Bet ya wondered if I'd given up on this series hadn't ya? Or maybe you just didn't notice I haven't posted one in nearly a month.....
I write my Friday Favourites fortnightly but the day my last instalment was due my blog was still undergoing some major renovations (more on that later) and I toyed with the idea of doing it on another day but in the end I decided I'd just wait 4 weeks and then post. Verdict? About 4 out of 10, wouldn't avoid but wouldn't recommend to a friend.
It was a lot. It was a lot to remember and it seems like a lifetime ago I did some of this and man oh man am I glad I wrote them down! So strap yourselves in and grab a brew, this is a long one.
1. A week alone.
Hellll this seems like a long time ago. When my parents went on holiday I cat sat at their house for 10 days and it was bloody blissful (soz Joss). I had some really decent nights sleep, I did what I wanted when I wanted, I didn't have to think about anyone but myself, I did a lot of work, I was super motivated blog wise, I only had to feed myself and it was just a big dose of R&R. I mean sure I also went back to my own house to see Joss, I picked my brother up from here there and everywhere, I had a list as long as my arm of jobs to do for my Mum and I still babysat my niece but yeah, the bits where I wasn't doing those things was very peaceful!
2. Game of Thrones.
Oh my fucking god Game of Thrones though. Season 7 has started with a bang and no I haven't watched that leaked Spanish episode yet so don't tell me any spoilers. I won't post anything here for those of you not caught up yet but lets just say episode 4 ended and I nearly burst into tears through sheer stress. Not only have I been watching the new season but I've also been rewatching from the beginning when I have 5 cos I never watched it when it was aired at first, I'm on season 3 and it's just as good a watch as always.
3. Love Island.
Remember when that was a thing and everyone was talking about it? I was really bored of it, I muted it on Twitter cos everyone was doing my head in, I scorned my brother for getting into it and then one night when I was home alone working I wanted something on the TV for background noise and there was literally nothing on so I stuck Love Island on. And I didn't do anymore work and I got hooked. It was like 5 nights from the end or something stupid but that didn't mean I didn't get less invested cos I hadn't watched their relationships from the start. I was hooked and now I am praying the rumours are true and they do a winter edition too. Cam and Jamie were my winners FYI.
4. Quality time with bae.
I normally babysit my niece with my Mum, toddlers are definitely a two person job at all time but when my Mum was on holiday I had my niece on my own and it was so lovely to create some memories just me and her. It was raining a lot on one of the days I had her and she was being a standard demonic 2 year old so I stuck her in the buggy and we went for a rainy walk and she fell asleep and it was so cute my heart. Another day she helped me put 3 loads of washing on the line, she handed me the items and I told her how many pegs I needed and she collected them for me and literally loved it, the small pleasures are the nicest. I also walked around the house with her on my toes like my Dad used to do with us and she really properly belly laughed and I don't think there's anything more funny than a baby giggling. She did also say "No I don't want to do that I'm too bored" which was a crap review of my childcare but we'll gloss over that.
I feel like I mentioned this on Instagram or something somewhere or maybe in a blog post but I forgot how much I miss seeing sunsets when I was at my Mum's. Where I live with Joss on their cider orchard and farm we're opposite a VERY dense forest and I only really realised how little view we have other than trees and how little I see a sunset anymore. At my parents house they back onto rolling fields and the sunsets I saw every day when I lived her were like the most amazing things I've ever seen when I realised how much I miss that view.
6. Taking my Mum's place.
Bit of a niche one here. My Mum is the Trips Secretary at a local Horticultural Society and I actually work for them as part of my illustration business, managing their social media, creating their website and their monthly newsletters. Whilst my Mum was away they had their monthly meetings and for 8923927583 reasons it required my Mum's attendance; so I had to go in her place. I was super super organised and they were really appreciative and I was, for once, not daunted about speaking in front of strangers and I felt v proud of myself knowing I'd done a good job on her behalf. Oh and the chips were cos the meetings were at tea time so both days I went down the local chippy and had a bagful and they were SO. GOOD.
7. Turkey dinner.
Another meal, another day I didn't photograph it before I scoffed it all. Instead heres a photo of our cider we sell cos family ties and all that. The night before we went on holiday Joss' Mum bought a turkey cos she didn't know what to make for dinner and we had a proper turkey dinner and we toasted a Merry Christmas and then we ate strawberries and cream for pudding cos Summer. It was the most random of arrangements but it was so nice to just sit round the table with good food and family and just catch up because we sure as hell don't do it enough.
I mean obviously. I wrote here about the realisation my holiday wasn't much of a break (and how I'm now desperate for one) but my few days away with my Mum and Dad and Joss were great. They were in Dorset for 10 days and then we joined them for the last 4 and a bit and aside from one sunny day - pictured here - it pissed it down the whole time, it was cold, we got soaked but we still managed to have a nice time. We went to Swanage, Weymouth, Poole, Brownsea Island (more on that in a mo) and one day Joss and my Dad went to the Tank Museum and me and Mum went to Dorchester.
