Coming home • A week on my feet featuring Luxury Flooring
I love how it's become completely normal in the age of Insta-lives to stand in the middle of a street or a shop doorway and hold your phone or camera to your feet. No one really bats an eyelid and incredibly (When you think about it feet aren't the prettiest thing in the world to photograph!) they tell such a story that they are often some of the most captivating. Sharing just a hint of where you are in the world or where you are heading.
And I'm not the only one who loves it, there are 404,000 plus photos posted to the #ihavethisthingwithfloors gallery which I can get totally lost in lusting after the tiled floors in Morocco, Hollywood stars, chalk messages left on pavements and sidewalks and little people and fur babies poking their heads into the frame. So this was my coming home week and a couple of days, in floors, joining in with the a week on my feet campaign with Luxury Flooring. Can you tell I bought a new dress for holidays and barely took it off?! I did have another in my new favourite fretwork white dress but it looked like I never wash my clothes!
My week starts with my solo adventure with the boys. I almost wish I snapped one of these of the three of our pairs of feet at every new place we visited. They look so little and I love how they lived in these towelling robes which I bought a size too big so they will last for next year, meaning you can hardly see their hands in any of our holiday photos!
We went back to the same beach at Calpe a few times because of it's beautiful golden sand, there's always a lounger free for those of us who have run out of hands (and inclination) to carry fold up chairs under the weight of inflatables and picnic bags and gentle waves that the boys barely stopped jumping for 5 hours. We had our own little routine where we would make a base camp, play in the sea and then after lunch head along the promenade people watching towards an ice cream stand and sit in the shade on the walled planters filled with palm trees and I'd watch as they frantically tried to lick their lollies before they dripped down their arms and legs onto the patterned tiles.
We have this saying in our family "Gala dinner night" and it's our phrase for the penultimate or last night of the holiday where we go some a little bit fancy for a special meal as a celebration of the holiday. We headed into Altea old town which is a glorious traditional area with a historical central square around the church. There's a dozen cobbled stepped streets that veer off from the main courtyard which fills up with little stands selling gifts and handmade wooden toys, ceramics and paintings. It's beyond picturesque and there's not a cheap bit of tat in sight! Every street is a photo opportunity and one day I will take a trip there on my own as they boys' patience for endless "ooh hang on look at this pretty bike resting against a wall" only lasts so long. There's a viewing platform that looks out over the sea and where everyone tourist or not stop for a family photo. But I stopped for the compass!.
I had planned to take a photo of our three feet at the airport but between pushing all the luggage on my own, car seats that kept falling off the precarious stack of suitcases and boys who were on totally uncoordinated toilet trips (are you sure you don't need to go? No - oh wait three minutes later - I need to go now!) I ran out of time and was just thankful we made it onto the plane still smiling. We had a heroes welcome home from Rich after 2 weeks of him working at home and us sunning ourselves in Spain, a banner tapped to the garage door and the dogs tails couldn't have wagged anymore wildly. And the next day a beautiful bouquet arrived in the post from a new Instagram friend. I walked in the garden to take a photo and noticed how the petals have started to drop in the flower beds filling up the cracks in the path. The misshapen pathways that lead you around the back of the house and down to the vegetable patch are one of my favourite things about the house. Sometimes I wonder what it would look like with a perfectly laid patio, without moss and odd corners but I don't think it would suit us at all. It's organised chaos. A bit like us.
My feet barely touched the ground when we got back from Spain and I am not complaining in the slightest. I feel like the boys and I have had the time of our lives this summer. I couldn't have packed in any more if I tried and in the few days we had at home before our next adventure I popped to my favourite shop in Mere, Sprout and Flower for a browse and a few carrots for a fireside Christmas shoot I needed to upload for a lovely client. It's all Christmas deadlines at this time of year!
I could spend an hour capturing all the little details in Sarah's green grocers and flower shop, everything from the painted green doorway with vintage watering cans hanging between the bunting, to the beautiful tiles at the entrance. Perfectly imperfect. I took a couple of shots of the basket of sweet peas on the counter, the Cheddar strawberries and left with one purchase, plus the carrots. You'll never guess what it was!
So my new love is the one I found at the green grocers - totally normal to buy a shutter instead of fruit and veg right?! My neighbour who grows the most beautiful cut flowers (my patch is looking in a rather sorry state being so unloved over the summer) drops a bucket full in our porch on a Thursday before she heads to the local WI market on a Friday. These were delivered before I got home and were just going over as we packed the car to head to Southbourne for a last holiday with all my family and I couldn't leave without hastily taking a few photos that I will share on Instagram over the next few weeks, it felt criminal to leave them without a bit of faffing!
Southbourne is my happy place. I've been pushed along the high street in a pram at 6 weeks, toddled along to Elizabeth's bakery in sandals in the summer, wellies in the winter for a poppy seed plait and dragged my boys in a wagon along to my favourite shop Coastal Creatives for a browse through all the driftwood gifts and pretty things. There's a few lovely doorways, but I spotted this marble mosaic one which was getting a serious makeover. The builders inside the shop who were refitting all the shop furniture gave me a smile as I stopped and snapped my feet and I gave them an embarrassed wave as I scuttled off!
The end of a whirlwind whole summer really was a 24 hour blast to the big smoke. I helped Rich at a big food trade show before the boys went back to school and they had a last sleepover at their grandparents in Poole. We literally dumped the suitcases from Southbourne on the living room floor and packed up a rental van with tea, crates, business cards and leaflets and set off for London Olympia. The traffic wasn't very kind and we finally got to bed at the hotel Rich was calling home for three nights at almost midnight after a very late dinner at the pizza place around the corner. Shattered.com. And that was before the show started!
We stayed at a budget hotel that had picture perfect London monochrome tiled doorways and just before the taxi arrived to pick us up at 8am I snapped a quick photo. It was a little bit like "look what you could have won" as we raced through the empty Sunday streets to the exhibition hall. No time for a saunter around the Kensington streets and I let out a comedy weep as we flashed past pretty bakeries adored with floral arches, pastel front doors and Figaro cars parked outside wrought iron railings almost begging to be photographed!
I collapsed onto the train at Waterloo late on Saturday evening and nose dived into bed, in an empty house. I don't think I've ever stayed here completely on my own with no boys, no Rich and no dogs and with the cases still littered all over the floor I woke up feeling desperate to get back to some normal routine. Back to ballet pumps and jeans and darting between home and school, pjs and barefeet on weekends and some time standing still.
Where have you been this week? Have you snapped your feet?!