A Look Back At October

Wow! What an epic month of adventuring October turned out to be! It’s funny how I can go months without seeing people, and then out of nowhere, I have a crazy month of socialising and going places.  

Being an introvert at heart, I find socialising tiring. So as much as it’s been fun, I’m ready to hide away for a bit now!

I tried hard to stay on top of my self-care during October, as when life gets busy, it’s often the first thing to drop off my to-do list. I wouldn’t say I nailed it exactly, but I was at least conscious of it and wasn’t too hard on myself for letting things go. And in some ways, even socialising turned into a form of self-care.

Here’s a look back at some of the lovely things October had in store:

Dartmoor National Park

After my lovely trip to Italy earlier in the year, my friend Magda came to the UK in October for a girlie weekend in Dartmoor. I had booked an Air BnB in Tavistock, just outside the National Park, and we were to meet Magda’s friend Audeline, who was travelling from Berkshire, on our arrival. 

After a 4-hour + drive from Kingston, I was glad to reach Tavistock and feel the country air hit me. We soon found Audeline and had a little exploratory walk around Tavistock before heading off to find our Air BnB. Finding the Air BnB was an adventure in itself! Although it was just off the main shopping street, it was on a steep hill. At one point, I had to reverse out of a very narrow street because I thought I was on a footpath and not a road, only to find if I had kept driving for another few meters, I would’ve found myself in the driveway to the BnB! Thankfully, the Air BnB was very welcoming, and we soon forgot about the slightly hair-raising drive to get there.

I hadn’t met Audeline before, so I was anxious about meeting her, especially as a group of three can sometimes be quite awkward. But I needn’t have worried as we clicked straight away.

Once we had finished unpacking, we headed back into Tavistock to find somewhere to eat. We ended up at this gorgeous little place called Robertson’s. It didn’t look like much on the outside, but inside, it was a little gem. It was super colourful, the staff were lovely and friendly and couldn’t have been more welcoming if they had tried. It was a great way to end our first evening in Dartmoor. 

The following day we got up and went for another little wander around Tavistock. We found a lovely little market, and I started my Christmas shopping! 

As the afternoon approached, we jumped in the car and headed into the National Park. It was a gorgeous autumn day, sunny and still warm for the time of year. It was a beautiful drive around the park, but we were on a mission to find Wistman’s Wood

The satnav took us to a tiny jam-packed car park, so we kept driving and parked in a layby. It was a lovely walk through the Dart River Valley to get to Wistman’s Wood. Wistman’s is an Ancient Woodland known for the moss and lichens that have made the trees and boulders their home.

And what a magical, mystical place Wistman’s Wood is. Although there are signs asking people not to enter the woodland, I’m not sure anyone paid attention to them. But people were careful not to disturb the habitat and trod carefully amongst the moss-covered trees.

On our return to Tavistock that evening, we headed to Church Lane for a pizza. We were excited about eating here, as we had tried to get in the previous evening, only to find them fully booked. So we had planned ahead and booked a reservation this time. Sadly, we wished we hadn’t bothered. The gluten-free pizzas Magda and I had ordered were a complete disappointment. After a few mouthfuls, it was evident that we were eating uncooked dough! The waiting staff seemed to sense a problem and avoided our table. Finally, we left without paying a penny for our pizzas and headed to the local Co-Op to get some food to take back to the Air BnB. 

Before we knew it, our trip was coming to an end. But before we headed off home, there was just enough time to head to Venford Reservoir. We passed a gorgeous riverside spot on the way to the reservoir, and I just had to pull in and take some photos!

By the time we reached Venford Reservoir, there wasn’t enough time to go and find the waterfalls, as I had to get Magda back to Heathrow in time for her evening flight back to Italy. One to save for our next trip!

It was a long trip back to Heathrow, but thankfully we made it just in time, only to find Magda’s flight delayed! 

A little reminder to anyone dropping someone off at Heathrow Airport – don’t forget to pay for parking when you get home! Otherwise, you’ll get a nice fine through the door a few weeks later 🙈

Birthday Celebrations

October is also my busiest month for birthdays, with my brothers, Uncle’s and Grandad’s birthdays all falling within an eight-day window, not to mention my boyfriend’s birthday later in the month. 

I made a quick trip home to the Shire at the beginning of the month for Sam & Ben’s birthday and enjoyed a family meal at their local pub. 

Later in the month, me and my boyfriend then headed to Canary Wharf for two nights sleeping in a hotel under the city lights. 

Whether you are a city person or not, there’s no denying that Canary Wharf is a magical place to visit, especially after dark. I always feel like I’m in a movie set while I’m there. There’s something comforting about the sound of the DLR and something magical about the lights from the skyscrapers.

