Little Loves: October 2022

I’m finding it hard to believe that it’s already time for me to be writing my October Little Loves post – I haven’t even shared about our trips to Spain and the Isle Of Wight in the summer holidays!  And yet time continues to march stubbornly onwards and so here we find ourselves: halfway through the first term of the school year; nature showing us how beautiful it can be to let go of things we don’t need to hold on to; and our thoughts starting to turn towards (*whispers*) Christmas.

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

October 🙂



It has been an excellent month for reading!  I usually only manage to work my way through one book a month at most, so to finish three is extremely unusual.  Two were fairly short and both of those were non-fiction books (again, this is out of the ordinary for me) – they were relatively easy reads but definitely enjoyable and interesting nonetheless.

The Penguin Lessons: by Tom Michell.  I bought this book for my Mum for either her birthday or Christmas last year (I can’t remember which!) as she loves penguins, and from reading the blurb on the back I thought she might enjoy it.  She hasn’t read it yet, but every time I went into our local bookshop it caught my eye until I eventually bought myself a copy too.

It’s only a short book (220 pages) but every single one of those pages was so beautifully heart-warming and uplifting.  It’s a true story about a man who rescues a penguin from an oil slick, nurses him back to health and then the penguin pretty much adopts him.  It describes how their friendship grows over time and the lessons he learned from the penguin, mixed in with anecdotes and tales of the time the author spent travelling through South America.  I finished it in less than a week (such a contrast to the last book I read, which took me a whole month to read!) and completely and utterly fell in love with the penguin and the entire narrative.  Well worth reading.

‘The Penguin Lessons’ by Tom Michell

It Ends With Us: by Colleen Hoover.  I’m not usually one to read ‘chick-lit’ but I wanted something a bit light-hearted and frothy to counteract the non-fiction I’d just finished.  I’d heard lots of good things about this author (and this book in particular) on Instagram, so thought I’d give it a try.  It wasn’t quite what I expected – it was much heavier in places than I had anticipated, covering topics such as domestic abuse/violence and homelessness.  There was plenty of fun and romance interspersed in between too – I did enjoy it even though it was very hard to read in places.  It only took me a week to finish it, I couldn’t put it down and wanted to know what happened.  I’m now anticipating the sequel and might give some of the other books she’s written a try too.

‘It Ends With Us’ by Colleen Hoover

Beyond The Footpath: by Clare Gogerty.  I won this book in an Instagram giveaway at the start of the year – it’s taken me a while to get around to reading it but I feel so lucky to have received it because it was really interesting.  The tagline for this book is “walking mindfully to places of meaning” which got my attention straight away as I love walking.  I use walking as a way to clear my head, work through feelings and gain clarity and insight – I think I’ve always instinctively known that it was more than simply a basic form of getting from one place to another.

This non-fiction book is all about pilgrimmages – organised ones, group ones, solo ones, religious/spiritual ones, mini ones, personal ones and more…  I often go for a walk for the sole purpose of having a walk, with no particular destination or end point in mind.  Reading about the significance of water, trees, mountains, ley lines, stone circles, temples and all the other places that people walk to has made me realise that perhaps my need to walk is more innate than I realised and that maybe I could incorporate more meaning into my wanderings from time to time. The book includes lists of places you can go to, tips for the journey and a lot of history and explanations behind the folklore and stories inherent within these places – most of which were new to me and all of which were fascinating.

I’m sort-of doing my own personal version of a long-form pilgrimmage: slowly visiting all the places my dad lived in; travelled to; and which meant something significant to him.  So far I’ve been to his old flat in London, his house in a different part of London, the pub he ran in Essex, the pub he ran in Somerset, and Nerja in Spain – a place that was very important and special to him.  I still have so many to find my way to – Yorkshire, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Inca Trail in Peru and Malta to name a few.

This book is well worth a read – you might be inspired to do your own pilgrimmage one day too.



Strictly:  I really don’t watch very much TV compared to a lot of people but Strictly Come Dancing is one show I watch every year without fail.  I love it so much – it brings me a huge amount of indescribable joy and every single episode makes me desperately wish I could learn to dance too.  One day I’ll sign up for lessons 🙂

Don’t Worry Darling:  Neil and I went to see ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ at the cinema at the start of the month – an extremely rare afternoon date (thank you to my in-laws for coming over to be with the girls while we were out).  It was absolutely brilliant.  I thought it was very clever and it really kept me guessing the whole way through.  I felt that there were some un-answered questions that left me wanting a bit more – the ending seemed to happen all in a bit of a rush – and it’s definitely been left open for the possibility of a sequel.  Florence Pugh put in an excellent performance and the whole film was beautifully shot.



