Monday, 18 September 2017

Fighting The Seasonal Frizz With Noughty Haircare

The struggle is real for us curly-haired girls at this time of year. After a whole summer of fighting humidity-induced frizz, you would have thought Mother Nature would give us a little bit of a break. But, no. In come comes the wind and the rain and there goes all hope of having a good hair day. I have come to the realisation that frizz is just a part of life for me and I will probably never have perfect, frizz-free curls unless I use a whole lot of heat on my hair then never leave the house again - or even go near an open window. But that doesn't mean that I can't try to get as close to perfect curls as possible.

In my journey to reduce frizz and really bring out my curl pattern, I came across Noughty Haircare. Noughty Haircare has recently started being sold in Superdrug and they cater for hair types across the board. But here's the best part: they are 97% natural, vegan, and cruelty free. Of course, I snapped up a shampoo and conditioner from their curl range as soon as I laid eyes on them. And what sweetens the deal is that the packaging is just so pretty - I swear, these products are a blogger's dream. They even contain avocado - what's not to love?

In terms of the products that I purchased, I would say that they would be well suited to wavy hair or a loose curl type. They made my hair very shiny and I felt like my curls were definitely very moisturised after using the products. They didn't exactly add much to my curl definition but I could certainly see a reduction in frizz. I would definitely repurchase the shampoo again as I like that it is paraben free and doesn't cause my hair to tangle like many other shampoos do. The conditioner was good to have to change up my products every so often but I wouldn't rush to repurchase it because I found that it made my hair feel a bit heavy although it did give it a high level of shine which I was happy about.

I would recommend these products to give your hair a lift if it is feeling a bit dull in this weather. There products seem to be really moisturising and I can attest to how they leave your hair so shiny and soft. These products would be perfect for anyone with a loose to mid curl formation and I enjoyed experimenting with a new brand.

I applaud Noughty Haircare for creating a range of natural, vegan, cruelty-free products as it is difficult to find good products for an affordable price that aren't packed full of chemicals. I hope more haircare brands follow suit.

Have you ever tried Noughty Haircare? What did you think?

Monday, 11 September 2017

Spooky Fun At Wookey Hole

There is nothing I love more than a little bit of spooky fun. I can't handle horror but anything that has a slight novelty feel to it is an instant win with me. So, when my mum suggested we go on a family day out to Wookey Hole, I was mega excited. I mean, who wouldn't want to explore caves that are famous for once being the home of a real, live witch? Also I was pretty psyched to buy some cave cheese. They also do cave wine and cider which sounds amazing and I am really considering investing on a few bottles to put in my hospital bag for once the baby is out.

After a long journey along a lot of windy country lanes (thanks, SatNav), we finally found ourselves at Wookey Hole. This part of the day was less spooky horror, more family comedy involving a road trip and a fair amount of shouting and sulking. Kids and cars really don't mix. But once we were finally out of the car and queuing up to get into Wookey Hole, we all started to feel a little more excited. Especially seeing a few members of staff milling around with green painted faces and wearing witch costumes. And seeing a café selling ice-cream.

Due to it being super busy on that day, the man at the desk advised us not to head straight to the caves but to look around a few of the other attractions first. So, we took his advice and found a clown museum. I, for one, find clowns so creepy. Just the whole fake smile thing creeps me out. And the new IT movie being released has taught me that I am really not alone in this. I mean, who even like clowns really? The mini museum was quite interesting and I liked seeing the pictures of clowns from early 1900s circuses - those guys really take the biscuit for clown creepiness. I have not visited many clown museums in my lifetime so it was interesting to read more about the history of the whole thing but I definitely wouldn't want to be left alone in there.

We then headed through to where they had a big amusement arcade full of old arcade machines. They had been adapted to accept special tokens which you could purchase. I loved the nostalgic vibe of the whole place and I even got my fortune read on one of the machines. My sisters loved the machines that predicted their futures and, of course, trying out the old penny slots.

We then headed out to have a picnic and grab some Marshfield ice-cream from the café. I chose banana ice-cream because I have really been craving everything containing bananas lately - which is kinda strange because I usually hate banana. Full of ice-cream and snacks, we then headed into the caves.

