The Desire to Document

Desire To Document

I was a little older than Izzy is now when I first began keeping a diary. My parents had recently separated and I was meeting regularly with the deputy head of my school so she could keep a close eye on how I was coping with the emotional upheaval. One day she suggested I might find it helpful to write down my feelings in a notebook or journal. I was soon filling the pages of a small cloth bound book with carefully written prose, scribed in dark blue ink with my beloved fountain pen.

Years of committed diarizing followed. Each new journal was adorned with stickers, photographs and pictures cut from the pages of Mizz magazine and Sugar. Sprawling letters written in tipex warned would-be snoops to ‘keep out’. I quickly became adept at guarding my private thoughts and observations, concealing each book beneath my pillow at night as I slept.

More than simply a window to my soul, the diaries became a written document of my teenage years, charting every friendship and every school girl crush. I recorded my reaction to Take That’s break-up and divulged the details of heated arguments with my parents. I wrote about ambition, wistfully described the changing of the seasons and lamented my lack of boobs. Then, around the age of 17, I stopped. At first my entries became more sporadic, then later they ceased completely.

Almost ten years after suddenly losing the urge to religiously keep a diary, I hit publish on my first blog post. Inspired by beauty blogs like the now defunct Magpie Sparkles, I positioned myself within the same niche and quickly began publishing my thoughts on lipstick and the like. As the days wore on, snippets of my everyday life slowly crept into my content. The term ‘lifestyle blogging’ didn’t exist back then, at least not within my lexicon, and there were no experts telling me my readers would engage with more personal posts. It happened naturally because, after all those years, I still had an overwhelming desire to document.

Around twelve months later I published my first Weekend Post, sparking an ongoing series that has chronicled the way we’ve chosen to spend Saturday and Sunday almost every week for the last four years. The ritual of writing those bullet points has become second nature to me and I know I would continue to record our life in this way even if you all stopped reading tomorrow.

Social media means it’s easier than ever before to document the minutia of day-to-day life, both visually and through the written word. Blogs quickly spawned vlogs and twitter encouraged us to shout about our lives in 140 characters or less. I’m a fairly recent convert to Instagram, but it immediately appealed to my need to immortalise moments and create digital keepsakes. I regularly upload photos to Facebook and turn my children’s witty one liners into status updates, committing them to computer code lest my own memory should fail me. Then, in the wake of the inevitable backlash and concerns about the transience of it all, we revert to more traditional methods, printing and displaying the version of our lives we have carefully curated for ourselves.

There are those that don’t understand. They call it ‘oversharing’ or ‘TMI’. Perhaps they think bloggers are narcissistic show offs and fakes. They don’t want to know what we had for breakfast. They wonder what happened to the concept of privacy.

The desire to document is part of who I am and I think it always has been. The only difference is there is now apparently an audience for what might have once been private diary entries. There may be dissenters, but on some level we have all come to expect insight into one another’s lives. Those of us that want to share will continue to do so. Personally, I look forward to looking back on the record I’m creating.

Did you, or do you, keep a diary? What do you think of the desire to document?

Affordable Skincare Favourites

Affordable Skincare

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m something of a skincare snob. Under normal circumstances, I’ll happily hand over a sizeable sum for the latest lotion or potion and you’ll often find me passionately declaring my love of Origins, Clarins and the like. However, there’s been a bit of belt tightening around here recently, which has led me back to the aisles of Superdrug for my skincare fix. Today I want to share a couple of cheap and cheerful products that have been ticking all the right boxes for me of late.

Superdrug Vitamin E Exfoliating Facial Scrub ~ As much as I enjoy using chemical exfoliants to keep my skin smooth {Alpha H and Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner being my two favourites}, sometimes I just want a proper scrub. This definitely fulfils that need, while also managing to feel delightfully creamy upon application. Oats make for an effective but gentle scrub, while the promise of antioxidants and nourishing multivitamins only adds to the product’s appeal.

The non-drying exfoliator leaves my skin soft and glowing, but it’s the scent that really gets me. The last time I used this product was almost ten years ago during the summer of 2004. One whiff transports me back to the early days of my relationship with Carl, making every scrub a real treat. It has become a weekly staple in my routine and my favourite way to prep for a face mask.

Olay Complete Care Day Fluid ~ Although this moisturiser probably wouldn’t quite make the cut during winter, the slightly warmer weather we’ve been privy to recently means my skin is a little less dry and therefore loving this lighter lotion. My Mum has been a loyal devotee of the Olay brand for as long as I can remember, and as her skin is pretty fabulous, I figure if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me too! After over a month of applying the fluid every day, I’m more than satisfied with the results. It doesn’t eradicate redness quite like my beloved Dr Weil products, but at under £5 a bottle, I’ll be sticking with this until my skin has other ideas.

Are you strictly high end when it comes to skincare, or can you share some great affordable finds?

