The alternative halloween

Staying in is the new going out. Didn’t you know? I’m a big fan of reminding myself (and others) that getting involved in the fun and celebrating the holidays doesn’t have to mean going out and putting your body through strain. Staying in can be just as good.

When it comes to halloween my usual approach is to stay in, turn out the lights and when the trick or treaters come knocking, I do the sensible thing and pretend I’m not home. Young kids in Scream masks are frickin’ scary.

But, when HMV gave me the opportunity to collaborate on a post for the perfect halloween night in, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to get involved without leaving my sofa.


Skull bunting and candles to get in to the halloween mood

My halloween-themed treats had me perfectly prepared a spooky night in. I gathered blankets, popcorn, skull candles and bunting and hours of viewing with two DVDs. Perfect.

There’s something good about creating a fuss. You get caught up in excitement by creating an atmosphere, getting friends involved and making an event. It’s what takes your evening from ‘lonely girl watching TV’ to ‘awesome halloween night in’.

I figured if I’m going all out with skulls and mood lighting, I might as well add a pumpkin to the mix too. Before I knew it, I had a house full of on-theme decor and a window that said, “come on trick-or-treaters, this is a house that welcomes halloween fun”. (It’s probably worth saying, the pumpkin stayed in the window long enough for me to take this photo. After that I removed it; I didn’t want the neighbours thinking it was okay to trick or treat. I may have taken a small step towards embracing the horror, but spiders and witches and fancy dress are still too creepy.)


My perfect pumpkin

The best thing about staying in is you get to rest that body whilst spending time with the people you want to surround yourself by. You can drink cocktails and eat in your pyjamas and make your night as wild or as tame as you want. You set the rules.

What’s not to love? Plus, it’s a great way to start the ‘best horror film’ debate. As a total wuss I can tell you our two films were a good mix – Hocus Pocus was a hit whilst The Exorcist required a bit less attention. What would be your choice? Happy Halloween!


Cocktails, films, and brain sweets. Obviously.

Thanks to HMV for reminding me that staying in with a good film is a great way to have fun.

Floating for fibromyalgia: A review of Floatworks

Have you ever floated before? I hadn’t, until last weekend when I made my way to Vauxhall at the ungodly hour of 5:15am to spend an hour in a float tank, courtesy of the new Floatworks centre.

For those who haven’t come across floating before, it really is as simple as it sounds. You spend an hour in a private tank, floating in the water with nothing but your thoughts. It’s believed that floating reduces stress, enhances your mood and relieves pain. In fact, fibromyalgia is actually referred to on the Floatworks website so I figured if I was going to float anywhere, this was the place to start.


The float tank in my very own private float room

Before I tell you about the float, I really need to tell you the lead up to the float and the insane levels of customer service I received from the Floatworks team. I am someone who gets frustrated by poor customer service and, even worse, poorly organised service, and so I am a loyal customer to companies whose attitudes and values reflect my own. But let me tell you, Floatworks have taken it up a notch. Or fifty notches.

I changed my appointment with them an embarrassing four times, and not once was I made to feel like an inconvenience. In fact, on arrival I was made to feel like an old friend – and not in a forced, annoying, creepy way like the people that greet you when you walk in to clothing stores. I received confirmation of my appointment via email, as well as a clear list of things to be aware of before the appointment. They explained that the session includes a private room with your float tank and shower, fluffy white towels, ear plugs, cold water, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, as well as access to hairdryers, straighteners and the chill out room which offers a variety of herbal teas. I was sent a reminder two days before the appointment, and clear directions offering me a range of ways to access the venue. Honestly, for someone like me, this is admin heaven.

But I’m guessing that, unless you’re as over the top about organisation as I am, you’re probably more interested in the float than the pre-float emails. So did it live up to expectation?


The view from inside the tank

Yes and no. After a quick shower to start the session, I dried my face and climbed inside the tank, pulling the lid down over my head. There was beautiful, soothing music and the surrounding blue lighting meant I entered the tank feeling relaxed and calm. The water was warm and even if I wanted to, the balance of salts in the water (or whatever it is, I’m not a scientist) meant I couldn’t sink below the water level. I popped in my ear plugs and lay back to a feeling I can’t describe. It was strangely liberating. I felt lighter than air and it was everything I hoped it would be.

