Sunday walks and homemade Wild Blueberry ice-Cream

What a glorious way to spend The Summer’s Day… A proper noun on account of it being a yearly event rather than a season in the UK. I exaggerate of course, but if you have ever lived in England, you’ll know how hit-and-miss our seasons tend to be, making themselves subject to constant derision and scorn. The British do talk about the weather a lot, but the reality is, there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the weather, you can literally have the weather of four seasons in just one day.

Anyway, enough complaining, today is gorgeous and I’m going to gush about it. It’s hot, it’s sunny, the wind is very mild, I walked around in my Crocs sandals without a jacket or a scarf and feel like Remi and I have already made the most of the good weather. We drove half an hour out of town to visit a quaint little village with a main street monopolised entirely by independent businesses. Among these was a homemade ice cream shop which boasted flavours such as Morello Cherry, Wild Blueberry, Lemon Cheesecake, Earl Grey and Prunes, and… this one was a shock – Marmite flavour! Can you believe it? As I sit here I realise I ought to have asked to try it, but it didn’t cross my mind at the time. I was torn between Morello Cherry and Wild Blueberry so the shop girl offered to let me taste both! How kind.

We walked in the woods and talked about travelling, maybe moving to live in a beautiful place one day, the paths were framed by trees and huge rhododendron hedges  – it was sweet and romantic. We hope to do more of this sort of adventuring at the weekends, to slow the pace from the relentless demands of life and recharge. And flowers, ah, I forget how much I love flowers sometimes, that is until I stumble across sights like these and find my chest rise as I’m filled with a mixture of excitement and awe – the best things in life truly are free.



My fling with Audible – are we ready to commit?

image_1059978721My first fling with audiobooks was fast, furious and short-lived.

In the grip of my disordered eating behaviours, I was desperate for some guidance and
hoped that a free trial of Audible would grant me access to the intuitive eating bible that is Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole. Imagine my disappointment when I found out that the audiobook was not available for the UK. True, I could have ordered a hard copy but that Adobe Photoshop PDFwould have meant being seen with it, so I settled for Michelle May’s Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat insteadAs it turned out, Dr May was probably better for me than would have been Ms Tribole’s approach, with her list of 10 intuitive eating principles and other mantras that I’d already devoured from her disciples’ blog posts. Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat was a jolly helpful audiobook which I have listened to more than twice, alongside physically reading several self-help books on eating disorders. Fun times. But seriously, despite the touchy topic of the book, I was impressed by the narration and how easy it was to listen to and concentrate on an audiobook.

After a while, I wanted to focus less on my “problem” and get back to more recreational reading/listening material. I listened to One Day by David Nicholls – it was alright, but I like the film adaptation more. My next choice was The Girl on the
by Paula Hawkins, a bestseller at the time which was heavily advertised on Spotify; so after several weeks of interrupted playlists, I was left with a cleverly imprinted bit of marketing in my subconscious. Obediently, I downloaded it. Listening to The Girl on the Train helped motivate me to go out for long walks during that gloomy, English winter, something for I which I am grateful because I was going through a period of extremely low mood, but on account of that gloomy state of mind, I found myself sympathising a little too much with the depressive protagonists… My empathy gave me imaginary, like-minded friends but left me as hopeless as ever.


Unable to find another audiobook that caught my attention, my hopes for a lifetime of adventures were dashed, I cancelled my subscription, and at least from my point of view, it was the end of my relationship with Audible and all other audiobook-kind.

I returned to my local library and strengthened my ties with my membership card, I was introduced to the her website and the world of eBooks that came with it, quite “over” my fling with Audible and pretty sure he was, likewise, done with me. Audible, however, didn’t agree, he thought we were just on a break. I didn’t hear from him for several months, then I was seduced with a deal of 3 months for £1.99 – a sucker for all things reduced and discounted, I simply could not refuse.

Since then, I’ve come across some excellent reads… or listens… what am I supposed to call them? At many of my cleaning jobs, I plug myself into my Windows phone and use the Audible app to transport myself far away from the work, almost forgetting how much I dislike it. Sometimes I have had to return audiobooks because I couldn’t get into them or they swore too much for my tolerance, but Audible understood, he didn’t interrogate me, he just took the audiobook out of my library and refunded me with a credit to spend at my leisure. I abused the freedom a bit, I must admit, and my returns are no longer being accepted, I’m being chastised, and I deserve it. Besides that, I’m really enjoying the experience. The website is easy to browse, my place in the audiobook gets synced between my iPad and my phone, the narration is quality and a “Finished” banner goes across the thumbnail of the book on the app which is highly satisfying.

But is this relationship sustainable? Can it last? Self-employed, working part-time and volunteering part-time, can I really afford to spend an extra £7.99 a month on a new audiobook? Won’t I have months where I’d prefer an ads-free subscription to Spotify? Or some data for my iPad? Or a gorgeous new nail polish? Or a fancy candle? The life I lead is simple, by choice, so I try to choose my luxuries carefully, and as much as Audible has shown me that he does, in fact, thrill and excite me, I just don’t know if I can commit for the long-haul. Let me say it for you, ain’t first world problems a pain in the Prada?

Have you tried audiobooks? What did you think? Also, do you know of anywhere to get reasonably-priced audiobooks?