Love Audrey xxx

My Easter weekend has mainly been spent…

Bristol Zoo Flamingos The Weekend Butterfly Penguins Lorikeets The Weekend Zooropia at Bristol Zoo Zooropia at Bristol Zoo Bristol Zoo Easter Crafting The Weekend

  • Waking up early.
  • Filling up on bacon and eggs before getting ready to leave the house.
  • Singing The Zoo Song all the way to the bus stop.
  • Bubbling with excitement as we travelled to Clifton.
  • Making our way into Bristol Zoo. I cannot recommend the place highly enough, we had a great day out.
  • Admiring flamingos, ogling the lions from a safe distance and gazing at snakes.
  • Slowly wandering through the butterfly house.
  • Loving the look of delight on Jesse’s face as he watched the gorillas strut around their enclosure.
  • Enjoying the penguins more than anything else.
  • Listening to the children laugh at the seals.
  • Pausing for lunch.
  • Lingering over the lorikeets. I was mesmerised by these beautiful birds and their colourful plumage.
  • Marvelling at Izzy’s bravery as she cautiously made her way round the Zooropia course.
  • Trying to pretend I wasn’t terrified as she came speeding down the zip wire towards the finish line.
  • Heading home.
  • Watching the children fight sleep as the bus meandered its way back to St George.
  • Collapsing on the sofa.
  • Mustering enough energy to make a start on supper. We ate a verion of this recipe which used chicken instead of pork and wraps instead of tacos. It was delicous.
  • Putting two very tired, but excited, children to bed.
  • Sipping mojitos and watching Lost.
  • Falling into bed and sleeping deeply.
  • Getting up before the children in order to complete our Easter bunny duties.
  • Watching the kids eat chocolate for breakfast.
  • Pottering in the kitchen for most of the day.
  • Listening to the children chatter as they enjoyed the obligatory Easter craft session.
  • Carefully icing my chocolate cake. Nigella’s Old Fashioned in case you’re curious.
  • Dishing up Italian Roast Chicken with Peppers and Olives.
  • Eating far too much.
  • Grabbing a quick cup of tea before banishing the children to their rooms while we set up an indoor egg hunt.
  • Following behind as they decoded clues and foraged for sweet treats.
  • Dozing peacefully while the children watched a film and snacked on mini eggs.
  • Feeding them warm, buttery toast before bed.
  • Somehow managing to coax them to sleep.
  • Prepping blog posts and sipping wine.
  • Tucking into a cheeky Chinese takeaway.
  • Watching The Borderlands. Scary in places, but ultimately underwhelming.
  • Definitely heading to bed a few lbs heavier than when I woke up!
  • Planning a laid back bank holiday Monday with a spot of shopping and lunch at Yo Sushi. It’s been lovely.

Love Audrey xxx

My weekend has mainly been spent…

The Shed The Weekend Clifton Suspension Bridge Clifton Suspension Brifge Pulled Pork and Chocolate Brownies The Weekend Spring Chicken The Weekend The Weekend

  • Waking up as Jesse climbed into our bed.
  • Wishing we could sleep a little longer.
  • Dragging myself downstairs for tea and snuggles on the sofa.
  • Missing Izzy who was away with my parents for a few nights.
  • Unpacking the Ocado delivery.
  • Frantically preparing the house for guests.
  • Cursing my general slovenliness and dreaming of the day we can afford a cleaner.
  • Jumping in the shower.
  • Pulling on my clothes, applying my makeup and drying my hair.
  • Waiting patiently for our friends to arrive.
  • Greeting Rich and Stuart at the door.
  • Drinking tea and catching up.
  • Slipping a shoulder of pork into the oven.
  • Driving to the city centre.
  • Wandering to the harbourside.
  • Enjoying cider and PIE at The Stable.
  • Crossing the water and strolling down to The Matthew.
  • Slowly making our way back to the car,
  • Driving to Clifton.
  • Walking across the Downs.
  • Admiring Clifton Suspension Bridge.
  • Watching some newlyweds stop traffic as they posed before the breathtaking view.
  • Making our way over to the other side.
  • Snapping photos and having a giggle.
  • Retracing our steps back to the car.
  • Zooming home for a sit down and a cuppa.
  • Making Jesse supper and coaxing him into bed.
  • Sipping wine and mixing up homemade BBQ sauce for the pulled pork.
  • Making Everyday Brownies for dessert. So good.
  • Eating too much.
  • Drinking mojitos and talking late into the night.
  • Finally tumbling into bed around 1am.
  • Not getting enough sleep.
  • Waking up with a hangover.
  • Somehow managing to cook Sunday dinner for 8 people.
  • Welcoming Izzy home.
  • Listening to her tales from the last few days. A belated birthday treat from my parents, she had visited the Roald Dahl Museum, seen Matilda at the theatre and dined at Carluccios. Lucky girl.
  • Relishing time with my mum.
  • Remembering just how delicious Nigella’s Spring Chicken is. Such a flavoursome dish and, as the name would suggest, perfect for this time of year.
  • Pondering our plans for the yarden with my Bonus Dad.
  • Waving goodbye to my parents and heading to the park in the sunshine.
  • Watching the children frolic and play.
  • Cheering them on as they clambered over fallen trees.
  • Eventually dragging them home for a rest.
  • Feeling excited for summer.
  • Wishing Rich and Stuart didn’t have to leave.
  • Fighting the urge to nap.
  • Failing.
  • Putting the children to bed.
  • Feeling too tired to cook.
  • Ordering a cheeky takeaway.
  • Needing an early night.