For the claustrophobics among us, please, fear not. The tank is spacious and you are in complete control, so if you decide you need to prop the tank open with a towel or open it completely, that’s absolutely fine. At one point I stretched out like a starfish to see how big the tank is; I’m 5′ 7″ (170cm) and if I stretched my hands and toes I could just reach all sides of the tank. I certainly didn’t feel cramped and I had enough room to bob about from side to side, feeling quite content.


The very glam facilities in the Hollywood room

So up to this point, it’s all going pretty well. The problem is that it lasted about 15 minutes. The plinky-plonk music fades away after 10 minutes so you’re left with nothing but your thoughts. For the experienced meditators in the tank that’s no problem at all, but for the likes of me – the woman who makes lists in her head in her spare time – it was a challenge. A challenge that I took head on and felt was going pretty well, until I realised I was basically writing this blog post in my head whilst lying in the tank. Once I’d written the blog post I started thinking about all the things I had to do that day, that week, that month. I also started to write my wedding speech, so not entirely relaxing.

Soon after realising I wasn’t a model floater, I tried to get back in the zone by bobbing about and enjoying the feel of the water. But again, bobbing isn’t floating and I made a bit of a splash, got some salt water in my eye and it all became a bit stressful. I had to remind myself I was not a toddler in a bath tub, but it seemed too late.

By the time the soothing music came back on to signal the end of the session, I had lost it. I’d lost whatever calm I’d felt 50 minutes previously, and I’d lost the desire to be in the tank because you know what? An hour is a long time. I was starting to feel a bit breathless and, dare I say it, a bit stressed. I felt relieved to step out of the tank, and welcomed the cooling shower. I then sat in the chill out room for 20 minutes with a cup of herbal tea – green tea, jasmine and rose with gingko biloba – and a book on artists’ impressions of the human body. Because, why not?


Positivitea tea is worth buying if only for the excellent pun, surely?

The visitors’ book was an interesting read too, and showed that many people had experienced something quite incredible during their hour in the tank. One person had left the page entirely blank except for writing, “I can feel again.” Another wrote a long passage about the meaning of life and his place in the universe, so it appears this floating malarkey has a pretty profound effect on people.

On the way out, I spoke to a member of staff about my experience. He smiled, but didn’t seem too surprised. He said some people find it very easy to float, whilst others find it takes practice. Some feel an instant change to their mental or physical wellbeing, whilst others need a few sessions to feel the difference. I had hoped I’d fit into the former category, but it was always going to be unlikely considering I never find these things easy. It took me about a year to feel enjoyment from Pilates. I did say that I found it much easier to relax when the music was playing, and he said he’d add a note to my file so that next time they don’t turn it off. I liked that.

Will there be a next time? Yes, without a doubt. I don’t feel like it was a waste of time and I feel like now that I know what to expect, I should find it easier to deal with. Plus, I know so many fibro sufferers who have felt the benefits of floating that I owe it to my body to give it another go. My mind will just have to get on board. Two days later, I haven’t felt any dramatic changes to my pain but I’m still in a flare so it’s tough to know anything at times like this.

If you fancy giving it a try and you’re in the UK, I strongly urge you to visit Floatworks. This isn’t a sponsored post, I’m not secretly floating in their bribery money, but I truly believe that when a company is as thoughtful and caring as they appear to be, they should be recommended. So check them out, the experience is nothing if not fascinating and I look forward to hearing how you get on. You can book online and they have an introductory offer of three floats for £100 which is pretty good. Other price plans and offers are available on their website.

Also, just so you’re aware, Brunswick House restaurant is just around the corner and it’s a great place for a post-float breakfast. Get involved.


Brunswick House yoghurt, granola and berries


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The 3 things to do in a flare up

Day-to-day chronic pain is hard to deal with, so it’s comforting to know that a lot of sufferers spend time sharing coping strategies through wellness blogs and social media, which hopefully help to keep some of the pains at bay.

But when a flare hits, everything is so different. We don’t have the energy or ability to put those strategies in to practice because everything is so hard, so painful. A flare in chronic pain symptoms often means a spike in hypersensitivity. Sitting up hurts, wearing clothes hurts, working and walking  and being hurts.

I wrote these posts to explain what a flare up feels like and how I know when it’s on its way and, if I can just take a moment for self-congratulation, I think the images in both posts are the perfect depiction of a chronic pain flare – because I really hate the weak-looking people holding their head in their hands.


Image via Vivian Young

So, when all our symptoms are heightened and we still  have to function, what are we going to do about it? When all feels lost, here are the three things I’m doing to get through it. (Six weeks and counting folks, six whole weeks.)

