Little Loves: January 2024

It always takes me a couple of weeks to get going in January.  I prefer to start it slowly, easing gently into the new year like it’s a cold swimming pool rather than divebombing into the water with a big splash.  This year has been no different and as a consequence January simultaneously feels like it’s passed by super quickly and somehow lasted 1,864 days at the exact same time.

I usually find the cold, dreary, greyness difficult, so I’ve been deliberately paying attention to whatever ‘glimmers’ I possibly can – those little moments of light or joy that keep me going through the long winter.  Fortunately, there have been plenty to notice this month.

Here are all the little things I’ve been loving lately throughout January…



Torch: by Cheryl Strayed.  I loved both of Cheryl Strayed’s other two books – ‘Wild’ and ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ – and as a result I’ve wanted to read ‘Torch’ (which was actually her debut novel) for a very long time.  I figured it would be an excellent way to start off the new reading year.  Let me put it this way: the three page preface absolutely floored me, so I knew right from the start that it was going to be unputdownable…and I was right.

I finished the whole book in just a week.  The final third of it was all in one long evening sitting – I found myself unable to move from the kitchen table long after I’d finished my dinner because I had to know the outcome.  It’s a deeply moving, gut wrenchingly honest and relatable depiction of grief and it’s effect on family dynamics, sibling relationships and marriage, encompassing the fierce love and raw devastation of surviving the worst imaginable thing and finding a way to move forwards.

‘Torch’ by Cheryl Strayed

Conversations With Friends:  by Sally Rooney.  I read ‘Normal People’ a few years ago and, somewhat controversially it seems, reeeeally disliked the structure of it (no speech marks?!) but I did enjoy the storyline.  I’ve been putting off reading ‘Conversations With Friends’ – her first novel – for ages, unsure as to whether I’d be able to get past the way I knew it would be written, then added it to my Christmas wishlist on a whim and was genuinely delighted when it was gifted to me.

Ireland has been on my mind a lot recently for some reason, so I decided that this would be book #2 of the year as it’s set in Dublin.  I made it halfway through the first page and… I still hate the structure.  I find it difficult to read.  But, the intricacies of the different characters and how they connect and intertwine intrigued me, so I had to keep going with it.  It took me just over a week to finish and it ended so abruptly that it honestly startled me.

On reflection, it was absolutely the right point for it to end – there was no way the author could have chosen a way to close the storyline that would have satisfied everyone (or even anyone!), so leaving it open in the way she did was actually really quite clever, if a tiny bit… dissatisfying?  The only way I’ll ever know the outcome is if I make it up myself (which I did, in multiple different ways).

Now I’m curious about Rooney’s third book ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You?’ and what it entails, so I’m going to have to get myself a copy.  ‘Normal People’ and ‘Conversations With Friends’ have also been made into TV programmes, so I might see if I can find them and watch them too.

‘Conversations With Friends’, by Sally Rooney



Wonka:  We finally made it to the cinema at the very end of the Christmas holidays to see ‘Wonka’ and it was every bit as wonderful as I’d hoped it would be.  I took Ella and Lola – Mimi was poorly with a horrendous cough and Neil had already seen it a few weeks previously so they both stayed home.

I loved the cinematography and the respectfully subtle nods to the original film, and I thought that Hugh Grant absolutely stole the show as an Oompa Loompa.  It was a fun, light-hearted and little bit magical way to escape the reality of a grey, rainy, cold January for a couple of hours.


Accidentally Wes Anderson:  I have been wanting to go to the Accidentally Wes Anderson photography exhibition ever since I found out about it several months ago.  I knew my Mum would enjoy it too, so I invited her to come with me and we spent a Sunday afternoon in South Kensington together.

Confession:  I’ve never actually seen a Wes Anderson film.  I wanted to try and watch ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ before going to the exhibition and didn’t quite manage to make the time.  Maybe next month.  I love the signature Wes Anderson aesthetic though:  the colours; the lines; the symmetry; the architecture; the composition of everything… it pleases me enormously, both visually and in other ways deep down inside that I can’t quite find the words to explain or describe.  It just makes me feel happy..

Needless to say, I loved the exhibition and it brought me an immense amount of joy – I would go back and see it again in a heartbeat.

The ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson’ movement was originally started (somewhat accidentally, funnily enough) by a couple who were travelling – they shared a few travel images, they got featured by Vogue Magazine who loved the concept, more people started joining in and it simply grew from there.  It’s now a global phenomenon -the images in the exhibition were taken by them, their team of people and photographers & travellers all over the world who have submitted images.

It was beautifully curated – there were seven themed rooms (transport, nature, facades, hotels, sport, London and – my personal favourite – doors), each full of images, and every image had a story to go with it.  It was suggested that it would take about an hour to explore the exhibition – we were there for just over two hours.  There are fun photo opportunities throughout the exhibition, a cool photobooth at the end and a little bit of merchandise available to purchase too (I couldn’t resist buying the coffee table book, which I have been coveting for a while now – it contains all the images from the exhibit and so many more).

