Little Loves: October 2019

October has been a funny old month.  We’ve mostly been in limbo, just waiting.  Waiting for a completion date for our new house; waiting for answers to questions; waiting for multiple different solicitors to do what they need to do with regards to various different situations; waiting for the results of some health tests for the littlest one.  Waiting, waiting, waiting.  We’ve been proactive and done everything we can do to move things along.  Anything else is beyond our control or influence – I know that.  Things will happen when they happen.  Getting stressed and worried about any of it is pointless.  Actually, I don’t feel stressed about the house, just impatient.  But the health stuff – that worried me.

I also had a complete inspiration block and didn’t pick my camera up at all for the first three weeks of the month.  Not even once.  It felt very strange and incredibly uncomfortable.  I just couldn’t find the light, couldn’t see the shots, couldn’t find the energy to get excited about photography.  I think I’ve managed to shift it now, but I’m definitely not back to where I like to be creativity-wise (yet).

I realise this all sounds a bit negative.  It’s not meant to, it’s just an honest recollection of what life has felt like over the last few weeks.  A bit of a tough slog.  But in between the heavy stuff there have been some lovely little moments.  I’m grateful for this space where I collect them.  I like to look back at the previous year’s month to see what differences there are – when I re-read this post in 2020 I’m sure it will all feel like a distant memory.

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


I’ve done pretty well with reading this month!  My brain has been so full of grown-up stuff recently and I think I needed to escape a bit.  As a child reading was always a portal to someone else’s life, a chance to immerse myself in a different world for a while.  It’s been good to rediscover that.

The Authentic Artist: I bought ‘The Authentic Artist’, a downloadable photography guide, from Sarah Cornish of My Four Hens Photography back in the springtime.  I had it printed into a magazine (I learn much better from an actual book rather than scrolling on a screen and I am so pleased with how it turned out!), put it on a shelf and haven’t looked at it since.  As I mentioned, I’ve lost my mojo a bit with my photography since the girls have been back at school and didn’t pick my camera up at all for the first three weeks of October.  I really wanted to reconnect with my ‘why’ and remember how much I want to do this as a career alongside writing.  This guide was just what I needed to nudge me out of my slump.  I’m only a third of the way through it but Sarah’s beautiful imagery and wise, heartfelt words are slowly starting to work their magic.

The Authentic Artist by Sarah Cornish

City of Girls:  I FINALLY finished City of Girls. I was so excited to buy it all those months ago (a signed copy!) and I was certain that I would love it.  After all, the reviews said it was fantastic and ‘Eat Pray Love’ and ‘Big Magic’ were both brilliant in very different ways.  And then…I didn’t love it.  It feels so controversial writing this.  Daring to dislike one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s books seems like treason as ordinarily I love her authenticity, her wisdom and her writing.  But I just couldn’t get on board with this story and it took me four attempts to get beyond the first three chapters.  I just didn’t like the main character, Vivian, at all.  I couldn’t relate to her.  Or the time period (1940s).  Or the setting of a New York City theatre.

I persevered, willing myself onwards because I really hate leaving a book unfinished (it would bother me too much not knowing how the story ends).  I did gradually get more into it as I worked my way through, though I found the chronology of it quite strange – the entire first half of the book was dedicated in great detail to only a few short years of Vivian’s life, with the next twenty years being covered in only a couple of chapters.  However, I did enjoy the final three chapters and I know this because I was back to my customary underlining of the parts that resonated with me and folding down page corners so I could find certain snippets again.  This last little section felt more like the real Elizabeth Gilbert writing again, as if she’d come back to her roots and was doing what she does best instead of trying out the alter ego she’d been wearing for the previous thirty chapters.  It’s not going to be a book that I read over and over again, but I’m pleased I stuck it out to the end.

City Of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Everything is F*cked (A Book About Hope):  I loved Mark Manson’s first book ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck’ and got a lot out of it at the time, so I’ve been keen to read his follow up book for a while.  I’m a few chapters in and so far it contains equally as much coarse language as his first one and is certainly just as insightful.  These personal development books with a difference are definitely not everybody’s cup of tea for sure, but I’m looking forward to finding out where he’s going with it and I know I’ll be able to use extracts with my therapy clients from time to time too.

City of Bones:  My eldest daughter loves reading supernatural fantasy and will pounce on anything to do with vampires, werewolves, angels, faeries, demons and mythical creatures.  She is currently obsessed with the Shadowhunters series by Cassandra Clare (and the prequels, sequels and companion books too – there’s a huge fandom dedicated to it apparently).  I had to take my littlest girl to a hospital appointment and didn’t think it would be appropriate to take the ‘Everything is F*cked’ book to read in the waiting room!  So on a whim I picked up ‘City Of Bones’, the first book in the Shadowhunters series, to try.  The husband and I have been watching the TV show on Netflix so I already had a rough idea of what it was about and I’m actually quite enjoying it.  It’s pretty much a given that I’ll always prefer the book to the screen version anyway.


Descendants 3:  The girls have been waiting desperately for months for Disney’s highly anticipated ‘Descendants 3’.  As in, literally counting down the days for it to arrive on the Disney Channel.  There was much joy in the household when it finally aired mid-October.  It definitely lived up to expectations in their eyes and we enjoyed the catchy songs and fun dance routines.  I have to admit that I had a quiet little cry at the end after the credits when the tribute to Cameron Boyce came on – I always find it incredibly sad when someone so young passes away.  It’s clear how much he meant to everyone who worked with him.

Abominable:  It’s felt like it’s rained solidly for most of October and after several wet weekends in a row we finally decided to head to the cinema to escape the constant downpours.  We opted for ‘Abominable’ and honestly it was one of the best kids films I’ve seen for a long time.  It was funny, emotional, thought-provoking and had some great messages (about perseverance, not giving up and taking the leap even if you don’t know whether you’ll make it to the other side) woven into the storyline.  We all thoroughly enjoyed it and it’s one we’ll buy on DVD and watch over and over again I’m sure.

