I haven’t been a very happy bunny lately. I got home on Friday evening feeling quite deflated and low after work and decided that I really wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone, look at social media or waste my time reading banal rubbish online. So I text my mum and told her if she wanted to contact me to call the house phone, then I switched off my Samsung and tucked it away in a drawer. Out of sight, out of mind.
And you know what, it was easier than you might think.
Yes I admit, I had a little moment where I did a bit of online shopping on the Asos app on my ipad, but other than that there was no waking up and seeing what was trending on Twitter, no mindless scrolling of my Instagram feed, no Facebook (although I hardly use FB these days anyway), no looking at jokes or motivational quotes on Pinterest to lift my mood and no constant checking for messages.
And you know what, I only really missed the BBC weather app. I don’t know if that’s sad or refreshing, but either way I don’t care.
This isn’t me going phone free forever because I admit, they are useful. I would literally be quite lost without google maps! But this is me being more – dare I say it – mindful about how much time I may or may not waste with my head bent down staring at my phone. Time to stop reading the garbage they churn out on Buzzfeed as my bedtime reading and actually, you know, read a proper book.
I would encourage everyone to put their phone down and appreciate their surroundings a bit more. Go for a walk, hug a tree, admire a flower without the need to instagram it – go on, I challenge you!
July and August have been a whirlwind of fun, so much so that I didn’t get round to writing my July favourites, so here is a delightful combo of the two.
What have I been loving this summer?
Friends, Family and Fun!
I’ve been a busy and sociable bee this summer with barbecues, various meals with friends and family, a wedding, a hen party, a couple of gigs (Stereophonics and Craig David if you’re interested) and afternoon tea! There have also been nights out with work friends, days out with the hubby, geocaching, punting, oh and I dressed up as Michael Jackson for July 4th. As you do.
ZSL x Oasis collaboration
I am loving Oasis right now and they’ve only gone and collaborated with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) on a range of clothes called ‘The Wildest Dream‘. I popped into Oasis one lunchtime and treated myself to this beautiful t-shirt but I’ve been lusting after a load more of the items on their website.
Russell Brand’s Radio X Podcast
I know Russell is a bit like Marmite – you either love him or can’t stand him. I personally have always found him an interesting character and despite his past notoriety on the radio, I really like this Radio X version of him. I also enjoy his co-hosts Matt Morgan and Mr G who happily mock Russell and his eccentricities. This podcast has got me through many a boring day at work! If you fancy a listen you can find it here.
Did you notice? You probably didn’t… but anyway, I curated my instagram into a rainbow. No reason behind it, just a fun little experiment and a way for me to share some of my old (and more recent) travel photos. It didn’t gain me masses of followers but I’m kind of sick of all the follow/unfollow rubbish people seem to do on there.
I love it when bands and singers from back in the day make a comeback so imagine my excitement when I found out that Craig David would be performing at Rochester Castle Gardens this summer. Normally a venue for the sorts of music your parents listen to, I was excited that I could relive my teenage years out in the fresh air, with a beautiful castle backdrop and no claustrophobic train journey home! Sweet!
The castle itself was built around 1087 and to be honest I thought 2017 was going to be the ruin of it when the bassline dropped (see what I did there?). There was some serious bass. Anyway we packed ourselves a fancy little picnic and found ourselves a nice spot on the grass, not too close to the stage but close enough that we weren’t in the ‘chair section’.
There were a couple of support acts and then Craig David hit the stage sometime after 9pm. He sang some of his old classics like Rewind and 7 Days, did some of his new tracks and he also performed a few covers. Everyone seemed to have a really good time and Craig himself seemed like such a genuine, humble and nice bloke up on the stage. The big screen showed his face almost like he couldn’t quite believe he was back and singing to a crowd who knew all the words to his songs. The bizarre thing I found was the number of teens and tweens at this concert who weren’t even born when C.D. was at his peak of fame! Made me feel kinda old…. Didn’t stop me from dancing though!
We were very fortunate that the weather held out for us. Due to our concert selling out so quickly, they added another date which was two days earlier and the poor souls that attended that one had to stand in torrential rain the entire time! And now you know why us Brits are obsessed with the weather.
I had a great evening and will definitely keep my eye out for any more castle concerts that take my fancy.
Have you ever been to an outdoor concert? Or who would you most like to see make a comeback? If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy some of my other alphabet dates.
We struggled with coming up with something exciting and blogworthy for ‘N’. But then we remembered that not all alphabet dates have to be as adventurous and expensive as Cuba or as off-beat as Friends Fest or Escape Room.
So N is for Nandos and Netflix. Simple. Affordable.
As I like to eat veggie when I can, I opted for a veggie pitta. To me, Nandos is all about the corn on the cob and chips with perinaise anyway, I am perfectly content without the chicken which probably makes me strange but OMG… perinaise! Yum yum!
Err yeah so, Nandos is Nandos. Cheap and filling. And I will refrain from referring to it as a ‘Cheeky Nandos’ because that saying annoys me.
And then Netflix. While we’re patiently waiting for Stranger Things to return and we’ve sadly given up on Sense8, I’ve started getting in to Girlboss and you know what, so far I like it. Girlboss stars Britt Robertson and is based on the story of Sophia Amoruso, a rebellious misfit turned real-life Girlboss. Sophia started her own vintage clothing ebay business at the age of 23, which ended up being the beginning of the multi-million dollar fashion empire known as Nasty Gal.
Unfortunately, much like many things I enjoy, the show has been discontinued by Netflix. Boo. But still, if I enjoy the rest of the series I might check out Amoruso’s book #GIRLBOSS for some inspiration.
Of course there are other things you can do on date night for the letter ‘N’ but they’re NSFW so I’ll leave it here. Night night x
Did you know Vatican City is the smallest country in the world? Pretty cool, huh? It’s not just a city in the middle of Italy, it is an actual independent city-state, where it issues its own stamps and passports and everything. So when in Rome… you can’t really pass up an opportunity to go see it for yourself! My favourite part of Vatican City was climbing the dome of St Peter’s Basilica to get some spectacular views over St Peter’s Square and Rome.
Because the Vatican City is a religious site, the dress code must be respected – no shorts, bare shoulders or short skirts. For us visiting in November, this wasn’t a problem as it was pretty chilly. We also found the queues in November perfectly fine, it took us around half an hour to get through security checks. Again, this might be somewhat more lengthy during summer.
There are two ways to climb the dome – climb all the way by foot (551 steps) or go part way in the lift and climb the rest (320 steps). There is a slight price difference, obviously climbing by foot is slightly cheaper.
Pros – The view! The climb is quite an experience but it’s worth it when you reach the top, even just for bragging rights and a quick instagram snap.
Cons – 551 steps is A LONG WAY! My dad didn’t even bother coming up the dome with us as he hates heights but to be honest, I think he might have found the climb too much of a challenge. In addition to the number of steps there are also parts that are very narrow, especially where you’re climbing inside the curve of the dome.
Surprises – After the initial climb (or where I believe the lift may take you to) you reach the interior balcony where you are still inside the dome and can look down on the people visiting inside St Peter’s. At first we were a bit like, is this it?! But then we realised you can climb a little further to get those spectacular views from outside and over the square. Oh and there’s a cafe and shop on a terrace part way up too.