The caves were really dark inside with only some areas illuminated with artificial lighting. We were dodging low-hanging rocks and puddles of water the whole time. Our guide told us the folk story about the witch who used to live in these caves and the coldness and darkness really added to the whole spooky atmosphere. I couldn't help but imagine what would happen if a rock suddenly fell blocking our path or if a body of water leaked from somewhere filling the whole cave - as you can tell, I am ever the optimist. For the end of the tour, we had to wear hard hats as the area had been excavated more recently than the rest of the parts and there was a risk of falling rocks - I was convinced this was the end.

Thankfully, we all made it out alive. I may have been slightly melodramatic as no-one has ever had any issues visiting the caves (that I know of anyway). We then were able to go to the gift shop and check out all the yummy cheese and other cave goodies. They even had fudge!

I would highly recommend a trip to Wookey Hole - especially if you have kids as it is a great family day out. I would love to go back for all their Halloween events to experience the spooky factor cranked up to capacity.

Have you ever been to Wookey Hole? Where is your favourite spooky location in the UK?

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Things I Do To Make A Bad Day Brighter

Bad days are an unavoidable part of life. Even the most bubbly, sunshiny person in the world has an off day every now and then. I believe that taking care of your mental health is super important - just as important as taking care of your physical health - so I wanted to share a couple of things that I do when I'm having an off day to lift my spirits.

Cry it out
I find that sometimes all I need to feel a bit better is to ugly cry to a bit of Taylor Swift. It is natural that we bottle up things through the weeks and don't allow ourselves to really feel our emotions properly. A cry is a good way to release all these negative emotions you have stored away.

Talk to someone
Talking to someone is a great way to overcome any unhappiness you may be feeling. Whether you want to talk to a counsellor or let loose on your best friend, talking about what you're struggling with can really help. If you don't feel ready to talk about how you're feeling directly, I find that a chat with someone you are close to about anything from that new palette that has just dropped to who has been kicked off Bake Off this week can really help.

Do something nice for someone else
I find that channelling these negative emotions into doing something positive for someone can be a great way to feel a little better. When I am sad, I like to bake for my husband because it makes me feel better seeing his face light up coming home to his favourite snacks. Although I might not be feeling happy, it makes me feel a bit better knowing that I am responsible for making someone else happy.

Listen to something inspirational
When I don't feel my best, I like to listen to girl power ballads and songs that make me feel like I could conquer the world. For almost a year, I listened to Maya Angelou's reading of Still I Rise every morning as I did my makeup. I found great comfort in these words and, knowing Maya Angelou's personal story, it made me feel like if she could manage to get up everyday and achieve so much then why can't I?

Occupy your time
When you're feeling rough, it can be easy to want to hide away in your bed and never come out. This is normal and sometimes you just have to give in and allow yourself that time to recover. But, on such days, I like to try to do at least one thing so that I don't feel like I have wasted an entire day. This can be anything from tidying my room to doing the laundry. I find that if I have managed to accomplish something - even something small - I feel better about myself.

Be kind to yourself
Remember that everyone has days like this. Be kind to yourself. Do things that make you happy. It is so easy to think badly of yourself and compare yourself to those around you and their insta-perfect lives but try to overcome this negativity. Your feelings are valid and you are valid.

Social media blackout
Sometimes it is best to distance yourself from social media when you are feeling a bit down. Journal your thoughts rather than sharing them with everyone online as you may later regret posting what you did when you were feeling down. Also, when you already feel a bit grotty, there seems to be a weird force that pulls you towards Facebook stalking every ex you ever had - and their new partner, and their partner's brother/cousin/uncle/hairdresser - until you find yourself feeling even worse because what if that guy that you dated in year 9 was the one?! Sometimes it's best to turn off completely.

In case you are having more bad days than good, here are a few links to different websites and phone numbers that I'd advise you check out. Also don't be afraid to contact your GP or talk to someone you trust if you seem to be feeling down more often than you used to.

