Time travel

If I were following in the footsteps of Elizabeth Gilbert’s famous gap year memoir, I guess we could say I’m in the ‘eat’ phase! This week it’s been all about the retro, treating Eldest and Little One to their first cherry bakewells.  The almond scent and generous icing takes me straight back to happy picnics or the surprise of a cherry studded confection tucked into my lunchbox as a special treat.

Today I took Little One to one of her favourite spots for ‘munch’ (lunch).  Little Chef is the closest we get to a diner in our part of the UK, with all-day breakfasts, booths and checked curtains.  It’s definitely not one for the foodie in me, but Little One loves it and it was great to see the sparkle in her eyes when I collected her from nursery and asked if she wanted to go there for lunch.  It’s sensory time-travel for me as my dad used to take me to our local Little Chef as a special ‘dad & daughter’ evening. For the seven or eight year old me, it used to feel like the height of sophistication to jump in the car with dad on a dark crisp evening and head out to a dimly lit cafe for a jubilee pancake and hot chocolate.  Even now, it feels warm and fuzzy inside for me to share a cherry-filled pancake with one of my kids, like I’m welcoming them into my memories.  I hope Little One remembers our ‘munches’ at the Little Chef as fondly as I remember my evenings with dad.

There’s been time travel into the future this week too as I start to think a bit more about what I’m going to do when Little One starts school.  I’ve found a floristry school (I’m not sure if I do harbour an ambition to be a professional florist, and have to keep a check on the ‘just doing lovely stuff for pleasure’ vs ‘desperately trying to find a future career’ battle that regularly flares up in my brain)  Fortunately the professional floristry qualifications are way out of my league financially, so I’ll content myself with workshops – woodland design is tempting me at the moment.  I’ve also had an invitation from a friend to book a mindfulness meditation retreat after the summer, which sounds the perfect way to bring some practice of being in the present moment to my mind, which is so often drawn to the future – and to the ‘what if…’

If I snaffle the last cherry bakewell tonight I’ll be taking care to pay it the attention it deserves.

The joy of the transient

In the spirit of wabi-sabi I decided to really pay attention to transient and simple beauty today.

Eldest One calling me in to her room in a flurry of excitement because two daffodils had opened in her flower arrangement. The taste of maple syrup on little jewels of raspberry with crisp, fluffy pancakes.  Little One proudly smiling as she gave me a card adorned with tissue paper flowers.  The slowly disappearing heart shape traced into the milk and chocolate on my cappuccino.


While running along the quayside, I tried tuning out that internal voice which says I really need to stop now and to focus on the natural world around me.  The first sprinkling of white blossom on a tree poking through the pedestrian bridge.  Silvery ripples traced in the water behind a swan.  Daisies just beginning to peep open in the grass.  The feeling of the icy wind on my cheeks.

A very peaceful way to enjoy a run – maybe it is going to be an important part of my gap year after all.

Phase 1: surf trip

I have to admit to being really overwhelmed by the response when I first floated the idea of the good girl gap year on Facebook.

If I were to take a ‘good girl gap year’ (i.e. forget about my career and just live it up for a bit) what would you recommend I should try*? And should I write a blog?

*Illegal substances may not be a good idea for someone with my brain.

One of the first things that happened is that a few of my female friends expressed real enthusiasm for joining me on some surf lessons.  It felt like something I should just run with (before I bottled it) and immediately Polzeath came to mind.

This gorgeous barn conversion came up on Airbnb and I discovered I am really not patient enough to wait 24 hours for an answer!  I also found my brain filling up with worries that risked drowning out the excitement of just booking on the fly…

  • what if it’s too cold in the water?
  • do I really deserve this trip?
  • what if there’s no waves?
  • is this just a really stupid experiment?

Fortunately in the nick of time we had our answer; a smaller cottage in the same development was available so I went ahead and booked.  Yes I do really deserve this trip (I tell my brain) – hot tub, woodburner and all.

Inspiration from http://www.melaniemcdonald.co.uk/

p.s. the water temperature today was 8-9 degrees celsius so we almost certainly will be cold but we’ll be having an adventure for sure!