On our first night, we enjoyed a meal at one of our favourite restaurants, Big Easy, which never disappoints, before wandering around beneath the city lights.

The following day, we headed to the river and took a boat trip from Canary Wharf to Battersea Power Station, where we stopped for lunch at the new shopping centre before heading back to Canary Wharf.  

We then had dinner in Bird in Jubilee Place. I had wanted to try the waffles and fried chicken combo for ages, and it definitely hit the spot! 

It was a lovely couple of ways away together, and I can’t wait to see where our next adventures take us. 

Deer Stalking

I always forget how close I live to Bushy Park, one of eight Royal Parks in London. With a rare free weekend mid-month, I decided to pack up my camera and walk over Kingston Bridge to Bushy Park to see if I could spot some deer.

As soon as I entered the park, I caught sight of a lone stag. He had such an incredible presence I couldn’t help but stop and spend some time capturing his movements. 

As I entered deeper into the park, I was in for an even bigger treat. I hadn’t realised it was rutting season until I came across what looked like around 100 deer, with the stags calling out to mark their territory. 

I lose myself when taking photos. I love being out in the fresh air, just me, my camera and nature. And if my belly hadn’t started to rumble, I’m not sure I would’ve even noticed it getting dark. 

Autumn Retreat

When I joined Meetup at the beginning of 2021, I had no idea what to expect. I started meeting up with a Meetup walking group and met some lovely people. 

One of those people was a lady called Jane. I liked Jane’s energy, and she felt like my kind of person. After our first walk together, we found each other on Instagram and kept trying to meet for a coffee. However, life kept getting in the way, and although we tried to meet up, it didn’t happen. 

Earlier this year, I received an invite from Jane to a Whatsapp group she had created for some like-minded women. Fast forward a few months, Jane and her friend Barbara had an idea about creating an Autumn Retreat and put it out to everyone in the group to see who might be interested. I’m not one to say no to things, and I jumped at the chance. 

So last week, I packed my bags, and on Friday, I jumped in my car and headed to Sambrook in Shropshire for our Autumn Retreat. 

By this point, I hadn’t seen Jane in over a year, and I had never met the other women in the group face-to-face. Although there had been a lot of chat in our Whatsapp group in the lead-up to the retreat, I think it’s hard to judge what people will be like over messages. 

There were seven of us going on the retreat, and although I was a bit apprehensive on the drive up, I was excited to meet everybody. 

As soon as I arrived, I felt relieved that everybody seemed lovely and welcoming.

We settled into our respective cottages (Jane had booked two next door to each other, and although we could’ve all squeezed into one, it was nice to have that extra space. And there was no fighting over the bathrooms!)

After unpacking, we headed out into the Shropshire countryside for a walk before dinner. The walk was a lovely opportunity to get to know the other women in the group a bit better before we headed back to the cottage for a short meditation followed by a homemade chickpea and spinach curry.

Mealtimes became a much-anticipated part of the retreat. Not only did we enjoy some lovely meals, but we would also sit at the table for ages after eating, chatting and sharing our stories.

That evening the board games came out, and I ended up belly-laughing! It felt so good to be in the company of people where I could be the authentic me.

After a rubbish night’s sleep, we drove to a place called the Stiperstones. 

We parked up at ‘The Bog‘, located our guide for the day, Rob, a friend of Jane’s sister, and had a lovely, albeit ‘boggy’ walk – I guess the name of the village gave it away a bit!

Another evening of games and food ensued, and I went to bed that evening, relaxed and happy, and slept like a baby. 

Although Jane had written an itinerary before the trip, we let it go part way through the weekend, as sometimes things don’t always go to plan.

The walk had taken longer than we had expected on the Saturday, which meant that some of the activities we had planned for later that day, we couldn’t do. 

We shuffled things up a bit on the Sunday, and instead of heading out to a National Trust place and a Sunday Roast, we decided to stay local and eat another yummy homecooked meal.

We went for a local walk in the morning and came back to a yummy vegetarian chilli. In the afternoon, we focused more on our well-being, including grounding, meditation, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), and creating some vision boards.

As it was our last evening together, we put on our glad rags (although I felt massively underdressed!) and threw ourselves a party with a picky tea, disco lights and lots of music and laughs. 

The end of the retreat came around far too soon, but we all made lots of special memories and we’ve all taken away so much that we learnt from one another. 

Just over a week ago, I didn’t know most of the women in the group, now I’m proud to call them my friends ✨

That’s all from me this week. How was October for you?

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