Let's take a moment for ourselves..

I honestly can't believe October has come to say hello again for another year, this time of year is one of my most loved times of year. It is almost bittersweet, the way everything looks and feels brings peace and I am more like myself during this time. And then the dark lingers and the cold days are just around the corner. As I say, nothing lasts forever. So I'm savouring every day before the seasons change once again. There are endless reasons why this is one of the most beautiful times of year, although a lot of the living is dying, it does it in such a beautiful way.

One evening last week, I went for a walk around these fields, it's so close to rows and rows of homes and the motorway is right next door. It feels so quiet, you can still hear the distant cars but it's almost soothing so you don't mind hearing it in the background. Last week I had nerve pain in my lower back and leg, it's mostly just an uncomfortable constant radiating numbness but it was enough to make me slow down a little and got me to look after myself more than I have been. I think it may have been provoked from running and possibly not stretching as well as I should have, it forced me to take some time off from exercising and just doing stretches to help with the pain. That's how I found myself going for a walk.

I've been wanting to go on walks and take some photos for a while and finally did. To feel still, being there in the moment, looking out at the path in front of you. Going for a walk cleared my head, I was able to breathe and be gentle to my body. I felt inspired and really wanting to feel better physically and mentally. The days can pass by quickly and I find myself in a routine, not really thinking about the reasons and intentions of what I'm doing every day.

While walking along the grass with dandelions, I thought about how I should take more moments like this to reconnect with myself, break the mundane and have a moment for myself. Look at the sky and the trees more often because it's something you truly love doing. Don't restrict yourself to all these plans for each day, look at the big picture, think about your dreams, where you want to be heading. Remind yourself why I am doing what I'm doing every day. If you can't find the reason then take a moment or a thousand to figure out what it is you're working towards. Don't let it all build up, taking regular yet spontaneous moments for ourselves can help make everything a little better.

I intend to use this time of year to take more moments for myself, no matter what it may be, to connect back to what is important at heart. Keep myself grounded and strive for what is important to me. Letting all the magic and inspiring feelings take over, let it all flow. I would like to invite you to do the same. You deserve it, look after yourself and take a moment.


Apple crumble for autumn

At this time of year the tree in my back garden is full of apples, the branches this year are hanging lower than ever before. Now that it is a little colder as we have entered the autumn months, it is the perfect time to use the many apples on that glorious tree to bake something warm and comforting for the evenings. An apple crumble felt right at the weekend and is simple for anyone to bake. If you have any suggestions for other sweet treats that I MUST bake, let me know. 


For the crumble.. 
75 grams oats
75 grams wholemeal flour
50 grams brown sugar
75 grams butter
A handful of flaked almonds
A handful of chopped pecans

For the filling.. 
800 grams cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into smaller chunks
75 grams sugar
A tablespoon of water
A teaspoon of ground cinnamon or cinnamon stick

Firstly, preheat the oven to 190C then peel and core the apples and cut in to chunks. Put the apples into a pan with the sugar, water and cinnamon. Cook over a low heat for 5 to 10 minutes until softened and then place into an ovenproof dish. Next put the oats, flour, almonds and pecans in a bowl and mix well, cut the butter into small pieces and add to the mixture. Using your fingers rub all the ingredients together until you get an even crumb texture, then add the sugar and honey to the crumb mix. Cover the apples with the crumble and bake in the over for around 20 minutes until the crumble is golden on top and the apples are hot.


Book Review: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Lately I haven't read much, I've been awful at finding the time to just sit or lay down and open up a book. When I went away to Sardinia it was a good chance to get back to reading for the pure love of the story. I chose a book from my 'to read' pile to bring with me, and as soon as I sat down to read it on the first day I was immediately consumed by the story. It was the only book I brought with me so I had to try and stagger it out across the week. I managed to finish it just as we were about to start descending back home in London, I had a few tears down my cheek while I was looking out of the window at night with the glow of street lights and buildings.

Louisa Clark is a young woman in her twenties who has led a very ordinary life, worked in the same cafe for years, had a long term boyfriend and lived in a small box room with her whole family. Will Traynor was an accomplished corporate worker , travelled all around the world and a ladies man living in the city. He has done a lot of adventurous things in life from bungee jumping to climbing Kilimanjaro, always wanting a challenge that will get his heart racing. Until one day while walking to work he was involved in a motorbike accident and left him paralysed from the chest down. Leaving him unable to walk and very limited use of one of his arms, meaning he required assistance for the rest of his life as there is not a cure for his condition.

When Louisa is left looking for a job she realises that she has no idea what she wants from life or who she is. Out of desperation for money to help support her family she takes a carer job, where she meets Will. Two very different individuals from different worlds being brought together. At first they both find it difficult to be around each other, over the first few weeks they become more at ease with one another and it turns into a friendship. Louisa becomes one of the only things that actually makes his painful days bearable and Will opened up Louisa's mind to better things that she could do with her days and actually live. They bring out the best in each other and then Louisa discovers a secret Will is keeping from her that changes the time they spend together and both of their lives.

Me Before You was honestly a thought provoking book that reminds you how precious every life is and every day we have on this earth. From the things we choose to spend our time doing, to the people we wish to have in our lives and doing what makes you feel alive. I have come away wanting to better myself in every way because I deserve and owe it to myself. Taking opportunities, allowing yourself to feel things and remembering that sometimes we can't control everything, but making the most of what we have is how we can thank ourselves. It does get emotional at times but I would wholeheartedly recommend reading this book. I also picked up the sequel After You the other day and I can't wait to continue the story.


Sardinia Snapshots

After being back at work for almost two weeks and looking back at these photos I would love to be walking along these beaches again, dipping my feet into the sea with the warmth of the sun on me. That is the beauty of pictures, they freeze a place or moment and you are connected back to it instantly to when it was taken, remembering how you felt. These in particular all make me feel peaceful. They are mostly shots of the sea and beach, it's where we spent most of our time when we weren't eating so much Italian food. Spending seven days refreshing my mind and body was exactly what I needed. I didn't realise it until I was there, how much I was due a break.

We stayed in a town north of the island, right by the beach and the sea. Lots of pizzeria's, although I'm not that much of a pizza lover I did have one of the best pizza's I've had out there. It was a simple cheese and mushroom pizza but it was so good, the dough was perfect. It wasn't the best thing I tasted out there, I had mussels, clams and all of the seafood, so delicious. The absolute highlight for me when it came to food was definitely the pistachio gelato. Heavenly scoops of sweetness, worth travelling all the way back to Italy for. I feel like I came back so full, it was worth indulging for the week.

One day we went dolphin watching, I haven't seen a dolphin in years and as a child they were my favourite. Seeing them swim alongside the boat and come up for a second to show off their fins. On another boat trip we made a few stops to visit smaller islands like the little town, La Maddalena. It felt like what I always imagined an Italian town to feel like, the best way I can describe it is if you picture that you're near the water with lots of coffee shops, gelatarias and small shops full of pretty things. Then we headed to the most beautiful beach I have ever been to. The sea so clear and blue with white sand, I could have stayed there all day. The only way to get there was by boat which makes it even more special.

When I come back home from being away somewhere it always makes me want to explore more. I have a few places in mind for future trips already. It's good to take yourself out of the everyday and reconnect with yourself, visit new places, experience something different. It's what your soul needs, we have to give ourselves that chance to do so. For now I'll close my eyes and think back to when I was at that peaceful place again, until next time.