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Somehow it’s nearing the end of September, and the last few months have been a whirlwind – and not necessarily a good one.

A stress-filled August

August is one of the worst months I can recall in recent years, aside from the obvious – with some big events like deaths of two friends’ Dads, and the kitties being unwell but mysteriously hard to identify and fix, and what felt like unending small ones – taking my house apart to spray it for cats, a flat tyre, some tech issues, all the lights in my office dying within a couple of weeks so I was working in the dark, just loads of small stuff one after the other and it got to a point where I just couldn’t deal.

And the weather! I feel like it has rained almost solidly since I brought Malaika home – clearly this isn’t the case, but I’ve had a few organised paddles ruined by rain, and have been driving around with her on my roof because I can’t safely get her off the car on my own when it’s raining – everything slips!

There were some good bits of the summer, of course – rainbow hair, my own brand shoot, a lovely day with Mum for what would have been Dad’s 77th birthday, seeing two gorgeous friends I haven’t for ages, a family mermaid shoot, Emily and Ricky’s livestreamed wedding, brand shoots and a glorious headshot day, and another nibling born – but on the whole, the summer has been crazy and August was stressful.

I think June and July were mainly crazy with work and weird weather – photography and chocolate and stationery, oh my! I’ve been working on my art photography and have said yes to an exhibition next April, which is exciting-scary, and I definitely feel like I’m emerging from some kind of high-speed-blended treacle…


The good bits first – during August I managed to see Rae and meet her fiance Chris, and we whiled away a whole day chatting in a pub garden in Cambridgeshire. It was glorious – and we had matching rainbow hair too! (Though mine was French plaited in anticipation of my shoot so it’s not that obvious in this photo!)

And then a couple of weeks later, Mum and I drove down for a halfway day with Claire & Diana which was similarly gorgeous – we’ve had a couple of dates with them which we’ve had to cancel due to Covid and some medical stuff, so it was wonderful to get us all together at last.

First time we’ve used the halfway pub (it’s the same one Lou and I use for our halfway days) and it was so easy for both them and us that we’ll definitely use it again).

Kitten issues

Mum was amazing when I phoned about kitty issues – Clover had lost a fair amount of weight while eating normally, and was having some problems with her poo, and both of them were throwing up more regularly than is ideal. I was having problems keeping them from mainlining grass and then throwing it up, and while I shifted them to the hypoallergenic food to test for allergies, I couldn’t stop them eating random stuff outside.

So the three of us moved in with Mum for a couple of weeks, partly to enable the house spraying (eliminating mite allergies for cats – Indorex is brilliant stuff, but the instructions are most confusing. It says to keep your animals outside, but also open all windows and doors to ventilate. Cats do what they want, so… we went to Mum’s 😂).

Being there also helped me to keep them on their hypoallergenic exclusion diet – which was not a resounding success, sadly. They weren’t keen on eating it which meant they were picking rather than enthusiastic, both of them kept throwing up and Luna had perpetual runny poo for the whole time we were there.

And we didn’t find one single flea or mite! Which is obviously a good thing, but made all the upheaval feel a bit pointless.

It was lovely to be with Mum, but between her schedule and mine, me having to find three days for the Indorex in my busiest month to date, and her staying with Gran over the bank holiday, we were a bit like ships passing in the night.

Now we’re home and I have cameras (which I am nonchalantly letting them assume are for security, not spying on which cat is eating what when), two microchip feeders which they are eating from but refusing to use with the covers, which kind of defeats the purpose of them, and a ridiculous stash of food which they’re not eating… joys.

They are, however, much better since Mum came to stay here overnight to enable me to go and see Lou and Evie for 27 hours – a flying visit which seemed to break the chain of my anxiety and stress, and we’ve not had any puking from either of them since. Though the fluffy idiots are still eating too much grass and taking ages to change to the new, skin sensitive food I’m trying them on.

They are, and have been throughout, totally happy in themselves which is a relief – I just found it hard to see them being picky about their food when they’ve always been happy, excited little piglets at mealtimes!

Things are on the up though

Work wise, things have been nuts – I have cleared my Covid backlog now and am looking very seriously at my availability for next year – managing my time so I am not a quivering wreck next year is suddenly much more important than it has been before.

Last week was a good reset for me – I had Sunday night with Lou & Evie, an excellent sleep as we chatted in dimmed light while baby Evie snoozed, and we popped out for brunch and vintage shopping on Monday before I came home. Turns out I am still good at cuddling babies but probably shouldn’t be allowed out alone with a pram 😁 and it was so so lovely to see them both – Paul was away on a training course and it was mine & Lou’s first overnight since she had Evie.

Wednesday saw me heading off to Paper Mill Lock with Malaika on the roof to meet Val for a leisurely paddle and a long chat over a cream tea, which was gorgeous – we’ve been much luckier with the September weather than we were in August. I’ve not got out in my beautiful pink boat as much as I’d hoped this summer so that was a lovely way to finish the season.

We are cooking up some exciting business stuff together! Also had a(nother) small world coincidence – the photographer she’s working with for the Crossfly launch is Dan who owns the Loft studio here, and who gave me the confidence to try studio work.

I haven’t ruled out boating during the winter but suspect I’ll need slightly more sensible clothing if I do…

And Friday brought a business meeting with an impromptu hot tub dip and non-alcoholic champagne – because my business friends are the absolute best!

Rainbows in my hair

My rainbow hair is happymaking and has lasted exceptionally well – I had it done at the very beginning of August, and while my roots are growing in now, I’m ten washes in, and only just starting to see where the top purpley-blue might need a little refresh. Vee continues to be a colour magician, clearly 🙂

It’s amazing how natural having seven colours in my hair feels, like the McFly girl but better… and while I loved my rainbows from last summer, upside down ones are definitely better for me – the deep purple and blue and teal around my face suits me, and my roots are less obvious, plus I can disguise them with dark blue dye if I feel like it. I had planned to go for vertical rainbows next time, with my hair sectioned – but I’m thinking I might do some kind of mystical blue/teal/purple combination instead. I definitely have the bug for having colourful hair right to the roots!

I’m sure there are a few bits I’ve missed, but I miss blogging here so am trying to sneak in and update occasionally – it’s a record of my life that’s much easier to access than my millions of notebooks!

Things I have learned from the summer of 2021

  • Dimmed lights and no screens before bed are probably good for me
  • I’m very lucky in my friends, which I knew, but I’ve realised how relatively unusual it is for friendships to survive as strongly when children come along. I’m lucky that when my dearest friends have had babies, both of us have made the effort to keep our friendships strong and bright
  • My natural hair colour is definitely blue/teal
  • Morning pages are essential to my sanity – I really do notice a difference between the days I do them, even scribbled speedily, and the days I don’t
  • Reliable trades are extremely important and very valuable – when you find good ones, treasure them! I’m feeling very grateful for my brilliant electrician and plumber this month
Skipping through summer
Another 2020 check in