Over the last few weeks my heart has been overflowing with reasons to be cheerful so I thought what better than to remind us all of them while the rain falls down on this grey bank holiday Monday.

:: Celebrating end of Summer (or nearly end of Summer) by heading to Towersey Festival this Saturday with my family; dancing to Bellowhead and Stornoway felt a lovely way to celebrate the seasons change.
:: Spectacular evening sunsets – I have enjoyed watching skies fill with the pink clouds.
:: Libraries – there has been much quality time being spent in them reading and writing my essays. 

Eight #thali #vegetarian #diwana #drummondstreet #delicious #augustbreak2015 #day4 #numbers A photo posted by Lara (@inbetween_day) on

::Delicious dinner dates with friends – thali at Drummond Street and laksa at St David’s in Forest Hill.  It feels like some kind of normality is being reached with crazy work: studying so I’m hoping balance can continue as there are lots of people I haven’t seen for ages and desperately want to see.

:: Returning to WI for the first time in ages to make floral crowns and pretend we were in Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Eleanor’s white and green crown @boroughbelleswi @hcranmer #feelingfloral #floralcrown

A photo posted by Lara (@inbetween_day) on

:: Stir-fries with leafy greens and tofu.
:: Downpours of rain – some of the heavy bursts of rain have felt tropical and remind me of being in South East Asia. 
:: Memories of Wilderness Festival – exciting, inspiring and fun-filled weekend which scratched my camping itch and gave me a great opportunity to play.
:: Spotify ensuring I can find things to please my ears – currently enjoyingDrowned In Sound Summertime Sadness playlist.
:: Owen Jones’s thoughtful blogpost about the challenges ahead for Labour if Corbyn’s elected leader.
:: Handknits keeping me warm while I tap away at my essays.
:: Finally this TEDxTalk by Harry Burns, ex-CMO for Scotland entitled What Causes Wellness”.  It is one of the most inspiring things I have read/seen about public health recently and I have to admit left me slightly misty-eyed. 

It also contains a quote which I think is so apt for the moment:

“What we need is a compassion that stands in awe at the burdens the poor have to carry, rather than stands in judgement at the way they carry it.”


Prince Albert #amazinglight #latergram #proms #rah

:: Peppermint tea
:: Libraries
:: A dear friend getting some new duck friends
:: A baby sloth at London Bridge
:: This lovely article about how to “grow hope” .
:: Sunflowers on station platform
:: Seeing one of Sylvie Guillem final performances at the Coliseum
::Trying new tasty recipes.
:: Colouring in
:: Getting excited for Wilderness Festival.

Ain't no party like a colouring in party.... #colours #colouringin

Sylvie Guillem on her farewell tour.  Astonishing and beautiful #legend #finalbow #lifeinprogress #breathtakingDancing in the breeze #sunflowers  #air #augustbreak2015 #stationflowers #urbangardening #loveyourhood #SE23love

100 words on blog #powerofnow #rightnow

Mornings. Inhale. Exhale. Quiet. Stretching. Hopeful. Multi-tasking. Music. Dancing. Coffee. Decisions. Journals. Lists. Heat. Sweat. London. Rushing. Work. Sister. Laughter. Chatter. Friends. Tinder.  Studying. Libraries. Playing. Proms. Drama. Lights. Beauty. Love. Photos. Notes. Essays. Doodles. Meetings.

Brainstorms. Presentations. Conversations. Submissions. Hiding. Solitude. Sparkle. Cooking. Courgettes. Iron. Sunflowers. Colours. Post-its. Stickers. Games. Organizing. Dates. Messages. Excitement. Patience. Impatience. Disappointments.  Restless. Exasperation. Work. Swimming. Sunshine. Blue skies. Breeze. Drizzle.

