Lifestyle and home education blogger at Wildling Wishes, main contributor and editor for She Might Be, draws pictures for money at Rymermade on Etsy.
Lifestyle and home education blogger at Wildling Wishes, main contributor and editor for She Might Be, draws pictures for money at Rymermade on Etsy.
We are so close to Summer I can almost taste it, and what is the best thing about Summer? Summer holidays! I haven’t been abroad in years, but we try to at least drive to a beach or something so that we feel a little bit like we’re doing something fun and exotic. As exotic as Weymouth Pier can be!
I love a BBQ and there’s nothing quite like getting the sand between your toes, but my favourite thing about Summer is the wealth of Summer Holiday Stereotypes that we get to see roaming the high streets. From half naked men as soon as the sun pops out from behind the clouds, to the lobster-red ladies who are asleep by the shore. Here are a handful of my favourite humans to people-watch every Summer!
What Summer Holiday Stereotypes are always guaranteed to make you giggle? Or even better – are you one of these stereotypes?! We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
At the beginning of May, there were a number of local elections across England. Did you know that? Because, with a turn out of around a third of eligible voters of the country, it seems that many did not. I found out about the local elections somewhere in the beginning of April when I received my poll card, and decided that I would put myself forward as a poll clerk. I somewhat naively assumed that there would be hundreds of people rushing forwards to get a paid day off from work, so when I received a hefty envelope in the post a week after applying without so much as a phone call or an interview, I was quite surprised to find that it included my training manual and some employment forms to fill out! Polling stations were open from 7am to 10pm and I was required to arrive in time to set up before hand, and stayed long enough to tidy everything away at the end. The online training made it seem really complicated (despite my 100% score, hurrah!) and in all honesty, it got to the night before the election and I started to get a bit worried. What if the long day was too long for me? What if I had no idea what I was doing? What if I sleep in?!
After a night of waking up every hour and assuming I had definitely slept in, I bounded into the community centre at 6:30am with my sleeves rolled up, ready to be part of the action. There was a buzz in the air as we rushed around sticking up posters, erecting the polling booths and making sure all of our paperwork was in order for our 7am start: I suppose it was the feeling of pride that we were now active participants in local politics, as dramatic as that sounds. We were the smiling faces that greeted the voters as they came in and changed history. And so, with our pencils in our hands and our paperwork laid out in front of us in a neat and orderly fashion, we sat up straighter in our seats and prepared ourselves for the stream of voters as it crept over into 7am. And we waited. And waited some more. And after about 11 minutes, a voter came in and gave us something to do. And this was the moment that I realised there were many lessons that I was going to learn that day – and I thought I would share them with you now!
I’m really thrilled to have been a poll clerk in the local elections this year, and I am definitely putting my name forward to join in again next time there is an election. The turnout was a bit of a disappointment, but it has really inspired me to dedicate more of my own time to encouraging others to get involved with politics – especially when it comes to educating my children about the importance of the vote.
I am a sucker for a good pair of trainers. Whatever you want to call them; kicks, skids, slorps (hands up if you get the reference!), I’ve gone through every trainer trend I can think of, from the tightly laced white gym shoes (oh, 90s) to the chunky skate shoes that will always hold a special place in my heart. After years of working in retail I decided to opt for comfort, favouring memory foam or cushioned, structured soles that would support my feet on the longest of days. Plantar fasciitis is super common – many of you who are reading this probably have it and don’t even realise, especially if you are on your feet all day! – and I am loving how easy it is becoming to find properly structured shoes that actually look fashionable. I am in love with the pastels and bright colours coming from Adidas right now, with a good chunky sole to boot (see what I did there?), so I decided to put together a guide to my favourite trainers from Adidas.
I don’t believe in the idea of male and female products at the best of times, but when it comes to footwear I always like to have a look in the section designated to men. This is particularly useful to do if you have wide feet (like Isha) or 9+ feet (like Kitty). These ‘Adventure’ shoes are definitely inspired by Japanese fashion, and I think they look super modern and cool. The ankle has a kind of sock that means your shoes aren’t going to rub, and they are going to offer you the correct ankle support for your needs.
