I don’t smoke. The odd biscuit and toast is not going to hurt.

I feel like I can do this. Its only 6 weeks until my holidays (I can’t believe it was 6 months not long ago!) so these kettlebells had better have some effect! And, even though it is only likely to be a minimal change, any change is good and hopefully I can build on this and achieve the body I know is there, just hidden from view.

My reference to an ‘Instagram’ body may seem immature, but its not about the look. Its about feeling healthy and I guess I attributed that to being slim (and in a glossy picture). I feel like I’ve learned a lot in the last few months. Not necessarily things I can put into words but how I feel about myself and how I want to live my life. I think the next year will be the hardest as I try to achieve my goals, but then I have countless years ahead of me to (hopefully) maintain that. I’m actually excited.

I’m going to post occasionally about how this health and wellbeing journey is going for me; it won’t be all smooth-sailing but I figure that as long as I cling on to the positives I can make it there, no matter how long it takes. The feeling that you’re trying is far better than that of regret.

Happy National Tea Day!

As you may have already guessed, tea is my all-time favourite drink.  I drink about 5 cups of tea a day and, whilst that may not seem a lot to some people, I make those 5 cups count!

Lets be British about this – if you’re going to have a cuppa you’ve got to do it properly. None of this milky-as-hell, ten-spoons-of-sugar malarky. And why is the most common type (if it can even be called that) of tea, ‘builders’ tea? Builders have severely gone down in my estimation for drinking copious amounts of awful tea. I find most normal cups of English Breakfast tea down right frightful and often comment that its like drinking mud.

I’m a sucker for a cup of Earl Grey. No milk (I’m lactose intolerant anyway). I don’t understand why people say that Earl Grey is ‘fragrant’ tea, as though it is herbal or fruity. To me, Early Grey is what tea should be. Not heavy, or smokey or fruity, but as though you are walking through the fields of tea leaves in India. It is beautiful, whether drinking a cup in the harsh winter months snuggled up in a blanket or in the summer months when you look outside and just know that its going to be a wonderfully hot summers day.

The other month we were out dining in a wonderful cafe on the South coast. It sold more types of bread than I though possible; sour dough, olive bread, gluten-free, nutty bread, you name it. I ordered a standard cup of Earl Grey tea. & when it came it was quite possibly the best cup of Earl Grey I’ve ever had! We had to look up the tea there and then and it was a surprisingly well-ish known brand; T2.

Whilst I didn’t buy any of the bags of tea on sale that day (there was only a limited display as it was a small cafe), I did buy a stunning little teapot; its my pride and joy! Just look at it! > > >


I love stoneware crockery and, whilst this teapot has a shine, it fits in perfectly. It has a built-in strainer for leaf tea and makes enough tea for 2 cups.

I was then up in Leeds visiting my brother a few weeks ago when we came across an entire shop of T2 tea! It was actual heaven. It was floor to ceiling of more tea than I’d ever seen in my life. Black, white, green and herbal tea in more varieties that you could name. Different takes on the usual favourites, as well as off-the-wall types that smelt wonderful; Mocha strawberry? But then I came across French Earl Grey tea. I was sold. It is the best version of Earl Grey I could ever wish for. It has extracts of mango in it which give it a whimsical, summer morning-whilst-dew-is-still-on-the-grass kind of smell. Needless to say, it was leaf tea and I bought a box straight away. Whilst it was quite costly (£7 for c.40 cups) it is totally worth it. I even bought a little gift set for my dad as his birthday was coming up.

T2 are definitely up there in the tea stakes, which is strange because I believe it is an Australian company and I wouldn’t usually associate tea with that country. Perhaps there are some ex-pats involved somewhere along the way! Either way, T2 can carry on doing what they do best, because there is nothing on the market as exquisite.

I’m cooking a curry at the moment and enjoying a cup of Earl Grey. Later, instead of relaxing with a glass of wine like many people, I’ll be enjoying my French Earl Grey in my cute little teapot!

Happy National Tea Day!

Old fashioned pen & paper

I’m learning how to write again. Not just how to write, but falling in love with putting pen to paper and letting my thoughts tumble out of my pen nib not knowing what is coming next. I’ve written my few blog posts to date whilst commuting on the train. Its not always easy. In the morning I’m too tired and prefer to read my kindle or just doze. Or just to focus on the day ahead. On the odd occasion where I have been thinking about blog-related things I arrive at work a bit disorientated and it takes a while for me to start the day.

On the way home its different. If I don’t go to the gym then my early train is quite empty so I can get a couple of seats to myself, get comfy and start writing. I’m a blue biro person; black is too harsh on the page and ink just smudges when your writing is as big and loopy as mine. I often feel like a toddler, my pen wobbling all over the place. That’s not because of the train, but rather because my working life is centred around a computer so holding a pen is quite rare.

I loved writing when I was at school. English language was my favourite class. I love literature too, but rather becaused there’s nothing quite like getting engrossed in a good story, not because I enjoy analysing characters and finding hidden meanings in the text. That takes the fun out of the novel for me.

There is so much to the English language. So many words. So many ways of saying just one thing. So many ways you can be miss-interpreted.

