And we’re back, with the little things that make our hearts sing

Things that have made our heart sing this week…

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? Easter this year fell during a couple of family birthdays and between all the chocolate and the sunshine making an appearance and E working all-hours on a massive change at work, we felt we needed a little break from writing. Now we are back.

I’ve found April to be a real tonic so far. Those dark January and February evenings and never-ending March seem a life time ago. I can’t put my finger on any specific reason why but I suspect it’s because there’s been so many little things that have sparked my joy over the past few weeks. And in true de-la-Haye Girls fashion, there’s no better way to share these musings with you that via a list!

So here we go. These are the little things that have made my heart sing:-

  • Iggy Box subscription – this was a celebratory gift that E kindly purchased for me and I’ve been so impressed! For a very modest fee, each month the company posts a hand-poured candle from a small independent business, as well as some other treats too. The aromas and burn-time have been great and I have a nice little stockpile growing that can be used as re-gifts if I’m ever caught short, and if I can bear to be parted with these gorgeous candles. If you’re searching for a thoughtful gift, I can’t recommend Iggy Box enough. Get a subscription for yourself too, it’s a lovely midweek pick-me-up.
  • Chip’s daily adventures – our rescue tom cat tabby, Chip, has been with us for about a month now and it’s been so lovely to watch him becoming braver – and naughtier – each day. Chip had previously been an indoor cat so we had no idea if he would want to explore our garden but he’s fallen in love with the great outdoors. I could spend all day watching him chasing butterflies and wading through the grass like a tiger. He did give me a mild heartache two nights ago when he ventured out and didn’t come back once it was dark, but hey, cats are gonna cat.
Little Chip
  • BBQ weather – Vince’s Mum and Dad very kindly gifted us an unused barbeque right in time for that spot of sun over the Easter bank holiday weekend and we’ve gotten such good use out of it. The smoky flavour you get from the grill is so good, it just tastes like summer to me. It’s also encouraging us to make proper use of our garden which has been pretty unloved up until now. Oh, and our latest obsession is fajitas but with the veggies and proteins flame-grilled on the BBQ – thank me later.
  • Line of Duty – anyone else hooked? I’ve had to go back to the beginning as I’d totally forgotten how everything unfolded and now Vince is re-watching it with me. We love a series to dive into and follow along and we haven’t had anything this gripping since Game of Thrones.
  • Turning our walks into runs – the sun just makes everything that little bit easier, doesn’t it? I’ve really been enjoying transitioning our daily walk into a run. Stick on a banging playlist and let those endorphins run riot.

E’s list:

  • My new phone is bringing me much joy. It is midnight blue and has the snazziest set of cameras. Oh, I shall be a happy snapper all summer long and will post lots of photos to TdlHG Insta grid!
  • Seeing my beautiful Mum, who I’ve not seen in person since December. I cannot wait. Mum turned 80 earlier this month and we have a belated little celebration planned for a weekend very soon.
  • 3 July. After not being able to see my gang of besties from school since Christmas 2019, we have a July date in diaries for shopping, a late lunch/early dinner (depending on your point of view) and drinks. I cannot wait. We’ve managed several, rowdy Zoom catch-ups over the past year, but I’ve missed the Famous Five (our very tongue-in-cheek name for ourselves) so much.
The self-proclaimed Famous Five, friends for over 30 years
  • Raw Love’s white chocolate and cream wafer bars. They are sublime – think Kinder Bueno for vegans. We buy them by the case.
  • This one’s going to sound massively pretentious, but honestly, it’s not meant to. For A-levels many, many years ago, one of my English literature set texts was the poetry of W B Yeats, which I adored. I’ve recently finished reading a biography of his life and am part of the way through re-reading his collected poems. They are even better than I remembered and, be still my beating heart, I found a recording online of Cillian Murphy reading one my favourites, When You Are Old, in his native Dublin accent. Swoon. I am planning a road trip to Ireland to visit all the places that were so important to Yeats: Dublin, Rosses Point and Ben Bulben in Sligo and his beloved Thoor Ballylee in Galway. Oh yes, great plans are emerging.
When You Are Old

What little things have lifted your spirits this Springtime? ~ the de-la-Haye Girls

My Favourite Podcasts

Trust us, they’ll really speak to you…

Aerial shot of my Dad’s record room…considering creating a similar podcast snug for the new house!

If you haven’t got into the world of Podcasts…where have you been? They’re the perfect combination of radio and audiobook. L likes to have them on while cooking and running. E loves them on a long car journey. However you take yours, there’s a whole host of genres and styles to delve into. So, in true de-la-Haye Girls style, we thought we’d round up our current ear-worms in a handy little list!

