Some exciting news!

If you watch my weekly vlogs, you’ll probably already know that we’re about to go to California for 10 weeks. It’s all very exciting but has also been quite stressful due to how short-notice it’s all been. We’re leaving in two weeks time and only got our accommodation booked last night! In fact, we’ve only actually found somewhere to stay for February so far! We’ve still got nowhere to stay for the whole of March yet! I can tell from the reactions of most of my family that they think we’re a little nuts. If you’ve known Nick or I for any length of time, you’ll know it’s almost impossible to have a conversation with either of us without San Francisco or California being mentioned at some point. It’s always been a bit of a pipe dream to live out there so it’s nice to almost make that dream a reality!

So, here’s the plan. We’re going to be staying in San Francisco for a couple of days and then we’re going to stay with Nick’s friend in Moraga (just outside of Berkeley) for a few nights before settling down in a 2-bedroom AirBnB apartment in Sonoma for the month of February. After that, who knows?!? We’ll still be staying somewhere in wine country for March but it could be Napa or Santa Rosa or Sonoma again, we’re just going to play it by ear and see what happens. Then, on April 1st, we’ll either be driving North to Portland, Oregon for 10 days or South to Los Angeles before flying home on the 11th. Nick has even talked about driving across Nevada and Idaho to Montana but when I asked him what he wanted to see/do in Montana, he couldn’t really give me an answer so I’m not sure that will happen – but I’ve just typed Montana into Pinterest and I might be easily persuaded! Yellowstone National Park is even closer than Montana and I’d totally be up for that!

I have to admit that I’m a little bit nervous about how I’m going to find day-to-day living there as I’ll be on my own with Huxley a lot of the time, with no nursery to give me a break and no relatives or friends to go and see to break up the day. I’ve spent ages scouring Facebook for local mommy groups and have scouted out where the library is and I’m going to try and make a little map of the local neighbourhood parks I can walk to as I won’t have the car every day. As silly as this sounds, I have to admit that I’m pretty worried about my teeth as everyone out there has a Hollywood smile, if I could afford some major dentist* work beforehand then I would definitely do it! I have a feeling they’ll probably guess that I’m British before I even speak!

I have to admit that I’m pretty excited about leaving England for the whole of February. I really hate February! I’m not good with the cold. But, before you get jealous about the California weather, although it’s about 15 degrees, it’s also been raining for a LONG time so I won’t be sunning myself by the pool or anything like that!

I’m super excited to be able to properly explore such a gorgeous area of Northern California. I’ve been googling all the different hikes and trails you can do and I can’t wait to visit Muir Woods as it’s been on my bucket list for years. We’ll also hopefully visit Yosemite again (see my previous post with 5 month old Huxley!) and make trips to Lake Tahoe and other surrounding areas.

If you’re not sure what wine country looks like, check out Rosie Londoner‘s INCREDIBLE photos from her recent trip, as well as Julia from Gal Meets Glam‘s blog as she lives in San Francisco so goes out to wine country all the time and takes the most beautiful photos.

Napa California

(Photo via The Londoner)

napa valley

(Photo via Gal Meets Glam)

So yeah, my Instagram feed will hopefully be filled with gorgeous sunny shots of vineyards, giant redwoods and lots of milkshakes, pie and burgers! Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to keep updated with my adventures weekly!

*This post contains a paid-for link

Home vs Adventure

adventure quote

These days it feels like you can’t swing a cat without hitting an inspirational quote about travel and adventure. We live in a funny time, where everyone’s Instagram feels like a constant competition to out-exotic each other. If you’re not hiking up a mountain, trekking through a jungle or frolicking in a far-off ocean then the world isn’t interested. At least, that’s how it feels to me.

Although I’m totally for great, big adventures that open your mind and expand your horizons (insert other cliches here), today I’d like to talk in defence for the homebodies among us.