My job in law involves a lot of writing (typing!), but its not the same. Its not writing. Its concise. To the point. Black & white. Informal but not casual. Its quite a conditioned way of communicating – after 7 years of study thats perhaps not surprising. Institutionalised even. My thoughts obviously can’t just free-flow in that environment (without a caveat or 10 anyway). It’s restrictive. I almost speak like that now.

I’m trying to break out of the habit in my personal life and be a bit more animated. Enthusiastic. Expanding my vocabulary to its pre-law breadth and letting my musings crystalise in ink. Its not easy. I can’t figure out if writing is a state of mind or an art. Maybe its both.

Blogging will be a (I cringe to use this expression, but!) a journey. A re-education. Back to basics and soaking up the environment around me. Keeping in touch with the things that are important in life and enjoying the little moments that often pass us by.

I wrote short stories as a kid and was a complete book-worm. I’m still like that now though sadly theres never as much time to read these days. I’ve always appreciated how hard writing a story is. In fact, as I’ve been reading The Game of Thrones (is he ever going to finish writing the series?) I’ve often wondered how the author put it all together. He must have a timeline for each character, their location in the fictional word and more family trees marked out than you could shake a stick at. I heard somewhere that there are in excess of 4,000 characters! Of course, not all main characters, but just to come up with an identity for each them must be hard enough.

Whislt I would love to write a book myself someday, that day is very firmly far into the future. I need to focus on me, how I communicate and what it is I actually want to say. ‘Finding myself’ through words is the wrong expression – I think I know who I am. I just need to learn how to express myself.

It’s almost akin to reflection. But in more of an evaluating than analysing way, through a medium of choice. When I was younger I thought everything was just as it was and that adults accepted it and got on with their lives. Well, we do. But as you grow up you realise the importance of the smaller things in life. Good old-fashioned values and knowing that you can do something to change how you life your life. I want to capture that.

Writing. Not typing – until I have to type it up to post it anyway!


We’ve just got back from my parents’ home in Norfolk where we spent a wonderous sunny weekend & celebrated Mother’s Day.

It takes about 3 ½ hours to get to Norfolk from Berkshire so by the time I finish work on a Friday and we drive up, we don’t usually get there til late. But its so lovely waking up to the birds and seeing the sun coming through the blinds in the morning (it was a gorgeous sunny weekend for March, wasn’t it?)

After my usual fried egg sammich for breakfast (I enjoy having some type of egg-based breakfast food at the weekend), we helped my parents in the garden. Me and gardening don’t really get on, so ‘help’ is probably the wrong word to use. I spent a lot of time taking pictures of cows.



There is dairy farm up the road so three times a day the cows walk past to be milked.

The farm sells raw milk, one of only 2 dairies in the UK to do so. & it tastes great! I should probably say at this point that I am lactose intolerant, so I haven’t actually tasted the milk save for a drop on my little finger. But the brie is to die for. Literally. And the cows are so cute- look! They are a mix of English and French cows and like being talked to. Maybe that’s how we held their attention for so long!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOnce the cows had gone back to their business I took some pictures of the first flowers of spring before mowing the lawn. This sounds like a very boring task to do, but my parents have a ride-on lawn mower so I was whipping about carving up the garden. My dad was hoping for some stripes, but he ended up with more circular patterns than he bargained for. I got a bit wedged between the vegetable plots but a quick 7-point turn and I was out!

Then I sat in the sunshine and watched everyone else garden.

Whilst waiting for lunch to be prepared Sam and my dad took up some target practice. They both have air rifles and dad has a rabbit ‘problem’. He jokes they are going to take down the rabbit population at the bottom of the garden but with his eyesight, never mind his aim, the rabbit would have to be 6 foot tall and dancing in front of him. I love bunnies so I’m dead against them being slaughtered just so that they won’t eat the vegetables. I’ve threatened to jump in front of the rifles if a bunny makes an appearance, & I think they believe me. For now though, they make use of tin cans. And I’m not a bad shot either.

I then set about making a CHOCOLATE MARMALADE cake. Not any cake, and not a chocolate orange cake, but a chocolate marmalade cake. I settled on Nigella Lawson’s recipe because she uses a whole jar of marmalade. Lived to regret that decision (Nigella, not the marmalade). The cake didn’t rise amazingly well and burnt a bit. And I followed the recipe to the gram. But it did taste of marmalade.

Mum then made my favourite tuna pasta dish for dinner. I’ve been trying to recreate the dish since I left home but I could never find the right cheese sauce. One time I concocted something from soft cheese, cheese and god knows what and nearly gagged.

On Mother’s Day we went for a wander along the beach at Southwold.


Southwold is a cutesy, boutique-by-the-sea village. We walked along the beach then had tea and cake on the pier. My hot chocolate came with malteasers! I grew up in Norfolk, just up the coast from Southwold, but now I live miles in land so its always nice to see the sea again.

Though, it was sooo windy my ears hurt. I bought a little jigsaw necklace from a shop on the pier. It reminds me of me and Sam; he once said we fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle so when I saw it I had to buy it. Its so cute!

Weekends always go so quickly. But perhaps thats because we had a good time!

I’m starting to get mega excited for our holidays. At Easter we are going to Devon for a few days. In May we are going to the Lake District and then in June we are off on our holibobs to Greece! I can’t wait!