Mind - 0300 123 3393
Samaritans - 116 123 
Childline (under 19) - 0800 1111
Sane - 0300 304 7000

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Autumn Bucket List

I don't think I could call myself a blogger if I wasn't completely obsessed with autumn. I mean, it comes with the territory, right? As the weather get a little bit crisper, I start to dream of cosy nights in curled up with a good book and drinking hot chocolate with mountains of whipped cream. Although I will be a little bit sad to wave goodbye to the long summer days, I am intending to throw myself wholeheartedly into everything autumnal.

Add to my chunky knitwear collection
I have to admit, summer fashion often has me at a loss. All the pastels and bright colours aren't really my cup of tea and I struggle to feel truly comfortable in a dress - especially when it ends up with me being sunburnt pretty much from head to toe. Don't even get me started on being pregnant during summer and trying to find something that isn't a glorified lilac tent to wear. I am far more comfortable in a comfy knitted jumper, some ripped jeans, and a paired of heeled boots. This season, I want to invest in some knits in burnt orange and mustard. Also burgundy always make a comeback around September which is something that I support 100%. And my beanie is feeling a bit lonely so I think this year I need to get him a friend or two.

Bake everything
Nothing quite screams autumn like spending a rainy day indoors baking delicious sugary snacks. I love baking anything that has cinnamon in it at this time of year because it fills the whole kitchen with such a warm, sweet scent. I want to make gingerbread, banana loaf, and coffee cake first of all then I'd also love to challenge myself with more difficult bakes like baked Alaska cake and pastries. Heck, I might even make croissants.

Make smores
Along the same lines, I want to make smores. Probably I will end up cheating and just make microwave ones but nothing beats the melted marshmallow and chocolate combination of a smore. Maybe I could do it on the BBQ? Is that a thing?

Drink all the hot chocolate
Would it be a stretch to introduce a new hot chocolate testing series to my blog? It would be a great excuse to tour all the local cafes and rank their hot chocolates. My favourite is still Caffé Nero's but maybe their title will be challenged this year - who knows?!

Explore some new cities
I have the travel itch (not the kind you catch in Magaluf) and I really want to spend autumn travelling to new cities, staying in posh hotels, and indulging in a buffet breakfast. My budget might not stretch to the European cities I have in mind but there are definitely spots in the UK that I am yet to visit. Especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Binge watch all the Halloween films
I am really not a fan of horror films but I love films that are a little bit spooky. Especially when they are theatrical and maybe just a little bit camp. I love The Addams Family and intend to be channelling my inner Morticia from the minute the leaves start to turn orange. Other favourites of mine are Carry On Screaming and Rocky Horror. Can't beat those spooky, camp vibes.

Create a spooky autumn reading list
Now that I've finished uni, I want to delve into all the books I missed out on whilst I was studying. I want to read all the spooky books and get myself prepared for Halloween.

Try a pumpkin spice latte
Can you believe I have never actually had a pumpkin spice latte? I know, I have let down white women everywhere. The idea of a drink containing pumpkin has kinda put me off in the past but I am going to conquer my pumpkin anxiety and try one. Hopefully it won't be as much of a let down as matcha tea was for me.

Celebrate Halloween properly
I have been working on Halloween every year for as long as I can remember but this year I won't be. Despite the fact that I will be very pregnant by that stage, I intend to actually do something to mark the occasion. I just have to make sure I steer clear of spicy food to avoid the baby making a surprise appearance.

Go to a fireworks display
Once again, this is probably slightly unrealistic as I will pretty much be full term by Bonfire Night but I'd love to watch a fireworks display - even if it is just out my bedroom window (or the window at the maternity unit - eep!). Nothing beats an evening wrapped up in coats and scarfs watching a big bonfire and a firework display. Preferably with hot dogs and hot chocolate too.

Visit Wookey Hole
Wookey Hole is the absolute best place to visit at this time of year. I mean, it is a series of caves and the employees are dressed up as witches. Nothing gets more Halloweeny than that! I haven't been there in absolutely ages so I would love to visit again.