I highly recommend paying a visit.  A Sunday afternoon very well spent indeed.

In the ‘Facades’ room at the Accidentally Wes Anderson exhibition

The ‘Hotels’ section – look at all the keys at the end! It was little details like this that made it extra-special

My personal favourite room – ‘Doors’. I take photos of doors everywhere I go!

Me and Mum outside the Accidentally Wes Anderson exhibition in South Kensington in London



Life:  I was lucky enough to be gifted press tickets and be invited to attend an event in London right at the end of the month:  ‘LIFE’ by Luxmuralis, a spectacular sound and light installation at St Martin In The Fields Church near Trafalgar Square.  I honestly couldn’t have been more excited when the email landed in my inbox (I may actually have squealed out loud) – I love London and I love going to unique events like this.

The idea behind the exhibition is for artists of different disciplines and backgrounds to collaborate in order to give everyone access to art in (often quite unexpected) public spaces.  The venue was incredible – the exhibition starts before you even get inside, with the show already beginning outside the church in the courtyard and on the building opposite.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the ‘warped window’ of the church, which itself is a piece of art that was installed in 2008.

St Martin In The Fields Church

After a short queue (tickets are timed entry, but there is a little seated area with a bar and heaters for you to take advantage of while you wait) you head down a spiral staircase to the underground crypts.  There you can wander around to your heart’s content, watching the ever-changing seasonally-themed lights and listening to the gentle music and poems being read aloud by a mesmerising voice that surrounded you on all sides.

Part of the light show in the crypts

Then it’s back upstairs to the interior of the main church, where you take a seat in a pew and allow yourself to be totally immersed in the ‘celebration of life’ experience, which transports you to the natural world through light projections of water, earth and air (and many of the insects, fish and mammals contained within them), from sunrise to sunset.  The light display is accompanied by an emotive classical music score that adds even more layers to the sensory experience.  I love classical music anyway, so hearing it in such impressive surroundings made it even more powerful.

The ‘water’ section of the sound and light show in the main part of the church

My favourite part – the sunset!

The event is very family friendly – there were babies, toddlers and teens there –  it definitely has a multigenerational appeal.  Unfortunately, as we’re in the middle of exam season (and a week crammed full of nightly rehearsals for the school play), I wasn’t able to bring any of my girls with me – it was a bit too far to go all the way to London and back on a school night.  I think they would all have loved it, it really was breathtakingly magical – Luxmuralis have certainly created something really special.

If you are based in or near London, I highly recommend going to visit the exhibition.  Be quick though – it’s only on until Saturday 3rd February!  You can buy tickets here.



Travel plans:  University visit travel plans for later on in the year, to be specific.  The Open Day dates have finally been released for a lot of the unis that Ella wants to go and look at in order to consider whether she might want to study at them.  This time next year she’ll be submitting her application, so it’s important that we try and see/experience as many as we can.

We spent an evening co-ordinating our diaries and putting in all of the dates we know, figuring out if we could do them as a day trip or if it would need to be a weekend trip (for places a bit further afield or those that we think we might want to explore a little bit more!).  We’re still currently waiting on dates for two more – it’s going to be a busy summer, that’s for sure.



New hair: Ella, Mimi and I all had our hair cut in the first half of the month.  I’m so glad we went back to our old hairdresser – she’s lovely and always does such a great job.  I’ve kept mine short-ish so that I can get it in better condition before hopefully starting to grow it again over the summer.  Ella went from long to short and it really suits her!  And Mimi went from super long to just below shoulder length.

Prom dress:  It’s Mimi’s turn for her Year 11 Prom this year, once she’s done her GCSEs in the summer.  Preparation starts now though, so we went prom dress shopping together, with Ella coming along for moral support.  Mimi hasn’t worn a dress since she was (quite literally) eight years old, so this was quite a significant and momentous occasion.  She tried on several different dresses, in various colours, and managed to find one that she really likes and feels good in so we bought it!



Lola’s birthday:  Lola, my littlest one (ironic, considering that she’s taller than me now too), turned fourteen years old at the start of the month.  Fourteen!  I honestly can’t quite believe it.  We gifted her a keyboard, which she’s been requesting for months and she was absolutely over the moon with it.  She’s been practising every day since, watching Youtube tutorials to teach herself how to play.  We celebrated her special day with bowling, birthday cake and balloons.

Lola turned 14 years old at the start of the month and I’m so proud of who she’s becoming.

She was thrilled with the keyboard we gifted her for her birthday


And now here we are… Chapter one of a brand new year is already closed and there’s just one last stretch of winter to go before Spring finally arrives.

I hope that you found plenty of little things to love throughout January; that it’s been a positive start to the new year; and that February promises to be fun.

With love,

Chloe x

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