9. Pure golf.
You won't get the title if you're not in the Whatsapp group but it made me lol anyway. On our last day in Weymouth we intended to play mini golf as per seaside tradition but it was fucking heaving and the next game was AN HOUR AND A HALF away so my Dad spotted pitch and putt and we played that instead. I normally hate picth and putt, I'm no good at it, I don't find it exciting and I'd rather hit a ball through a windmill or summin but this was actually a right good laugh. Joss was surprisingly amazing at it which motivated the rest of us and I got into the swing of it and even managed to get some air on some of them and felt like a right pro. I mean I got a score of 72 on a par 27 course but like I looked the part right?
10. Brownsea Island.
Undoubtedly my favourite day on holiday, and everyone else's, was Brownsea Island. It's a National Trust island off the coast of Poole and you go out by boat from Poole Quay, one of my fav places on this planet. We foolishly thought we'd whizz through it and planned shopping in Poole before they closed but we massively underestimated how lovely it is. There's hardly anything there, you just walk but the views are insane, the lavender is insane, there's red squirrels and it's just beautiful. It takes 20 minutes to get out there but on the way back they take you on a cruise for 40 minutes with a little tour and it's mint. Highly recommended.
11. Dot Journaling.
I had an email way back in June I think asking me if I'd be interested in a book on dot journaling and being the bujo fan I am as if I'd say no? It arrived when I got back from Dorset and I haven't had the chance to sit down and read every word but I've had a couple of flicks through it and it looks really good. It's basically like your go to guide for bullet journaling, for the system, how to make it work, how to lay it out and what to include. Definitely check it out if you're as bujo obsessed as me.
*This book was sent to me for free in exchange for some promo, I wasn't paid to discuss it.
12. Primark goodies.
When I went to Poole me and my Mum accidentally found ourselves in Primark when Joss and Dad were in HMV and I accidentally put some things into my basket and brought them home with me (I did pay). I got some jumpers cos basically Autumn this August and some boring bits like vests and socks and jewellery and a pair of grey jeans and I got the top of my dreams which has to go back cos it's really badly designed and not true to size and won't go over my tits so that's nice. But but but the main reason I wanted to discuss Primark with you was these boots. I hadn't seen them on anyone before I bought the black pair, I think they were very new stock but I've since seen the red on ElleNextDoor so I'm basically a fashion bloggers now no? But yeah, I'm predicting the to be the next it shoe from Primark like them embroidered slip ons from this Summer. They have them in tan, grey, black and red and they're super comfortable and I can drive in them so winner from me.
13. Folly Farm.
When we got back from our holidays we spent the day in Folly Farm in West Wales. My brother's fiancé has been saying about it for ages so we all went in 3 separate cars; my, Joss, my Mum, my Dad, my brother, my niece, my brother's fiancé, her Mum, her Dad, her Grandma, her sister and her sisters boyfriend and it was such a good day. We kept saying it was like one of them jokes 'how many people does it take to take a toddler to a zoo' - the answer being 11. I haven't been to Folly Farm since I was a kid and it's HUGE now it's a zoo, they have lions and rhinos and it's massive. There's so much to do if you've got kids and my niece had a brilliant time and it was nice to spend time as one huge family and for her to have memories of everyone together.
14. New blog.
Yesss I had a makeover since we last did one of these posts didn't I! I wrote in depth about my new blog in that post linked above so I won't bang on about it but I'm so much happier with how the blog is looking these days. I keep just going on my own blog to look at it and look how it works and how it's all fitting together and I just love it. Luckily you all seem to like it too and I've had some really lovely feedback since it went live.
15. Brand collabs.
Talking Tables have done it again. I've been working with Talking Tables since the bloggers picnic last year (it was a year ago on Sunday don't freak out) but haven't done since the beginning of the year so I was thrilled when they got back in touch to say they had some new stuff on offer. We were offered Prosecco Pong (read about that on Sarah's blog here) but as I don't drink they kindly offered me something else and this big box of goodies turned up yesterday. If you didn't know (I've gone on about it enough) we're going on a bloggers weekend in three weeks - today actually eeeeep - so Talking Tables kindly provided us with a lot of goodies to make it an Instagrammable as possible and I can't wait to reveal what we've had.
16. The bat saga.
Who knew my most popular tweet to date would be about bats? Last week I was happily folding laundry, as the tweet might suggest, when out of the corner of my eye I thought 'that's a big moth'. Only to look again and realise there was a bat flying around my bedroom. Let me just say yes they're cute yes they're tiny but when they're flying around your head they don't look that small at all - the wing span is actually massive. We then had a bat in the house every day for three days and omfg you guys loved it. I am happy to report they haven't been in since but sorry my tweets won't be as exciting.
