Boden by the beach

What better way to kick of the first day of June than with a trip to Bournemouth?! The weather obviously got the memo for a change too; the temperature being juuust right for a good old linen shirt.

I tend to burn so I like to cover up after a while of being exposed to the sun without feeling suffocated in the heat, so the light and breezy material is great to throw on. I tend to associate linen with beige (not a bad thing) so it’s refreshing to branch out with a different colour and Boden have some fab alternatives on offer if you feel like brightening your choices up.

These are last year’s Oysho shorts and they’re amazing for any summer activity (even if that’s just lying in bed). I can’t find them any more but plenty of similar styles are out there and I’d highly recommend this fabric if you want some practical shorts that double up as chic – they’re the only ones that tear me away from my trusty Levis.

Classic oatmeal linen is a blank canvas to add more playful colours like khaki (the green addiction continues) with a funky pink twist. Unusual yet subtle glittery stripes threaded through the shirt add a point of interest; I sized up as usual (size 12) making it a bit too bulky to tuck in and I actually really love how the tied front has turned out – it’s on sale at the moment too if you’re uhming and ahhing.

I am absolutely bloody dotty about the raffia spot bag, which is also from Boden! A wonderfully unique style in contrast to the straw bags that have been dominating summer wardrobes for the last couple of years and it really adds some pizazz. It’s quite small so good for little holiday/day out essentials (sunglasses, phone, lippy etc.) and I also had to lug around my beach bag for those bigger seaside essentials (towels, suncream, books).

I tend not to wear my usual amount of make up on hot days because it melts off anyway, so I stick to foundation over suncream and my everyday Glossier Boy Brow. It’s quite a treat to feel fresh-faced (just making it clear that I wear make up 90% of the time and this is for my benefit only) and even better to realise you haven’t got to endure the chore that is stripping your mascara off at the end of the day.

Nan has such fond nostalgia of Bournemouth from her youth and I have lovely childhood memories from the same place, so it was really special to return there together. It was one of my university choices along with Nottingham and Brunel and my brother is starting a course there in September so it will always have quite a poignant resonance for my family.

We haven’t really had a chance to spend a whole day of quality time together since I moved nearly five months ago (WHERE has that time gone?!) because our weekend plans usually clash so we seized this day while we could.

SHIRT Boden (gifted) | SHORTS Oysho (old, similar here) | BAG Boden (gifted) | SANDALS Birkenstock | SUNGLASSES Zara (old)

Thanks to my notoriously shit timekeeping (and smug commitment to the gym) we didn’t leave until 11, meaning we slugged along the M25 for three hours – but hey, we didn’t even care because the company was so fab and we had a good old roadtrip sing-song!

We spent about two hours on the beach (half of that queuing for an ice cream) and I genuinely did nothing other than lie in a deck chair and people watch. I didn’t even bother to prize my book out from the bottom of my bag because the sea breeze and light tickling of the sun rendered me in a blissfully calm state. I can find it quite difficult to switch off: my mind is always overthinking and constantly crowded with the next task to check off my list. I rarely take time to sit and relax without an agenda, so the peace that this time offered was welcomed from me with open arms.

Living with my nan is proving to be such an insightful and educational experience for the both of us. The clashing of two ends of the age spectrum leaves space for never-ending learning opportunities, and while Nan has taken advantage of the equivalent of an in-house IT technician (in her eyes anyway) I have subsequently improved my listening abilities and gained a whole lot of patience.

It must have been such a difficult culture shock after years of living independently to suddenly have a whirlwind of a 21-year-old crash into her spare room (and literally leaving it like a tornado would have). All the things that were simple no-brainers before are now turned upside-down by me: shopping for one has morphed into two, incorporating a mainly pescatarian diet, dealing with me coming home late and generally having to worry about the responsibility of another person living in your home…

And it’s been a culture shock for me too, but in a very positive way: I’ve learnt to curb the frustration that comes with introducing modern technology to someone who can barely use a Nokia brick; I’ve tried to stay off my phone and laptop less and appreciate the company of my Nan in the evenings; her love of flowers has rubbed off on me and I’ve learnt to adopt her laid back approach (note: when possible) in regards to road-rage and stress.

Nan now has an iPhone 5 that I helped her set up and is obsessed with FaceTime (I often get calls on the train or the treadmill), saved a fortune on her car insurance after we shopped around online, is gaining a pretty damn good set of photography skills (yes, she took these pics!) and has learnt how to make stir fry.

More than anything, though, we have discovered a lot about each other. The kind of knowledge that only embeds itself in the minds of those who share the same roof. For example: I didn’t know the extent to which my nan’s past was rooted in Bournemouth – or actually much about her childhood at all. I didn’t realise how many common interests we harbour (we both love a prawn curry, a g&t, and I’m even getting her into Love Island) or that she used to be a nurse.

We’ve slotted in together easier than I ever imagined and just work things around each other without thinking too much into it – something that definitely stems from her relaxed nature. I’m grateful for this experience and the kindness she’s shown in letting me stay whilst still appreciating my own space when I need it, and proud of the bond that we will share and the way my life will be shaped because of this little slice of time together.

I found a book that encourages the recipient to write down fragments of their past that I would just never think to ask, or might be reluctant to, and gave one to each nan for Christmas 2017. While Nan Chris (my roommate) hasn’t made much of a start on hers yet, living with her is kind of like writing that book in a different way.

Nan Doris, who I’m very lucky lives in Wales so I often see her when I return to Brecon, finished hers last year before wrapping it up and presenting it to me for Christmas 2018, which was such a thoughtful and emotional gesture. I was able to read about her past through those pages, which I’m equally grateful for and will treasure forever. It just goes to show how much you can unearth when you take the time and care to dig it up.

Lily x

ph. my Nan!!!

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