Words. Emails. Ideas. Dreams. Friendship. Birthdays. Dogs. India. Holidays. Ventures. Wanderlust. Notebooks. Lunchboxes. Sleep. Routines.  Sewing. Knitting.Wool. Dragons. Crafting. Make. Do. Believe. Repeat.  Trains. Frustration. Daydreams. Reading. Planning. Wondering. Growing. Breathing. Living. Now. 



*Thanks to Susannah Conway for the inspiration.

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Monkl, photographed by the lovely Felicity Ford

:: The sound of rain

:: Swimming: The rhythm of the strokes and the water on my skin.

:: Tidy corner of my house

:: Sweet orange oil scenting my room.

Tidy corner

:: Friends making me laugh; Monkl’s lovely face appeared via What’s App this week!

:: Homemade packed lunches

:: Playing in a tent with my niece

:: Lovely inspiring conversations at Fibre East

:: Zingy bright colours

:: Spending time with my mum

:: Refinding my knitting mojo and fitting few rows where I can (like waiting for a train).

:: Lovely comments on my blogpost – I loved writing it and getting excited about the books.

Oh it's so exciting to be spending a night in a tent #auntielove #latergram #toddlerhoodwoolly #fibreeast #sheep #knittingGorgeous colours at Easy Knits #allthecolours #fibreeastGrabbing few knitting rows while waiting from delayed train. Fibre East was inspiring and brilliant. There is serious yarn in these bags. Knitting mojo has been refound. #sundaymorning #knittersofinstagram #allthecolours

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Today I’m enjoying knitting this in a colourway which reminds me of dragons and playing with paints.

On my table this week I have been enjoying ratatouille. It tastes of summer.

I thoroughly have been enjoying these lovely books.

And listening to The National, Ben Howard and Bellowhead.

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Early morning reading buddies #latergram

Early Morning Reading Friends

One of the (many) great things about being an Aunt is a that I get to indulge my love of children’s books and there is always a book shaped parcel at birthdays and Christmas time from me.   I thought I’d share some of my favourites I have discovered or rediscovered with little L.

Enduring favourites:

Robin Brian Wildsmith

Robin from Birds, Brian Wildsmith, Oxford University Press, 1967. 

:: Brian Wildsmith – Birds. We grew up with a range of Brian Wildsmith books and I love his illustrations with their beautiful colours. Quite a few of his titles are out of print but he is worth looking out for in libraries and charity shops.  Brian was also one of the first authors I met when I started out working at OUP. (He is a lovely man and also rather big in Japan, they have a museum dedicated to him). You can see some more of the beautiful birds on this lovely blogpost.

:: Shirley Hughes – Dogger. No list would be complete without Dogger, an enduring gorgeous classic and has been really nice to see that L loves it as much as we did when we were little. (I still find it a rollercoaster of emotions)

:: Judith Kerr – Tiger who came for Tea.  Because who wouldn’t want a tiger to come for tea?

:: Anthony Browne - Gorilla. I love this book and often try to engineer it into the reading pile if I get a say.  Hannah is a gorilla-mad girl who spends all her time reading, thinking about and loving gorillas. She longs to see  a real one but her father is always too busy to take her to the zoo. Then something truly special happens just before her birthday. The illustrations are gorgeous and explores children’s anxieties and loneliness in a lovely way. It still speaks to me and I have been known to get slightly teary at the end.

New favourites:

:: Emma Chichester Clark:  No More Kissing. This is a gorgeous book about a little boy monkey who is fed up of being kissed by adoring relatives.

:: Emily Gravett: Monkey and Me. Another monkey themed book about a girl and her toy monkey as they are off to see different animals. Perfect for my animal-loving niece. There is a great sing-song rhythm and you can have fun guessing which animal the little girl and monkey are pretending to be.


Image from A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies and Mark Hearld.

:: Nicola Davies and Mark Hearld: A First Book of Nature. I first found this in the Horniman and absolutely cannot rave enough about the illustrations in this book. While L is still bit young for the texts, the pictures are gorgeous.  It is like a scrapbook of poems, activities and facts about nature. It contains gorgeous details about sounds and sights of nature (beachcombing, stargazing, squirrels, worms, starlings). It really conveys the beauty present in nature and I found it hard to give it away. I would like some of the spreads as prints on my walls. (Although I’ve discovered that Mark Hearld has also designed some gorgeous wallpaper).

