Monday, 16 July 2012

Sun, Sand and Sea in Norfolk

We went to the seaside over the weekend.  My parents have a static caravan by the beach in North Norfolk and we had booked it a while ago.  It was tempting to call the whole thing off given the weather here on Friday but I am fed up of the rain putting the mockers on my summer so decided that we would proceed with our mini break and just ensure that we had the right clothes with us in case of rainstorms.

When we picked J up en route on Friday night the rain was coming down in bucket-loads and I was mildly alarmed (but not surprised) to see that he wasn't wearing a coat.  (He's a teenager and I don't think they 'do' coats.)  He was also wearing a pair of brand spanking new - very white - trainers.  I quelled my natural instinct to insist on him grabbing a jacket and a pair of more practical [older, less cool] shoes and thanked the Lord that we had packed a shedload of DVDs in case we were stuck indoors.

Saturday, however, dawned bright and breezy.  I was up ages before Andrew and J so made myself a big mug of coffee and sneaked into the living room, put the little fire on and spent a few hours stitching before the menfolk got up.  It was bliss!  


Andrew was first to surface so we dressed quickly and took the dog for a walk to the bakery to fetch supplies for brunch.  We sat around the caravan watching TV for a while and then drove across to Holt for cake and a poke around some of the antique shops.  I have found a new favourite shop and spent a bit too long lusting after vintage factory baskets (bought two, yay!), vintage-style ribbon and wire bread baskets.  I also found a ladybird book in an antique shop that I had LOVED as a child and completely forgotten about.  Wish I had bought it now, I keep thinking about it:  The Elves and the Shoemaker.  Remember that one?  I loved the little pink boots the elves had made.

When we got back to the caravan it was warm and sunny so we took a long walk along the beach - J and Andrew played catch all the way along the promenade.

Walking along the sea front with my little dog in the sunshine, watching my two best boys running around, laughing and yelling to each other makes me so happy, really properly heart-squeezingly happy.  Such simple pleasures.  Nice to spend the weekend remembering what's important - it's been a bit stressful round here lately.

We rounded up the day with an early dinner at the pub, a quick turn around the little amusement arcade and walked back to the caravan with an ice cream before settling down to watch a film together.

Sunday was more of the same - walks in the sunshine, sewing and reading.  The weather was beautiful so we chose to make the most of it and stay a bit later than we ordinarily would.  It was quiet, relaxed and nice to have some proper quality time together.  


Today has been a different story altogether.  We discovered that our debit card has been cloned and the fraudsters (love that word) have spent £1,500 on gambling websites.  (I am ashamed to admit that I was a teeny bit relieved at the fact it was a genuine fraudster this time.  Andrew phoned me, just a few weeks ago, in a huge panic about a potential fraud on our account where the fraudsters had spent ridiculous amounts of money at Amazon and Space:nk, all in the space of a few days.  Erm, no darling, that was me.  Not popular.)

We will get the money back but not before our holiday on Thursday and I had big plans for that cash, largely involving the French flea markets and haberdasheries.  :-)

Have a good week everyone.  Thanks for popping over here and a big thanks to my new followers for clicking the follow button!  *waves* 

I'm planning a giveaway to celebrate 300 followers so we're getting closer! 



Thursday, 5 July 2012

Joining the Women's Institute

I finally made it to my local WI meeting on Tuesday evening, much to the amusement of my friends and family.   Pah! What do they know - I am so glad I went!  

I'd been meaning to join for ages. We don't have a group in my village so I had the choice of neighbouring villages or the main one in town and I wanted to choose exactly the right one for me.  I didn't fancy the meeting in town.  The group has recently formed and so is a 'new breed' of WI - I wanted to join a traditional group that had been running for decades so I plumped for the village next door.

I went along with a couple of women who are already members - the WI put me in touch with them so that they could be my 'buddies' for the meeting and they gave me a lift.  Isn't that nice?!  I was a bit apprehensive because I didn't know what to expect but I needn't have worried.  There were about 30 women there - all ages but mostly between 40 and 60 I would say.  I was one of the youngest there and, conversely, there were one or two really elderly ladies but age didn't matter - it was super friendly, everyone came over to chat and say hello and we all had things in common.  It made such a nice change from a usual weekday evening.

It was a more formal meeting that I'd expected.  We took our seats and the President gave an opening speech before running through the minutes and a few notices.  Then we had a presentation from a speaker.  They have a different guest speaker each month and this time it was a vet.  He was quite young and good looking and the way that the women responded to him reminded me of a Gilderoy Lockhart book-signing session in Harry Potter! Ha!   There was lots of eyelash fluttering, overly-loud giggling and innuendo.  It was so entertaining; they were such a cheeky, fun-loving bunch.  

