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Nine nice things - September

So it is that time of the month again, or more accurately, it was over 2 weeks ago, when September actually ended, to do my monthly 9 nice things post. Also not sure I can refer to this as "the time of the month for my monthly post" when it has happened only once before, but it will become an established monthly series goshdammit.

I hope everyone has had lovely Septembers, and indeed lovely weekends. As I sit down writing this it is Sunday morning, and I am hangover - albeit not cold- free, on my second hot chocolate ready for a day of pottering before heading out to Sticks n' Sushi in Wimbledon tonight. I've had such a lovely weekend full of brunching, and vinyl shopping, and failed cinnamon roll making, with a little dancing and prosecco thrown in for good measure. Plus yesterday evening, I had double pie for dinner (steak for main with mash, apple with custard for dessert) so that was just the cherry on top of the cake (/pie). Feeling in such a tiptop mood makes this happy list even easier to write, but whatever mood you find it in, I hope it has something in it to perk you up!

3 Lovely things you can buy for under £20

1. A purse (/pencil case) with a little Je Ne Sais Quoi -£20 Anthropologie

See what I did there - the purse has both a "little je ne sais quoi" in the colloquial sense, and also in the literal sense. I spotted this baby at Anthropologie a while ago, but was like hmm can I spend £20 on what seems to be a pencil case? And then in a wave of wrecklesness I bloomin did. And I love it, I use it in my handbag to ensure I can easily get to all the little important things (like eyeliner, pens, keys) rather than having them get lost in the sea of receipts and scraps of paper. And everytime I do, it makes me feel like a sophisticated, cool and yet humourous young woman. Excellent.

2. This little cactus - £4 B&Q

I feel like I am betraying a lover here, as I am on the internet advising people to buy cactai from other places than my homeware kindred spirit, Ikea.

Ikea has always been my cactai shop of choice, my boyfriend and I have had many an argument at the plants system where he has insisted I don't look after my existing house plants enough and they are attracting flies, and I have insisted I can never have too many cactai.

But this time, sauntering through B&Q this little chap caught my eye, and I cheated. I bought a cactus from B&Q and I am not even sorry. Not that I am a cactai conneseur, hell, I can barely keep them alive, but this one seems like a pretty good one. And it comes in quite a good quality and boho chic terracotta pot, which I think looks pretty nice on my table. Hell, I am now thinking of buying one of their massive £20 0nes, just yet to win that argument with Will.

3. This dining room light - £18.99 Ebay

Since Will and I moved into our little South London flat, we've been awkwardly eating dinner, and entertaining people in our dining room under a lampshade made of the previous owners wedding photos. Bit awkward. Our dining room ceilings are over 3m high, and the lampshade wasn't just a lampshade but fully attached to the wire and the ceiling so everything would have to come down at once. So, because of this debaucle they didn't take it down for when they left, and we didn't take it down for over. four. months.

I kept looking for the perfect light, and then I broke and just didn't want to be under other people's wedding photos anymore and ordered this one from ebay on a whim. And dya know what I am pleased as punch with it. You can pick one up here.

3 Lovely blog posts I loved

1. Lean Living Girl's Fig and Honey cake

One of my favourite things about Autumn (in a humongous list of favourite Autumn things because I love it so much) is Tesco's seasonal fruit pot. Figs, plums, blackberries, yum. Figs figs figs. Cannot get enough of them. So any suggestions of how to get more of them, by eating them in meals and puddings and not just as a snack are welcomely received.

If there is another thing I love perhaps more than the Tesco's seasonal Autumn fruit pot, it is the "healthy cake". Inspired by all those hip health food bloggers, I have started making all my favourite cakes and replacing sugar with maple and date syrup and honey, and all the flour with buckwheat (with varying degrees of success). This cake on Lean Living Girl sounds like a dream - cheese, figs, cake and apparently healthy. Come to mumma.

