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Places to Potter: Ilfracombe

I visited Ilfracombe in August with my darling mother. It's not the first time I've been, my mum grew up there and I used to visit all the time as a child, but I haven't been in about 10 years. 

I drove down there, which took about 3 hours and was quite a big deal for me! Although I passed my driving test 3 years ago, I am not a confident driver at all, I hate parking, other drivers and basically all elements of being in a car. But I did it, so yay me! 

The harbour and front are lovely with lots of cute shops, restaurants and beaches. The high street is now a bit run down, which is a shame as it used to have loads of lovely independent places.

Some recommendations if you visit Ilfracombe:
  • Go to The Tunnels beach (this wasn't open when I went but hopefully it will be soon cos it's the cutest place with a lush tidal pool)
  • Get an ice cream from the Hockings ice cream van
  • Visit the Verity sculpture by Damien Hirst  

  • Eat the following, which is law when you got to any seaside town: A pasty (I had a vegan cornish pasty and it was G R E A T), Roly's fudge, Fish and chips 
  • Walk to the top of Capstone and admire the sea views
  • Have some retro fun in the arcades
  • Visit nearby Lee, which has some lovely beaches which aren't overcrowded
  • Take a boat trip to Lundy Island, which has wildlife galore, including a absolute shit ton of puffins 
  • Visit Ilfracombe museum, where you can do a brass rubbing and see a shrunken cat's head in a jar, something I was weirdly obsessed with as a child 
  • Have a peek inside the RNLI shop and support a great charity 

This was taken mere moments before I slid on some rocks and fell on to my back like an upturned beetle


My life in books

I saw Amy from Read with Amy do this My Life in Books post and loved it. So I copied! Thanks for the inspiration Amy.

My favourite book as a child

There are so many I could pick for this, but I think it's going to have to be a Judy Blume, and the one that immediately jumps out is Just as Long as We're Together. I would read this over and over, I was obsessed with the characters, their friendship and the American lifestyle they lived. I wanted to go to homeroom and the school dance and have a school lunch period and eat an oatmeal and raisin cookie. 

The Book That Got Me Back Into Reading

When I first moved to London, for reasons I cannot fathom I would read The Metro on the way to work and The Evening Standard on the way home. The amount of good reading time I wasted pains me. I can never get that time back! I finally got a clue and started reading on my Kindle, and I whilst I can't pinpoint the exact book, I vividly remember reading the bee scene from the first Hunger Games novel and being completely absorbed in the story. That first book was so good! 

A Book That Got Me Through A Hard Time

This is going to sound stupid, because it wasn't really a hard time, but I went travelling with my friend in my early 20s and whilst it was mega fun there were times when I felt horribly homesick. I found David Nicholl's book One Day at a used book shop along the way and it just resonated with me so much - it was like finding a little bit of home and the comfort it provided on long, hot bus journeys was immense. One Day (and especially Emma) will always have a special place in my heart and I think that when you read a book is often just as important as the actual story or content. I think if I was to read it now I would enjoy it but have nowhere near as emotional a reaction. 

A Book You Always Recommend

I get asked for book recommendations quite a lot, and whilst I know different people can have different tastes, I will always recommend The Namesake or An Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. Characters are so important to me in a book and she writes such perfect ones - good or bad. 

My Favourite Quote From A Book

I'm cheating and picking two.

"On the flight home, I daydreamed of Tottenham Court Road and ordering shit off Amazon. I thought of Farly's laugh and the sound of my flatmates getting ready for work in the morning and the smell of my mum's perfume in her hair when I hug her. I thought of the blissful mundanity of life; of what a privilege it was to live it"

Dolly Alderton, Everything I know about Love

"One's just supposed to conform. I know what they'd like, they'd like a blank they could fill in. A person already filled in disturbs them terribly"

Claire Morgan, Carol.

All Time Favourite Book

This is impossible. Do I choose a nostalgia hit from my childhood? Or my favourite from last year? So many books mean so much to me for lots of different reasons. I just cannot chose! I am the worst. 

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Notes from July 2020

Some bits and bobs I have enjoyed this month. I feel like July has been a bit up and down - I love love love summer usually but obviously this month has been unlike any other summer. I started the month feeling really fed up with working from home and felt a bit like I was just existing and not enjoying life. That sounds quite dramatic, but I think THESE TIMES make any emotions feel a bit times ten.

Regardless, I tried my best to think of one of my favourite quotes, which is 'Never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun', and I reminded myself that a lot of people are much worse off than me, so I still did fun things, and felt a lot better towards the end of the month.

This jammy pepper pasta salad

Essay about this dinner incoming.

I saw this on Michelle's blog and it spoke to me. I had most of the ingredients in the fridge (I love it when that happens) and so I made it and it was so delicious, especially for a summer's evening. The descriptions on Bon Appetit really get me; describing peppers as jammy *drooling emoji* . I made a few substitutions - I didn't have quite the required number of peppers so I kind of 'thirded' (unsure if that's a word) the whole recipe, and I didn't include the nuts or the onions because Rich isn't a fan of onions and I just didn't fancy the nuts. So after all, it was kind of only partly the recipe! It had the main essence though - the jammy peppers. They were the main event and they were glorious. Oh I also swapped parmesan for feta as we had some leftover that needed using. Subs and using your cooking initiative for the win!

This adorable Instagram account

I can't remember how I found this account but it is just adorbs. It's run by a girl called Kyla and the aesthetic is 'a brown girl in 1950s utopia' (her words, obviously) - she remakes 1950s magazine covers and creates dreamy vintage looks. It's just so cute!