There is absolutely NOTHING WRONG with feeling happiest snuggled on the sofa in your pyjamas, clutching a mug of hot chocolate and watching a movie. I feel like if you were to admit this in public these days you’d be met with a few funny looks. We need to all chill out a little bit trying to out-adventure each other and try and find joy in the little everyday adventures that we can have. Whether that’s starting a new job, moving house or even just stomping around the forest, we all adventure in different ways.

I didn’t write a ‘Year in Review’ post this year because I was in a pretty bad place happiness-wise around New Year and I felt like I hadn’t done anything in 2015 and that it had been a bit of a flop. But last night, I was laid awake in bed thinking about all the incredible things we’ve achieved in the past year. We moved out of our flat, into Nick’s parents for 3 months and started a COMPLETE renovation of our house. We’re not talking about a lick of paint here and there, we’re talking about knocking down walls and re-plastering. The whole shebang. The fact that we completed an entire renovation of a 3 bedroom house, while Nick was working full-time for the most part, getting up at 6am to work on the house, doing his writing during his lunch breaks, then leaving work and going straight back to the house to work until 10pm or later, and as a couple, we’ve earned more money than we’ve ever earned in the past year AND we’ve managed to raise a happy, healthy, content, polite, beautiful little boy at the same time is mind-blowing when I look back on it. So although we didn’t go on any exciting holidays, in some ways, we had a much bigger adventure than we realised.

adventure quote

If you’ve been watching my weekly vlogs, you’ll know that we’re on the brink of our own big adventure for this year. We’re potentially moving to America for 2 months (and possibly indefinitely). The first two weeks of January have been a complete panic and a total rollercoaster of emotions as we try to decide what’s best for our little family. The fact that we’d have to leave at the end of January hasn’t given us a lot of time to think about it so it definitely feels very spontaneous and is a little bit scary – everything these adventure quotes have you believe means it’s the right thing to do (do one thing a day that scares you – life begins at the end of your comfort zone etc). But what if it’s not?

One of the things I’ve realised is how at home I feel in our new house. We moved back to the town that I grew up in and at the time I was really anxious that it would make me feel inadequate and that I’d feel like I’d taken a step back in life. But in reality, what I feel is extremely grounded. I hadn’t realised how much comfort I take from being in such familiar surroundings. It definitely helps that where I live is completely beautiful and surrounded by forest but I just feel like I’m in the right place right now.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this post or what the end ‘message’ is, but what I’m basically trying to say is that life is an adventure, whether you stay in your home town your whole life or whether you visit all the countries in the world. Ignore the stupid Pinterest quotes if they make you feel inadequate.

 

Car review: Peugeot 2008

Time for something a little different on the blog today. You may have seen on my social media accounts that I was sent a Peugeot 2008 Crossover for a week a little while ago. Peugeot kindly leant me the car with a full tank of petrol and all they asked for in return was an honest review of how I thought the car fit in with my active family lifestyle. The model I was sent was a Peugeot 2008 FELINE BlueHDi 120 in Amber Red with ‘Calima’ Ambience Panama trim with 17″ Eridan alloy wheels and a Cielo panoramic glass roof. This particular model retails at £20,045 (as of December 2015).

Peugeot 2008 car review 2015

So here goes…

This review is going to start with all the great things that I loved about the car and then continue to the things that I didn’t like quite so much. Each section is clearly marked with headlines so you can scan/skim through them if you like.

I also made a video review as I know some people would prefer to watch rather than read. This fits the same format, with all the things I liked about the car in the first half of the video and the things I didn’t like so much in the second half.

Things I liked about the Peugeot 2008

 

Automatic wing mirrors

The automatic wing mirrors are a great feature. The wing mirrors automatically fold in towards the car when you lock it. This gives you great peace of mind that they’re not going to get knocked/scuffed once you’ve parked your car.  It also allows you to see at a quick glance whether or not you’ve remembered to lock your car!