#1 – Up your level of self-care 

I wrote this post about self-care last week and I can’t stress the importance of putting everything else on hold and just looking after yourself. During a flare we spend so much time trying to balance everything and continue as normal but now is not the time. Now is the time that it’s okay to say no, okay to stay in bed and tuck yourself away. Have warm baths, surround yourself with the things and people that make you happy, and pull out all the stops to make yourself feel looked after. Now is the time to up your game when it comes to rest and self-care.

#2 – Wrap up warm 

When every part of your body hurts and the seasons are changing, now is the time to wrap up warm. Buy good thermal clothing, arthritis gloves, scarves and hats – and don’t be embarrassed that you seem to have got a little over-excited about the forthcoming winter weather. Last week, a woman approached me at Paddington station. I was wearing a coat, a scarf, my gloves and a winter hat. There’s a chance I’d overdone it, but I was feeling chilly and sore and wanted to replace it with warmth and protection. A woman came up to me; she was wearing a black sleeveless dress and carried a light blazer over her arm. She said, “this is so funny – you’re dressed for winter and I’m dressed for summer but I think it’s actually somewhere in between.” I laughed and clocked my reflection in a shop window. I looked ridiculous. Warm, but ridiculous.

#3 – Spread the word 

Let’s be honest, chronic pain is always a bit shit. But if we’re going to help people understand just how shit it is, then we’re going to have to talk about it. My friends understand my fibro, they know I’m in pain but they know I can cope. When I’m in a flare, I don’t feel like I can cope. I don’t feel anything but mind-numbing pain and it is quite genuinely all I can think about. People don’t see that, and they don’t realise your flare is anything different. So use the word, tell people what it means when your symptoms flare and – most importantly – use this as the time to ask for help.


via Pudendal Nerve

Who would think that moderate levels of pain would be something we’d crave?! Right now I can’t wait for the other side of this flare. I remember ‘normal pain’ and I miss it. So I’m taking deep breaths, sticking to the basics and hoping that I’m out the other side before I know it.

The season of self-care for fibromyalgia

There’s something so wonderful about October – and it’s not just because it’s my birthday. It’s because it’s the start of autumn; the mornings are darker, the air is cooler and I’m finally reunited with all my chunky knits. It’s a love like no other.

But also, it’s because it’s my birthday. (High five October babies! Here’s to you.)


It’s not just my birthday and the chunky knits though; there’s something else happening this month. This month is the first time in a very long time that I can honestly say I’m resting. I’m saying no, I’m clearing the diary, and I’m booking in time for self-care.

The internet is obsessed with self-care and hygge at the moment and quite frankly, there are worst things for us all to be obsessed with. Hygge is a Danish term for which we have no direct translation – although, we’re talking about it so much in the UK that I’m not sure it needs a translation. For those who have yet to be gently hit over the head by cosy words and imagery, Hygge is the name given to creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. Simples.

For my season of self-care, I launched into October by booking a spa day with two of my favourite girls, a luxury manicure and pedicure with my mum, and a full body aromatherpy massage at my local therapy centre. I also booked an hour in a float tank which I am giddy with excitement about – and will review later this month – and I got my hair cut and coloured by a stylist so good I practically flew out of the salon feeling lighter than air. It feels so good to look after myself and invest in myself. I so often whittle my money away on things that end up in a charity shop nine months later (seriously, I’m pretty sure I single-handedly kept the Red Cross shop in south east London afloat) so spending on moments of happiness feels like a good move. Massages, manicures, brunch, cake… what’s not to love?


As the weather gets colder, the food gets warmer. Stews, pies, roast dinners – the things I utterly adore. Delicious smells fill the house, there’s a warm glow from the roaring fire and I feel so relaxed and content curled up with my little family and a good book or, more likely, the latest Netflix series. This scene is everything that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

All that plus birthday fun! Did I mention that? At 32 years old I still get a childlike excitement in my belly about turning another year older. I don’t know why, but I start counting down in June and it’s all I can do not to talk to anyone and everyone about birthday magic for weeks and weeks. There’s no doubt about it; October is my dream month. This year my birthday falls on a Saturday which means no work and lots of indulgence. And by indulgence, yes, I mean food. Birthday breakfast is one of my favourite traditions and kicks off the day in spectacular style. This year I’m planning nothing but lie ins, lots of food and cocktails with friends in the evening. Perfect.