The library is BACK BABY

I missed the library so much! Whilst one still can't go and browse (sob), Bristol Central Library have created a system where you email them with the type of books that you enjoy and they will make a curated selection for you, which you go and collect in person. How lovely is that? A free selection of curated books. I will never stop appreciating that the library is 100% free. The books that were selected for me were Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Enduring Love by Ian McEwan, The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid and And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. All books that I have never read before but look right up my street. I am very impressed.

My cat has started going outside

My fluff is all grown up! We bought her a collar and a tag with our details on and let her roam free in the garden (and beyond). She has already lost the collar (thanks then) and had an altercation with a neighbourhood cat, but apart from that she has loved her little outside life. 

Adam Buxton with Joe Cornish

I love Adam Buxton's podcast at the best of times, but this one was a particular highlight, firstly because any time Adam and Joe are together it is comedy gold/ pure entertainment. Secondly because Adam was talking very candidly and emotionally about his mum who recently died and it was very, very sweet.

Cute picnic

One of my July goals, which I post on my monthly bullet journal Instagrams, was to have a cute picnic in the wild. We went to The Bath Soft Cheese Shop, which is a dairy farm, shop and cafe not too far from us. I purchased some cheese (extra mature of course) and then we took our other food and many items (Rich was so pleased that I packed glassware to achieve my aesthetic goals) and went in search of a cute field to sit in. The first spot we found was shortly disrupted by a farmer letting in a huge herd of cows, which seemed fine to begin with but shortly became very unnerving so we trondled on further and found an even better spot with BUNNIES hopping about. It was the best.

Sex Education

I am aware I am very late to the bandwagon but I love this programme! I'm only on episode 6 of season 1 and it makes me cry and I don't even know why half the time, it's funny but it also gets you right in the feels. I STAN ERIC. The aesthetic is also super pleasing on the eyes and I want to live in Otis's house a lot.

Links I liked reading

Midsummer celebrations sound lovely
The Babysitter's Club movie discussed by the people who were in it
This article about Normal People is an interesting take on the TV show
Man Repeller did a deep dive into feelings about libraries and it made me feel warm inside
Cats are the best. Even Vogue knows.
The hygiene theatre of deep cleaning everything is arguably pointless


Money Diary during coronavirus

I very much enjoyed doing a money diary back in February (yep, seems like 10 years ago now!) so I thought I'd do another, in this brave NeW n0rmAl we find ourselves in. 

Monday 6th July

  • I went to the post office as I sold something on Depop £3.10
  • As we've recently moved house we've been gradually getting bits and bobs to make it look pretty. Wanted a rug for the front room - went for this one in the end, after A LOT of research. Finding a rug that's not a) one colour b) a million pounds and c) not a triangle based print is surprisingly tricky. £79.20
  • The direct debit for my veg box came out. We get an organic fruit and veg box from Abel & Cole delivered every week. I love opening it when it arrives, it's a bit like Christmas. Unless they send Pak Choi, which I hate. £15.75
  • Since moving, I have become obsessed with Facebook Marketplace. The previous tenants left a plethora of items in this house, including baby gates and lots of random items in the shed. Today I sold a tile cutter for £7. 

Tuesday 7th July

  • My vitamins had almost run out, so I purchased a top up. It was free delivery when you spent £30 so I thought I might as well buy two bottles at once. I buy all my vitamins from Cytoplan - the website was recommended to me by a nutritionist and their delivery is so quick! £30
  • I was doing my daily DuoLingo and an advert came up about the unthinkable situation in Yemen so I donated to Care International £20 

Wednesday 8th July

  • My friend has recently had a little girl and I went to see her for a socially distanced peek at the baby. I bought her other daughter a gingerbread man as I thought she might be feeling left out! £1.35

Thursday 9th July

  • It was definitely a McDonalds breakfast kind of day today. I've never actually had an egg McMuffin, for my shame, so that was a revelation. I had it without the cheese though, because plastic cheese is an abomination. I reckon I could live on McDonalds hash browns though £7.98 on two Mcdonald's breakfasts (not both for me)
  • My lovely auntie gave me a £50 cheque in a moving in card, so I paid that into my account. 

Friday 10th July

  • Went to my friend's house for a curry in her garden with another pal. Quorn bhuna, pilau rice, garlic naan, poppadoms, onion bhajis and chutneys. So good. £18.06 for my share
  • The direct debit for Hello Fresh came out. This is only the second week of starting this up again, simply because after so many days of cooking my dinner day in, day out, I cannot be bothered to decide what to eat every night! I won't carry this on for ages but wanted a bit of a break £27.99 for four meals.
  • Went to Tesco for the weekly shop. We have been spending a lot more on the weekly shop at the moment. At the start of lockdown it was at least £100 a week, it slowly going down but I'm very snacky at the moment and in a treat yourself mindset. Baking most weeks has also increased the bill somewhat. £67.49 

Sunday 12th July

  • Our cat Bluebell, was a house cat when we lived in a first floor flat, but now that we are in a house we are going to start letting her out. Advice says she needs a collar, so I ordered her a bougie one, because I love her and she deserves it. Rich wanted to get her a black one from Pets At Home, because for some reason he thinks she's a basic bitch £29.99 inc. postage.
  • We went to Somerset Lavender Farm, a place I have wanted to go for a long old time. It was very peaceful and lovely, would recommend highly. Rich paid the donation to go in and I paid for the snacks - we had a still lavender lemonade, a cheese scone (it was probably the best cheese scone I've ever had) with cheese and chutney, and some cheese crisps. Cheesy. I also bought a lavender plant to take home, along with some local honey £20.70

Total: £321.61

This was an above average spend, because of the rug purchase and the new Hello Fresh habit. Everything else is fairly standard - I mostly spend my money on food and excursions, and whilst I can't do as many excursions, then I will spend more money on food I suppose! Food's nice though innit.