2. Take Courage - Our Bedroom

Cat has long been one of my biggest blog crushes, and I love her home interiors. Her new home in Rochester seems absolutely beautiful. I love her bedroom, shared here, which made me immediately regret all the interior decisions I made on my own. The unfortunate thing about Kat's blog is that she bought a place a couple of months after me, which means I can't quite copy her in time, but hey inspiration for my next place!

3. Jenny Purr - What would you do with an extra hour in your day?

A inspiring post about cutting the crap and having more quality time in your day. For me personally, although I do like sleeping, I reckon I am more of a lark than an owl - if I stay up an hour later than intended I spend the time (at best) clicking through facebook and buzzfeed lists and (at worst) feeling worried and anxious. If I get up an hour earlier, it puts me in a great mood for the day, I do something productive and good for me. Which brings me on to the next thing on my list...

3 things money can't buy that I loved this month

1. Blogging breakfasts

Partly inspired by Jenny Purr's article, I've started getting up and going to bed a good 45 minutes to an hour earlier, and it is so nice!

Gone are my days of running down the road eating nutella on a piece of toast! Nowadays, I get up, do a little bit of yoga, have a shower and get dressed, and then make myself a yummy breakfast and sit down and write Loner. Lover. Friend.

It has helped me carve out the time in my day to write this blog that I've been struggling to find for the last few months, and it puts me in such a better mood on the way to work.

Breakfast is also the meal of the day when I am most inclined to be healthy, so I figure I should take advantage of it! My favourite breakfasts on rotation at the moment: overnight bircher (oats with apple juice and coconut milk popped in the fridge overnight, and then I stir yoghurt and fruit in in the morning); porridge with my Dad's homemade blackberry jam and cinnamon stirred in, smushed avocado on bagels with chilli and chia seeds and good old peanut butter on toast (sometimes with some pomegranates sprinkled across too for good measure). All washed down with a hot water and lemon. Laaarvely. Also, cheaper than Pret!

2. Cooking dinner

To go down the theme of meals, September really was the month I started cooking dinner more - nothing fancy, but more effort than a vegetable stir fry with a salmon fillet in the oven, or pesto and pasta which were my previous go-tos. Having a bigger kitchen (and indeed a dishwasher) in my new flat has made putting a little more effort into teatime so much easier. I sort of love that it gives me a little routine as well, a plan for the week. I leave one day out of the planning so I can spontaneously take up a drinks offer, but if I have to come home one day as I have pulled pork cooking deliciously away in the slow cooker, well it just isn't that bad.

Even nicer is that our proper dining table arrived in September and sitting in our now (I think) lovely dining room, chatting away with Will every night is such a great way to forget all the work stress. It is so strange, it has sort of made me realise we didn't have as good quality chats before as we do now, with a bottle of red wine and a plate of homemade dinner, chatting about everything from childhood tales of breaking out of primary school to buy sweets (Will not me, I was too good) to who will win Strictly...

3. Autumn

How could I do a favourite things in September post without mentioning the season which is my favourite : Autumn. I say this, as the season changes from Summer to Autumn, I am getting properly excited with the first morning chill in the air, the turning of the leaves into such glorious colours, the fires and the candles and the fabulous outerwear and cinnamon in everything... however, I am not sure whether I don't just get excited with every change of season. In my head right now, I feel like I never anticipate a change of season like I do Autumn, but I can vaguely recollect that feeling when things get a bit summery, the evenings draw longer and you start having enough time to come home and eat dinner outside before it gets dark, do I feel just as excited then? Or with that first wash of blossoms and daffodils? I can't remember, all I know is I feel so tremendously ready for Autumn now. Bring on the hot chocolate, bring on the velvet everything, bring on the snuggly nights watching all the good lead-up-to-Christmas TV, bring on the wooly jumpers. Oh Autumn, it is good to see you.

PS. Why 9.

Copyrights (middle row only, the rest are mine) - from left - Lean Living Girl, Take Courage, Jenny Purr

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