I am beyond obsessed with the colour of these gorgeous trainers. You can never go wrong with a pastel, and this sweet purple brings me images of Parma Violets and long afternoons in the sunshine. The sole looks amazingly cushioned, and the shoe itself seems lightweight yet supportive – so whether you’re a runner or somebody who works in a bakery (I speak from experience!) your feet get enough ventilation that they don’t get overheated and start to ache.
I’ll admit it. These primeknit trainers look a little bizarre. I was on board with the unusual fastenings, and the colour is actually pretty close to perfection, but the ankle feels a little bit claustrophobic to me. I did a bit of research, though, and this shoe has been carefully designed to be arguably the most supportive of the bunch. The primeknit wraps your foot almost like a bandage, so it can adapt to the support your foot most needs, and the rubber outsole is ideal for cushioning every stride.
Which trainers are you coveting right now? Do you prioritise comfort or fashion – or both, like Adidas?!
Another month, another post where I lust after gardens. As ever, Pinterest has been my best friend in my future home planning, and as we inch closer to Summer I’m seeing bloggers and vloggers start preparing their gardens for the sunny days ahead and I can’t get enough of it. I haven’t even got a garden and yet I’m looking at garden furniture deals at Groupon and filling up my wishlists with amazing products. Here are some of my garden must-haves as we tiptoe closer and closer to Summer 2018.
My ultimate garden goal is a firepit. For one thing – toasted marshmallows, hello! And I can’t imagine anything better than rounding off an amazing Summer BBQ by snuggling up around a firepit and sharing some drinks with some friends. I can practically taste the fruity cider already.
I’m actually thinking I need to grab this gazebo right now regardless of not having a garden because that discount is amazing. I have an old gazebo that we take along with us when we head to the nearby BBQ spot in the Summer, because it just gives our family a bit of privacy and shade. I could definitely do with a replacement, and I think this KD Gazebo might be my new best friend!
Ever since GG got herself an amazing hot tub, I have been doing two things: lusting enviously after it, and dropping hints like they’re hot. I am definitely grabbing a swimsuit and heading up to GG’s at some point this Summer because it looks absolutely amazing. I love the idea of being able to completely relax in your garden on a baking hot day – plus, what better excuse is there for a plus size swimwear photoshoot?!
And no garden is complete without a game of swing ball, right?! We love swing ball so much that we actually bought one for people to play with at our wedding, and we keep it in the boot of our car all Summer and take it out at any green area we visit. I’d love to collect a few more lawn games – regardless of not actually having a lawn!
What furniture or equipment do you ‘need’ for your garden?
I have been pretty blessed in my life. I have been on some amazing holidays. I haven’t been anywhere particularly exotic – for a start, I have never left Europe! – but even our holidays within Britain have had some pretty great moments. We’ve got a family holiday booked in Cornwall for the week after I hand in my dissertation (October!) as a bit of a reward/way to blow off steam, and I thought it would be fun to look at some of my other favourite holidays.
My most recent holiday actually didn’t go according to plan. It wasn’t a holiday really; the company that I work for was bought by a European company and we were all flown out to Mallorca for team building. I was excited for months to lounge by the pool, and I was even willing to get stuck in to the lame team building stuff in exchange for, yknow, actually being in Spain. Alas, on the flight to Mallorca I was coughing and spluttering and said those famous last words: “I am NOT getting ill”. I had a raging fever which was made so much worse by the Spanish heat, I spent almost all day and night in bed and I think I only went to the pool once and it ended up making me feel worse. What a waste. I’m desperate to make up for it, and would love to book some sort of package deal to Spain with Holiday Gems so I get to actually bask in the Spanish sun and finally make the most of that open bar that the rest of my team seemed to be enjoying so much!
