I’m a bit later than usual with my ‘Look Back’ due to recent events, but I’m back with a round-up of August, which seems like a lifetime ago already!
August was a bit of a strange one this year.
We sadly lost one of my Aunties last month, which has left my family mourning the loss of a great character.
Work slowed slightly in August, giving me time to breathe, but the weekends were full of get-togethers and new experiences.
Despite the circumstances, there were still some enjoyable moments. Here’s a little look back at some of the happier moments August had in store.
Mary Poppins and a trip to Guildford
My Mum and Dad came to stay for a weekend at the beginning of the month.
I owed them both a present (Dad for Father’s Day and Mum for her Birthday), so I decided to treat them to a night out in the West End. I even managed to keep it a surprise until the very last minute!
We had a lovely stroll along the South Bank, across Blackfriars Bridge, and Fleet Street before heading to Soho for some pre-theatre grub.
After dinner, we went to The Prince Edward Theatre to see the fabulous Mary Poppins. If you haven’t seen the stage show, I promise it’s a must-see. We were lucky enough to have our seats upgraded on arrival, which was a bonus as the seats were fantastic. The show was so much fun, and as we battled through the crowds to get back to Waterloo, we were buzzing.
The following day we jumped in the car and headed to Guildford in Surrey. Guildford had been on my ‘to visit’ list for a while, and I thought it would be nice to take mum and dad somewhere they hadn’t been before.
We stopped for lunch and walked around the town centre before heading to the castle to walk around the grounds.
Wellbeing Festival at Painshill
I stopped to pick up my friend Rachael as we made the short trip to Painshill.
As Rachael is a member of Painshill, that meant we were able to get into the event for free. For non-members, there was no additional fee to attend the festival, but they had to pay the standard Painshill entrance fee of £10 (standard adult ticket price).
To our knowledge, this was the first festival of its type at Painshill, so we weren’t sure what to expect. We arrived around 11am, and I was disappointed that we had already missed some of the events. We tried to find the timings for the different activities before we arrived, but they were only available at the event.
On arrival, we received a gift bag containing flyers for the different stalls and activities and a few product samples from some traders.
There were probably around 25-30 stalls circling the festival site, with a stage at one end. After collecting our gift bags, we took part in a Dance Mandala. A Dance Mandala is a dance that focuses on the breath and meditation. Throughout the mandala, participants are encouraged to close their eyes, leaving any self-consciousness at the door.
After the Dance, I was starting to feel proper zen! We took a walk around the stalls before getting some lunch. The food vans were all vegan or vegetarian, and we opted for a delicious veggie curry.
Rach and I both fancied taking part in a Forest Bathing session that was to take place in the afternoon. Neither of us had done it before, but we were keen to give it a go.
It was a beautiful 90 minutes, combining walking, meditation and tree-hugging. I had never hugged a tree before, but it’s a moment I will never forget. It was an incredibly grounding experience.
Living just a short walk from the River Thames, I had been bugging my boyfriend to come on a boat trip with me since I moved here two years ago.
I walk along the Thames almost every day, but there was a particular stretch of the river from Teddington to Richmond that I hadn’t seen. I think you get a different perspective on a place from the water and I wanted to see what this part of the world looked like from the river.
I finally managed to bully my boyfriend into the trip, bribing him with dinner out afterwards! Turks River Cruises run regular river services from Kingston, heading east to Hampton Court or west to Richmond.
A return trip to Richmond cost us around £13 each.
The views from the riverboat didn’t disappoint. We picked a beautiful day weatherwise, and it was great to see people making the most of the summer sun along the river banks.
I’m glad we’ve done it and ticked another thing off my London Bucket List! Oh, and even my boyfriend had to admit he’d enjoyed our little excursion!
My Final Therapy Session
The last Thursday of last month was my final Psychotherapy session with my therapist, Sarah. Seeing a therapist has been an eye-opening experience.
Towards the end of my sessions, I felt sure that I wanted to carry on with therapy after my 12 week’s on the NHS, but when it finally came to my last session, I realised how much I needed to take a break from thinking.
My therapist said I didn’t need to think about stuff outside of my sessions. But that was much easier said than done. My brain intrigues me, and I was interested to see what it would do with the new information I was uncovering.
But my god, am I grateful to give my head a rest now 😅
I’ll be writing more about my therapy experience in the coming weeks, but for now, it’s time to give myself a break before I reflect on and process everything I’ve learned.
Bank Holiday trip home
During the last bank holiday weekend before Christmas, I set off for Northamptonshire to catch up with my family.
It was my first trip home since my Auntie had passed away, and I was anxious to see how everyone was doing.
I had a lovely day out with my mum at Coton Manor Gardens on the Saturday. It had been years since I had been there, but I was ridiculously excited about seeing the flamingos! Although it always feels slightly weird seeing these bright pink birds in the middle of rural Northamptonshire!
It’s such a beautiful garden to visit, and I even coaxed my mum into some tree-hugging!
The following day, mum and I headed off to Stanford Hall, where The Long Road Festival was taking place. One of my favourite bands, The Cadillac Three, was headlining, and I couldn’t wait to see them again.
The Long Road is a country music festival, although there were a few complaints from die-hard country fans that The Cadillac Three are more rock than country! One of the bands that blew us away on the day was Gangstagrass, whose music is a weirdly wonderful fusion of hip hop and country!
It was another lovely summer’s day out. We ate some great food, listened to some awesome music, and loved having a boogie!
That was my August in a nutshell! How was the last month of summer for you?