Hygge means different things to different people – it’s one of the reasons I like it so much. It forces me to think about the things, the foods, the smells, the people that make me feel warm and blessed. To me, it means saying no to the people and things that require effort and, instead, surrounding myself with things and people that make me feel protected – even if I’m the one doing the protecting. I feel proud and excited about the months ahead and whilst self-care may end up sounding a little selfish, you know what… I’m okay with that.


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N:rem mattress for chronic pain

Aaaah, sleep. Sweet sweet sleep. That wonderful place of rest and calm where we the world stops spinning and we dream of bunnies and fairies. No? Me neither. Sleep for fibromyalgia sufferers is so bittersweet; I’m so exhausted and sore that I can’t wait to climb in to bed, only to find I’m so sore and uncomfortable that I can’t get to sleep. And when the meds kick in and I finally get there, sleeping through the night is often interrupted by nightmares and hot sweats. When I wake in the morning I have such intense pain that I can’t wait to get up bbt as stressful as all that sounds, as soon as I’m awake I just want to get back to sleep.

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

When I was asked to review the N:rem mattress – or “sleep system” – I jumped at the chance. Who doesn’t want an opportunity to test a bed that claims to be “ideal for chronic pain sufferers [providing] comfort for painful areas and support where needed.”

Some quick background for those who haven’t heard of N:rem: they provide mattresses that come with individual foam panels inside, which can be put in any order to suit you and your pain. The idea is that you can arrange the panels in the comfort of your own home, with each side personally tailored so that you and your partner can have individual set-ups. The mattresses also come with built-in temperature control so, at this point, it’s all sounding pretty dreamy.

What I loved about N:rem, right from the beginning, is that they get it. “Everybody’s pain is different and in different places which is why your current mattress doesn’t provide you with the comfort you need and long for.” It made perfect sense.

Here are some of the combinations they suggest for common chronic pain sufferers.


So eight weeks on, is it a mattress made in heaven? Well, yes and no…

The idea is genius. You swap your panels around depending on your pain and respond to the needs of your body. Simple. Except that if, like me, changing the duvet cover is so much effort that it makes you feel like you’ve just climbed Everest, you can imagine the nightmare that is changing foam panels inside a mattress. Bedding gets stripped off, mattress comes off, panels get moved, and so on…

I ended up sitting back and watching Robin as he climbed over bedding, moved panels around and cursed the day I agreed to “this nonsense”. I assume it’s a lot easier if you have a bedroom with floor space but in our small cottage, it was a bit of a faff. Or, a lot of a faff. And that’s when done by an able-bodied person. All I’m saying is, I recommend you get some help unless you have a nice spacious bedroom like this one.


Image via N:rem

A week in to the sleep experiment and I was liking it. I ached less and I sweat less and it seemed to be doing the job. Sadly, however, the mattress was too big for our bed (no fault of N:rem, our bed is an annoying, unusual, awkward size) and so the mattress would tip if I slept too close to the edge. Not ideal. Plus, Robin found it a bit weird. As someone who doesn’t suffer from chronic pain, he preferred our simple, old, boring mattress. There’s no accounting for taste.

A couple of weeks in to my sleep experiment I went on a two week holiday and then came back to a three week flare up. It’s always pretty tricky to review chronic pain products because if our symptoms start to improve we can never know for sure whether it’s the product we’re using or the food we’re eating or the activities we’re doing – or not doing. And if a flare lasts longer than usual, is it because of the activities we’re doing or the food we’re eating, or is it that new mattress we’re sleeping on? Who knows.

In the last few weeks, we’ve moved the mattress – and ourselves – in to the spare room. The mattress fits the bed properly which means I can test it better. On the nights I don’t sleep well, I wonder if it’s just the newness of a different room or the fact we can hear the railway line from that side of the house, or again, is it that new mattress I’m sleeping on?

Well I’ll tell you one thing for sure; I sweat less and, most importantly, I wake in a lot less pain. I haven’t noticed a big difference in my sleep during the night but there are many other factors contributing to that, so I’m not sure N:rem can be held responsible. There’s definitely much less pain in my lower back when I wake, I don’t feel the need to get out and stretch, and I don’t want to go back to my old mattress. I think I may be well on my way to finding the thing we can search years for: a good night’s sleep.