It isn’t all bad, though! The two other places I have been in Europe are France and Italy (which was on a school trip). I went to Paris with my Mum and Auntie for my 16th birthday, and that trip was fantastic. And I’ve been lucky enough to have been to Disneyland Paris as a teenager! Here’s a sneaky holiday snap of me and my brothers. I think I was around 15 when we went, and I would love to go again just so I can see the wonder on my kids’ faces.
We’ve had some pretty great holidays in Britain, too. My kids are quite lucky because both sets of grandparents live by beaches, just at opposite ends of the United Kingdom. So while we don’t get up to the north of Scotland to see my family very much, my in-laws live in Dorset and we love to pack ourselves up on a sunny day and spend the day at the seaside. We also had an amazing trip to Center Parcs a few years ago; when the Woburn Forest branch opened, they requested that somebody from the company I used to work for go and review their stay, so of course I jumped at the chance of a complementary family holiday. I’m so glad we did it. It was only a three day holiday, yet we have so many amazing memories from that time and I think we are all still really keen to go back as soon as we can. We spent the majority of our time as a family hanging out in the pool, enjoying the wave machine and river rapids most of all. We went on flumes – and, funny story, those huge flumes where you sit in a doughnut and you go up the inside wall of the slide before falling down onto the water again? I fell out of my doughnut in midair! – and spent our evenings in gorgeous restaurants. My husband and my daughter did some archery, while I took advantage of the spa! I did have to attend a press seminar one morning but they provided a breakfast that was so good I swear I can still taste it four years later. Here’s another holiday snap – this time, a phone picture of me trying to capture our living room in the reflection of the lampshade hanging over our dining room table. Such a gorgeous cabin.
I feel like when you have an amazing holiday, it never leaves you; a part of you is always reliving that magic, that warmth, that family feel – or whatever it is you loved about it the most. What are some of your favourite holidays?
As many SMB readers will know, I am living in a permanent state of ‘desperate to move house’. I’ve spoken about my desire to give my home a makeover before, but in reality all I want to do is move away to a quiet little cottage somewhere with a pretty garden and a peaceful view. Or a mansion. I’d also be happy with a mansion.
What does Sophie do when she can’t get what she wants? She plans. I swear, I go on Rightmove as a hobby and there are more folders for DIY and home decor in my bookmarks tab than anything else. Living in a second floor flat means that I am currently obsessed with having a garden, and dreaming of all of the ways I could use that space. Here are some of my current dreams and goals for when I am the proud owner of some outdoor space – and the book, film and TV programme that serve as my constant inspiration.
Now, I’m not saying I should live on Wisteria Lane, but I do have a penchant for drama and a love for freshly-cut grass. I won’t be employing a gardener and I imagine its difficult to push a lawnmower while you’re sipping on a cocktail, so I think fake grass is the only way to go. Perfectly green, perfectly short, and an amazing base for all of those garden parties you are definitely going to want to be throwing in your perfectly perfect garden.
Hands up if you remember Harriet the Spy! There was a scene where Golly took Harriet, Sport and Janie to a curious garden filled with a variety of percussion, gorgeous plants, colourful windmills and those unlabelled bottles of whatever the hell Harriet downed a whole bottle of. And bubbles! So many bubbles. It always fascinated me as a child and, while I’d personally enjoy a garden that was a little bit more organised than that, I love the idea of setting up a miniature wonderland for my kids to explore and relish in showing off to their friends.
When I was a little girl, the Enchanted Forest was my safe space. Moon Face and Silkie and Saucepan Man were among my best friends, and I burned with jealousy when I read about the children who only had to walk to the end of their garden and they were already halfway to the Faraway Tree. Outside of Enid Blyton’s world, my real-life best friend’s house was surrounded by land of various terrains – trees, creeks, old barns, fields – and we would spend each weekend seeing how far our adventures would take us. I would love to have a garden that verged on some sort forest so that there were endless opportunities for adventures and family walks. I’m still a big kid at heart!
What does your dream garden look like? Have you always fantasized about a garden from a film or a book?