Try painting
This is a slightly less season related one but I would love to attempt to paint some little A5 cards with acrylic paint. I keep seeing everyone on Twitter posting pics of their incredible artwork and it has inspired me to try to give it a go myself. Maybe I can paint orange leaves to make it autumnal?

What do you want to do this autumn? What is your favourite Halloween film?


Monday, 28 August 2017

Support Other Women And Their Choices

Being 21 years old is an odd time. Half of the people you know are just graduating and have big plans to travel the world or are starting internships in some swanky London office. The other half are coupled up and already have a kid or two. I always associated myself with the first group of people. I have to admit, I was one of those women who would say they never want to have kids and that things like having a career and travel are far more important. Looking back, it is kind of sad how I felt, as a woman, I had to choose between a career and family life. Like it is impossible to have both and that motherhood would hold me back. But what is worse is how I felt that I had a right to criticise how other women chose to spend their lives. Fired up on the problematic line of thought that motherhood is giving in to the expectations of the patriarchy, I began to see everything from running a home to raising a child as being somehow less valuable use of time than having a high-flying career. I would tell people that I never wanted to have kids but what I really meant was that I didn't want to close myself off to opportunities. I didn't want to miss out on living my life. Then I got pregnant and I had to re-evaluate everything. But I came to realise that motherhood isn't a death sentence for your career. It doesn't mean that you will never make it to your dream travel destinations. I opened my eyes and I saw countless mothers who were hugely successful in their careers and had a passport full of stamps. Granted, it is not easy having a child and a career but the fact that it is possible makes me feel optimistic.

After realising how problematic my internal criticism of motherhood was, it made me more aware of just how much women who want children are pitted against those who don't. Women who don't want children are characterised as being stern child haters or whimsical nomads not fulfilling their reproductive duty. Women who do want children are characterised as simpering 50s housewives who have fallen victim to a patriarchal system that prevents them from excelling. Needless to say, neither of these characterisations are true. We need to stop judging women on what they choose to do with their bodies. A woman has the right to make their own choices over their reproductive system. This is what makes me so angry when I see comments on Twitter about the amount of bloggers who have fallen pregnant lately. It is buying into this divide that has been put in place to shame women on either side. Yes, you may not be ready to have children yourself but you should celebrate alongside these women. As women, we need to learn to build each other up rather than distance ourselves just because our reproductive decisions don't match someone else's.

Feminism has brought us a long way and I am thankful that, in the UK, women have reproductive rights but there is still a great deal of pressure placed on women in terms of their reproductive decisions. So, instead of judging each other and distancing ourselves from each other based on our decisions, we need to support other women. We need to bridge this divide rather than reinforcing it. We need to support and fight for women who don't have the same reproductive freedoms that we have. We need to protect these rights that we have in this country and fight for things to continue progressing rather than allowing our individual opinions on motherhood stop us from fighting for fairness and justice. Women without children, support the mothers you know and stand with them in battles against discrimination in the workplace. Mothers, stand with women without children in fights against social pressure to have children. Together we can make a difference rather than allowing our small differences to divide us.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Fossil Hunting In Charmouth

As a kid, I had a huge obsession with gemstones and shells. I would scour the beaches looking for the prettiest, most colourful little seashells to add to my collection. During our holidays to Cornwall, I would always spend my money buying those little baskets full of all different exotic shells and maybe even a starfish if I was lucky. My room was a treasure trove of sparkly gems. My love for gems and shells never really wore off so when my parents suggested we go on a day out to Charmouth to look for fossils, I was rather excited.

My little sister had recently been to the Jurassic Coast on a school trip so she was super excited about explaining to us how fossils are formed and the different types of fossils that are common to the area - she was basically our nine year old tour guide. In true British form, half the country had flocked to the beach at the slightest hint of sunshine so we had to trek along the pebbles for quite a while before we found a spot that wasn't too busy. The first thing that we noticed, apart from the blazing heat and the fact that we only had a tiny bottle of sun-cream that I had found in the bottom of my handbag, was a bullet. Yep, a bullet. Which I had pretty much sat on. It was an old one and it had apparently never been fired. We all got pretty excited imagining that it had washed up from some naval ship or something. My sister then suggested that we start digging around for some fossils and we actually managed to find a fair few interesting rocks and even a couple of pieces of fossil.

