So, July. What a funny, fast-slow month you have been. This has been the month of long days and short weeks. And confusion. Mixed messages from the Government and the introduction of sort of compulsory mask wearing set against a back drop of almost-business-as-usual has me a bit puzzled. But, Covid confusion aside, there has still been plenty to be happy about and grateful for in July. Including but by no means limited to…

My Big Birthday

I turned 40. Happy Birthday to me. Birthday plans didn’t work out, as I wrote about in my last post. But I had my husband home, my favourite M & S cake and I was blessed to receive some truly lovely, thoughtful gifts. And a ridiculous amount of gin. I suspect I have a bit of a reputation.

Things Helen Loves, collection of bottles of gin
It’s a gin thing.

I’m not someone who’s ever had an issue with walking through each decade or any negative thoughts about aging. Quite the opposite; aging is the goal. If I’m not getting any older, something has gone horribly wrong. But I will say this; much as I enjoyed my thirties, this feels like a really nice place to be. I look forward to seeing what the next decade brings. More house moves and gin fuelled shenanigans, probably.

More Gardening…

I mentioned in my June post that I was trying a spot of gardening. It’s harder than it looks, let me tell you. Hats off to anyone who keeps a pretty garden thriving. Some success here though, the flowers I potted up last month are still healthy and still making me smile. And, drum roll please…the tomato seeds my son planted and had all but given up on have only gone and sprouted into little seedlings. Not sure what we do next to nurture them into fruit bearing plants though?



And, to add to that, I’ve also been given a compost bin. I’m learning that there’s more to composting than just chucking stuff in. In the meantime I feel very grown up and Good Life-ish. Me. Gardening and composting. Who’d have thought it?

Watching Eurovison: The Story of Fire Saga

Fun fact about me. I absolutely love the Eurovision song contest. Love it. We have  Eurovision night complete with food, drinks, flags and heated debate about who deserves the win and who should go home with nil point. The 2020 contest was another Covid casualty so this comedy gem of a movie is my Eurovision fix.


It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but if you don’t mind a bit of  crude humour, want to get behind some endearingly unsuccessful characters and can embrace a real life Eurovision montage in all it’s cheesy glory, this is for you. Actually it was filmed in Edinburgh when I lived there and I ranted at the time about them closing down the Old Town to shoot it. All is forgiven.

Falling in Love with Cleaning

Ha! Just kidding. I’m no fan of domestic chores, but needs must. So, I’m on a mission to cheer up the chores with the loveliest cleaning products I can find. Starting with heart shaped sponge and some woodland inspired cleaning stuff from Lidl. Can’t deny it, I was absolutely suckered in by the cute woodland design of the bottle.


Picking Berries

The hedgerows and forest around my home are bursting with berries. It was too much temptation so we went off picking and plucking. Blackberries, raspberries and red currants. I started out being virtuous and made a fruit salad with lots of fresh berries…and then used the rest in a crumble served up with ice cream and clotted cream. Is that good work undone, or striking the right balance?


I repurposed a plastic pot for foraging, but I’d love to pick up a cute basket to look the part next time. If you’re going berry picking any time soon, here’s some words of wisdom from The Little Chap, aged 9 and a bit’: “pick the ones from high at the back, dogs can’t wee that high”. Sound advice.

Evening Walks

I like walking at any time of day, but due to being blessed with some gorgeous summer weather I’ve been embracing earlier and later walks with The Wolf to beat the heat. There is something really, really nice about an evening walk. It’s a good way to round off the day.


Feeling Proud

Of this beautiful, intelligent young woman. My eldest daughter. Now a law graduate. Who’s pulled off graduation, represented her uni at a Moot in India, scored a graduate job and managed to renegotiate the role post Covid… all in one of the most challenging years in living memory. Now she steps out to forge her own path in the legal world, with a leaning towards human rights and immigration work. She is a woman’s woman with a keen sense of justice and desire to support those at a disadvantage. She’s a winner. Please allow me this Mum brag.



Nothing. Not a single thing. And this is very unusual for me, I love getting lost in a good book. A proper, physical, in my hands book. I’ve never been able to make the switch to a kindle. I’ve ordered a few books that I found via Lizanne Lost in a Good Book, but I’m also putting it out to you, lovely readers. Hit me with book recommendations. I have some travelling coming up (all being well!) and a long stretch home alone as my husband deploys soon. Help me build a list of stories to get lost in. Suggestions or links in the comments, please.

Helen x


12 thoughts

  1. Belated happy birthday Helen and congratulations to your daughter on her tremendous achievement. I enjoy berry picking and have a nice little wooden trug which looks the part so I think that’s what you need. As for reading do you like Alexander McCall Smith? I just love his Edinburgh books, both the Isabel Dalhousie and The Scotland Street series. If you haven’t read them yet, I’m sure you’d enjoy them. When travelling I use my Kindle but also prefer a good old book. It stays in my memory longer, opening it each time and seeing it’s jacket cover. Hope you have a good weekend. M.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you so much. I haven’t looked at Alexander McCall Smith but I will do. Hope you have an enjoyable weekend and week ahead, Helen.

  2. Belated Happy Birthday! I loved my 40s. I am actively pro-aging, much preferable to the alternative. I can’t wait to do ‘proper’ walks with our pup but he’ll have to get a bit older first. I agree with Little Miss Traveller on her book suggestions. I’m a fan of ‘quirky’, so would recommend ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ a novel by Gail Honeyman. I love psychological thrillers and would suggest anything by Nicci French. I love reading so could go on and on but I have written a few blog posts on books to read, if you’ve got time to have a look. You are right to be proud of your daughter. What an amazing achievement. Congrats to her.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you so much. I’ve had a few people recommend Eleanor Oliphant so I think I’ll give it a go and I’ll certainly look up your book posts.

  3. Happy 40th! And congratulations on bringing up a human rights lawyer. We need those! (And someone who knows the correct berry picking routine to avoid dog pee is quite an asset too).

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you, I’m excited to see where her career takes her.

  4. Happy belated birthday! Glad you still got to enjoy some good gin in these weird times. Congratulations to your daughter on all her achievements this year!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you, this year has me appreciating gin in a whole new way!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you so much 😊

  5. What can I say, congratulations on your birthday, your daughter’s law graduate status and being at the set of Eurovision (that could have been huugggeeee) Helen!

    How’s the movie tho? I haven’t seen it to be honest.

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