Automatic windscreen wipers

This was probably my favourite feature of all! I get unreasonably stressed out when the speed of my windscreen wipers isn’t in sync with the speed of the rain meaning that the wipers squeak really loudly every time they go. It really grinds my gears as Peter Griffin would say. The automatic windscreen wipers completely eliminate this problem as the sensor only activates them when there’s a reasonable amount of rain happening. It also means that you don’t have to remember to keep switching them on and off every 5 minutes if the rain is intermittent. It’s super easy to switch on and off too with a quick flick of a switch.

High off the ground

I really liked the fact that the Peugeot 2008 was slightly higher off the ground than my current car. This is particularly beneficial if you’ve got children and have to bend down to get them in and out of the car all the time. It makes it much easier on your back!

Handfree mobile connectivity

I thought the handsfree mobile connectivity worked really well. The speakers were nice and loud so I never struggled to hear what was being said and I didn’t have to shout to make myself heard to the person on the other end of the phone. Saying that, the system was totally flawless (see further down)

Nice to look at!

Obviously everyone wants to drive a nice-looking car. We can’t pretend that appearances aren’t important here! With it’s snazzy red paintwork and shiny, sparkly chrome features, this car is very easy on the eyes!

Spacious boot

With a child, a big boot is essential. We’re always cramming tons of stuff from pushchairs, to trikes, to wellies, to shopping bags, to boxes of nappies and everything in between into our boot. I was surprised to find on my first outing that I managed to fit TWO pushchairs in the boot! (A big iCandy one and a smaller flip-up one). I also liked that the boot was totally flat so you could sit on it to put your wellies on or use it as an emergency changing table (!) The only downside for me was that the responsiveness of the boot-release button was a bit slow which would be really frustrating if you were carrying heavy shopping or desperately holding on to your toddler who was trying to run into oncoming traffic!

Well-designed centre console

I thought the centre console of the Peugeot 2008 was really well designed. The layout of the computer system/stereo and the heating controls were really well planned. The buttons for the air-con temperature control were really nice and easy to use while driving without having to look down. It had plenty of places to store all your stuff. The only improvement that could be made would be possibly moving the USB port into the glove box as the cables kind of get in the way of the cup holders.

Peugeot 2008 chrome gearstick

Good acceleration

This car goes from 0-62 in 9.6 seconds, which doesn’t mean a great deal to me written down but I do know that it goes A LOT faster than my current car (a 2008 Toyota Auris).  In normal people terms, when you put your foot down, it GOES!

Very economical

Due to the BlueHDi Diesel engine in this car, the fuel consumption is extremely good. I drove just over 300 miles in a week and only less than 3/4 of a tank of fuel. The brochure tells me that you can get as much as 78.5 mpg (miles per gallon) but the in-car system said 55.3 mpg while I had it which is probably due to all the short drives and nipping around town that I did but if you were to go on a long journey at a consistent speed, you’d be able to get it much higher than that. This also means that you don’t have to pay car tax! Hoorah!

Automatic headlights

Again, another automatic feature that just makes driving the car so much simpler. Switching my lights on is something I often forget to do, especially if I’ve been parked in a bright car park. Unlike the automatic windscreen wipers, which you have to switch on every time you get in the car, this feature can stay enabled permanently so you literally never have to think about switching your lights on again! A great safety feature if you’re a forgetful Susan like I am! They’re sensor activated too so they’ll come on even if it’s daytime but it’s just really gloomy.

Panoramic sunroof

This one doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to the car as a driver but it does make the experience much nicer for the passengers! Obviously it lets a lot of daylight into the car which is always nice and makes the car feel much bigger and brighter. As a child I would spend hours looking out the windows at the trees and stars and I’d have loved gazing out of a huge panoramic window like this!

Mini dashboard screen

Sorry, I’m not sure what the technical name of this bit is! I’m talking about the little computer screen above the steering wheel. I thought this was a really nice feature. Although you’ve got a speedometer on the right, I found it really helpful to see my speed in numerical figures in front of me. The screen also shows you directions and instructions when the SatNav is switched on, while also still displaying your speed in between the SatNav instructions.

