Happy New Year!

The cynic in me is tempted to avoid new year’s resolutions. Largely because I’ve never stuck to them in the past and tend to give myself a bit of a hard time when I don’t succeed at things.  But setting an intention is meaningful in itself. Even if it only lasts for one day, you’ve still taken the time to think about what you’d like to change — definitely worth doing in my book.

So even if things go slightly awry as I rush headlong back into real life, here are the intentions I’d like to set for 2016:

  1. Mornings. I resolutely and proudly am not a morning person. My mornings are a hectic rush which usually consist of dragging myself out of bed, losing my keys, not being able to find any clothes that aren’t creased and then nearly missing my train. In 2016 I’d like to change that.  I would love my mornings to be a time of mindful preparation for the day whether that’s heading to the gym for an early morning swim or making breakfast and listening to the radio before walking calmly to the train station. This will be a challenge – it’ll mean going to bed earlier, waking up earlier and putting in effort, but I think the improved peace of mind will be more than worth it.
  2. Yoga. I really really love yoga, but it’s one of the things that gets squeezed out of my life when things get busy or I get stressed. I want 2016 to be the year that I get into better yoga practice and stick with it.  I’m starting with Adriene’s 30 day Yoga Camp – let me know if you’re joining too!
  3. Packed lunches. Ah, packed lunches. You are so much healthier and cheaper than buying lunch every day in Soho. So why am I so terrible at sticking with you? This year, please can we be better friends? I promise to dedicate at least one hour every Sunday evening to preparing you so that hopefully we can make things work this time around.

And to round things off, we started 2016 with a lovely walk to High Force Waterfall at Forest-in-Teesdale. It was freezing (literally — there were icicles!) but great.

Happy new year!

20160101_130813

20160101_131029

20160101_131115

20160101_131801

And finally a bonus new year picture of these three jokers. Left to right my Dad, my little brother and Matt.

20160101_143114

Everything is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2016.

The Friday Frame {18} Early morning cows

So turns out the ‘Friday Frames’ series is less of an ‘every Friday’ type thing, more of a ‘sometimes, often not on a Friday’ type thing.  Let’s call it an ‘occasional photography series’.  Okay good, I feel better now.  I’ve really learned that the best way to enjoy this blog is to just go with the flow and post what I feel like when I feel like it.

And on that note, here’s a picture of some cows in a field in Lincolnshire. The sun had just risen, and I had woken up in a room with the radiators turned on. I can’t stand sleeping with central heating on, even when it’s freezing, because it gives me a potentially real and potentially completely psychosomatic headache. I therefore put on shoes and a big jumper over my pyjamas and clumped down the long drive of the farm where we were staying.  I say clumped because I can never quite bring myself to tie my shoelaces when I’m wearing shoes with pyjamas, and a strange trying-to-stop-shoes-coming-off gait is the result. . It was lovely to be out in the cold, fresh air.  And then I came to rest on a gate in front of a field full of cows.* And that was lovely too.

12197130_1044512602266360_737982458_o

Listening to Gold Digger by Kanye West and Jamie Foxx, Don’t Speak by No Doubt and Here (in your arms) by Hellogoodbye.

*… also horses.

Moderately incoherent rambling and photograph © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

Daytrippers: Whitstable

Sometimes, you just have to get out of London.  So on a clear, crisp October day we got on a train from St Pancras to Whitstable, a small fishing town on the north coast of Kent, and spent a lovely day wandering the crooked streets and crunching along the pebbled beach.  It’s the ideal seaside town for window shopping, with endless tiny shops filled with beautiful things, and we were incredibly lucky with the weather – sunny enough to enjoy a pint (of Diet Coke, in my case) on the shingle outside the only pub on a beach I have ever come across.

