Little Loves: September 2023

September is usually my favourite month of the year.  This time it felt both infinitely long and as if it passed by in the blink of an eye – it’s been full-on in so many ways.  The summer sunshine we’d been hopefully waiting for all throughout July and August finally decided to show up during the first week of the month, just as the girls went back to school.  I thoroughly enjoyed the little mini heatwave and it helped me acclimatise before I went on my solo adventure to Lisbon.  When I returned to the UK five days later, Autumn had arrived, bringing with it wind and rain.  All I’m waiting for now is for the colours of the leaves to change and catch up with the season.

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


Lonely Planet Pocket Travel Guide to Lisbon:  Lonely Planet have been my go-to travel guides for over twenty-one years now.  I’m growing quite the collection!  If I’m heading off on a city break I tend to buy the smaller, shorter, pocket versions as they’re easier to take out and about with me when I’m moving around.  I read the ‘Guide To Lisbon’ cover to cover several times over ahead of my trip, planning and researching all the places I wanted to go and things I wanted to see.  I love that part of a trip just as much as I love the actual travelling and exploring actually.

This pocket guide had such a wealth of useful and practical information, beautiful images and, crucially, brilliant tips for finding the best of everything.  I made lists of priorities and potential daily itineraries and was also totally prepared to throw the whole lot out of the window and go with the flow if I needed to.  I ended up doing a mix of both and it was exactly what I needed it to be.

Lonely Planet’s Pocket Travel Guide to Lisbon

Once Upon A Broken Heart:  by Stephanie Garber.  This is the first book in a new series that sort-of follows on from the ‘Caraval’ trilogy that I read (and enjoyed) last year – some of the characters intertwine.  I took it to Lisbon with me (because I cannot travel anywhere without at least one book in my backpack): I read it on the plane whilst we waited out the two hour delay to take off after we’d boarded; I read it in the evenings whilst I was in the Airbnb; and I read at the airport on way home again whilst I was waiting for my gate to be called.

I found it a little harder to get into than Caraval but I’m not really sure why.  It seemed a little…fluffier?  I gradually got more into it as the story grew and the characters developed and the ending did make me keen to read the next book in the series so there’s definitely something in it.  Maybe I was just finding the adjustment back to young-adult fantasy rather than adult fiction a little bit jarring.  I’m glad I persevered and finished it.



Sex Education S4:  This TV show is so, so good and I’m gutted that this is the final season of it.  The topics that get covered are challenging and it’s not always an ‘easy watch’ by any means, but they’re very real and relevant and relatable for so many teens nowadays and that’s what makes it worth tuning into, even if only to understand better.  Obviously I’ve been a teenager myself, but not in this current crazy world that my daughters are growing up in.  I think the issues are portrayed sensitively and handled honestly.  The characters are incredibly well written and the actors are utterly brilliant – I’ve laughed and cried and felt all the emotions along with them.  If you haven’t already, please watch it.  It’s wonderful.

Strictly Come Dancing:  I am SO happy that Strictly is back!  I enjoy the show so much – our Sunday evenings are now dedicated to catching up on the Saturday night dances and the Sunday elimination.  I love watching the pro dancers, I’d give anything to be able to dance and move my body in the ways that they can.



The sounds of Lisbon:  Cities are never, ever fully quiet, and each one has it’s own distinct sound.  Lisbon sounds like music and laughter pouring out of tiny bars and cafes and restaurants spilling out onto the side streets.  It sounds like the hiss and screech and creak of trams and funiculars as they rumble past and you breathe in to make space for them on the narrow, cobbled streets.  It sounds like a multitude of languages; the high pitched whine of mopeds darting in between the traffic; the inevitable toots of impatient horns.  It sounds like the huffs and puffs of tourists un-used to all the hills and stairs; the clatter of plates and cutlery from open windows as families eat dinner together; and so much more besides.  It was unique and unforgettable and really quite magic.

Ascensor da Gloria – one of the oldest funiculars on one of the steepest streets (this photo doesn’t really show just how steep it was!) in Lisbon



Memories in Lisbon:  As you can probably tell, I loved my time in Lisbon.  It’s so different from anywhere I’ve ever visited before.  I had a long list of things I wanted to see and do and I knew that I’d never fit it all in during the short time I had there.  I wanted to try and squeeze in as much as I possibly could though, to really make the most of my trip, so I was out from the early morning right the way through to late evening most days.

I explored every inch of Lisbon (although I’m 100% certain there are a zillion little side streets that I didn’t discover); went on day trips to Belem, Cascais and Sintra; watched sunrises and sunsets from ‘miradouros’ all over the city; wandered the streets and stumbled across unexpected treasures.  It’s a trip I’ll never forget and the memories I made there will stay with me forever.

Laundry in Lisbon – I have so many photos like this, it was (weirdly) one of my favourite things about the city.

Santa Marta Lighthouse in Cascais

Sunset at Miradouro de Santa Catarina, just 5 minutes from my Airbnb



School uniform:  Only two of the girls are in uniform this year!  Mimi moved into Year 11 (it’s her turn to sit her GCSEs next summer) and Lola has gone into Year 9.  Ella started studying her A levels at college this month and is absolutely thrilled that this means she gets to wear her own clothes every day.

The girls ready to go back to school and start college (l-r: Lola Y9, Ella Y12 and Mimi Y11)



College:  Ella has managed the transition to college really well – it’s such a big change for her in terms of the rhythm and structure of her days and she’s handled it with resilience and maturity, overcoming any minor wobbles quickly.  She has much more independence now as she can come and go as she pleases in between classes, and she’s settling in to organising her workload.  She’s made a couple of friends in her classes and her confidence is definitely increasing.  I’m so proud of her, it’s really lovely seeing her become more of herself.

Uni:  It’s been new educational starts all round this month, with Sophie beginning her Masters degree at a university near us.  She’s studying part time over the course of two years and is aiming to become a therapist once she’s finished.  It means we’ll be seeing her much more regularly as she’s moved in with us part time, living with us for the first half of the week whilst she’s at uni, and living with her boyfriend in Buckinghamshire for the second half of the week.  It’s brilliant having her around more often.



Chapter nine of 2023 is now closed and we are three-quarters of the way through the year, which seems absolutely bananas to me.  Next month is set to be busier than I’d intended it to be with a lot of UK-based travelling – all good things though!

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

With love,

Chloe x


(Image at the top of the post:  Sunrise at Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Lisbon)

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