Abominable is a must-see if you like to laugh, cry and feel inspired


Harvest songs:  Over the years I’ve been determined to make it to all of the girls’ primary school assemblies – Easter celebrations, Christmas carol performances and nativity plays, class assemblies, award presentations and Mother’s Day assemblies.  My favourite out of all of them every single year without fail is the Harvest Festival assembly and as silly as it sounds I always get really emotional during it.  With the older two at high school now it’s just Lola left at primary school and I’m all too aware that this time next year she’ll be in Year 6 and it will be the beginning of all the ‘lasts’ before she starts high school too.  I love hearing the harvest songs as it always bring back fond memories of singing them myself when I was at primary school.  ‘Cauliflowers Fluffy’ and ‘Autumn Days’ are my favourite ones.

An interesting speaker:  Mid-month I headed down to London for the first time in almost two years.  I can’t believe it’s been that long since I stopped working in Harley Street and moved my therapy practice online.  The reason for the trip to London was to attend the annual conference run by the QCHPA – the company I trained with fourteen years ago to become a therapist.  I say company – many of them are more like family now.  Questival is unequivocably a great experience – catching up with old friends, connecting with new people and learning lots always makes for a good day.

The speaker this year was Maria Sirois, who shared interesting research, valuable insights and funny stories about Positive Psychology and how ‘meaning’ impacts on our overall sense of wellbeing.  It was a fascinating topic and she was a wonderful speaker – I really loved hearing her thoughts.  She held the space on the stage with ease and grace, paid close attention to everyone in the audience and had such a natural way of speaking that it felt like you were having dinner with an old friend rather than sat in a lecture theatre.  I already knew most of what she was teaching but it was good to be reminded and have it reinforced and I still somehow learnt a lot that I can use on a personal level at home with my girls and with my clients.

Sunrise over Regents Park in London.

Health news:  I mentioned earlier that I had to take the littlest one for a hospital appointment and that we have been waiting on the results of some health tests.  Back in August Lola developed a small lump on her arm.  I didn’t think much of it – it looked like a bite or an ingrowing hair of some kind.  After several weeks it hadn’t gone.  Instead it had grown and was now surrounded by hot, angry, red skin.  I took her to the out-of-hours doctor who gave her some antibiotics for the infection, just as she went back to school in September after the summer holidays.  The redness disappeared once she’d finished the course of medication but the hard lump remained and it was still growing.  I took her back to the doctor who sent her for an ultrasound scan.

To cut a long story short, after yet more appointments we finally heard the news that the lump is a tumour and thankfully it’s a benign (non-cancerous) one.  I can’t even begin to describe the relief – as much as I knew it was probably nothing, my mind kept on jumping to the worst-case scenario and it was all I could think about for weeks.  We’re now waiting for an appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss having it removed.  I’m grateful that my brave girl has remained remarkably un-fussed by the whole thing.  She’s asked a couple of questions about the surgery she’ll need to have (“Will I be put to sleep Mummy?” and “Will it hurt?”) but otherwise she’s been fine with it all.

Always a little ray of sunshine


Pumpkins:  As per October half term traditions we carved pumpkins for Halloween.  This year’s efforts included Harry Potter (Ella), the Deathly Hallows (Mimi) and a witch’s cat (Lola) and we’re quite proud of them all.

Carving pumpkins

l-r: Harry Potter, the Deathly Hallows and a witch’s cat


Cosy Autumn clothes:  With all this rain followed by a sudden plunge in temperatures and then back to rain again, the boots and jumpers are firmly back on and are likely to remain there until May next year.  My faithful wellies have also put in several regular appearances for wet and muddy walks in the forest.  Part of me loves the cosiness of it all and part of me is already wishing for summer.  You?

Autumn leaves and winter boots


Autumn walks:  We made the most of a break in the weather one Sunday to get out and about for a walk at Downs Banks.  We took a different route to our usual well-trodden path and waded through streams, squelched in the thickest, ooziest mud and marvelled at how green everything still seemed to be.  It was lovely (even with an unexpected sprinkle of rain halfway round) and exactly the inspiration I’d been searching for to prompt me to pick up my camera again.

I love that she wears a skirt with her wellies to go hiking in the woods

Getting out in nature with my family and my camera is definitely my happy place

October half term:  October half term was very much needed by all of us I think.  We’ve not done much at all beyond pumpkin picking at Amerton Farm (which we haven’t been to for years!) and an absolutely gorgeous afternoon at Trentham Gardens where we stayed until sundown doing their ace Halloween Trail.  There has been the usual amount of bickering and arguing of course, but I have also been thrilled to see the girls playing together beautifully too – putting on shows for us, having epic nerf gun battles, playing made up games and laughing at inside jokes.  The down-time at home has been necessary and hopefully they’ll go back to school feeling refreshed and ready for the next seven weeks in the lead-up to Christmas.  I, however, feel like I could sleep for a week!

Picking pumpkins at Amerton Farm

Golden hour. I love this photo!

The Halloween Trail at Trentham Gardens

I love coming to visit this beautiful place

We survived!

November is going to be a busy month and we have lots to look forward to.  The teenager turns 18 (which is, quite frankly, horrifying – I first met her just as she was coming up to her third birthday!) so we’re heading down to Hertfordshire to celebrate her birthday at a big family-and-friends party.  In addition to this I have family coming over to visit from America, I’m heading back down to London again (this time for a travel conference) and we should hopefully be moving house too!

I hope you have all had a good October and that November is filled with lovely things.

Joining in with Sincerely, Anna and Little Loves.

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