It may have been cold enough for me to regret saying yes to ice in my plastic pint glass, but there’s something lovely about being bundled up warm in coats and scarves, looking out at the white horses and listening to the pebbles skittering along the shore with each wave that turns. We finished the day with fish and chips from a painted hut on the shore, followed by hot doughnuts out of a paper bag, complete with sticky fingers and sugary cheeks courtesy of the chaotic sea breezes. So here are some pictures from our day at the seaside – I hope you enjoy them.

12175898_1042823755768578_1385792432_o

12181096_1042729319111355_833509232_o

12186198_1042729302444690_469333364_o

12185672_1042729542444666_76185028_o  12177367_1042731389111148_1482356219_o

12186197_1042731715777782_860905316_o  12185718_1042737139110573_504348963_o

12177212_1042745765776377_1742234388_o  12176066_1042731435777810_259317742_o

12177203_1042730492444571_122708732_o

12181071_1042730459111241_1457251810_o

12176062_1042729742444646_453168486_o

12177281_1042765072441113_1410493547_o

12176185_1042767555774198_803555260_o

12172009_1042789539105333_653788999_o

12171844_1042803122437308_1940761160_o

12176335_1042803082437312_532119189_o

12171657_1042821342435486_1289879250_o

Listening to Sax by Fleur East, Sister Rosetta goes before us by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss and Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift.

All words and photographs are © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

Be Thankful

Thanksgiving.  It’s not a holiday we celebrate on this side of the pond, but I’ve seen enough American films and read enough décor blog posts to know the deal. Pumpkin pie, cinnamon-scented candles, turkey, more pumpkins, and that episode of Friends where Rachel crucially misunderstands the ingredients of a ‘traditional English trifle’ and everyone pretends to like it. Oh, and then there’s the thankfulness part. Taking a moment to reflect on everything that you have to be grateful for in your life – a way to end the year with a focus on the positives.

12116524_1032335476817406_1280986909_o (1)

Although as a British person I am duty-bound to view most US traditions with a healthy dose of good old-fashioned grumpy cynicism (sorry guys!), I really like this one. And in that spirit, I was tagged by the lovely lady over at White Walls and Wanderlust to complete the ‘Be Thankful Challenge’. So here goes.

thankfull

Rules

– Share this image in your blog post.
– Write about 5 people in your life you are thankful for.
– Write about 5 things in 2015 that you are thankful for.
– Spread the love and challenge 5 other blogs to take part.

Five people I am thankful for (in no particular order!)

  • The Boy. My partner in crime, my best friend and the person who makes me laugh most in the world, who seems to be able to fix everything from broken taps to broken hearts and who makes every day better just by being in it. I’m so soppy.
  • My family. Some more of my very favourite people.  Being with them is like being wrapped in a great big blanket and protected from everything that is wrong with the world. They’re quite funny too.  And as my brother once said in one of his more profound moments, “Families aren’t made to be apart.”
  • My friends! All here together because picking one or two favourites wouldn’t seem fair. I love them all for different reasons, and they all mean the world to me. They are the most intelligent, kind and funny bunch of people, and I’m so glad I’ve been lucky enough to collect them along the way.
  • Dan. Perhaps it’s odd to have somebody on your list you’ve never actually met, but I know this person is patient, kind and incredibly good at his job. Dan is the therapist who helped my boyfriend through his serious and very scary struggle with anxiety this year, and I could not be more grateful to him.
  • Everyone reading this. Too clichéd? Sorry. But honestly, I’m truly thankful for everyone who reads my blog, and for the conversations we have in this little corner of the internet about cakes and fairy lights and adventures and everything in between.