The ladies I went with were running the refreshments this time so I helped them out and it was nice to have a reason to chat to people. I'm quite shy in group situations and am right out of my comfort zone mingling and networking.  If you fancy going to your local WI and feel a bit shy I'd recommend offering to help on the tea stall when you're there.  You feel less of a spare part.

So we meet once a month and next month we're going for a little country walk followed by supper at the gorgeous pub in the village.  Partners are invited this time so I went straight home and told Andrew I'd signed him up for a walk with the WI next month.  He took it in good spirits, bless him!  

I had so many reasons for joining the WI, not least because I wanted to get to know my neighbours and become more involved with the local community.  There are loads of activities and charity events that the WI is involved with and I am so excited to be a part of it - I feel like I am doing something worthwhile with my spare time.

As a result of chatting to the women at the WI I've now also found a local yoga class to join (I'm going with a couple of women on Monday night), met someone to teach me how to make a patchwork quilt and been introduced to a school's volunteer group that I have wanted to contact for ages.  I've also found a crafty companion who wants to start a knit (or crochet) and natter group with me at the pub.  Yay! 



Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Home-making, baking and faffing about

Was it really only last week that I was on holiday?   My first day back at work, predictably, was super busy but I managed to get completely up to date and there are now just three emails in my inbox which require attention today.  Smug.

We had taken an extra day off on Friday to finish off our holiday so it was nice to have a long weekend.  Having unpacked and tidied everything away the night before, we were able to spend Friday doing nice things.  We were up early and headed straight for Milton Keynes to run a few errands (returning library books etc) and drove from there to Bedford (with a takeout flat white, natch).  As regular readers will know, Friday is pocket money day (yay!) and I wanted to treat myself to some blooms from my favourite florist.  It's only a small shop but I spend ages in there in admiring the flowers and trinkets.  I chose a selection of country cottage-style flowers and they look beautiful on the dining table.

Of course, we nipped through Primark where I bought yet more pretty tea towels, PJs and a nice cheapy pair of leopard print ballet pumps.  By one o'clock we were safely ensconced in a nearby village pub, tucking into proper scampi and chips and downing large glasses of ice cold white wine. 

We picked up the pooch from my MILs on Friday night - as always, she was super happy to see us and looked pretty as a picture in a little pink bow  having been freshly bathed and trimmed the day before (the pooch, not the MIL).  

J was with us again this weekend and the three of us spent the whole time cosying up in the living room together, reading, watching Harry Potter movies and playing about with our phones/ipads.  We left the house just twice, both times to walk the dog.  If J eats well, sleeps well and gets a bit of fresh air when he comes to stay, I feel I've done my bit as a stepmum!  

It was nice to have time to mooch around the house with nothing very important to do.  As well as buying a proper bunch of flowers in Bedford, I also bought a couple of bunches of sweet williams at the Co-op and filled a few pots and jugs with them around the house.

I love this old marmalade pot I bought for pennies at a local antique centre but it isn't the most water-tight of vessels and I have to use this little vintage saucer/bowl thingy to catch the drips.
I have a teeny obsession with vintage Wee Willy Winkie candle holders

As if that wasn't enough, I came home to find that my sweet peas had positively blossomed and I was greeted by a tangle of colour and fragrance (cue: a happy little jig on the lawn).  Having been reliably informed that they will regrow with gusto if I snip, I (gingerly) chopped the majority off and filled a few vintage bottles with the stems.

There is a little posy of sweet peas on each of our bedside tables, too.

To my mind, there is no better way to bond with your home after a holiday than to fling open the windows, put out some flowers, make fresh coffee and bake a batch of something delicious.  I made plain scones to have with clotted cream and jam after lunch on Sunday:  always a crowd-pleaser and takes just minutes.

I store all of my ingredients in these jars on a shelf in the kitchen.  I think they look lovely, and a little bit 'homespun'! 

On Sunday evening I finally got round to applying floral decals to a couple of glass mugs that I bought ages ago.   I'm chuffed with the result.  I have got a large rose decal to use on a little milking stool that I bought and gave the Annie Sloan treatment to a while ago.  I'll blog that when I've done it, but I know it will look gorge!

So that's how I settled happily back into ordinary everyday life after a delicious week in the sun.  I started work yesterday refreshed, relaxed and raring to go.

Hope you had a nice weekend, too! 




PS - Sorry that I've just reused my Instagram images, I know it's a bit lame.  Sometimes it's just such a palaver to get my big girl camera out and the iphone is sooo easy to take little snaps of my life throughout the day.  I'll try harder next time :-)