Moving house is super exciting. Knowing that you’re on the verge of stepping in to bigger and better things can be so exciting – but other than death and divorce, moving is also the most stressful and potentially traumatic things that adults have to experience. Leaving your comfort zone is terrifying at the best of times, but knowing you can never go back takes it to another level – nevermind the huge financial strain that moving house can put on your family. I’ve moved house a number of times. When I was a young’un who had no ties, I could be known to decide overnight that I was moving, pack up my things and start all over again. So I thought I would look back at the most important four things I always made sure I would remember when I was moving; hopefully these will help you too!
As soon as you get the green light to move home, you need to start thinking about the things you really need to take with you in this new stage of your life. I’m not saying you need to start thinking about sparking joy or anything like that – but if you’re starting a new chapter anyway, maybe this is the perfect time to get rid of any clutter that’s bogging you down! If nothing else, it’ll save you money if you have fewer possessions to take with you.
Traffic can get pretty stressful over the weekend, and especially during school holidays – but when you’ve got a brand new home that needs paying for and decorating, you really want to take as little time off work as possible. Should you move house on Friday, you’ll have time to get yourself a bed and possibly some sort of equipment for eating and bathing so that you’re as refreshed as possible before work at the beginning of the next week. You might even get the chance to throw on a lick of paint or two!
You know those friends who say “let me know if you ever need anything”? It’s time to put them to the test, because this is the ultimate ‘anything’ that you are likely to need. Extra arms are always useful for helping to carry, and if you’ve got kids then ask a friend to keep them occupied for a few hours so you have time to go through their toys and be ruthless. While it’s great to save costs while you’re moving, too, its always worth looking in to hiring a van for a day to make things run as seamlessly as possible.
Once you get in to your new house, there is an urge to get everything completed and looking like ‘home’ before your feet even hit the floor. Here’s the thing though: assuming you’re going to be there for a long time, rushing through the decoration is only going to give you a greater headache on moving day and increase the trauma of the entire experience tenfold. List the tasks you feel are most important and give yourself a year to complete them. It seems like such a long time, but what is one year if you’re going to live somewhere for 20? At least this way you can enjoy developing your home at your own pace, rather than rushing through and growing to resent it.
Have you moved house several times? What are your top tips for the big leap?
Everybody sweats. And guess what? It’s actually incredibly healthy for you to sweat! Not only does your body excrete toxins when you sweat, looking after your kidneys and brightening up your skin, but it literally saves your life by preventing your body from overheating. So how come we’re all so worried about being sweaty? It all comes down to discomfort. Stale sweat can be smelly, which obviously none of us want, and in all honesty it can feel super gross to feel moist fabric touching your skin whenever you move. And while logically we can remind ourselves that sweating is totally normal, there is no arguing with a set of sweaty knickers and their potential to chafe.
In swoop Knix, with their totally innovative underwear which is quick-dry, has some sort of magical anti-odour powers and they are super stretchy to boot. There are no underwires in any of their underwear, which is basically a direct message from heaven in my book. And it isn’t just your standard bra and pants that they offer – I was immediately drawn to the Knixwear tee as soon as I visited the website, keeping in mind my tendency to sweat when anxiety strikes. All of their fabric absorbs up to 3tsp of liquid, so that dreaded trickle down your back will never interrupt your day again – and this makes the knickers ideal for light period days.
So what about the brand? As any long term reader of She Might Be will know, we are huge on only promoting brands who we feel fit our ethos. While the sizes don’t quite reach the top of our desired range, they definitely have a wider spectrum than most retailers of even standard underwear – and of course, there is always room to grow! My favourite thing that struck me immediately with this brand was the actual images they used. Close ups of wobbly bums and stretch-marked thighs tell me that this is a brand who loves their customers exactly as they are and don’t want them to change anything, ‘cinch in’ any part of themselves, ‘flatten’ or ‘enhance’ – they just want you to be comfy exactly as you are. And that is a brand I can get on board with.