In car dashboard Peugeot 2008

Quiet engine

This car is super quiet when you turn the ignition on. I was going to write ‘it’s really quiet for a Diesel’ but actually it’s really quiet for a car in general – it’s much quieter than my current petrol-run car! This means that you can hear the radio better, you can hear the mobile phone through the speakers really well and generally improves the in-car experience as it’s not noisy like the inside of an aeroplane when you’re going at high speed.

Easy-to-use SatNav system

I’ve used a couple of SatNav systems in my time and I found this one really easy to use. The best thing is that you can override the ‘postcode’ input by just typing in the name of the town. It also gives you the option to choose the fastest route or the shortest route.

Steering wheel stereo controls

I really liked the steering wheel controls. My current car has buttons which can be a bit labour intensive to push when you’re driving along but the Peugeot 2008 had little wheels that you can just flick up and down with your thumbs. I found this much easier to use, if a little slow to respond when changing tracks on an iPod.

Easy on-screen music navigation

I liked that you could click on the album or artist that you were listening to and easily switch track or album from the on-screen computer. It’s probably not something I would use all the time but it was a nice little extra. The only downside to this system is that you can’t use the controls on your iPod to change the artist or access a playlist while it’s plugged in.

 

Things I didn’t like about the Peugeot 2008

 

Not very big inside

For a Crossover vehicle, I didn’t think the Peugeot 2008 felt very big inside. To me, the roof felt quite low and enclosed. In this particular model, this was helped by the addition of the panoramic sunroof window but I think if you didn’t have that, it might feel quite squished, especially if you’re taller than my 5’4″ self! In terms of leg room though, there seemed to be plenty.

No mobile connection confirmation

One of the things that bugged me most about the in-car mobile connectivity was that it never told you whether or not your phone was connected. This can be especially confusing if there are two of you in the car as there was no way of knowing who’s phone was connected without delving into the system to find out. Just a simple icon, or voice notification when you started the engine would have been great.

Can’t connect more than one phone at a time

Another downfall of this system is that you can only connect one mobile phone at a time. My husband and I only have one car so we are often in the car at the same time. Combined with the issue above where it didn’t tell you clearly who’s phone was connected, I think this would really bug me after a while. It does state in the handbook that you can connect more than one phone at a time but it depends on what handset you’re using. My husband & I both have iPhone 5s’s which is quite a common handset and not overly outdated compared to the age of the car so I was surprised that our phones weren’t one of the models that allowed multi-handset connectivity.

I don’t like the chrome!

This one is more of a personal preference but I really didn’t get on with the chrome gearstick! I didn’t realise that I actually drive along holding onto the gearstick quite often and because it’s winter it was FREEZING! I’d imagine you get the opposite problem in the summer with it being red hot if left in the sun which would be even worse! So I definitely wouldn’t ever choose to have a chrome gearstick! I also wasn’t a particular fan of the chrome pedals. For the most part, they were fine, but when I wore Converse, I found that my shoes would slip off the clutch scarily often which made me panic and was difficult to remedy without stopping the car!

Suspension wasn’t as good as expected

To be honest, the suspension really wasn’t as good as I was expecting. We live on an unmade road with LOADS of potholes and the main catalyst for us buying a new car would be to find one that handled the bumps much better. I’ve driven down our road in several cars over the time that I’ve lived here and some of these have handled the unevenness much better so I was disappointed as I thought that the suspension on a Crossover vehicle would be much better than my current car.

 

So, that wraps up my review of the Peugeot 2008 Crossover. All in all, I had a great time driving it and it was definitely a BIG improvement on my current car. Even my two-year-old son kept saying it was better and is still going on about the red car even though we gave it back a week ago. There were only a few small niggly bits that let this car down but I think that the good definitely outweighs the bad – particularly the money you would save on fuel consumption and tax due to it being so economical.

Thank you very much Peugeot for letting me borrow the car!

