Alright, so this isn’t exactly new, it’s a comeback. In the olden days of FFG, I used to do a week in review based on the pictures I took with my Blackberry. How’s that for a flashback? Yes, I had a Blackberry for ten years before switching to an iPhone. These were the days before Instagram or Instagram stories and I loved sharing everything I was doing from week to week in the fashion world. It was a personal diary.
A reader sent me an old “week in review” last week asking a question about a dress picture she had come across on google images, which led her to the post. I deep dove old “week in review” posts, as a result, and was reminded of how much I loved the process of unloading a week, talking about what I discovered, what I experienced and what I had learned from various sources and people. So, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to bring this back as a Sunday regular. My weeks have been filled with so many moments that I don’t want to just exist on instagram stories.
Keeping with the original format, I’ll go day by day. I actually keep a notes folder on my phone, marked day to day on insights and discoveries, along with pictures I’ve taken, etc etc. I can’t recommend doing that enough. I swear the Notes app on my phone gets even more love these days than all my social apps put together. It’s the new post-it note! Ok, I could wax lyrical about this stuff for paragraphs and paragraphs. Instead, let’s get stuck in.
With things starting to open a bit more, post lockdown, we are feeling comfortable leaving the house to explore nearby towns, villages and cities. Our first was Winchester. We found a great restaurant, Josie’s, that offers takeaway. You order online, pickup and go. So we ordered a few chicken sandwiches, some Mexican style Tater Tots (omg they were heaven), and laid a blanket in front of Winchester Cathedral to eat.
With our faces in the sun and fried potatoes in hand, we marvelled at how normal the world seemed. People kept their distance, but that seemed to be the only change. It was lovely. We wandered around and explored the area and I fell even more in love with the man and the countryside he was introducing me to.
I haven’t done as much travel in the UK as I would like, but we’ve agreed that we’d like to try for a weekly outing somewhere new and adventurous. That may turn into a weekly blogpost on its own. For now, it’s worth a mention here. I’m so used to doing extensive guides of places. I have to be honest, it was nice to explore just for the sake of exploring.
We’ve decided to take weekdays as weekends, and work through the weekend, so that we can perhaps enjoy a slower flow of people as we travel further afield. So, if you’re wondering why we’re gallivanting about midweek, this is the reason. I know I don’t need to justify anything. I just know it would annoy the hell out of me to see people living it up all the time on a random Tuesday without any explanation. There ya go. Clear as day about what I’m doing.
Oh Tuesday, you were a tough day.
On Tuesday morning, I made my way back into London for a few reasons. I started the day at my old flat in West London, picking up mail and making sure the place was still standing. It’s currently on the market, so I’m in that in between place where it’s not my flat anymore, but it still has all my stuff for staging, so it feels just as mine as the day we left.
After I sorted through the mail and made sure there weren’t any leaks, fires or misc problems, I sat on the couch. I sat on the couch and I just burst into tears. I don’t think I had properly let everything over the past few months sink in. I have lived in London for nearly 19 years, and inside of one week (four days actually), we made the decision to pack up our entire lives and leave. It seemed like the best thing and do and totally natural. But, coming back, I was flooded with memories from this great city that has given me absolutely everything and more, and that flat in particular held so many wonderful moments in time. It was just hard. What can I say? I wasn’t expecting the well up of emotions, but they came, I dealt with them, and then I pulled up my big girl pants and closed the door behind me, got in the car and drove away.
The best decisions, in my experience, are usually the hardest. The funny thing with this one is that it didn’t feel hard at all. But, it will continually be a bit stingy when I come back to London, particularly when things start to get back to normal.
The good news here is that I left the flat to go and see friends. For the first time since I left, I was seeing PEOPLE! LONDON PEOPLE! I was so over the moon. Started with a walk in the park with Milly Kenny Ryder (a girl who is truly one of my best friends in life). Then, we both made our way over to The Connaught, where the lovely Paula Fitzherbert, and team, had set up a picnic in the Mount Street Gardens for a few friends.
We arrived to a green space laid with picnic blankets and a table covered with cakes, champagne and some space for incoming truffle pizzas. I saw so many faces of people I love and a few new faces. I’ve never felt so strange saying hello and goodbye to people. I couldn’t hug anyone and it was actual torture.
