Thursday, 18 June 2015


On Saturday I went for a day out with my friend to Cliveden. I used to live near here so have been before but it was quite a long time ago; pre-children in fact. I'd forgotten how lovely it is: beautiful gardens, a maze to explore, several handy cafes and the river Thames nearby. The weather wasn't brilliant, there was the odd bit of drizzle, but it picked up as the day progressed and we had a fantastic time. This was the only Saturday that I could make this month - the rest being taken up by Uni open days for E. It was by happy chance, therefore, that we happened to be there to see the Royal Barge, Gloriana, arrive as part of a river relay to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. It felt rather fitting as the last time S and I met up was a few months ago in Salisbury, where we saw one of the original copies of the MC in the cathedral. Anyway, here are a few photos of our day out:
I feel as if we cheated rather in here - we did the trick where you keep one hand on the left hand side of the hedge as you enter the maze (or the right, I don't think it matters as long as you pick a side and stick to it) and it leads you safely through. Well it was nearing lunch time and we didn't want to get lost!
 We watched this rather tame heron catching fish in the water gardens:

 Saw wacky topiary in the long garden:
 ... and admired the rose garden. It was beautiful but there were so many buds that I think we were a week too early to see it in its full glory:

 Here she is - Gloriana - commissioned as a tribute to Elizabeth II to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee:
  We ended the day with tea in a little cafe and I bought a fuchsia to bring home as a memento:
It was such a lovely place to meet that I thought I might join the National Trust so we can meet up and visit other properties. I had hoped to be able to use Tesco vouchers but you can only use those to join English Heritage, so I think I'll just have to pay up. Well worth it though.

Other happies this week:
Enjoying E's Dorset ripple:
 Trying out a no knead bread recipe - it turns out there's a reason you have to knead dough; it was rather heavy!
 Finally realizing that I could hang my tea towel on the oven door rather than the radiator. I'm quite enjoying the little pop of colour. As they say, it's the little things!
My new candle:
Rhubarb and Ginger Jam using the recipe from the B&B owner. It is nice but I think I'd use a little less sugar next time.
My new Perle embroidery threads and a few buttons:
Finally, finishing my Winter primitive embroidery to go with the Spring one found in this post. Yes, I know I'm not exactly doing them in seasonal order! Also, the robin is a bit disproportionate but Hey Ho.
That's it for this week. After trying to find something to wear for L's graduation and seeing myself in the unforgiving glare and full length mirror of the changing rooms, I have decided to give the 5:2 diet a go! I've never had to lose weight before but the evidence of middle age spread was there for all to see. I'll let you know how it goes; at the moment it's not looking hopeful. I ate my porridge with WATER (not my usual milk and maple syrup) at 6:30 this morning - it's now 9:30 and I'm ravenous!
Enjoy the rest of the week.
Toodle Pip for now. xx

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Two Go Mad in Dorset!

Hello there! Well, we're back from our few days away in beautiful Dorset and we had the most FANTASTIC time! The weather was really kind to us, the B&B was delightful, the beaches were walked, picnicked, crocheted, chess played and fossil hunted on, cream teas were enjoyed and dogs (well, a dog) were walked. E was just the best company and she didn't even pick up a book, let alone read one, for our entire trip - we did, however, listen to a Sherlock Holmes CD in the car on the way - does that count? 
Anyway, here are a few photos of our little jaunt, just because:
Breathe deeply, can you smell it?
 I managed a few rows of my Coastal Ripple on various beaches. I think I may give this one to E to take to uni (grades permitting!) and as a reminder of our lovely break.
 Magnetic chess and, just in case you're wondering, she thrashed me!
 At times I felt like we were in Broadchurch! This was West Bay:
.... and Eype:

One of E's highlights was a chip supper overlooking West Bay harbour where the seagulls, crows and starlings were so tame that you could hand feed them:

This is where we stayed:
Our room:
 The view from our room:
The dining room where we had the BEST omelettes - apparently THE way to make them is on an AGA - just pour the eggy mixture onto a silicone mat, close the lid for 2 minutes and Ta-dah! No frying, just a perfect omelette to fill and fold as you wish. 
 Cilla the B&B cat - E was quite taken with her as she was so friendly and purry:
... and the star of the show - Meryck, the B&B dog. When we saw on the room info that we could ask Meryck to take us for a walk, it immediately went on our 'to do' list.
Believe it or not, that dog will indeed take you on a walk around the B&B's 14 acres. He walks in front, standing still and barking if you lag too far behind or wander off his chosen route. He stands by gates and stares alternately at them and you until you take the hint and open them. He encourages you along the path surrounding the lake by doggy paddling in the water next to you, before finally leading you back to the farm house. He was such an intelligent dog and E was utterly smitten.
The lake was beautiful with swans, 6 cygnets and benches set at various intervals around the edge where you could rest awhile before Meryck urged you on!

The Art Garden Cafe in Bridport:

The Girl's Own Store where, along with a yarn shop, a few purchases were made - more of those another time.
Beautiful beach huts at Charmouth:

  Hot chocolate at Eype with E and her braces photo bombing!:
 We sat with these ladies for a time at Burton Bradstock before going for a walk along the beach to breathe in more of that gorgeous sea air:

And that's it! Phew, quite a photo heavy post - I hope you didn't get too bored, I just wanted to record our lovely, relaxing hiatus between exams and starting A2s. E is now back at school and I'm just off to make some rhubarb and ginger jam with the recipe given to me by the owner of the B&B - I'll let you know how it turns out. Have a wonderful week.
Toodle Pip for now. x