17. Vale agricultural show.
I live in the Vale of Glamorgan in South East Wales and every year the farming community (which is vast) here hosts an agricultural show. It's been going since my Mum was a kid and people come from everywhere to go to it. We have our cider stall there and I've been going since I was a kid too. We've since started a tradition of taking my niece with us every year since she's been born so this was her third show, the first being when she was 12 weeks old. It was another good year and I think this time she really got into it but it had been raining the night before so it got a bit muddy picking her up all the time.
18. Days at home.
After a busy week or so on holiday and then coming home and getting straight back into cider selling and then Folly Farm and then a week of normal life and work and babysitting, having time at home last Saturday was welcome. Joss was working so I spent the morning catching up on TV with a cuppa and then spent the afternoon pottering around the house. I made a stew for tea, I did something like 7 loads of washing, I cleaned the house and did the dishes and blogged and whilst it wasn't a sit down and do nothing weekend it was relaxing in it's own way and just nice to be home.
19. Film nights.
We followed up a day of being at home with a movie night. We rarely get to watch films, we never really have the time but lately we've made a real effort to get through them and it's been really nice to just lie on the sofa with a blanket and something chocolately and a movie. We've been a bit eclectic with our choices including Follow Me (a horror), Child 44 (a war film), White House Down (terrorism) and Viceroy's House (about Indian partition) but they've actually all been pretty good.
I have had ALL the blog motivation since redesigning. I haven't got any better at scheduling ahead and not missing days cos generally can't find the time but my want to blog is like it's not been in months. The new look feels more me, I'm making a real effort to up my photography game, I'm really thinking about my graphics and what I'm putting out there and how I promote. Couple that with the blog squad also being really motivated and us all geeing ourselves on and I feel really good about blogging.
I was away when all the drama over the Bloggers Blog Awards kicked off but the girls just about filled me in. There's since been a lot of chat about diversity in the blogging industry and coupled with THAT Boohoo ad there's a lot of calls for more people to be recognised. As a white twenty something gal I feel very unequipped to make any kind of comment on it although I had a great conversation with my blogs baes but there was a real sense for me of assumption? Like people assuming there were no disabled bloggers in the awards or assuming none were LGBT+ and I feel like that's dangerous grounds. I couldn't put my feelings into words but luckily I read an AMAZING blog on AyeLined and I can't tell you how much I loved the post and how important it is that you read it.
22. Exciting plans.
Nuttin like a road trip selfie is there? Since coming back from holidays and saying I needed a break I've since filled my diary with 10 million things and I don't have another free weekend until September 30th. Cider selling season is really hotting up so between now and Christmas day we're at events nearly every weekend and sometimes we're at two events in a day. Couple that with family birthdays, BBQs, days out with my niece and work commitments I'm a very busy gal. We also have family coming home from America for a fortnight staying with us in September which I'm buzzing about and then I've also agreed to drive to both Bristol and Devon on separate days in the fortnight before I go to Hampshire with the squad. I also have a weekend planned back in Dorset in November and I want to go to Manchester and suddenly the end of the year is looking even busier than the start.
23. BBC dramas.
I have missed A LOT of telly whilst I've been away but I am slowly catching up on my FORTY TWO (yes really) programmes and I have discovered the Beeb are creating some knock out dramas. I have one episode left to catch up on of In The Dark which is a 4 part drama about a pregnant policewoman investigating current crimes intertwined with some historical stuff in her own life which is ace. Top of the Lake China Girl is on series two and the whole series is on iPlayer but I'm watching week by week with Joss on the TV. We didn't watch series one and you can pretty much pick up what happened but the first series is on iPlayer too if you could catch up quickly, It's got Gwendoline Christie (Brienne from GOT) in it this series and she's by far the best thing in it. I've also watched the first episode of Trust Me with Jodie Whittaker (new Dr Who) in it about a nurse pretending to be an A&E doctor and I'm itching to get home and watch the next episode.
August finally saw the launch of Steph's UK travel series - something I was asked to work on last month. It feels like ages ago I wrote my review of Cardiff so I'm thrilled it's finally live and I'm loving catching up with everyone's posts! Steph puts SO much work into these series' and it's lovely to see it all come together and I think everyone seems to be enjoying it!
It was my Dad's birthday this week and we had such a nice evening with the family to celebrate. Me and my brother went and got everyone a chippy and his fiancé and Joss came round after work and we had my niece here and it was really chill and lovely. My niece sang happy birthday to him and helped him open his presents (whether he liked it or not) and food was good and presents were good and it was nice to spend some time together mid week.
26. Lads lads lads.
Phot 100% nicked from Mel post on things bloggers say and I have used it in a Friday Favs post before. Whatcha gunna do. I couldn't not end with a mention to my girls, the Whatsapp group has been my lifeline this past 4 weeks. We talk every day almost all day and they make me weep with laughter one minute and want to cry big ugly I LOVE YOU SO MUCH tears the next. We all seem to have a bad week together and a good week together, we share life wisdoms and advice and we're all motivated to blog together. They're just generally a group of good eggs and I cannot WAIT to get my weekend away groove on and meet up with them in Hampshire.
Next time we chat it'll be the week before we go away and omgahhhhh can't wait.