Spring photography day

As a professional photographer, my husband is great at capturing what he sees, in a way that also captures its inherent beauty. He’s also a natural teacher and loves to show others how to get the best out of their cameras. With that in mind, every now and then, he organises a photography day for friends to get together, wander around a town or particular site and make art from what they see. It’s pretty laid-back and people take their time over photographing what is beautiful to them. Everyone usually ends up with a very unique set of images from one another because we all see the world differently.

Our spring photography day last weekend was less than kind with the weather. It appears the April showers skipped their traditional month and made an overdue appearance in May and boy did it rain! The upside was that they were just showers, heavy as they were, and in between, the sun shone beautifully.

Raindrops collage

Collage 2

The incredible looking hot chocolate was ordered by a friend when we were sheltering from a particularly torrential downpour. I opted for a Bailey’s hot chocolate (yum!) but his was pretty awesome – popping candy on top of the cream, jelly babies and candy cane!

We finished the day with about 12 people over at ours watching Eurovision. Madness ensued, unsurprisingly with Eurovision, but it was a really great night with some of my favourite people and the whole day made me realise yet again that we have some very very lovely friends.

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Paris

Our third wedding anniversary happened to fall on Easter Monday this year, so we escaped for a long weekend in Paris. It was so wonderfully relaxing. We stayed with friends and I fell in love with the four-hour meals, aperitifs and slow-moving time. It was perfect. Great food, wonderful company and a magical city.

There is something about the combination of Parisian architecture, food, coffee, wine and even the smell that makes it quite enchanting and four days was an ideal amount of time to forget the rest of the world.

Paris collage - drinks Paris collage - food 1 Paris collage - food 2 Paris collage - places 1 Paris collage - places 2 Paris collage - places 3 Paris collage - places 4

If you’re a chocoholic in Paris, visit the Lindt café. We devoured a hot chocolate and mousse. It was basically melted chocolate in a cup, amazing!

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I developed a love of night photography when we were on holiday in Malta a few years ago and our hosts willingly played chauffeur for the evening tour of their home city. We set out about 9pm when the sun had set and spent about 3 hours driving around Paris taking photos of the city, alive at night. It was one of my favourite evenings.

Paris collage - night

Such a fantastic way to celebrate our anniversary 🙂

Brunch

Collage - brunchBrunch is the most wonderful way to enjoy food at the weekend. There is no need for an early start, nor is there an expectation of having to be hungry first thing in the morning, which I’m usually not. Brunch enforces a leisurely pace where time can be infinite and there are no deadlines or chores. All that is required is that you eat when you’re hungry and make the meal last as long as possible.

Brunch is at its best when shared with friends. The day stretches out ahead of you and you can take your time putting the world to rights. The food has to be good and hearty – after all, it is technically combining two main meals – but other than that, it can be nearer breakfast or nearer lunch. It is whatever you want it to be and therein lies its joy. It’s dictated by you, not by the time or routine or tradition.

Whether it’s smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toast, or granola, yoghurt and fresh strawberries, brunch is really the way all weekends should start.

Hastings weekend

Collage 3My Christmas present for my sister was a joint present with three of her closest friends. The aim was to whisk her away for a weekend to relax and, most importantly, stop working! We booked a cottage for the five of us and enjoyed an incredibly sunny couple of days along the coast in Hastings, Sussex. The cottage was just delightful, the location was amazing and the company was perfect for light-hearted laughter as well as deep and challenging late-night conversation.Collage 1We even managed to sneak in a few extra surprises at every mealtime just so that my sister knew we had thought of her!

Collage 2 - gifts

I love that I get on so well with my sister’s friends as well as my own. It makes weekends like this all the more sweet.

Recapture the weekend

Recapture the weekend

When I was little, weekends were reserved for fun things – for playdates, for games, for reading and for anything that spontaneously inspired me in the moment. Those two days seemed like endless relaxation and when school beckoned on Monday morning, the grumbling was at least partnered with somewhat renewed energy.

Some people thrive on hectic lives and sometimes, I do too. But if you’re anything like me, weekends now mean laundry, grocery shopping, chores and, if I’m done by the evening, I might treat myself to a movie and a G&T before falling into bed, more exhausted than on any given weekday. It got to the point where my weekends weren’t refreshing and enjoyable, but simply an excuse to catch up on everything that I hadn’t done during the week. As a confident introvert, I have to manage carefully the balance between time with friends and time for myself and recapturing the weekend has proven so important for that. Inspired by the Wonderful Weekend Book, I started to figure out how to claw back my weekends and here are my top 5 tips for how you can do the same.

Rolling laundry

Smaller laundry loads during the week not only serve to lessen the load (quite literally!) at the weekend, but they’re also kinder to the drum of your washing machine. If you can keep the laundry going during the week, come Saturday, that time can be spent doing something far more interesting.

Friday night shopping

Some supermarkets are surprisingly quiet on a Friday night. Workers have come home and collapsed after a long week and this tedious chore is postponed to fill up precious weekend time. If you are able to pop to the store after work on a Friday, you can pick up some great deals, shop in a calmer environment with fewer stressed and hurried people and free up the weekend to indulge in the treats you buy!

A weekend list

It’s ok to be productive at the weekend. I actually find I enjoy the weekend more if I’ve spent Saturday morning ticking a couple of things off a list. The key is not to go overboard on the number of items on your list; even if they’re all intended to be enjoyable, a leisurely weekend of fun can quickly descend into a mad rush to complete all of the items on your list, entirely defeating the point.

A weekend list consists of two things: tiny little errands that don’t have to be done but would be useful if they ended up being done, plus one or two fun activities. Even if the one thing on your list is ‘watch a movie in bed in pyjamas’, it can help to give the weekend some focus.

Sunday night activity

Sunday night blues effect even the best of us. Especially after a wonderful and relaxing weekend, the thought of the alarm going off before 7am is enough to send anyone crawling under the duvet to hide. Having some kind of Sunday night activity to look forward to can sustain the joy of the weekend and also help to give momentum for the coming week. Whether it’s going out for a drink, staying in and watching Sherlock or having a long hot bath with your favourite book, a Sunday night activity is a must to round off a perfect weekend.

Mix it up

Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” If we get what we want all of the time, we never appreciate the good when we have it. Throw the rulebook out of the window and intersperse your enviously and indulgently relaxing weekends with an occasional weekend of crazy activity. When you’ve had a few weekends to recharge your batteries and store up some energy, it can feel so good to spend some of that energy going on a road trip with friends or ticking a wild goal off your bucket list, not taking a second to pause before coming back to land on a Sunday night.

The Sunday night activity is still a must though!