Little Loves: October 2023

October felt long.  And busy.  And beautiful.  And challenging.  All at once.  I caught Covid for the second time and I was pretty poorly with it, although it didn’t flatten me like when I had it for the first time at the start of January so I was able to mostly keep functioning. There’s been a LOT of travel all around the UK this month (pre- and post-Covid, not whilst I had it, obviously), all for fun reasons. The house has been turned upside down whilst we had new carpets fitted.  And life goes on in between: school runs and work and conversations and life admin and household chores and overthinking and not enough sleep and doing my best to keep up with it all.

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


Lonely Planet Pocket Guide to Edinburgh:  A re-read.  I originally read it in 2021 when we first visited Edinburgh as a family.  There were a lot of things we missed during our initial adventure in this beautiful city, so as Ella and I had a couple of spare days to explore (the main reason for our visit was to go to the University open day), I wanted to make sure we saw some different places.  Our mission was successful thanks to my trusty little book.

Lonely Planet’s Pocket Guide to Edinburgh, in Edinburgh!

The Ballad Of Never After:  This is the sequel to ‘Once Upon A Broken Heart’ by Stephanie Garber which I finished at the end of last month.  Once I start a series I like to read them all one after the other and I really wanted to know what happened next.  I definitely enjoyed this second instalment more than the first.  The quest in the storyline was interesting and a bit faster-paced, and the relationships between the characters developed in ways I wasn’t expecting.  It ended on a huge cliff-hanger and now I’m really keen to read the final book in the trilogy (‘A Curse For True Love’).  I’m going to have to be patient though – the hardback version has only just been released, which means the paperback version will take several more months to arrive – I have the first two books of the trilogy in paperback and they absolutely all need to match otherwise my bookcase will look all wrong!

Without Merit: by Colleen Hoover.  What I like about reading Collen Hoover books is that they each tackle quite varied and hard-hitting topics whilst still remaining relatively easy to read.  This one was no different – it had themes of depression and difficult family relationships – but she writes in a way that’s accessible and relatable.  ‘Without Merit’ took me less than a week to finish and I enjoyed it.

‘Once Upon A Broken Heart’ and ‘The Ballad Of Never After’ by Stephanie Garber, and ‘Without Merit’ by Colleen Hoover



Taylor Swift Eras Tour:  Despite my best efforts, and hours & hours spent in online queues, I didn’t manage to snag tickets to any of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour live concerts that are due to take place here in the UK next summer.  When I found out that the shows in the USA had been recorded and amalgamated into one film, and that it was going to be released in the cinema, Ella and I couldn’t wait to go together to see it.  Sadly, the few showings that were on at our local cinema were right when I had Covid, so I ended up not being able to go – I felt too ill, my coughing would have driven everyone crazy, and, obviously, I didn’t want to pass it on to anyone else either.

In the end, Lola went with Ella instead of me and they both loved it!  I’m really glad that they had the opportunity to bond a bit over a shared interest.  Hopefully the film will get released on Netflix or some other streaming channel eventually and I’ll get to watch it then instead.

Trolls Band Together:  Neil took Mimi and Lola to see the new Trolls film at the cinema whilst Ella and I were away exploring Edinburgh.  The general consensus was that it was better than the second film, but not as good as the first.



5SOS:  It’s been a good year for gigs!  Ella, Mimi and Neil went to see 5 Seconds Of Summer (5SOS) perform live in Manchester at the start of the month.  Lola wasn’t keen on going – she managed really well with the noise, lights and standard concert-related sensory overwhelm at the Dermot Kennedy gig we went to in April, but we knew this one would be even bigger and louder and more intense so she decided not to go.  I stayed home with her whilst the older two had a blast with their Dad.  They loved it, and the super late night and overtiredness the following day was worth it.



A lot of train journeys:  As I mentioned, I’ve been doing a lot of travelling this month, mostly by train.  In the space of four weeks I’ve been to Surrey, Hertfordshire, London, Hampshire and Scotland!  It’s been pretty tiring but each trip has been for a lovely reason, so I don’t really mind doing it.