You can see pictures of the beautiful illustrations here.


A first book of Nature. 

:: Sarah Dyer: The Girl with the Bird’s Nest Hair. A book about a red-headed girl who doesn’t like having her crazy curly brushed. Of course, I loved it. Who does like having their hair brushed?

:: Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen:  Extra Yarn.  A book about the joy of knitting and magic of wool. A must for a niece who’s favourite jumpers are Grandma handmade. Jon Klassen’s illustrations are lovely.

:: Sam Childs: Woolly. Joyful. Woolly is a pink mammoth who is born without a woolly coat, how will she stay warm? She is a gorgeous character and we love this book very much.

:: Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler : Zog. Julia Donaldson had to appear on this list as we love her books. Obviously The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child is a big favourite but we also love The Snail and the Whale and Sharing a Shell.  Zog has been quite a recent discovery but it is brilliant.  Zog is a dragon who is a bit accident-prone and who is looked after by a little girl. The girl is a great character – full of life and funny.  She is a great role model and has the fantastic line “But I don’t want to be a princess, I want to be a doctor.”

:: Chris Haughton: Oh No George! George is a loveable but unfortunate dog who tries hard to be good and has the best of intentions but life gets the better of him and he creates a few disasters. Great fun and we all like chorusing “Oh NO George!”.  Chris Haughton also wrote a gorgeous books, Little Owl Lost, about a baby owl who loses his mum which we also like.

::  Benji Davies: The Storm Whale. Beautiful book about parenting, loneliness, loss and whales. Noi is a little boy who finds a washed up whale on the beach and looks after him in his bath by telling him stories.

I’ve really been enjoying some of the book recommendations on A Playful Day and want to check out Olivia the Fairy Princess (because  a book about pig princesses will be brilliant), Wild (“You cannot tame something so happily wild” and The Paper Dolls (sob!).

Also we need some good books about hippos and rhinos as they are particular favourites at the moment. The poppet loves to sing and last year I bought her The Singing Year last Christmas but I’m also looking for good singing books to help us refresh our favourite songs.

What have you been enjoying with the little people in your life?


 A mouse took a stroll in the deep, dark wood…

Happy Friday #peonies #blooms #flowersinstagramCloudwatching @hornimanmuseumgardens #SE23love #goodforthesoulThis morning spent lovely few hours in park, writing morning pages, knitting and sitting in sun #morningpages #superSunday #earlyrising

:: Blue skies and cotton wool clouds
:: Pink grapefruits
:: Early morning writing and knitting breaks in the park
:: Making things with my hands
:: Feeling the sun on my face
:: My lovely cool bedroom where you can hear the birds and get lovely breezes
:: Snail mail from my sister
:: Peonies and agapanthus: reminding us that summer is here.

Agapanthus: reminding me of the Scillies today #blue #morningwalk #SE23love

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This did indeed spark joy this morning #londonbridge #SparkYourCity #sparkcity #rainbow

A photo posted by Lara (@inbetween_day) on

A few weeks ago I felt a bit grey, I had come back from some lovely days at the seaside celebrating Midsummer and my Mum’s birthday and had the Monday morning blues. However, I bounced out of bed when I realised that there was a rainbow on London Bridge.

For one day only, London Bridge had been transformed into a colourful walkway which Rainbow Brite would have been proud of. This art installation was part of a global art initiative called Spark Your City which aims to “spark joy in everyday life.”  There is going to be a series of activity which links 50 cities all which aim to get talented women to transform ordinary moments in cities – routines, landmarks to “extraordinary living playgrounds.”

