5 reasons why I love the end of summer

I live in the UK, in the beautiful south-west county of Devon, so I enjoy bountiful sunny days and balmy evenings for months on end, right?  

Not really.  

April and May are typically lovely, and the flip-flops come out from their hibernation around Easter time.  But the moment the actual summer arrives (June, July, August) the glorious weather seems to depart for better climes.

However, I've worn my ankle boots too often this summer as this year has been particularly wet, and I spent most of last week trying to dry out from the inside (I had to throw away the really soggy clothes that refused to dry). 

It was around the time of wringing out Mini Stylist's socks for the third time one day when I decided to make peace with not having had a summer (and vowed to book a winter sun break at the first opportunity). 


So I was delighted with a good run of three dry, if slightly cloudy, days at the start of the August Bank Holiday, and took advantage of the East Devon and Dorset Jurassic coastline of Seaton and Lyme Regis to wrap up my birthday week of celebrations.  




But, really, I love the end of summer, and here's why: 

1. I love vests and cardigans 
Unless describing a house, cozy is a fabulous state to be in; strappy tops that offer summer embarrassment (bare, pasty white, arms; unexpected toddler top-peekaboo) are suddenly perfect for wearing under your favourite dresses for an extra layer of warmth.  And I absolutely love the comforting snuggle of shrugging into a chunky knit, particularly first thing in the morning or at the end of a busy day. You know I'm right. 


2. Autumn Drinks
Peppermint Mocha, Pumpkin Spice Latte, or the first Gluhwein of the season (if that’s your tipple), there is just something so rebalancing about a warming drink.  I love a summer cocktail (or 3) but not the headache that follows. I want sweet milky drinks, please, whose calories are lovingly hidden under waterfall-esque knitwear.

3. Crisp and colourful, but brief, sunny days
The great thing about living in Plymouth is that we usually have fabulous blue skies in Autumn, contrasting with the yellow and red carpet of shedding sycamore trees.  You can keep your neon and nautical summer blues and pinks; cloudless cobalt, mustard yellow and earth-red for me, please.  And I don't have to reach for the full-body SPF. 
 
4. Crumbles and custard
I buy apples and pears in the summer, but they hardly seem to be eaten.  Chop and add to (washed and de-insected) blackberries and you have the perfect excuse for a custard indulgence.  May be enjoyed either at a table or wrapped under a blanket watching a box set.

5. Beauty Shopping
Why buy beauty products at any other time of year except Autumn? Department stores offer generous loyalty points and you can buy gift sets that aren’t available at any other time of year (except Dec/Jan, when they’re likely discounted!) It’s worth saving up in the summer, and emptying your current stock of goodies, to really treat yourself once October appears.  And don’t forget the deliciousness of Beauty Advent Calendars!


But until Autumn is here (mid-September when school is well underway, the stationery offers peak and milky drinks arrive) I will enjoy those last unexpected sunny days and top up my vitamin D levels with impromptu beach walks, which I never tire of whatever the season, and look for those first dropped leaves whenever I can.   

How do you treasure your end of summer?

How to declutter your mind (as a parent blogger)



Today I've had a bit of a declutter. 

No, no, no, I haven't spent the day up and down on a chair making space amongst packets of noodles, or rummaging through my vanity cases.  It's August; the penultimate Vitamin D month, and the mini-stylist is in nursery on a Tuesday, so I left the house sharpish this morning to take advantage of a full day without appointments or rain.

And I spent the entire day to myself, admiring Plymouth from the waterfront (instead of the usual city centre viewpoint I have), and not hiding from the laundry/dishes/toys at home, whilst indulging in a Box Set binge (currently switching between The West Wing and Nashville) and pretending that I was working.   

Yup, I decluttered my mind, and created the drafts of a couple of blog posts that I'll be uploading soon, amongst a bit of life-planning.   


 7 Steps to Declutter your Mind 
(as a parent blogger, although children are optional) 
 

1. Timings 
Make no immediate time restrictions beyond a home time; aim to be back at least ten minutes before DH and DD (I’m the Tasmanian Devil in the kitchen; creating at least havoc if not culinary art a la Jamie's 15 minute meals).

2. Reflection
Make no plans to work, carry no to do list, but carry the tech just in case inspiration turns up (she more than likely will, you best be prepared). It helps to have a couple of life questions to ponder, to give your mind something to reflect upon. I'm planning to take on a part-time teaching role, so this is a precious month for me. 

3. Water
The water is calming and great for a little mind tidy-up, and I'm fortunate enough to live in Plymouth, apparently the Ocean City (although I still say we overlook the Channel).  I have traveled a four-hour round trip in search of the sea on other declutter days, though. Take advantage of the British coastline, or at least make your way to a lake/reservoir/stream.
  