Love Audrey xxx

My weekend has mainly been spent…

The Weekend The Bear Pit Bristol Street Art The Canteen The Weekend

  • Wishing the children would sleep in.
  • Heading downstairs in a daze to lounge on the sofa and drink tea.
  • Making pancakes.
  • Having a very lazy day. We stayed in our PJs and pottered.
  • Finally replacing the shelves in Jesse’s room. We’re in love with the Greenaway Gallery Bookcase from Great Little Trading Co.
  • Wondering if I should curb my book buying habit when a few titles wouldn’t fit. I’m now on the hunt for baskets to corral the overflow.
  • Catching up on a little housework.
  • Persuading the children to tidy their rooms.
  • Cooking and eating Greekish Butter Beans. The feta is definitely the best bit.
  • Listening to the children play in the bath.
  • Reading Jesse a bedtime story.
  • Marking Doris Day’s 90th birthday by watching April in Paris with Izzy.
  • Sipping on Crabbie’s ginger beer.
  • Whisking Izzy up to bed and settling down for a night in front of the TV with Carl.
  • Watching Lost and snacking on crispbread and houmous.
  • Laughing as we caught Jesse peering in through the living room door. When we quized him on what he’d seen we realised he’d been there for at least 15 minutes. Sneaky.
  • Marching him back upstairs to bed.
  • Staying up too late.
  • Collapsing into bed and falling asleep immediately.
  • Waking up to the sound of Carl opening the front door for the Ocado delivery.
  • Unpacking groceries while half asleep.
  • Drinking tea and watching cartoons.
  • Eating poached eggs and pastrami for breakfast.
  • Grabbing a quick shower and pulling on my clothes.
  • Wearing red lipstick for the first time in weeks.
  • Persuading the children to get dressed.
  • Smothering a piece of pork in smoked paprika before slipping it into the oven.
  • Making our way into town on the bus.
  • Wandering through the Bearpit towards Stokes Croft.
  • Pausing to admire the street art. It’s an amazing area, there’s something beautiful at every turn. The children loved it.
  • Sampling a Sunday roast at The Canteen. Izzy and I really enjoyed the veggie option, but the boys were less impressed with their beef. We loved the laidback feel of the place though and would definitely give it a second chance.
  • Strolling back to Cabot Circus for a spot of shopping.
  • Treating the children to a Krispy Kreme doughnut for dessert.
  • Picking up a statement necklace in Accessorize.
  • Loving how it looks next to my Binky boucle jacket from Great Plains {£110 reduced to £33, crazy bargain}.
  • Catching the bus home.
  • Snuggling up on the sofa to watch Frozen.
  • Getting all the songs stuck in my head.
  • Drinking tea and eating slices of toasted hot cross bun loaf.
  • Shredding the veg for southern style slaw.
  • Slicing fresh mint and chili while Carl pulled apart the pork.
  • Plating up and sitting down to eat.
  • Deciding this might just be my favourite pulled pork recipe yet.
  • Clearing the kitchen while the children played.
  • Plunging them into the bath.
  • Reading Hairy Maclarey and Rosie’s Walk.
  • Giving goodnight kisses.
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Sitting down to write this post while Izzy lounges on the sofa.
  • Trying not to worry about juggling work during the Easter holidays.

Love Audrey xxx

Five Things for Friday


Something to read:-

My writing is over on The Wedding Reporter Blog today. Hopefully, The Legacy of Wedding Reports will give you some insight into why I’m so passionate about the work I do as Emma’s associate writer. I have three weddings coming up in the next three months and I couldn’t be more excited.

Something to eat:-

Have you tried Warburton’s Hot Cross Bun loaf yet? I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the stuff since I sampled it last weekend. And no, they didn’t pay me to say that, it’s just really tasty.

Something to wear:-

I pretty much want everything from the new NW3 collection at Hobbs. A girl can dream.

Something to covet:-

We’re getting close to finally setting up our own bar trolley at home. We’ve got the perfect spot and the perfect print to furnish the wall above it, but I haven’t been able to commit to anything else. Decisions, decisions! The deliberations shall continue with the aid of plenty of Pinterest inspiration.

Something to watch:-

If you haven’t already, do watch Saving Mr Banks. I thought it was a flawed, but brilliant, film. Emma Thompson was dazzling.

Love Audrey xxx