After we had fully excavated where we had chosen to sit, we decided to head down to the water as the tide was just going out and we thought that'd be the prime location to find something. We sat down on the pebbles by the sea and delved our hands into the water upturning rocks. Alongside a fair few crabs and shrimp, we managed to find some real fossils - and no one fell in the water which is another win if you ask me.

After all that geology, we decided it was time to indulge in some relaxing beach activities. We paddled our toes in the (freezing) sea and got ice-creams. We did want to also pick up some chips but the queue stretched for miles and all that science had really made us tired. Our final port of call was the gift shop which was full of every type of gemstone you could imagine. I could have spent all my money in there. I eventually chose a slice of bright pink agate because who could say no to a bright pink gemstone.

Have you ever visited the Jurassic Coast?

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

An Open Letter To My Pregnancy Body

Dear Pregnancy Body,

Society has tried to pit us against each other. They have made me feel self-conscious of the stretch marks that meander like rivers across my hips and imbed themselves in the soft skin between my armpits and breasts. I catch myself pressing my thumbs into my doughy thighs as I look at pictures of my pre-pregnancy body. I stand in the mirror and jiggle the loose skin at the top of my arms and sometimes I lose sight of how special you are. Society simultaneously exults and shames you. Everyone has an opinion on you. Apparently I am carrying well. My bump is neat. I don't know what makes this body neat - what makes it acceptable. They want me to be big but not too big. They want me to glow and be a picture of idealised womanhood.

Pregnancy Body, you aren't this ideal. You are a messy, crazy, hormone-filled miracle. You are the home to my first born child and you are beautiful. You are the painful spots on my chin and the swelling of my ankles. You are bigger than the boxes they try to put you in. Pregnancy Body, you are the hairs that stand like whiskers on my stomach and the biggest middle finger to society that tries to call you unattractive. You are sexy and you are strong.

When we have to part ways, they will expect me to quickly cut all ties with you. As my bump deflates like a party balloon slowly losing its air at the end of the night, they expect me to shrink. They want me to return to how I was before I met you. Brush you under the carpet. They have creams to hide the scars, surgery to plump my breasts and to remodel my stomach. The souvenirs of this journey have to be stored away. I need to be attractive again. Pregnancy Body, they don't really find you attractive. You serve a purpose. Once your work is done, they expect you to vanish.

Pregnancy Body, you are the ship that carries my child to my arms. Your timbers creak and your sails are starting to fray at the edges. But I am proud of you. I will jiggle you in defiance and learn that someone commenting on how much the baby is growing is not the same as calling me fat. Pregnancy Body, you are a constellation of beauty and strength. You are a map of my baby's growth and a map of my own growth.

You found me a woman and you will leave me a mother.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Small Changes I'm Making To Become A More Ethical Consumer

For the longest time, I bought everything blindly. I would buy makeup based on what had the cutest packaging and whichever body lotion had a recognisable brand name. It was only when I started following more vegan and cruelty free bloggers that I started to consider the impact my weekly shop could be having on the environment, animals, the local economy, and even my own body. So, I decided that I wanted to start making a few small changes with the intention of eventually using exclusively cruelty free products and to be living a more 'green' life.

Although it has been difficult trying to strike a balance between living affordably and consuming ethically, I have made some small changes so far which I think are a good basis to work from.

Read the label
This is a very simple one but it is more difficult than you'd think to remember to check the label when you're used to just chucking whatever has the shiniest packaging into the basket. A good place to start is checking the label for the bunny logo which shows the product wasn't tested on animals. It is also good to look at the ingredients. I tend to steer clear of products with a huge list of chemicals because I worry about the effect these chemicals could be having on my body. Although, obviously, in things like soap you can't avoid chemicals but I live by the idea that the less chemicals the product includes, the better.