4. Shop (or indulge in other interests)  
I still like a potter around the shops during a declutter, for me this is also calming, especially if I'm not bribing Mini-Stylist or rushing.  I had a lovely wander around the Barbican's Edinburgh Woollen Mill and bumped into a Yankee Candle sale.  You could spend an hour or so doing something you usually enjoy but have no time for. Freeing your mind of work will settle the snow-storm going on in your head.

5. Eat Well
I took the water taxi to Mount Batten and enjoyed a lovely tailored lunch overlooking the Plymouth skyline of Smeaton's Tower and the Citadel. Whilst listening to one of my favourite country artists (Kip Moore) I watched life on the waterfront while the sun did her best to burn up the clouds. Don't just grab a sandwich in your usual cafe; make lunch meaningful.

6. Artistic decision making
Now's the time to bring out those key reflective questions you're wondering, whether it's where to spend Christmas, or how to make a major life decision.  I imagine I'm living the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken. You could revisit your favourite literary/science moment to guide you. it's also important that you make actual directional decisions to make the most of your day; his way or that. Keep going until it's time for cake.

7. Transition
Chances are you'll be inspired towards the end of your declutter day, so leave yourself time to write up notes, and do any brief research that needs doing.  It is also vital that you leave yourself enough time to make the transition from selfish parent thinking only of themselves to actual parenting; an hour is a good time, although if you've been particularly relaxed over your reflective coffee (and why the flipping hell not?), you may only get home five minutes before everyone else.  You will need this time to say goodbye to your Mind Declutter day, and perhaps plan the next date! 


When was the last time you spent a day to yourself? 

#parenttime 

 
A Cornish Mum




10 signs you're a 30plus Blogger (whatever your age)



Hayley Carr, the fabulous London Beauty Queen blogger has recently established the 30plus Blog Collective, for a unique bunch of bloggers: those of us over the age of 30, mostly.  But, as LBQ herself says, this is an inclusive, not exclusive collective, established to raise awareness of blogging and to form a fabulously supportive network; anyone of any age is welcome to join in the fun. 

Over 300 blogs are now listed (imagine the summer reading!) and you can connect with your local representative (I’ll be organising some events in Devon and Cornwall over the next few months), join in the Twitter chats (#30plusblogs), read our blogs (always welcome) or work on your own blog and share resources, ideas and life tips. A new online magazine has also been launched as of today: Femme Intemporelle  


What’s not to love about #30plusblogs? 

 



Now, how do you tell if you’re a 30plus blogger? 

Here are the top 10 signs: 

1. Blogging 
Well, you probably have a blog. Or maybe you’re a bloggee (a gorgeous reader of blogs) and you're thinking about starting a blog one day. 
 
2. Children
You could have a child, or five, or none.  You’ve perhaps decided where your opinions lie on this (and on other people’s children).  Blogging is not just for parents and teenagers.
 
3. Coffee (or Tea; we're inclusive, remember)
Starbucks, Nero, Costa, Indepenedent. You know what you like, and what you drink (PS – Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks).
 

4. Travel 
You may have traveled the world; you may know every nook and cranny of your own town. You likely have done a little of both.

5. Beauty
You probably have money to spend on *beauty products. And you like spending money on *insert items of choice.  There are a lot of products out there so you read blog reviews to inform your decisions.
 
6. Confidence
You know what confidence is, can fake it if you have to, and sometimes you wonder at your teenage self and all the anguish you lived through.  Some days you don’t think you have any, but just look around you; confidence likes to play peek-a-boo. The tinker.
 
7. Social Media
You use social media A Lot (hourly, too?) and are self-taught.  Ditto with Wordpress or Blogger or Canva or PicMonkey or YouTube or Google+ or IG or Pinterest or Amazon (you probably know your way around all of these and are happy to share your knowledge).

8. 90s IT Visionary
You taught yourself early IT skills with the help of dial-up, a dot matrix and books; you wrote the emoticon (early emoji) code during your hours of MSN Messenger time.
 

9. Life before Social Media
You remember a time before Facebook and Amazon, and how you amused yourself/studied without being able to ‘Google it’; you have whispered your thanks to Page & Brin, Zuckerberg and Besos once or twice.  

10. Shopping
You shop online and offline, and you know which you prefer (music and books offline, beauty and clothes offline. Mostly); you read blog reviews and product reviews before you buy.


Regardless of your age, under or over 30 (or spot on), you are gorgeous, creative, funny and supportive and hopefully you know this, too.   

Where are you at in the blogosphere? I would love to read your comments on blogging (whether blogger or bloggee) and your consumer habits!