Mog’s Christmas Calamity

As part of my involvement in the Sainsbury’s Fashion Blogger Community, they recently asked me if I’d like to get involved in their Storyteller’s Campaign to raise awareness of child literacy in the UK. I was asked to film myself reading Mog’s Christmas Calamity and to upload it, so here it is!

If you haven’t seen the new Sainsbury’s Mog Christmas advert then you can watch it here. The book is available to buy at all Sainsbury’s stores or online, costing £3, with £2 going to Save the Children.

Fireworks for Halloween

This year we went to the local fireworks for Halloween with Nick’s family. Their garden backs onto the heathland and there’s a path that leads all the way to the local playing field so we wrapped up, grabbed our torches and headed out into the dark (and slightly spooky) forest.

Nick-&-I-fireworks

Huxley absolutely loved it. He walked through the woods holding Elsie’s hand and carrying the torch as we told them to keep their eyes peeled for the Gruffalo. When we arrived at the end of the path, Huxley’s little eyes lit up at the rainbow of flashing lights before him.

We had about an hour to kill before the fireworks display was on so the kids went on a couple of rides. Huxley had never really been on anything like that before but he got to sit next to Elsie and was in his element! His day got even better when the next ride allowed him to fly on a pink elephant!

Huxley-on-rideNeile-&-LukeHadley-&-ElsieNicks-family

They also had a ‘spooky woodland walk’ set up which was a little trail around the woods lit up with fairylights where kids dressed up as monsters jumped out at you. It was pretty funny and the kids all coped surprisingly well! At one point a teenager walked right up to Huxley and screamed in his face. Huxley looked at me and said ‘scared’ but I told him to say ‘boo’ back and he did. I can’t believe he didn’t cry! (You can watch us at the fireworks in my weekly vlog!)

I wasn’t sure what Huxley would make of the fireworks either as he’s never seen any before but he wasn’t phased by the loud noises at all and was just pointing at them with the biggest smile on his face as he told us what all the different colours were.

fireworks-for-Halloween

Design charity wellies for Joules & win a £5k holiday!

Popular British brand, Joules, is running a competition to win a £5,000 luxury break with Forest Holidays. All you have to do is get creative and design a pair of wellies!

The main prize is a 3-night stay in a golden oak treehouse cabin that sleeps up to 10 people (with various locations to choose from), a voucher for a Forest Ranger activity (for up to 10 people), an in-cabin chef for a night, 5x 1-hour spa treatments, Prosecco and chocolates on arrival, 5x Go Ape passes and a hamper filled with Joules items and surprise treats from their partners. There are also 10 runners-up prizes of £250 gift cards.

The winning design will be made into a real life welly and sold on Joules.com. All proceeds from the sale of the limited edition winning welly will be donated to our charity partners via CHARITABLY JOULES.

So get your creative juices flowing and submit your designs to http://getcreative.joules.com/ before 4th December for your chance to win! (You can submit up to 5 designs per email!)

Joules welly design competition

Here’s me rocking my favourite pair of Joules wellies at last year’s Open Farm Sunday!

UK-fashion-blogger-in-Joules-wellies

Catch up!

Erm, so I haven’t been very good at blogging more often! I have made an effort to take more photos every day with every intention of blogging more but our internet has been completely poo for the past week and it’s so frustrating having the connection drop out every 5 minutes that we’ve been doing our work at quickly as we can and then putting the computers away because we were getting far too cross. I spoke to Sky this morning and hopefully they’re sorting it in the next 72 hours.

Huxley was really ill last night so we’ve got a day on the sofa today so I thought I’d try and catch up with what’s been happening.

Monday

Monday was a bit of a fail! My plan was to go to the local toddler play group but I ended up walking to completely the wrong place and it was nearly finished by the time I got to the right place! Oops! Silly mummy!

Tuesday

I had an important social media strategy proposal to write while Huxley was at nursery on Tuesday morning. When we picked him up we went straight to Stewarts garden centre to pick out a new plant for our lounge (which is now finished! Post coming soon!). Wasn’t the weather spectacular that day? We had some incredibly vibrant rainbows while we were eating dinner.