Shop local
As much as Tesco are really doing an amazing job lately with scrapping the tampon tax on their sanitary products and highlighting that not all disabilities are visible on their disabled toilets, I like to shop local when I can. My favourite thing is buy fresh fruit and veg from a market stall and picking up local, free range eggs. Also butchers shops are great for getting meat that you know was bread and killed locally. Even just buying your cappuccino from an independent coffee shop rather than from Starbucks can be a great way to invest into your local economy and get a tasty treat whilst you're at it.

Support cruelty free shops
As much as this may go against what I just said about shopping local, there are some amazing chain shops that are all about that cruelty free life. Shops like Superdrug, Lush, and Body Shop are great spots to start your ethical consumer journey. Also, in terms of drinks, I always recommend buying from Innocent due to the lack of added chemicals and the fact they give 10% of all profits to charity.

Shop second hand
If you can't afford to fully ditch fast fashion, try shopping second hand. Scout charity shops, eBay, Depop, and other places to find some cute new clothes. I fully understand the pull of Primark when money is tight but even if you only buy a couple of things second hand, this small change is still hugely positive. If second hand isn't your cup of tea then try H&M Conscious and ASOS's Made in Kenya range.

Fair Trade
When you're buying things like coffee and chocolate, try to opt for ones with the fairtrade logo. This means the manufacturer was paid a sustainable, living wage for creating your chocolatey goodies. Also it is a great excuse to buy more chocolate.

Read cruelty free bloggers
There are so many amazing bloggers out there with helpful tips and tricks to live a cruelty free life. If you type 'cruelty free blogger' into Twitter or Instagram, all their cheerful faces will pop up and they will be able to help you along your ethical consumer journey.

Have you considered becoming a more ethical consumer? What are your best tips and tricks?

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Surviving Maternity Leave Boredom

Before I got pregnant, I had quite an active lifestyle. I worked nights in a takeaway shop so I was used to being on my feet for hours on end. I loved going for long walks and hitting the gym for a workout. One thing I have struggled with in this pregnancy is having to make changes to my lifestyle. The many mile walks I used to do without even thinking about it now make me tired and achy. I've had to ditch the workouts because it is frustrating not being able to push myself as much as I'd like to. I'm sure I am not the first pregnant woman itching to get back on her feet. Maternity leave is great and I realise that I am very lucky that I live in a country that will pay for me to rest up towards the end of my pregnancy but it gets very boring very quickly if you are used to constantly running about doing thing. There is only so much Netflix a girl can watch. So, I decided to write up a little list of things that I have been doing to occupy my time whilst on maternity leave.

Spa Day
I can almost feel the bubbles of the jacuzzi at the finish line of this pregnancy. Hot tubs and saunas are calling my name. There's nothing quite as luxurious as a spa day. Unfortunately, pregnancy means that I have to avoid hot tubs and steam rooms and everything that is good and pure in the world. So, an at-home spa day is the next best thing. I like to rope in my little sister (or my husband) when they're around and spend the day painting each other's nails, trying out new facemasks, and then relaxing in a bubble bath with a Lush bath bomb.

One thing I have really gotten into lately is cooking - especially baking. As it starts to get a bit colder, I love trying my hand at some typical autumn dishes. Nothing beats a bubbling dish of macaroni cheese straight from the oven or a pot of sausage casserole. Baking is even better because it ends with a big cake. I have recently made chocolate orange muffins which were delicious and I am going to attempt a ginger loaf cake today.

When I was younger, I was crazy about books. I'd be get my dad to drive me to the local town to pick up the latest Jacqueline Wilson book on its release date and I had finished it by that evening. My passion for reading led me to do an English Literature degree. However, my three years as a student were filled with reading books I was assigned rather than books I was actually interested in. So, now that I am an aged graduate with a lot of free time, I am able to read whatever I choose. I'm currently on Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

Full time blogging
Maternity leave is a great time to pretend you're a full time blogger and focus on upping your blog and social media game. I have been putting a lot more effort into my Instagram lately and you can't get me off of Twitter. I also plan to schedule a lot of posts for the last month of my pregnancy and into the first few weeks after my due date as I can assume that I will be slightly busy bringing new life into the world at that time.

