Jump Forward, Spring Back

Spring in Rochester Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The sun is shining most days now, here in Rochester, and it’s good for my soul. I’m still rugged up with my slippers on inside, but there’s sunlight streaming through the blinds in our bay window, warming my face as I write.

A lot of English people like Autumn the most, probably for the sublime colours of the season, and the permission we grant ourselves to rug up before walking outside. Whereas with Spring, we’re all pretending Summer is on her merry way, so the unwritten, unmentioned rule is that coats are banished to the back of the cupboard.

There’s something about the in-between seasons, Spring and Autumn, that are really quite special.

It’s an in-between season for me too, professionally. I’m about to start teaching tomorrow, and although I have some last minute preparation to finalise, today is a pause, a breath before the madness of returning to regular, outside-the-home work.

I’ve enjoyed being at home. I’ve enjoyed the way Loki, the slightly more ferocious of our two cats, jumps on my lap and naps with me while I work in the study. I like to hear the cheekily hopeful bell attached to the collar of next door’s cat, as he comes into our house for food, only to quickly escape once he sees me here. I’ve enjoyed being able to take my time with things, and to see there’s a rhythm to each day, even when there’s no plan.

Life changes with the seasons, and the seasons seem to change with life.

This Week I Was Grateful For #6

Avenue Q Rehearsals Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha


I’ve been a pretty lucky lady this week. My freelance writing gig has stepped up a notch, and as a result I got to attend the press day for the upcoming tour of Avenue Q.

I spent a day in London watching rehearsals, interviewing actors and soaking up the Music Theatre atmosphere. It’s been a while!

Although it’s a new challenge in a year of many challenges, sometimes taking a risk rewards you in really fun ways.

Have a great week guys!

My Non Lifestyle Blog Lifestyle

Gardening DIY Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Sometimes, in this age of pretty blogs and carefully styled Instagram shots, it’s difficult to admit that life doesn’t always look like a magazine. Rationally I have no problem admitting this, but when faced with gorgeous lifestyle blog after gorgeous lifestyle blog, my irrational brain takes over and I feel the yearn of envy grow.

Take a look at this photo. This is my back yard, and it’s a total mess. We killed off the lawn last year to start over again, but we haven’t yet got around to it. We just cut down a tree (sorry tree!) that was growing in the fence line and there a branches everywhere. It’s not the sort of garden you usually see on a ‘lifestyle’ blog. It’s not really even the kind of garden I want to invite my friends over to!

But it will be, and we’re working hard to get it that way. Because having friends over for a barbecue in my backyard is about as Australian as it’s going to get over here!

What you can’t see in this photo is that I am so incredibly lucky to live here. The house belongs to Mr H, and you may not know that I moved in here as a lodger. I fell in love with this old house the moment I walked in. Mr H has incredible style, and from the renovations he’d already accomplished solo I could see that this was somewhere I’d be very happy living. It’s funny to think back to how much that would become true, and how little I realised it at the time.

Over the next few months we’re pushing forward with some renovations to get the house Instagram-ready by the wedding. It’s not really about Instagram, truth be told, but we do want to make a good impression. The married among you will nod your head in agreement with this one, but there is nothing quite like a wedding to make you want to get  all of the things in order.

It’s exciting. I’m planning to share some of the journey with y’all here on the blog too! Stay tuned if house reno is your jam. Have you ever felt the need to TCB before a big event?

Adventures at Home

Nautical Front Door Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha
A little seaside at home

It’s the penultimate evening of my 2015 Easter break and I’m feeling a little reflective. A short summary is in order I feel, so in that vein, chocks away!

Going Up

  • Quality time with the chap. An oldie but a goodie. We have been really busy for the last couple of weeks, and so spending some lazy time together, followed by some terribly productive house-organising time together has been wonderful. We’re kind of taking on a lot this year, you know, what with getting married and renovating our house, so it’s important we take the opportunities we can to get bored of each other 🙂
  • Having food in the house. There’s nothing like a couple of bank holidays to give you the fear of running out of food, so late last week I made the effort to do a big shop in person rather than online. I also had the guilts after reading How We Eat on Love Audrey, and while I in no respect met Franky’s lofty culinary heights, I mixed things up this week and did NOT have takeaway when I had the opportunity to.
  • IKEA trips. On good Friday we joined Mr H’s family on a spontaneous IKEA jaunt, and we picked up a couple of wedding bits and bobs, plus a totally wonderful and cheaty table plan. When we’ve figured out how to do it, I am definitely sharing a tutorial so do not despair!
  • New front door planning. As you may have seen on Instagram, I’ve had some front door angst, but after finally getting my lovely Victorian front door over three weeks after ordering it, I am really loving imagining it in all its finished glory.

Going Down

  • For some unknown reason (although I will blame it on the supply teaching I’ve been doing) last week I was in the grips of a terrible stomach bug. Half heartburn, half sleep destroying cramps, but without any other graphic displays of illness, it was absolute hell. Very few things destroy a childless adult’s ability to form rational thoughts than illness and sleep deprivation. Bloody school kids.
  • DIY dust. The fun part of DIY wears off pretty quickly, hey? Spent twice as long clearing the freakin’ mess up.
  • Discovering that I still don’t enjoy weeding the garden. I had my suspicions, but it was good to have some solid data.
  • Repeatedly missing FaceTime calls with my Dad. The clock’s have gone back here but I doubt that is significantly responsible. A combination of bad timing on both our parts, but dang it if I don’t miss the bugger!
  • New job nerves. I’m currently writing a post about some out of the ordinary anxiety I’ve been feeling about starting my new job, but am yet to find all the right words. I’m getting through by taking lots of deep breaths and reminding myself that almost everything comes good in the fullness of time.

Consider yourself updated. I’d love to hear your news if you’re willing to share below!

Lastly, some of my favourite bloggers have given birth this last week, so I want to say particular congratulations to both Belle du Brighton and Spillerena, and welcome to your new offspring!


If you have been reading Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha for a long time, you may know that I have been a regular features writer for the Kent based WOW Magazine. It’s an arts and entertainment listings magazine, covering Medway, Maidstone and the ‘accessible beyond’.

I’ve always been so proud to be connected to the magazine, as it’s become a touchstone for the creative community in these difficult economic times, and its sleek yet approachable design has given credibility to a host of entrepreneurial endeavours.

My dear friend Emma (who has been duly requisitioned for bridesmaid duties) has skilfully grown the magazine from a petite 2,000 copies, to a massive 10,000 in early 2015. One of the problems of the physical magazine has been that we’ve only ever had room to feature local and upcoming events. There was literally no space for retrospectives, opinion pieces or reviews, let alone events from further afield.

Until now.

After days and days of typing, uploading, resizing images and the odd bout of arm flailing while I try to think of the perfect sentence, WOW Kent is now here.

WOW Kent Arts Website

We want the website to become a kind of one-stop-shop for events and classes in the whole of Kent. We now have room to publish all the articles we’ve dreamed of for nearly 5 years.

I admit, I’m totally biased, but I love this darn website. It’s colourful and engaging without ever being overwhelming on the eye. It’s sleek and clean – the information we share is clearly the first priority, not the (huge and wonderful) team behind WOW or the designers. There’s still work to do, but it’s here, and you can use it now. I urge you to have a poke around, you never know what you might find!

I am absolutely chuffed to have been a part of this.