Check out N:rem’s mattresses and more importantly, their excellent payment plans and 100 night trials. Just be prepared for some faffing with foam and potentially, the need to rearrange your furniture so you can sleep in your spare room for good.


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Broken pieces

This week a friend came over, saw our brightly coloured cube keyring hanging from our back door key, and decided to take it apart. When he couldn’t put it back together, he left the pieces on our kitchen table and we’ve spent the last 48 hours trying to put this Christmas cracker toy back together, with no success.


This morning, two weeks in to one of the worst flare ups I’ve ever had, I sat at the kitchen table staring at the six pieces of the puzzle. What a metaphor for my current physical state! Pulled apart, it feels like it should be so simple to put the pieces together and rebuild this solid cube but I feel like I’ve tried every possible option and still the pieces sit before me, useless and redundant.

I pushed the pieces to one side, put the keyring-less key back in the door and gave up. As Robin started to play with the pieces I said, “don’t bother – it’s broken.” Refusing to be beaten after the hours already spent trying to rebuild the cube, he took to Youtube to find a video that would show him how to put Humpty back together again.

Five minutes later and satisfied, natural order was restored and the cube now sits back on the keyring hanging from our door. A quick Google has ended days of frustration. If only a fibromyalgia was as easy to fix…

The unpredictability of fibromyalgia

In the last 38 days I have been to two hen parties and a wedding. All three events were wonderful, but all were reminders that if you suffer from fibromyalgia you can never predict your pain.


In early August, one of my close friends invited 11 girls to spend a wonderful weekend at Wilderness Festival. It was a chance for the girls to get together, catch up, party hard and celebrate the girl we love and her upcoming marriage to her boyfriend of 14 years. It was an amazing hen party, but it was always going to be hard. Three days in a field camping and partying was something I knew I’d struggle with which is why, like the mature adult that I am, I decided not to camp and instead went home each evening.

I did everything right. Everything. I participated in every hen do activity but behind the scenes I was eating properly, drinking plenty of water, taking tablets, resting my legs, packing lightly. I did everything right damnit.

Which is why, when I left early on the first night, legs shaking and vomiting in the bushes, I was so frustrated. I did everything right.

After a good night’s sleep in my own bed and an incredible boyfriend who cleaned the sick of my shoes whilst I slept (that’s love, right?) I went back for day two. This time I was even stricter with myself, and this time the vomiting was even worse. I eventually made it home, the pain in my head so bad I was convinced I was having an aneurysm and the pain in my legs so bad I wasn’t sure how I was still standing. Needless to say, I learnt my lesson and didn’t go back for day three.

I tried so hard to be okay, but fibromyalgia really bit me in the arse that weekend. I was so prepared for it and had such an amazing time during the hours of good health, yet the end of every day was an utter disaster and it ended up being one of the worst attacks I’ve had in some time.


The following weekend was hen do number two and this time, it was mine. I actually refused to call it a hen do but when a group of close friends suggested a chilled out girls day with no pressure and no stress, I couldn’t say no.

Obviously, me being me, I then proceeded to plan a day of activities starting with brunch at 10am followed by cocktails on a rooftop bar, afternoon tea by the river, painting pottery, prosecco in the park, pub drinks, pizza and an indie club night. How heavenly is that? It’s all my favourite things squashed in to 24 hours!

Once again, I prepared. I planned the day so I could control each part of it, and I thought about my health at every step of the way. This time, it worked. I had one of the best days I’ve had in a very long time. In fact, I was still going strong at 2am, and though I was sat on a sweaty club floor doing my usual style of sit-down-dancing, I could have stayed longer if it wasn’t for the fact we were acutely aware that at 31 years old, we were almost twice the age of everyone else on the dance floor. Oops.


The next day, I felt good. Achy, but so good. Why was it so different to the week before? Was it the comfort of being in control that meant I was mentally more prepared? Was it the fibro Gods being nice to me for one day, knowing that I needed a break? Was it luck? Was it something I ate or didn’t eat, did or didn’t do? Who knows. This condition shocks and surprises me day after day, and continues to be as unpredictable as it was seven years ago when I was first diagnosed.

To top off a fairly hectic month, last week was my friend’s wedding. In Tuscany no less! Once again, I prepared like hell. I took every step to manage the pain and avoid all my triggers. At 9pm the pain in my hips was so unbelievable that I sneaked away from the dinner table and went up to my room – so thankful that we were staying at the reception venue. I lay down for an hour, read my book and wondered how I would get back up again.

