Little Loves: May 2024

The final stretch of late Spring has been intense for many reasons – it’s been a month full of birthdays and big exams with a few mini-adventures thrown into the mix too.

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



Instructions For Traveling West:  by Joy Sullivan.  Confession: Even though English was one of my favourite subjects at school, I hated poetry.  H.A.T.E.D it.  And now, maybe due to age / life experiences / generally being more open-minded / and not being, you know, forced to read it… I actually get it. And like it!

When a parcel landed on my doormat with an almost apologetically gentle ‘thud’ at the start of the month, I had absolutely no idea what it was.  Upon opening it, I actually squealed out loud.  Current-me had completely forgotten that past-me had eagerly pre-ordered ‘Instructions For Traveling West’ and had neglected to take into account that it would take longer to reach me here in the UK than it would those in those in the USA, where the author is based.  Current-me was (and still is) absolutely thrilled – it ended up being a somewhat serendipitous, happily unexpected, slightly early birthday present to myself.

I read it in one sitting that very same day, then went back through it slowly over the following week, savouring each poem page by page, giving each one the full attention it deserved.  The entire anthology is so well crafted – it made me feel a lot of things, which is exactly what poetry is supposed to do.  I loved it.  Highly recommend, even if poetry isn’t usually your thing.

‘Instructions For Traveling West’ by Joy Sullivan

The Summer Of Impossible Things: by Rowan Coleman.  I enjoy time-travel novels (in fact, ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger is in my list of top ten favourite books of all time).  ‘The Summer Of Impossible Things’ had a light and fluffy writing style that meant it felt easy to read even though the subject matters tackled within the storyline were quite tough.  I liked it enough that I’ll read some of the author’s other books too – I think they’ll be a good option to follow a heavier book.

Truly, Madly, Guilty:  by Liane Moriarty.  I really enjoy the way this author writes – I’ve read a couple of her other books and have one more lined up on my shelf waiting for me.  I also like that the ones I’ve read so far are all set in Australia (this one was based in Sydney – it helped that I spent six months there when I was 19/20 years old so I was familiar with a lot of the places being referenced).

Liane Moriarty intricately and cleverly builds up the suspense in ‘Truly, Madly, Guilty’, whilst at the same time offering relatably real and flawed characters.  Each chapter is written from a different person’s point of view, and sometimes it might be a completely random minor character or passer-by who you can’t possibly fathom as having anything to do with the plotline and yet still ends up being a key part of the narrative.  Each person adds an extra layer to the story and reveals an alternative perspective… you’re never sure where the story is going next and you know there will be a big twist somewhere but it’s almost impossible to figure it out until you’re in the middle of it.  I genuinely couldn’t put it down and read a few pages at every opportunity.  It took me less than a week to finish it.



Wildlife Photographer of the Year:  Mum and I went to see the Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition last year at The Natural History Museum in London, and loved it.  When I saw it was on again this year I immediately booked us tickets.  Out of 50,000 entries, a total of one hundred photographs were chosen to be displayed and the images were stunning.  The lengths people go to, and the commitment & dedication to actually capturing some of the shots is quite astonishing – one photographer waited six months for just one image.

Mum and I both liked one of the People’s Choice images (which were on display digitally rather than included in the main exhibition space) – they had all been chosen by public vote rather than judges.

I also liked the Photojournalism collection, although ‘liked’ is perhaps the wrong word for it.  It’s a career I once thought about embarking on a very long time ago – telling important stories about the world to the world through visual imagery.  The sets of photographs were incredibly hard hitting – each selection telling a different story about climate change, pollution, deforestation, animal cruelty etc… – but the power in them is hopefully enough to create some kind of change somewhere, even if it’s only through increased awareness.

Mum at the ‘Wildlife Photographer Of The Year’ exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London

A very special graduation ceremony: Eighteen years ago I graduated from The Quest Institute at Regents University in London and started working as a therapist.  One gloriously warm and sunny weekend in mid-May, I got to go and watch my friend do the very same thing.  Grace is incredibly special to me for many reasons and it was a privilege to have played a small part in her journey.  She’s going to help so many people as she integrates therapy into the work she already does.  (Incidentally, all the photographs on her website were taken by me!)

It was also really lovely to catch up with some old friends and meet a few new people too.  Quest isn’t just a network, it’s a community, a family, and making connections within it always leaves me feeling good.

My gorgeous friend Grace and I at Regents University in London for her graduation

Northern Lights:  This is the part of the post where it’s expected that I say I watched the spectacular display of the Northern Lights that graced our skies one balmy Friday night, and where I share stunning photographs of pink and blue and green swirls lighting up the atmosphere…

Except, I can’t.  Because I didn’t see them.  I missed them completely.  And I’m absolutely GUTTED.