So many things to love about this. It was designed by Gemma Cairney who is rapidly becoming new girl crush as she keeps supporting fantastic projects. I love that you can live in a city with exciting things happening and the internet helps you discover exciting things super quick.

The colours did pop from the pavement and it was impossible to not feel cheered by the audacity of it. I loved how grumpy commuters were trying to ignore it and keep walking purposely.  It felt like a generous act, a random act of kindness for the many Londoners who were probably all feeling  a bit, well, Mondayish.

I think the way spaces are designed can influence they way communities feel, think and behave. Recently I have been drawn to funny stickers or ways people are enhancing the local area and I have been collecting examples and ideas in magazine clippings and pinterest.  I love how something as simple as colour can completely transform how you feel about the day.

And my shoes even matched.

Matching shoes to pavements #rainbow #sparkcity #SparkYourCity

A photo posted by Lara (@inbetween_day) on

Garland joy! #flowmagazine

A photo posted by Lara (@inbetween_day) on

Life lately has been mixed – some really wonderful things and some other very hard things have happened to my little family. This last week I have organised a hen do and been to a funeral which has left me feeling weary and very thankful to be here now.

Moment of peace on crazy day #mumsgarden #exhale A photo posted by Lara (@inbetween_day) on

These are some things that I am currently grateful for and making me smile:

:: Friends and family – losing someone you love always makes me want me to hug those close to me that little bit tighter. Luckily I am also blessed with brilliant people in my life who wipe away my tears, make me a good cup of tea and can make me laugh. Love all of you!

:: Beautiful roses I spy everywhere.

::Music filling my ears currently listening to Blur’s and Florence and the Machine’s new albums.

:: Next weekend I will be by the sea.

:: My new garland above my bed.

:: My new aeropress coffee maker.

:: A dear friend refinding her blogging mojo – it is wonderful to see/read.

:: New found bullet journal obsession – a world of youtube videos, pinterest boards and facebook posts for stationery obsessed people.

:: My dynamo label maker has been helping make pink neon labels for things.

:: Sparkly trainers – how can you feel sad when you have spangles on your feet.

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Found on Pinterest from here.

Thanks for your lovely comments on my last post. I’m glad it chimed with some of you and that we can stick to together in the years to come. I also need to thank Borough Belles Jess who inspired me to think about my personal response to the election after a thoughtful Facebook post.
Lovely Sarah Corbett from Craftivist Collective wrote a beautiful post about what sustains her as an activist and with her campaigning which is really worth a read.
At present my mind is still a whirl thinking about what can be done and how to support best my local community. But there is also work to be done, studying to be fitted in and body and soul to be kept together. So in the spirit of resilience and hope, I thought I’d share some reasons that I found this weekend to be cheerful.

Chelsea Fringe Event at St David's #SE23love #seedbombs

Red on green #yum

Totally Forest Hill weekend #FiverFest #SE23love

:: Feeling the sun on my face and opening all my windows in my flat.

:: Community: South East London has been awash this weekend with fêtes and Artist Open Houses. Forest Hill was no exception with Havelock Walk open studios complete with shark fins set into the road, local traders offering bargains as part of Fiver Fest and a Chelsea Fringe event at my local cafe.

:: Clean washing.

:: Avocado on toast: Carrots and Hummus: Strawberries. All simple and delicious summer treats.

:: Hot baths with muscle soak with early evening sun streaming through window: good for the soul.

:: Great Tumblr post about Moomins.

:: Lovely article about why sensitive souls need rituals.

:: Refreshing Cheryl Strayed article and interview about how to write with Motherfuckittude: the work of writing, strength and resilience.

:: The Archers had a beautiful segue about birdwatching this morning which delighted me including the phrase “You lose your confidence in being able to tell common waders apart.” Hurrah for some ordinary countryside news and not crazy melodramatic plotlines!

What reasons have you found this weekend to be cheerful?

Indeed. Happy Mayday #signs

*Reasons to be cheerful posts are to remind myself of all the fun, good things I see, read and find out about. 


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