Stewarts Garden Centre BroomhillGruffalo watering canRainbowWednesday

I literally can’t remember what happened on Wednesday and I have no photos from that day so who knows?!?

Thursday

I had a client meeting on Thursday morning while Huxley was at nursery and then when I picked him up we walked across the park to feed the ducks. I’ll be honest, the ducks weren’t bothered in the slightest. Then we played pooh sticks on the bridge. Thursday night was spent babysitting our niece and nephew, Elsie and Hadley. It was so fun watching them all play together (if a little tiring!)

HuxLightBabysitting

Anyway, now that my internet connection is back up and running (for now!) I’m going to make myself a nice cup of tea and do a spot of online shopping. The new Autumn collections over at Esprit are looking particularly good. I’ve got my eye on a rather dashing wool plaid coat (here) and some ankle boots (here) and I’ve fallen for a couple of their kids bits too which will definitely be going on Huxley’s birthday list!

Autumn Wish List

As always, with the change of the weather comes the familiar itch to purchase new items for my wardrobe. This has only been confounded by the fact that summer was a complete and utter washout so there were lots of things I’d purchased that I never got to wear so I felt stripped of that ‘new outfit’ joy and too many things have been tucked away having not been worn yet. And to make matters worse, I don’t even have a holiday booked to look forward to wearing them in the future!

What with everything that’s been going on with the house and all the money it’s costing, I’ve been making the most of things like eBay, shopping catalogues* and charity shops to try and make my money go further. Catalogues with credit* have been a real saving grace for me right now and I’d imagine they will continue to be as Huxley’s birthday and Christmas looms near!

Of course, my winter wish list is filled with Autumnal tones to match all the pumpkin spiced lattes and colour-changing leaves as it always is. It’s funny though as I tend to do one of these every season and I can definitely see my style is changing. I made a wish list last Autumn and it’s WAY more girly than this one. I think I’m definitely coming to terms with the fact that I’m really not a ‘heels & sparkle’ girl at heart. I like clothes that I could get lost in the woods wearing.

 

Autumn 2015 Wish List

Top: New Look | Jacket: Mango | Hat: Passenger | Cape: Marks & Spencer | Shoes: Oasis | Dungarees: Zara | Jumper: Finisterre | Boots: Clarks

I realise I just claimed not to be a ‘heels & sparkle’ type girl and I definitely wouldn’t wear those glitter flats into the woods but they are JUST SO PRETTY I couldn’t possibly leave them out of this list. I can make some room for sparkle in my wardrobe for special occasions.

I think I could wear raglan tops every day for the rest of my life. I love the ease of being able to just stick one on and I feel really ‘me’ in them. I haven’t really tried out the dungaree trend and I’m not sure how I’d feel about having to nearly completely undress every time I need a wee but they just look so damn cool.

Passenger is a clothing company that’s local to me and I absolutely LOVE their style and stuff. They haven’t got a women’s line yet but I’m so tempted to buy this beanie. It comes in a lovely deep red colour too.

I’m totally ordering that M&S cape immediately after I click ‘publish’. I’ve been looking for something like this for AGES and I nearly ordered one from Nordstrom when I spotted this while researching this post.

Finisterre do some truly lovely clothes. If you get a second you should check out their website. One of my friends recently flew to Iceland with the gorgeous Sophie Hellyer to take all their A/W lookbook shots and they are STUNNING. He is so talented. Also, nothing kicks off winter quite like a new jumper.

And lastly, the Orinoco boots from Clarks. A trusty favourite. I already own a pair of these and I lived in them last winter (you can see when I first wore my Clarks boots in Winchester a few winters ago). The trouble is that I also lived in them whilst painting the house, stripping wallpaper, working in the garden etc so they are now looking a bit beaten and worn – which I don’t mind – but any excuse for a new pair of shoes right?