Seeing the aurora borealis has been a huge dream of mine since I was a young teen.  I always assumed I’d have to travel to Scandinavia or Iceland or perhaps Canada to see them.  So when they show up here and I don’t find out about it until the next morning, you can understand my intense and deep sadness and disappointment.  Needless to say I have now downloaded the Aurora Watch UK app and I will not be missing them again!

Instead, here’s a gorgeous sunset, taken just a couple of days later.

This spectacular sunset *almost* made up for missing the Northern Lights. Almost.



An Artful Conversation:  Towards the end of the month I made a flying visit down to SE London, just for the evening, for an event called An Artful Conversation.  The concept was dreamed up by the collective genius hearts of Laura Aziz, Bec Griffiths and Emma Collins – three artists/photographers who I’ve admired for a long time.  Squeezing out this time just for me, sandwiched in between two full days of clients and right before a long weekend away with Ella for the next uni visit, seemed quite counterintuitive with regards to my waning energy levels, but (of course) it ended up being exactly what I didn’t know I needed.

It was 100% worth it – the long train journeys, the late return home (I got back at midnight), the nerves at being in a room full of people I don’t know whom I consider to be far higher calibre creatives than I could ever possibly hope to become…  Ironically, the topic of conversation was ‘imposter syndrome’ and how hard we each find it to call ourselves an artist.

I met and had conversations with fascinating people, and listened to the stories shared in the group by those who I didn’t get the chance to speak with individually.  I *may* have fangirled over a couple (Emma Goulding and Zoe Wittering specifically), and there were many who were completely new to me.  Some had even travelled over to London from France, Spain and the Netherlands for the event. It was wonderful.

An evening of artful conversation was just on the other side of the door that this sweet little handmade sign was stuck on…



The long journey to Exeter:  Uni visit #4 with Ella was to Exeter, and it took place at the very end of the month during half term.  Of all of the universities we’re visiting, Exeter is the one she’s been most excited about and we both hoped that she’d love it there.  We drive near(ish) to Exeter when we travel to Cornwall each year, although I’ve never actually explored the city properly.  This time, we headed there by train, and stayed in a cute little airbnb apartment.

Exeter turned out to be as lovely as we’d been told it was.  The uni campus itself was very pretty (so green and leafy!), the course she’s interested in studying sounded really interesting and we both really liked it there.

We visited The House That Moved, huffed our way up Stepcote Hill, watched the sunset at Quayside and I got spectacularly pooped on by a ginormous seagull, which was really quite upsetting at the time and now is simply a funny story.  We found Parliament Street (allegedly the narrowest lane in England), popped into as many vintage and indie shops as we could, wandered around Northernhay and Rougemont Gardens (where the very last witches were trialled and executed in England), walked over the Medieval Exe Bridge, and gasped at the exterior of the Cathedral (sadly we didn’t have time to go inside).  We also had a delicious dinner at Zizzi’s and lost a significant amount of time in the best Waterstones bookshop we’ve ever been in.

I think it’s safe to say we enjoyed our little minibreak (despite the journey home, which was full of delays and cancellation thanks to “cows on the line” of all things!), and Exeter is now equal first in her uni rankings (alongside Birmingham).

We both really liked Exeter – the city itself and the university

Exploring Rougemont Gardens in Exeter



Shorts:  Yep, you read that right – shorts!  We had a glorious mini-heatwave for a few days at the start of the month, right around my birthday.  I’m a tiny bit worried that it might mean that we’ve now had our summer and it’s over and done with, but it was really lovely while it lasted.  Sunshine and warmth really does make such a difference for me.  Sadly, it didn’t last long – I was back in long sleeved tops and hoodies a few days later!



My birthday:  I completed another trip around the sun at the start of the month, and quietly turned 41 years old.  I was lucky enough to receive some very thoughtful and generous gifts (new headphones, a voucher for dance lessons and some new books) and a bouquet of beautiful Bloom & Wild flowers.

Beautiful birthday blooms

Mimi’s 16th birthday:  Mimi turned sixteen years old this month.  Sixteen!  I took her to get her ears pierced (her main birthday wish) and she loved all of the other gifts she received too – vinyl, books, clothes and jewellery mostly.  Her birthday also happened to coincide with Leavers Day at school, so it was a full day of celebrations, including the traditional shirt signing.

Opening presents on her 16th birthday

Mimi’s signed school shirt

GCSEs:  At the time of writing, Mimi is half way through her GCSEs, with just two more weeks to go.  She’s working hard and seems to be coping well so far.  She’s being diligent with her revision whilst also balancing it out with breaks and downtime.  She’s definitely looking forward to a well deserved break over half term.


I hope that you found plenty of little things to love throughout May too, and that next month promises to be full of good things.

With love,

Chloe x


More Posts

Be first to comment

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.