A cottage in the woods: The Cotswolds Adventure

 "Life is sexually transmitted, short and fatal," was the nonsensical intro I once read in a GCSE biology book, sometime in the early 00's. It's a sentiment that has stayed with me, which has always made me believe that your time is the greatest gift you can give someone. 

With this in mind, when I started to think about what I could do for my youngest sister's impending 30th birthday, I knew post lockdown I wanted to spend time with her. As she's a December baby and extremely popular, I knew she'd be booked up with birthday/Christmas events, so I decided to surprise her on a random weekend in November and whisked her off to the Cotswolds (Cirencester town and near the Forest of Dean to be exact)! 

Wearing: eBay clarks artisan shoes, Vinted dress and vintage waistcoat
For my travel outfit I decided to wear my eBay purchased Clarks Artisan shoes (£15), Depop Shein dress (£11) and vintage suede 70's waistcoat £15 from Vinted. I was disappointed when the dress arrived as it was Shein (I think they are the most evil of fast fashion brands), but I have to say I love the dress on and it feels like it'll last well with the way I abuse clothes! 

As the Airbnb I was staying in didn't accept toddlers (but were happy to have a relatively immobile baby), I spent Friday morning with my toddler and dog having some quality time (park and then onto a coffee shop for hot chocolate and croissants). I then very guiltily left my eldest girl with her wonderful Dad to have a bonding weekend and drove down to my parent's house which was the first pitstop. I'll never get over how utterly atrocious you feel leaving your kids. I know I need breaks from them but I find it super hard to actually do it, (don't feel too sorry for my eldest, she got taken to Windsor castle and had a riot by all accounts)! 

I stayed one night at my parent's house (West Midlands, UK) then picked up my sister the following morning for the paltry 1 hour car ride to Cirencester. I miss the convenience of the midlands with being able to get everywhere fast! 

As the check in to our Airbnb wasn't until 3pm, I'd planned a day around Cirencester, which is a beautiful Cotswold town, that has a spectacular Abbey, lots of quirky boutiques in little courtyards and fantastic artisan markets on a Saturday. 

I promise there that there is a baby in that pushchair and not just shopping! On arrival we decided to have a mooch around for somewhere to have coffee. Being as the weather was uncharacteristically mild, we decided to grab a drink and snack in the market and eat alfresco so we could watch the world go by. I spent a cheeky £10 on some artisan doughnuts, which is the most money I've ever spent on cakes but by god was it worth it! With such flavours as passionfruit and Belgian chocolate, they were hands down the best doughnuts we've ever tried! They were so good, no doughnuts made it home to share...

My sis Laura, had spotted a brownie stand on the way in so she treated us to some brownies. We actually ate these with our coffees and saved the doughnuts for dessert later that evening! 

Cirencester is one of those towns where you can look in any direction and see something architecturally beautiful. It has lots of the trademark yellow stone brickwork, indigenous to the region and many of the shop fronts have retained their quaint roots. Laura and I were particularly enamoured with Octavia's bookshop, which brought out a childhood glee in us. I bought my eldest a book on rescue vehicles for £14, its a lot more than my usual store for books (the library), but I like trying to support independent bookshops were I can. 

For lunch we visited a cafe and had a lighter meal of ciabatta sandwiches, being as we were still pretty full from the brownies earlier. I could choose to gloss over what happened next for the sake of having an instagrammable life but I always prefer honesty so here goes...pretty soon after eating that ciabatta sandwich I knew something quite wasn't right. I've had food poisoning in Gambia, Senegal, the UK and Morocco to name but a few so I knew the signs. Let's just say the ciabatta didn't last long and I had a very worrying car ride to the Airbnb. 

Thankfully once the sandwich was *ahem...gone, I felt absolutely fine and me and Laura had a lovely rest of the night eating pizza, drinking mulled wine, doing face masks and watching soppy rom coms (bliss)! Our Airbnb was absolutely gorgeous, you can have a peek at it here. 

The next morning we had a lovely walk in the woods at the back of the property (near the Forest of Dean), then slowly made our way back to the Midlands. I rested up for a few hours with my folks (and got a veggie sausage sandwich out of them), before travelling another 2 hours down the M40 to get home. 

If you made it this far well done! 

I'm having a fairly relaxed week as I've had a busy weekend, aside from an opticians appointment (me) and a doctors visit (littlest one), I'm trying to pace myself. I find it really hard to rest so I'm attempting to prioritise the two days my eldest is in nursery, as time to do 'nothing.' Do you ever feel bad about resting? Even though I teach meditation and yoga and am very good at helping others look after their wellbeing, I'm terrible at doing it for myself! 

I have managed to have a little mooch in the chazza shops and found these beauties that I'm putting up on Hippie Trail Vintage. Obviously I add a little mark up as I'm trying to make a livelihood out of selling second hand clothes, but I'm proud that I'm keeping things as low cost as I can, as I hate it when people charge silly prices for second hand. 

This week I found this gorgeous St Michaels paisley skirt, which I thought looked great teamed with my Greek fisherman's hat and a black polo neck. You can purchase the skirt on my Vinted profile here

I also found an incredible 1960's Vintage gold shift dress, if I hadn't already got my Christmas outfit sorted I'd have 100% kept this! What I did end up keeping were these £5.50 cropped black Whistles jeans. I'm heading to Morocco in Jan and I thought teamed with my recently thrifted chunky sandals (£5 Vinted), they'd look fab. I bought them on impulse as I thought if they didn't fit I could sell them, but I am so happy that they pulled on without a bit of jip! I've fallen out of love with jeans recently as other than my very old flares, most don't fit my post partum mom tummy. I love my body, I love what it's accomplished, but it's been hard trying to find trousers which don't dig into my lovely soft belly or get stuck on my bum. I know I'm considered 'slim' but this lament is about thinking everyone fits into a size 8, or 10, or 12. We're all different shapes, how can we possibly fit uniform of sizes decided by someone else?! That's why give me a floaty hippie dress any day of the week - who cares about dress sizes or numbers on tags?! 

Ok, that's officially an essay, well done for getting this far! 

Speak soon 

Love Soph 



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