Although I now can't walk as far as I'd like, I am using this large amount of free time to try to do some exploring of my local area that I haven't managed to do before now. The fact that we are currently staying with my parents in Devon and thus have access to a car is a bonus as well. But I would highly recommend trying to get out for a small walk everyday to get some air and get some cute nature pics for the insta (maybe even an outfit pic if I'm feeling super productive). My husband and I recently spent the day travelling all around Devon on an Explorer ticket which allows unlimited travel all day to anywhere in Devon. There's something quite exciting about jumping onto a bus to a random location.

Plan a 'babymoon'
I didn't know this was even a thing before I saw someone use the term in a tweet so it must be. Apparently, it is a trip you take with your partner (or your squad) to enjoy your last few months of freedom before the baby arrives. This sounds like a perfect excuse to bully my husband into taking me away for a long weekend to a new city and spend the whole time ordering room service from the comfort of a huge marshmallow of a hotel bed.

Organise a baby shower
I'm not exactly sure at what point of the pregnancy you're meant to have a baby shower but maybe, if you've already had one, you could get away with organising another under the guise of calling it a gender reveal party. Either way, organise a fun get together for friends and family where you get a lot of presents and cake. I mean, you're pregnant, you deserve all the presents and cake that money can buy.

What are your top tips for fighting maternity leave boredom?

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Killerton House

I am a huge fan of stately homes and castles. There is something wonderful about wandering around these houses looking at the luxurious interiors and imagining all the people who lived there before. There is always so much thought that has gone into each room and so many different things to look at. Everything from the ceiling to the floor has been so planned out in terms of colours and textures. My favourite room is always the library though. There is something so appealing to me about a whole room in a house designated to books. And all the books look so nice lined up with glistening, gold titles engraved into the spines. I know that if I was an old worldly woman, I would have passed all my time reading book after book. You can always rely on a National Trust property to supply you with this opportunity to escape from the real world for a little while.

A great place to visit here in Devon is Killerton House. They have a beautiful house which they decorate for different seasons - I have already planned to go back there to see their decorations for Christmas. They also have extensive gardens which is another thing that I really enjoy. Nothing beats a warm summer day spent surrounded by flowers in the garden of a stately home snacking on picnic food or feasting on cakes from the multiple on site cafes (they had 3 cafes - even I'm impressed by that!). On our trip there, we had a very long walk around the grounds and my 5 month pregnant self almost slipped down a muddy hill but the less said about that the better. There is always something so fun about heading out into the wilderness not quite knowing where you're heading to. I'm like a pregnant Bear Grylls. We rounded the visit off with hot chocolates with a mountain of cream and jacket potatoes with beans and cheese. Just typing that is making me feel hungry.

The best thing about National Trust - other than knowing that the place you're visiting is bound to be good as it has been well funded and the promise of cake - is the gift shop. Surely it's not just me who is mad for National Trust gift shops. They always seem to have the cutest trinkets and thick, knitted blankets, and a very wide selection of jams and biscuits. Yes, I am getting old. Jam excites me. I am a 70 year old woman named Doris who loves jam. But, in all seriousness, if any companies want to send me jam, please hit up my email address.

The most interesting thing about Killerton House for me was this small hut which is called the Bear Hut. They called it this because, in 1860, it was home to a black bear that one of the house's residents brought back from Canada. I kid you not. A real life bear actually lived in this little hut. I mean, I can't vouch for his block stacking skills from the mess of the windowsill but it's still pretty impressive. There was also an ice house where the family stored their 40 tonnes of ice - y'know, in case they wanted to some ice in their lemonade or something. It was basically a little passage in a mound that led to an iron gate and a massive drop. The massive expanse of space used to be full of ice but now is just full of bats and could be used as a dungeon or other spooky activities (maybe that's their plans for Halloween?).

I would definitely return to Killerton for another visit - there's another big cup of hot chocolate there that I can hear calling me. It would be interesting to see how they decorate the house differently at another time of year and maybe I could learn more about this bear. I think he was called Tom.

Have you got a favourite National Trust property? Where would you recommend I visit next?
© The Emerald Dove. All rights reserved.
Blogger Designs by pipdig