Ludovico Einaudi:  I have loved Ludovico Einaudi’s music for years.  We even had two of his pieces played at our wedding.  I was absolutely thrilled to discover that he had a new album out and that, as a consequence, he was on tour.  A quick check to see what venues he was playing revealed that the Royal Albert Hall in London was one of them, and the concert dates were only a few weeks away.  I immediately booked myself a ticket.

The Royal Albert Hall is a truly amazing venue.  I was only a little girl the last time I was there and I can confirm that it’s no less spectacular now that I’m an adult.  Seeing it all lit up outside as dusk fell and then feeling the atmosphere of anticipation inside… it gave me goosebumps.

I went on my own to the concert (it was a school night and the rest of my family are not quite so appreciative of classical music as I am) and I had the most magical evening.  Einaudi’s music always brings me to tears and this night was no exception. He played pieces from his new album as well as older work, including one of my favourites, Nuvole Bianche.  Watching his hands move over the piano keys was fascinating – he almost caressed them.  The violinist, cellist and percussionist were incredible too – the connection between them all and the love they obviously had for their craft was clear to see.  The entire venue gave them all a standing ovation at the end and rightly so – the whole experience was utterly mesmerising, I was completely immersed in it and totally lost myself to the music.  A night I’ll never forget.

The Royal Albert Hall looking spectacular – all lit up ready for the concert

Ludovico Einaudi and his musicians receiving a standing ovation at the end of their performance at the Royal Albert Hall



Gingerbread-spice buns:  Making cinnamon buns has become somewhat of a tradition during the autumn October half term break over the years.  This time Ella wanted to add a twist to the classic recipe, turning them into gingerbread spice buns instead.  Instead of simply dark brown sugar, butter and cinnamon in the filling, we added ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves as well.  They got the thumbs up all round!

Making gingerbread-spice buns

Bat cookies:  I can’t claim any credit for these decorated chocolate chip cookies – Ella and Mimi made them all by themselves!  They looked incredibly cute and tasted delicious too.

Bat cookies – aren’t they cute?!



No coat!:  It’s been such a mild month!  I’ve been loving that’s it’s still been warm enough to go out without a coat on some days.



A visit from Sophie: We hadn’t seen Sophie or her boyfriend Jack properly since they joined us in Bude during the Easter holidays back in April so we were long overdue spending some quality time with them.  They came up to visit us for the weekend at the start of the month and it was so good to see them.  Pizza takeaway, lots of laughter and a restorative walk along the trail near our house was exactly what we’d all needed.

All the gang together

Kathryn:  My friend Kathryn was diagnosed with bowel cancer four years ago.  It was pretty aggressive – it spread to her lungs, then her liver, then back to her lungs again.  She had surgery and gruelling chemotherapy every time.  This summer the doctors found a tumour in her brain and another on one of the vertebrae in her neck.  More complex surgery happened as a result.  After she had recovered from the operation she had more scans to make sure the brain tumour was gone, but the scans showed up three more tumours that had developed in her brain.  Her only option was radiotherapy, to try and shrink the tumours as much as possible, or at least halt their growth.  She managed three out of the five treatments before she became too ill to continue.

I visited her regularly in the hospice throughout September and October and absolutely loved the time I got to spend with her.  We talked for hours about anything and everything – the Disney cruise she wanted to go on, family dramas, how to get our kids to do their homework, our go-to Starbucks orders, childbirth, how she felt about the cancer and so, so much more.  We cried and we laughed together – it had been a long time since I laughed as hard as I laughed with her.

The last time I saw her she’d been sedated to keep her comfortable as she’d been in a lot of pain from the tumour in her neck.  I chatted with her anyway, hoping that some part of her unconscious could still hear me.  I got a message from her husband the next morning reporting that she’s deteriorated a lot overnight and that the doctors at the hospice were saying that she didn’t have very long left – it could be days or it could only be hours.  I made my way over to the hospice that afternoon and as I walked, the most beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky and I knew she’d gone.  I arrived just half an hour after she passed.  I’m heartbroken for her husband and daughter (who is the same age as my youngest) and I will always treasure the time I got to spend with her.

The rainbow that appeared as I made my way to the hospice. Every time I see a rainbow now, I will think of Kathryn

October half term:  We didn’t do much over half term at all.  Mimi and Lola spent time with their friends.  Ella and I headed over to Canalside Farm one afternoon for a walk and a wander around the farm shop.  We carved pumpkins.  I took the whole week off work and it was pretty chilled – exactly what we needed really.

October half term at Canalside Farm


Chapter ten of 2022 is now closed and I have a feeling that the final stretch of the year going to fly by super quickly.  Next month is looking busy already: exams at school for both Mimi and Ella; a couple of family mini-adventures (to Manchester and Southampton); plus two solo day-trips for me (to Essex and London).

I hope that you found plenty of little things to love throughout October and that November is full of all good things.

Stay well x

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