Ghost cookies:  Ella made some very cute little ghost cookies for the Halloween party she went to with her friends.  They turned out really well, her friends loved them and she was very proud of her efforts.  However, they all got eaten before I had the chance to take any photos!

Epic hot chocolates:  The temperature definitely shifted more towards an autumnal feel this month, which called for the first homemade epic hot chocolates of the season…

October was definitely the start of sweater weather season… (and epic hot chocolates!)



New hair: My hair has been in terrible condition – falling out in handfuls, awful split ends and breaking off so badly that it was actually getting shorter rather than growing longer – for the last two years.  I finally decided I needed to do something a bit drastic to sort it out as it was upsetting me so much.  It used to be so thick and long and healthy, and, even though it’s ‘only’ hair, it’s important to me.  So, with the help of my lovely hairdresser, I decided to be brave and make it short on purpose.  I kind of like it!

New hair!

Halloween costume:  Ella went to her first ever college party, a Halloween get-together with her friends. She spent ages planning what outfit she wanted to wear – a little black dress, spiderweb tights and chunky black shoes.  She also got Sophie to draw a little spiderweb design by her eye as well.  She looked ace. Her confidence has grown so much since September and whilst it’s a little bit terrifying that she’s almost seventeen now, seeing her go out and do stuff that was once way beyond her comfort zone is pretty magical.

Ella all dressed up and ready for her Halloween party



London / Southampton:  At the beginning of the month I spent a weekend visiting family and friends.  I enjoyed Saturday with my wonderful Mum (we went for a walk to the local garden centre and then she cooked dinner – nothing beats your own Mum’s home cooking!).  And then I travelled down to Southampton on the Sunday to spend time with my best friend and her family: we went to their favourite farm where we fed baby cows and goats; held chicks; played in the play area; went for a tractor ride and enjoyed a picnic.  Her baby boy (my ‘nephew’) was only five days old when I first met him – he’s now two months old and has grown so much!  He looks like a proper baby boy rather than a little old man, and he’s starting to give real smiles.  It was an exhausting weekend of travelling (I lost count of the number of trains I journeyed on), but it was 100% worth it to see everyone.

Me and my beautiful Mum

New carpets:  We’ve been wanting the carpets replaced in this house for a long time now, and with Sophie moving in with us it seemed as good a time as any to do it so we could make her room more comfy and personal for her rather than just being ‘the spare room’.  It was total chaos and upheaval – for four whole days the contents of the house were upside down and back to front, there were boxes everywhere, and I re-discovered things that I’d completely forgotten even existed.  The process has led to a bit of a mission to declutter, so it’s all still rather disorganised, but it was absolutely worth it. It looks SO much better – it’s quite amazing what a difference it’s made.  It’s finally starting to feel like our house now, rather than someone else’s (even though we’ve lived here for almost four years).

Luna was a little confused as to why all the carpet disappeared

Edinburgh:  At the start of half term Ella and I headed up to Edinburgh for the University Open Day.  It’s in her top five list of possibilities for where she might want to go once she’s finished with her A Levels, so we figured we may as well start looking around them all now.  We made a little weekend trip out of it (because why not?): we caught the train up there; stayed in a cute little Airbnb; and did a bit of sightseeing too.  Attending the Open Day was interesting and useful (I didn’t go to uni in the traditional sense, so the whole process is completely new to me) and I feel a bit more prepared now for all the other ones we’ll be visiting over the next year or so.

We were blessed with gorgeous weather on one of the days, so we wandered over to explore Dean Village (very pretty!) and headed out for dinner.  The second day was rather rainy, so we opted for indoor activities instead – we went to Camera Obscura and the National Gallery Of Scotland, as Ella had never been to an art gallery before.

View of Edinburgh Castle from The Vennel

Taking in some art at the National Gallery of Scotland


Chapter ten of 2023 is now closed and we are rapidly edging ever closer towards the end of the year, which is always a time of reflection for me.  I thought next month was set to be a little quieter but as I flick through my diary I can see we’ve actually got a lot of things happening – Mimi has her practice mock exams, it’s Sophie’s birthday and we have another university visit booked in too.

I hope that you found plenty of little things to love throughout October and that you enjoy whatever the month of November brings.

With love,

Chloe x

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