Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Teacups and scones

Something rather good has arrived in the village.
It's definitely my sort of thing.
And my parents fully appreciate it too.
Although Mark would rather be playing football, or watching it on the telly.
I'm yet to take Tommy for fear of him breaking some valuables, but I did carry him in once, when Mark and I collected the green leather armchair my mother had purchased.
Yes folks, the antique barn and tearoom is finally open!
And I'm pretty pleased about it.
What a splendid way to spend an afternoon, admiring vintage books and floral tea sets. Then choosing which cake you fancy.
It's a great place for stocking up on presents. Not to mention treating yourself, if in need of some time out and chocolate fudge cake, on rose painted plates.
All within a ten minute walk from our cottage.
Not bad hey.

Here's the bad boy I've been harping on about.

Tearoom now open.

What treasures.

Love that vintage vibe.

This reminded me to stop off at the village shop, for our Saturday night wine bottle.

My dad was mighty impressed to find a book dating back to 1875.

I love a tearoom. Especially one is such sweet setting.

I also love tea and cake. The diet starts in the new year!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Super hero Sunday

With an eager heart, clutching a bottle of wine, used to be the usual procedure for visiting my friend Caron.
Last Sunday I visited her with an eager child, clutching a pot plant.
Oh these days of our lives, how they've changed.
Caron now has two boys, of similar age to Tommy, and he was very excited about visiting them. He also asked repeatedly throughout the hour and a bit car journey, "Are they tall?" and "Do they use a potty?"
Tommy is currently very concerned about being tall, like Spider-Man. We tell him if he eats healthy food he will grow very tall. This concern is actually working well in our favour. He is also curious about who uses a potty and who does't. Unfortunately this is isn't helping him to use one yet, despite Pirate Pete and the potty book, fire engine stickers, and a Mickey Mouse potty, he flatly refuses to use potty. I'm sure we'll get there in the end! Besides, when was the last time you saw an adult wearing a nappy? That's what I keep telling myself...
Anyway, the dinosaur book Caron kindly bought Tommy was a massive hit. This kept the three kids entertained for ages, so I could chat away to Caron, whilst she prepared the shepherds pie and whipped up a sponge cake.
Then Tommy spied the super heroes costumes, in the corner of the playroom. I expect you can imagine which one Tommy wanted to wear.
As three kids crazily ran around the kitchen and lounge, pretending to be super heroes, Caron opened the fridge, pulled out a bottle of wine, and poured me a large glass, with a massive smile.
Arr, not so dissimilar to old times after all.
I happily obliged, you know, for old times sake.
Cheers. Here's to super friends and super heroes.

Dinosaur book was a massive hit.

Silly faces dinner.

Batman and Spider-Man.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Look who's 3

So long, Postman Pat.
Personally, I've rather enjoyed your morals and your almost epic fails with your special delivery service.
It's been fun watching you whilst also watching Tommy come to terms with feeding himself and grasping sentences more elaborate than, "Car! Car!"
Thanks Pat, for easing us into many a tired morning, with your cute animation and pleasant story.
And my goodness, what a year it's been for achievements.
You've got yourself a helicopter (I won't reveal this to my postman for fear of belittling his career progression), and Tommy has spent many a happy hour, at park, riding his tricycle.
There's been lost sheep whilst glitter painting, a poorly horse whilst shop keeping. Oh the fun we've had to the Postman Pat theme tune.
Not least the very important matter of Tommy slowly turning into a three year old.
Among your forgotten parcels a little boy was remembering so much.
His mummy and daddy watched with awe his inquisitive and affectionate nature.
Mighty proud of his excited chatter and his silly faces, wrapped up in his learning and wonder, we almost didn't see him replacing the orange haired postman with the red and blue Spider-Man.
But he still likes fire engines, long may that continue - he has a fire engine bed and quite a few toy ones, so quite frankly, it has to stay for a bit.

Mark and I booked the Friday off work and took Tommy to the (halloween) open day at our local fire museum. Lots of red engines.

Tommy liked this one.

Fire helmets.

Fire equipment. Tommy screamed with delight when he saw the cobwebs from Spider-Man.

Through the years.

Then to the soft play area at local garden centre, followed by lunch in a blue bear bag.

We made cakes the day before the Spider-Man party. Think Tommy ate most of the decorations.

Saturday night, on our way to pre-birthday night meal. In case you had forgotten, Tommy and I share the same birthday. (I often forget it's mine too.)

Wine glass of crayons. What more could an almost three year old wish for?

The night before. Mark and I always decorate the house and spend ages blowing up balloons.

Opening pressies. Note the Spider-Man wrapping paper and costume.

Party food for the Spider-Man party.

Cake time.

Finally got him to look at the camera. It's easier said than done.

Making a wish - with nanny and pappa. May all your dreams come true, Tommy darling. Happy third birthday, you rock our little world.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Games Master has spoken

I think it's time for a little game.
Care to join me?
I sincerely hope that you don't object to my presumptuous, yes.
Okay, imagine if you will, that I am your Games Master.
For the benefit of those who don't know what a Games Master is - I am your friendly, game show host, dressed head to toe in pink and gold sequins. (It's my blog, my imagination, my colour scheme. Let's at least give it a try.)