But I did get back up again, I went downstairs and somehow – don’t ask me how – I partied until 5am. FIVE A.M. How? God knows, but I loved every single minute of it. Is it adrenaline that kicks in and keeps us going? Is it strategic, tactical breaks that help us go the distance? I like to think it’s my body knowing that some occasions are just really bloody important and it knows it just has to power on through. If that’s the case, and let’s hope it is, I’ll be pain free for my own wedding – right?

Homemade blackberry vodka – part one

Before you can make homemade blackberry vodka, you have to pick a lot of blackberries. This year we’re planning to make about 5 litres of the stuff for our wedding in December, so many an evening is spent walking along the canal, searching for brambles. It’s really quite idyllic, and the fact there’s vodka at the end of it is nothing short of an added bonus.


You would think I might have tired of this tiny stretch of canal by my house, but I really haven’t. In the summer months the boat yard has been busier than usual, but it still seems so calm and peaceful. Maybe that’s because I’m still comparing it to our last house on the south circular in South East London. The house boats have moored and I love nothing more than wandering along the narrow path, picking my boat of choice.


Still, this wasn’t about picking boats. We were picking blackberries. Big, ripe, juicy blackberries. Last year we made this sloe gin and it was amazing, so I’m hoping this year’s vodka will be just as good. Fingers crossed anyway – we plan on serving it to 70 people.




Living with chronic pain means that country walks don’t happen as often as I’d like. In fact, the chance that I’ll get a perfect summer evening on the same day that I feel healthy is fairly unlikely so days like today have to be embraced. Embraced, documented with multiple photographs, and blogged about. Because isn’t this what we’re all striving for? Those moments of good health that you just want to box up and pack away, ready to re-live when you’re short of spoons.


Stratford upon Avon – tourist hell?

Stratford upon Avon. The birthplace of Shakespeare, home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and beautifully situated along the River Avon. What’s not to love?

Well, let’s add ten hundred million gazillion tourists to that scene and suddenly the market town goes from idyllic to I-don’t-know-why-I-came-here.


This week we had the joy that is bank holiday Monday in the UK; the day when office workers get to lie in and bask in the glory of a three-day weekend. (We often forget that this day is just like any other for the millions of shift workers in the country and it’s probably worse than any other for those in the hospitality sector. Sorry folks.)

Usually, for me, bank holiday weekend involves sitting in traffic as we try and squeeze as much as possible in to the long weekend. We plan ahead, we book cottages, visit friends, book restaurants… we travel. This bank holiday weekend, we did nothing. Nothing.

Or, almost nothing.

Saturday I spent all day in my pyjamas. I ate quesadillas and drank champagne for lunch (see insta for evidence), spent the day wedding planning with my most favourite man, and we ate curry for dinner. On Sunday I did more nothing; there’s a good chance I ate another quesadillas and then ate a steak dinner whilst binge-watching Braindead (an Amazon Prime series which is flippin’ brilliant) before having an early night.

So for some reason, I thought we should ruin that sense of calm by going to one of the most touristy towns in England.

After sitting in traffic, enduring slow service during an expensive pub lunch and listening to more steel drum music than I ever need to hear as I walked through the weirdest street market I’ve ever seen, I started to wonder why I’d broken my own rule and insisted on doing “something” this bank holiday.


Feeling a little disappointed by Statford upon Avon, I was pleasantly surprised by this excellent hare. And also the best vanilla ice cream I’ve ever had. Then, shortly after these two highlights, we found one more. A short walk to the river (which we pretty much directly next to, but it took ten minutes to get through the hundreds of thousands of people also trying to get to the river) and we got ourselves a row boat!

Hoorah! Peace, quiet, and water. If there are row boats to be found, R and I will find them.



Normally when we row boats, he rows and I sit back and look at the view. (What? I have chronic pain okay?!) But today, I had to steer. Now don’t be fooled; don’t think this is a token job to keep the kids busy. It requires focus, forward-planning and, most importantly, hands that don’t break from excessive rope burn. I could share a picture of me smiling and looking super relaxed, but I think this picture more accurately shows the effort I went to steering the boat. That’s right guys, I worked hard today. Totally deserved that ice cream.


An hour on the river was totally worth the two hours on the road and two hours in the crowds. Really, it was. Because on the river we get to daydream about living in a house with a river at the bottom of a garden, owning a row boat and, ideally, a cat who can row us upstream.