Five things I am thankful for

  • My flat. It’s been my first home away from my family, and my first with Matt. It’s warm and cosy and clean and finally feels like home. It’s our safe little nest for the end of the day, and for that I am incredibly grateful.
  • Challenges. My first year after graduating hasn’t been without its fair share of struggles, some of them very big and real and scary. But I’ve faced them all, overcome them, and my life is better as a result. I’m grateful for everything those hard times taught me.
  • My job. I’ve found a job and a team that I absolutely love. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year is that a terrible job can make you truly miserable. If you hate your job I beg you to leave right now if you can find a way. There is much better out there for you, you just need to find it.
  • Britain. For all of its faults – and there are many – I’m incredibly thankful that this is my home. I’m thankful that I live in a generally peaceful, liberal country where my rights are preserved and protected. I’m thankful that medical care is free and available to everyone who needs it. And I’m also grateful for the wry humour, the conversations about the weather and that wonderful British awkwardness.
  • Language. I love the intricacies of language, discovering new words and unusual sayings, and that feeling of immense satisfaction when you find the right words. I’m also evidently a windbag, given I’ve basically written a paragraph for each of these!

Five nominations

Fuelled by Oats – a lovely positive sunbeam of a blog and blogger

The Thankful Heart – such a fitting blog name, her blog really encapsulates this whole theme perfectly.

Persephone H – a fellow foodie

With all my Affection – one of the prettiest blogs around

A Cornish Mum – this blog has a little bit of everything for everyone

Listening to: Hold my Hand by Jess Glynn, Ashes and Wine by The Civil Wars and Masochist by Ingrid Michaelson.

The words and the images apart from those relating to the challenge are © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

The Friday Frame {11} Reflecting

Well, this one really speaks for itself. But who am I to let a photograph do that when there’s a ready- made rambling opportunity? Onward… The breathtaking Loch Achray on a cold and clear morning in early January. We were in The Trossachs for four days over New Year. For the first three days, this mountain, and indeed the loch itself, were for the most part impossible to make out amid the slanting rain (/hail/blizzards) and low, steel grey cloud. But then, on our last morning — as if Scotland couldn’t quite let us leave again for distant London without reminding us of how perfect it can be — the clouds cleared, the sun came out, and the loch and the mountain were finally revealed. Worth the wait.

10912621_877357888981833_1254087042_o

Loch Achray

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

The (almost) Friday Frame {7} Wildflowers

Yes, okay, it’s Saturday. But that’s almost Friday. Anyway, here’s a photograph of summer to offset the winter blues. These purple wildflowers are a common enough sight along the coast of Northern Ireland, a fact which does little to diminish their beauty, especially in the late summer sunshine.

‘The earth laughs in flowers’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

36584_466408343410125_1990640684_n

Purple wildflowers, the Northern Irish coast, Summer 2013.

 

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2014.

A very Scottish December

Wind, rain and stormy weather could easily have  been the main features of a blustery few days spent at Tigh Mor, just above Callander in Stirling, Scotland. But there were also piles of leaves glowing amber, water gushing in torrents down snow- frosted mountains covered in golden bracken and vibrant evergreens, and raindrops collecting in glistening pools along verges and under trees. Although the views were often lost in dense cloud and driving hail, it only made the moments when the skies cleared to reveal stunning landscapes even more breathtaking. The small town of Callander looks like most places do in the rain: grey and rather uninviting. But don’t let appearances deceive you- we were welcomed by mince pies and mulled wine in one gift shop, and the chip shop offered battered haggis, that deep- fried delicacy unique to Scottish chippies (try it before you knock it).

Stirling in December was deceptively beautiful, but jumpers, multiple pairs of socks and walking boots are a must.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2013.

Winter in Oxford

Britain is a place where we have had to resign ourselves to doing most things in the rain, but it’s often difficult to find the motivation to spend unnecessary time outside when the heavens open. When it comes to a toss up between a pair of wellies and a cup of tea, I think most of us are prone to choosing the latter.

These photographs are from a wintery, wet and windy few days during Michaelmas term in Oxford. During an incredibly stressful term I found taking a wander and looking for ways to capture the little things here and there incredibly relaxing. As cliched as it may sound, there really is nothing like taking the time to look for the amazing and the unexpected in the seemingly grey and uninspiring world around you to give you a sense of the bigger picture. I’m all for roaring log fires and hot soup as the wind blows a gail outside, but try not to let the wintry months limit you entirely to the living room. You might be surprised at the beauty you find.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2013.