So, my first question I would like to throw at you is:

On a Friday, how would you rather spend the day?
a) In the office, up to your eyeballs in deadlines and paperwork.
b) At home, cleaning the toilet and clearing hairs from the bath plug hole.
c) Visiting a Jacobean Manor House, with romantic setting consisting of tumbling waterfalls and enchanting walks.

By the way, answers to be given at the end of this quiz, please.

For my next question:

Confirm the ingredients of an ideal meal.
a) Nothing, eating is cheating and for wimps.
b) Watching other people eat, and then helping yourself to any leftovers.
c) A luxurious three course meal, within a grand room, accompanied by candles and roses.

In your opinion, what does a perfect day entail?
a) Spending the entire day stressed and anxious about a never ending work load.
b) At home, in bed, suffering from flu symptoms.
c) Surrounded by your loved ones from near and far.

At the end of an evening, which is the best situation?
a) Passing out from exhaustion, on your desk.
b) Sleeping on a park bench, with only the heavy rain to keep you company.
c) After dancing to Wham! and drinking champagne, you walk across a cobbled courtyard with husband and child, leading to cute room to spend the night.

Okay, now it is time to reveal all!

If you answered mainly a's - you really need to stop working so hard, right now, sit down and chill out.
For mainly b's, erm, how could I put this politely, you are prone to bouts of weirdness.
And if your answers lent towards all c's, you too would love Fanham Hall, Hertforshire, for a family wedding. Good choice, my friend.

The bride and her father.

Tommy and the bridesmaids.


Lawn games.

Building a house for Spider-Man.

The three of us, in our best clothes.

The bridesmaid who seemed to like Tommy but he was more interested in Spider-Man.

More ketchup!


Cutting the cake.

Thank you Fanham Hall, and dear family, for a smashing day and evening.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Wine Library

The dusty amber lantern, shines for those who have lost their way.
A winding rusty staircase, trails off into the underground hemisphere.
Daring you to enter its unknown world, sits the sinister black door.
The weathered creaking sign, mocks those who question its origin.
Yes I've often walked past The Wine Library with a sense of curiosity, wonder, and twisted imagination.
It's on route on my daily commute to the office, situated by Fenchurch Street Station, and a short walk from the underground station.
Many a time I have thought it would not look out of place in its own novel.
For years now I have pondered over its hidden contents.
Until one dreary day I texted my friend: Shall we go to the Wine Library?
To which my friend's immediate response was: That's a cracking good plan.
Bring forth the arrangements and pretend cheese names!
Allow me to explain, we googled said place and were informed good cheese accompanies the fine wine. So we thought it best upon table booking to provide the names of Mr Wesley Dale and Mrs E Dam from Cheddar.(Except we then decided it might be inappropriate but it made us laugh anyway.)
Henceforth a merry night of stinky cheese and well-balanced wine.
A night where I discovered the Wine Library does not contain one single book or creepy dwelling.
It's a charming little place, with cosy atmosphere, and as one would suspect, rows of wine to tempt you.
It was also a nice break from normality. For as much as I love bedtime stories with Tommy, the world will not stop revolving if for one night daddy steps in.
And at last, my curiosity for the Wine Library was dead.

Enjoyable night spent here.

Probably the only book was the one for the bookings.

Lots of wine!

Wine and cheese. Great combination. I think it will catch on.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

When Animal Aid came to the village

When a large portion of the world strutted around in platform shoes, flared trousers and gigantic collars, Animal Aid was founded. The year was 1977.
It's now UK's largest animal rights group and one of the longest established in the world.
They campaign peacefully against all forms of animal abuse and promote cruelty-free living. They investigate and expose animal cruelty, and their undercover investigations and other evidence are often used by the media, bringing these issues to public attention.
It's an extremely worthy cause, wouldn't you agree.
Recently my home village raised money for Animal Aid. On the cricket green was a huge inflatable chicken slide, next to a stage of musicians, various stalls and rides. And the cricketer's clubhouse served food and drink.
Despite the sky threatening to rain all day (it didn't), myself, Mark, Tommy, friends and neighbours had a whole heap of fun.
I was too chicken to climb the chicken slide, but Mark, Tommy and my god daughter Faith were clucking to go on it. (Sorry about the bad jokes.) The inflatable house was a success, as was the merry-go-round and strongest man. All washed down with cider (but absolutely not for the kids), ice-creams and burgers (absolutely for the kids and adults). I even had a little jig about to the the bands (I blame that on the cider).
There were police dogs jumping on slides and running through tunnels and lots of cool animal stuff.
Erm, I actually forgot to take any picture of the animals, but the most important thing is, I bought a bunch of raffle tickets and enough cakes, with all proceeds to Animal Aid.
Every year I donate some money to charity, looks like Animal Aid are next in line.
Let's face it, anyone who can find a giant inflatable chicken and erect it opposite my house, gets my vote.*
*Not forgetting all the incredible work they do for animals.

Here it is...

The ice-cream van, popular with children and adults.

Tommy loved the mini police car.

Mummy loved the music.

The inflatable house was a big hit. Pity I was too big for it.

Spider-Man on his arm!

Showing Faith his Spider-Man arm.

Spider webbing us!

It was great to also spend some time with my friend.