  • If you loved Making A Murderer, then you’ll love Serial. Season 1 is our personal favourite, following the tragic murder of high school student, Hae Min Lee. This is the podcast that got us into podcasts! For further listening we recommend; Undisclosed, My Favourite Murder and Casefile.
  • If you love a horror movie, then Spooked will be music to your ears. The audio mixing on these non-fiction scary stories will have those hairs on the back of your neck quivering. I wouldn’t listen to this one before bed, though. Lore and The Battersea Poltergeist are also thrilling, thought not quite as terrifying.
  • If you’re missing your gal pals, then for your essential listening it has to be The High Low with Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton. This weekly conversation between these two, long-time friends covers both the high brow, (the arts, book recommendations, political movements) and the low brow, (pop culture and celebrity gossip). Already binged it? Give these three a try: Table Manners, The Guilty Feminist and Delicious Ways to Feel Better.
  • If you love to learn, try the fantastic Stuff You Missed In History Class. These factual episodes cover a range of topics from historical figures – the episode about Princess Alexandra of Bavaria is fascinating – to disaster stories (the recently solved Dyatlov Pass Incident is the stuff of nightmares). I’m also a big fan of This Podcast Will Kill You especially during this pandemic and Food For Thought with Rhiannon Lambert debunking wellbeing and nutritional myths.
  • If you wanna be an actor, The 98% is the podcast for you. Actors Katie and Alexa lift the curtain on those artists who don’t make up the top 2% of earners in our workforce. Those of us who are still hustling and working hard to make moves. It’s hilarious, honest and heart breaking. Actor’s Aesthetic is another enjoyable listen and there are plenty of actors sharing insights into their lives over on the ever-popular, and E’s favourite, Desert Island Discs.

During this week, I was lucky enough to be asked to join host and CEO, Anna Brailsford, on the Code First Girls Podcast sharing my thoughts on Imposter Syndrome. It was fascinating to be able to share my experiences as an actress and educator through this platform that aims to help woman in the competitive world of tech. The episode goes live in a couple of weeks, so why not catch up on the other brilliant guests of the series beforehand? Happy listening, gang. ~L.

What have you been listening to this month? Drop us your recommendations in the comments or reach out on our socials.

Welcome to the family, Chip!

Meet the latest addition to the family, Chip de-la-Haye.

Our pretty boy

Cats have always been a huge part of our family. Growing up, I have fond memories of chasing E’s black and white queen, Babes, round the garden at my Nan’s house. I was totally in love with her soft fur and feline features. The feeling was not mutual: Babes didn’t like humans that much, least of all my gentle giant grandfather, Lloydie. Her favourite game was to hide under the bed in the back bedroom of my Nan’s house, as this where the warm water pipes ran under the floorboards, and my poor Lloydie was always at the receiving end of her claws when trying to coax her out.

My Uncle with another family cat, not Babes, sometime in the mid 1970’s

We eventually got our own family cat: Barbara. She was a long-haired tortoiseshell, rescue cat and we loved her to pieces, even when she’d swipe us between strokes of the grooming brush! I once gave myself a black eye and a cartoon-like, egg-sized bump on the head when she got caught under my feet as I was rushing to a ballet class. In my attempt to not hurt poor Barbara, I tried gracefully to jetté over her. This would’ve saved the day, had I not been in a pair of silk ballet slippers on a tiled floor. I went headfirst into the wall in front of me, but Barbie was completely unscathed, thank goodness.

Yep, she’s absolutely loving that
Potted cat, the summer of 2010

After Barbara, we adopted two moggies, a brother and sister, (supposedly – they certainly fought like siblings) called Tyler and Marmite. Regular readers will be familiar with Tyler. We’re lucky enough to still have our cheeky, noisy tom-cat with us and he’s been invaluable to my family this lockdown, providing E with no end of hilarity, meowing and scratching at her office door the minute she logs on to Zoom.

Tyler, our family moggie

Marmite was devoted to my younger brother, Will. She following him around all day and slept at the foot of his bed each night. Very poignantly, and massively upsettingly, Marmite died on Will’s 18th birthday. We always say she guided Will to adulthood and then departed; she was his Familiar – or daemon, for any Philip Pullman fans – and passed on when her work was done.

Tyler, tending his beloved catmint plants – he boy’s addicted to catmint and catnip

Once Vince and I moved into our new home, with its enclosed garden and surrounding countryside, we just knew the time was right for us to expand the fur family. The lockdown has made the adoption process a little trickier than usual – demand for cats and dogs has rocketed – and the brilliant team at Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, Old Windsor guided us each step of the way.

Meet Chip! Named after the tabby cat Beanie Baby

We filled in an online application in January, once I realised that I wouldn’t be travelling anywhere for work for the foreseeable future. Following that, we had a phone call with Battersea to find out what we could offer our pet and also what we were looking for from life with our adopted pet. And then we waited, perhaps a little longer than in pre-Covid days, but it was so worth it and the bit of patience we had to have paid off. We found out on Mother’s Day that Chip was looking for a new home and Battersea felt he’d be the perfect addition to our family. A couple of days later, which gave us the chance to buying out the whole of the cats section at Pets At Home, Chip arrived!

Since then, we’ve mainly spent the week having lots of strokes and treats as Chip gets used to his new forever-home. We had a whole host of potential cat names. Ronnie, Salem, Binks, Sid, Bloomberg were the front-runners but the moment we met Chip, we decided to keep his given name as it suited him so well.

I’m sure they’ll be plenty more Chip content to follow on our Instagram but for now, we’re looking forward to celebrating his 3rd birthday at the beginning of next month, alongside Vince’s 32nd!

If you’re thinking about adding a fur baby to your family, I can’t recommend Battersea enough. The process is very transparent and the extra support they provide you and your new pet is amazing. And if I may recommend a breed, “rescue moggy” has always been my personal favourite. ~L.

Chip in his new banana bed