*This post contains sponsored links

Packing for our first family festival

At the weekend we are taking the plunge and attending our first ever festival as a family. As much as I am a little daunted by this prospect, I’m also pretty excited. I haven’t been to a festival for nearly 10 years (my last was Reading festival back in 2006 – hello Pearl Jam!) so I’m looking forward to experiencing that festival ‘vibe’ again.

This time we’re going to End of the Road festival. It will be nice to experience one of the more low-key festivals as Reading was a bit too rowdy for me and we ended up leaving on the Sunday night as people were setting fire to tents and it was getting a bit scary.

Our original plan was to buy a tent at the start of summer and then do a couple of test runs in the garden and maybe venture for a night out in the New Forest or something just to get Huxley used to the idea of sleeping outside. However, with Nick breaking his leg and the weather this year being pretty poo, it hasn’t happened. Luckily for us, End of the Road is only about 20 minutes away so if the weather turns out to be horrendous or Huxley really isn’t getting on in the tent, we can at least drive home and sleep in our beds each night without it being the end of the world.

So, to tie in with our trip, I thought I’d do a little post about what we’ll be taking with us this year and if any of you seasoned campers/festival goers have any last minute advice about extra things I might need then please do let me know!

Festival essentials

1. Bin bags - Totally unglamorous I know but definitely the kind of essential item that I’m bound to forget!

2. Favourite toy - With no prior experience of camping, it’s going to be important that Huxley feels as safe and comfortable as possible. We used to send him to nursery with his favourite Gruffalo mouse and he’d walk around holding it all day.

3. Suncream – Because you can get burnt even when it’s cloudy. Suncream is especially important for kids as they burn much faster than adults.

4. Waterproof jacket – Because we live in England! And even if the weatherman said it was going to be sunny I wouldn’t trust them!

5. Inflatable bed – We got Huxley this inflatable Gruffalo bed at Christmas so that he had somewhere to sleep when we stayed round people’s houses or went on holiday as he had outgrown the travel cot that we previously had. Hopefully this way he’ll be a bit warmer as he’ll be raised off the ground and I know he’ll be excited to sleep in it again.

6. Ear defenders - Because little ears can get damaged by loud music.

7. Wellies – I’ll be rocking my pink chicken-print Joules wellies all weekend. A decent pair of wellies* are essential because again, England.

8. Antibac gel – Because toddlers touch EVERYTHING. And festival loos are proper rank.

So, there’s my list. It’s clearly not definitive of everything we’ll be taking along with us, but it’s the things that are high on my priority list. Seriously, please let me know if there’s something I’ve forgotten or haven’t considered. I’m going to be such an obvious newbie! (And if you’re attending End of the Road Festival and happen to spot us then please say hello! We’ll be the couple arguing and wrestling a toddler!)

*This post contains a collaborative link

I am not special

I can’t sing. I can’t draw. I can’t play any instruments. I’m not funny. I can’t speak any languages. I can barely cook. My baking is mediocre at best. I’m pretty regular looking. I’m not fat. I’m not thin. I don’t have long glossy hair or big bouncy curls. I don’t have bright blue eyes or never-ending eyelashes. I don’t have shiny white teeth or a big beaming smile. I still can’t apply mascara properly and will probably never master eyeliner. I’m no good at make-up. Or doing my hair. I don’t have a particular ‘style’. I don’t do yoga. I’m not raw vegan. I can’t write poetry. I’ve travelled, but not enough to call myself a ‘traveller’. I have no special interests or burning passions. I don’t have a career. I live in a normal house in a normal town and live a pretty normal life.

I am not special. And do you know what? That’s okay.

One of the things I think I’ve learnt in my twenties is that it’s okay not to be the best, to earn the most, to wear the most stylish clothes, to be the prettiest or the skinniest, to have the biggest house, to drive the fastest car. I don’t want any of those things. I’m happiest walking around in the fresh air, breathing in the scent of flowers and forests, watching the clouds, listening to the birds, feeling the sun on my face, smiling into the breeze and not giving a damn what anyone thinks.

But do you know what? There’s one person that definitely thinks I’m special. And that makes it all worthwhile.

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