As the night progressed, out came some special desserts, and in came the tears. The team had arranged for three cakes for those that had birthdays during lockdown. You guys know I turned 40 days before lockdown came in and I spent my birthday by myself, mostly just depressed as hell about the current state of the world. So the fact that they remembered made me feel a little OTT emotional.
Wednesday, I spent at Bicester Village. You can check out the full post on what it was like shopping the newly opened outlet centre, with all restrictions in place, as I wrote a massive piece on shopping after lockdown. I did get home, however, just on time to take a walk in the sun with the boyfriend before settling in for the night with a much needed bottle of rose. So here are a few pictures from the evening as I shared the full day already.
This will forever be the summer that I remember as discovering nature and flowers like never before. Every bloom and blossom, I’m taking note of. Every garden I pass, I take pictures for inspiration.
I also have now gone from a phone full of pictures of golden retrievers to a phone full of pictures of Bonjour. My goodness, do I miss my boys. Cats are tough, really tough. But when they do shower you with love, it feels truly unique and wonderful. Something I’m definitely getting used to.
The boyfriend commented, as we made our way out on Thursday, “We are officially retirees. We’re spending afternoons at garden centres. I didn’t think we’d be doing this until we were fifty.” It certainly feels that way. Although we laughed at the thought of it, we also laughed at the fact that we enjoyed every moment of it. We are in the process of redoing the house and garden, bit by bit. Basically saving, then spending, saving, then spending. So it’s a slow movement, considering the current state of the world. But, we’re starting with the garden. And I am driving us both crazy, obsessing over garden furniture.
Also, I’m newly absolutely obsessed with hydrangeas. I’ve become an expert. I talk to them daily, I have found out that I water them too much and just learned that when watering, the water actually shouldn’t touch any part of the hydrangea leaf or bloom. Who knew? I have so darn much to learn that it is sometimes a little overwhelming, but also so incredibly informative about just how ignorant I am about 99.9% of the world. Make that 100% of the plant world. No where to go but “educated” from here.
Also ordered and wore my first dress from Sezane. I am now officially clued into why the internet is obsessed with this brand! Just putting that out there now.
For those of you reading this from the UK, you will know that this past week we had weather that was HOT! My brother in Miami had the same temperatures as us out here in Hampshire. A few months ago, I bought a pool at ASDA for £30, and decided Friday was the day for blowing it up and filling it up. Who knew a simple blow up pool could bring such happiness? We laid in it all afternoon, in the sun. Steve came out and laid with me for a few hours in the late afternoon, I put the book away, and we just sat there talking about everything. It was complete bliss.
When the sun dipped behind the house, I finally got out, towelled myself off and came inside for a shower. When I took my swimsuit off, I realised I had forgotten to reapply sunscreen. I hadn’t burned and I had used a good sunscreen early on, thank goodness for Le Roche Posay (I swear by this stuff), or this could have been strap marks with a very red burn, indeed. Instead, I was just a bit pink from the heat and the sun exposure made for a lovely brown glow later in the evening.
A day of technology. First, I have to admit that I do webcam with the dogs regularly at the moment. Mom was in the car and actually didn’t realise we were facetiming. She had the phone in the cup holder and I was coming through on the speaker of her car. Brody had jumped into the front seat and he was looking for me everywhere. This is the hardest part…. they both believe I’m stuck in some sort of tech prison! Where is my voice coming from? I know it’s selfish, but I just want them to know I’m still around somewhere. One day I’ll get home and be able to hug them again!
Now, for the second admission. I’ve become a bit of a gamer. When I need an hour or two to not think about nasty DMs or abuse online (and wow has that increased over lockdown), I head to the xBox to play Red Dead Redemption 2. Now, I haven’t played video games since I was a teenager. But, Steve was suggested this game from a friend and he started to play and I more or less stole the controller and the rest is history. How much do I play, you ask? Well, since lockdown started, I’ve been playing regularly and I just finished the game! Dear reader, I cried when it finished. No joke. I actually cried. It was such an incredible game. In fact, it was THE most incredible game. When did video games become so real and life like? Ok, ok, I know I’m just late to the game here (literally), but I’m blown away by it all. Just wow….
OK, so that’s the week. But, I thought I’d close it a new way….
…with an added element. As FFG is ten years old, I thought it would be fun to look at what I was writing every week over the past ten years.
This week in FFG history: