Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Are we going to the pub?

Tommy opened his bright blue eyes and smiled at me.
"Is it the weekend?" he enquired.
"Yes it is!" I replied triumphantly.
"Are we going to the pub?"
And that is how our day begun.
Now, it is not usual practice for our day (or weekend) to begin in such fashion. Contrary to what you may think from reading this post, we do not spend the majority of our waking hours at the pub.
It was Mark's birthday weekend and his chosen destination to celebrate was - our local pub.
As pubs go, it's a nice one. It dates back to 500 years and is brimming with history and character. It has a pretty garden, with fish pond, waterfall, veranda and outside bar.
We often pass the pub, it's on route to my parent's house and Tommy's nursery. And a few days before Mark's birthday weekend, I informed Tommy, several times,"We're going to that pub and garden, at the weekend, for daddy's birthday."
Hence, the recollection on this particular Saturday morning.
So off we set.
We closed the door to the cottage, crossed the road, passed the petrol station, then walked across the cricket green. We turned left at the end of the cricket green, and there sits the The Green Man.
Tommy was over joyed when he knew friends would be joining us in the garden.
Plus we'd promised him chips with tomato sauce.

If you need us, we'll be at the pub, with the sun peeking through.


Pub grub, you can't beat it. Especially at our local.


The pub has a very pretty garden and veranda.


Mark's friends from near and far visited with their kids, so Tommy had play mates. Hannah lives around the corner to us, and her mummy and I were pregnant at the same time, comparing bumps. Then we were new mummys together, comparing worries! Love seeing Tommy and Hannah playing together.



The fish pond.


There's always one who won't look at the camera, it's usually always Tommy!


Hoodies.


After lots of running around it was time to do colouring in.


And playing with toy cars.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Grandpa in my pocket

I haven't really got an actual grandpa in my actual pocket.
That would be slightly mad.
Although it would be quite handy for baby sitting duties, as long as I didn't squash him and could turn him full size fairly easily.
Anyway, Mark and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary in the exact place where Grandpa in my pocket was filmed. We know this program because it's something Tommy sometimes watches. Therefore, he was rather excited when we told him we would be visiting the lighthouse and beach huts which feature in the show.
Mummy was rather excited too, to be perfectly honest.

Here it is! The lighthouse. In Southwold, Suffolk.


The beach and pier.


Some groovy shops and restaurants are situated along the pier.


Tommy loved driving this car.


We had lunch with lego.


Then asked the nice lady for an ice-cream with a flake.


A stroll along the beach. It usually ends up with daddy's shoulders.



A spot of shopping. My kind of shop.


Before we headed to our hotel for the night.


Tommy exploring the hotel. It was very grand.


Slightly bigger than our bedroom at home.


I have never stayed in a room with it's own telly room, have you?


Playing with his new sticker book.


I always carry toy cars in my bag. You never quite know when you'll need them.


Next we dined here. Delicious Sea bass and chips.


Then it was back to the hotel. Wine and X Factor for us, bed time story and Tigger for Tommy.


The next day, after a delicious breakfast, we browsed around the market.


We headed back to the beach. Tommy made a friend called Harry. When I asked him what they talked about, he replied, "Windows." The mind boggles.



We finished with fish and chips on the pier.


Happy fourth wedding anniversary to us. We had a blast. Still love him to bits.


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Strawberry Fields Forever

I have decided there are certain things in this life which should be repeated each year.
Bearing this in mind, I have complied an informative list. Do you care to be enlightened by this list?
I will assume the answer is yes and detail my wishes below:

1. We (which refers to Mark, myself and Tommy) must always visit the seaside.
2. It's important we venture somewhere we have never been before.
3. Even though Mark doesn't like picnics, I will use my picnic basket and do so. Picnics must be encouraged as should the great big outdoors.
4. We should always celebrate our wedding anniversary, preferably in charming destination and hotel.
5. We will enjoy the amazing Father Christmas grotto at local garden centre. Well, whilst Tommy is young enough to believe in magic.
6. We must always believe in some kind of magic.
7. And pick fruit at a local farm.

I'm sure there are many other things which should be experienced each year, but I'll start with the above, thanks all the same.
Please allow me to focus on the last, most recent addition to the list - and pick fruit at a local farm.
Many moonlights ago, when I was a little girl, I frequently picked strawberries at our local farm. Sometimes with my mum, dad and brother, other times with my cousins and aunts, followed by trips with friends. I would often participate in such activities as who could pick the largest/most. Then we would go home and make all sorts of delightful things with our treasures.
One year, too young to know any better, myself and a friend held our own private competition, who could eat the most. I won, much to my delight, which soon turned to horror. The strawberries should have been washed first (not to mention paid for, I know, shocking irresponsible behaviour!) as I realised after experiencing the worst tummy pains ever.
This year, I visited a farm with Mark and Tommy, a short drive from our cottage. I'd seen signs for, and seen pictures of, but was yet to indulge.
I was not disappointed. What a fabulous place. They'd thought of everything - a shop selling locally sourced produce, a tea room tempting us with homemade goodies, a children's play area, and field of seasonal fruit and vegetables, all waiting for our eager hands.
Plus, it boasted it's very own field of sunflowers.
Have I ever told you how much I adore sunflowers?
To say I loved this place was an understatement.


Thoroughly recommended, big time.


Strawberry Fields Forever.


Farm shop.


Tea room.


Play area.


A real tractor, made his day.


Sunflower field, made my day.


Strawberry picking.


These look nice.


Searching for onions.


This way!


Found some!


Back at home, making smoothies and ice-lollies.


We're planning our next trip already, this time - blackberries, blueberries and pumpkins, we're coming to get you!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

I Capture the Castle

So I've joined a book exchange, as advertised on Facebook.
Basically, I am hoping to be inundated with favourite books from keen readers. In exchange, I send my favourite book to one person, from a hopefully long list of eager bookworms.
What a great idea, I thought. Until I sat down and wondered what my favourite book is. There are so many wonderful chapters in this world, how could I possibly pick a best one?
It could be compared to asking a mother to admit her favourite child. Or a George Michael fan to choose their favourite song.
My mum has firmly said many a time, you can love your children differently but always equally. As I have always said, I couldn't possibly pick one George Michael song over another.
And what makes a good book? One you can't stop thinking about and influences your life, I think.
Of course we are all looking for different things - escapism, entertainment and knowledge. To name just a few. Which is why it's tricky to choose a book for another, someone who could have completely different taste.
I've read my fair share of dark stories, some from the deepest, darkest part of Stephen King's imagination. I've read true accounts of rock stars and drug addicts and tales of the supernatural. I've also read classic adventures of love and drama.
Harry Potter and Mary Poppins are ones I have visited on many occasions, in awe of childhood fantasy and mayhem.
Yes I am quite diverse with my reading material.
I settled on, I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith. The author of The Hundred and One Dalmations, but perhaps a lesser known one which hopefully my receiver has not read before. Plus, I realised my receiver was the step daughter of an old friend, a girl I have known for a very long time and do not wish to scare with my, sometimes, strange taste in books.
I Capture the Castle, a quirky, innocent, charismatic journey which begins, "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."
How could you not love a book which begins in this way?
Well that's what I thought anyway.
I hope she likes it.
I'm looking forward to receiving warmhearted and life changing books in exchange.
Happy reading to you all.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Hello again Clacton Pier

As I looked up at the huge yellow letters against the bright blue sky, nostalgia flooded through me.
I calculated it was approximately thirty four years since I'd last seen this stretch of the Essex coast.
A young girl, with long brown hair and freckles, and a fascination with roller coasters. Running around screaming in anticipation, impatiently queuing for pink candyfloss.
That was me.
Fast forward, quite a few years, now with husband and child.
Not so young girl, with long bleached hair, fine lines replace freckles, petrified of roller coasters. Running around fretting after my boy, impatiently queuing for kiddies buses.
That's me now.
Wow, so much has changed since those innocent, Clacton Pier, carefree days.
I've changed, my family has changed, the world has changed.
Some things have been marvelous, other things not so.
But it's inevitable, isn't it. Time proves nothing ever stays the same, yet sometimes it definitely remains still.
I couldn't help reminiscing, and smiling, as I ordered ice-creams for the beach, bank holiday weekend 2016.
Strawberry and vanilla, dripping, with chocolate flake and soggy wafer.
Sun streaming through the broken clouds, fine sand in between our delicate toes.
Dipping leather sandals in the frothy sea, collecting pebbles on our way.
Laughing, enjoying, being.
Love our life.
And let's not forget the nostalgia. Because I think it's here to stay.

Back again!


All the fun of the fair


I recognise that bus driver.


There he is again, driving to London this time.


Nice walk along the pier.


Aquarium. Tommy was very excited looking at the fish.




Back to the beach.


Fascinated with the sand and pebbles.


Me and my shadow.


Collecting pebbles to make pretty pictures.


Love this boy.


Sort of smiling at the camera. He is definitely not one for posing, when I point a camera at him he usually runs away or looks away!


Beach bar, Bottled water for three please.


Nice back drop.


Maybe see you in another thirty four years, Clacton Pier?!
Now there's a thought.