Sunday, 29 August 2010

Holiday Highlihts of Cornwall

Hello, we are back safe and sound from our holiday in Cornwall. We have had a fantastic week, even if the weather was a bit iffy at times.

We had one real wet day (Wednesday), warm and cloudy days, two sunny days and one very foggy day (Saturday when we arrived), so not bad for August!

The cottage we stayed in was lovely, four large bedrooms, an Aga and lots of antiques, so right up my street. We did seem to have a problem with hornets though. We had about 20 hornets in our bedroom over the course of the week. There was obviously a nest somewhere and they were getting into our room but as much as we looked we just couldn't find where they were coming in. They were huge, I didn't realise just how big a hornet is.

I managed to crochet lots, my blue blanket is growing rapidly. I would guess its about two thirds done, excluding the border and edge.

One of the unexpected high lights of the holiday for me was the food. Yes I know I am supposed to be on a "diet" of sorts, but it was a holiday! The improvement in the food served in pubs and restaurants was spectacular. We last visited Cornwall 8 years ago and to be honest we struggled to find family friendly restaurants that sold decent food. My how things have changed, the standard of food was excellent. Most of the pubs and restaurants serve locally sourced food, with an excellent selection of local fish & meat. We dined like kings all week! I did try to be healthy and only had two ice creams and only one scone with jam and clotted cream all week.

We visited the beautiful Lost Gardens of Heligan, The Eden Project, Boscastle and Tintagel, Looe, Polperro, St Ives, Padstow (we queued up and had Rick Stein take away fish and chips over looking the harbour, they were the best fish and chips I think I have ever had), Mevagissey, Fowey. We travelled 1000 miles over the course of the week and I think I can safely say a very good time was had by all.

The little ones were on the whole very well behaved. We did have an incident where Alex lost his new flip flop over the harbour wall. You would not believe the lengths we went to to fish it out, we enrolled the help of four small boys with a couple of fishing rods. Unfortunately they managed to knock their bucket and fishing knife into the harbour whilst trying to rescue said flip flop. We gave them some money to buy another bucket and a couple of quid each as a thank you. Father in-law was very concerned over the loss of their pen knife and promptly gave them £35 to go and buy another!! I bet those boys could not believe their luck. They said the knife was £35 and they looked fairly honest but even so I think father in-law lost his mind for a second when he handed over the cash to four 10 year old boys.

Do you want me to bore you with some holiday pics? Are you sure, well here goes then.

Did you spot the two little heads poking out from the sand? Why do dads always feel the need to bury the children?

The pics above were all taken at the Eden project. They had some great activities on for children. One was den building. They had piles of bamboo canes, rope, tarpaulin and the like and the task was to build yourself a shelter/den. We all had fun making our stripey den. The tropical biomme was very impressive, unfortunately the camera started to steam up in their due to the humidity.

The lost gardens of Heligan were impressive, the lost valley and the jungle particularly so. Mr P who is very into jungle plants was in his element here.

This is what we did when the heavens opened on the Wednesday. We headed into Looe and booked a table at Paint a Pot. We spent a couple of hours happily being creative and making our bits and bobs. I painted a "Tea Time" mug, Alex, with the help of Mr P painted a money box and mug and Daisy painted a tea pot and Pepe a new cat food bowl. The colours dry out really pale and it's not until they are glazed and fired that the true colours come through. We called back in on Saturday morning to pick up our goodies.
Before we knew it the week was over and we packed up and headed home. We did stop for several hours at Buckfastleigh and the South Devon steam Railway. We had a lovely ride on a steam train, enjoyed a tasty lunch before finally heading home.
Today I spent the best part of 4 hours ironing! That's the reality of coming home from hols I suppose.
We are off to Stoner craft fair tomorrow, it has sort of become a bank holiday tradition. We are going with the in-laws, but unfortunately and unexpectedly Mr P has to work. That's one of the downsides of owning your own business I guess,
The little ones are back at school on Thursday. I think we are organised apart from a bit of last minute name tag marking.
Next weekend is Daisy's 10th birthday party, so another busy week in store I'm guessing. I have to organise a vintage tea party and games for 12 girls- yikes!
Till next time.

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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Walking, Weight Loss and Chocolate Cake!

Hello, are we all well? All is well here in Bucks. Still enjoying the holidays and making the most of the freedom it brings.

We have had a much quieter week so far, we did manage a swim yesterday and have a picnic planned for tomorrow but that's it. I should be sorting out for our holiday next week but as usual I will leave it all to the last minute. I definitely work better under pressure!

I am really looking forward to our week away, just a bit cheesed off that the weather forecast is looking rather damp. This will be the third year in a row that the weather has been rubbish for our holiday in the UK, if the weather forecast is to be believed. I am trying not to get fed up about it, lets face it you can't do a single thing about it - apart from moan.

I have decided to finally do something about my expanding waist line and have embarked on a get less fat and more fit campaign. I have never in all my life been this lardy and am fed up of feeling like a porker. So for the last three mornings I have been up with the lark and out for my 25 minutes of power walking (well a brisk walk is more of an accurate description). I even invested in a pair of new trainers. My thighs and calf muscles are all ready feeling the affects! I just hope that I can stick with it and eat a bit more sensibly and hopefully the weight will start to drop off bit by bit. I am going to a ball in October so I would like to have lost a few pounds by then. I am trying not to view this as a diet as whenever I go on a diet I feel starving and just want to eat all of the time.

I am planning on making a cake today though. I watched the Great British bake off programme on BBC2 yesterday evening and really fancy baking a chocolate cake. I could allow myself a very small piece and let Mr P and the little ones devour the rest. I am planning on making a Nigella chocolate cake, fingers crossed it goes to plan.

I have been making bread this week too, well the bread maker has. I realised I haven't used it for ages, so I dusted it off and have made a white loaf, which Daisy loves and a more healthy granary loaf which I plan on having toasted for breakfast today (not the whole loaf I hasten to add, just a slice or two!).

I have been very naughty this week and gone and ordered some more yarn. This time it was the yarn bundle that was used by Lucy at Attic 24 to crochet her granny stripe blanket. It was a bargain price of £23 I think, so much much cheaper than the Debbie Bliss and Rowan yarns I have been using. So, it looks like my next project is already lined up. I am hoping to get lots of crocheting done next week on holiday in the evenings. Alex's blue blanket is coming along slowly but surely, I seem to manage a few rows every day.

Reading has taken a bit of a back seat recently, so I am making a conscious effort to read a bit before I turn out the light each evening. For anyone remotely interested I am reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, which has started well and has been really easy to get in to. I loved the Time Travellers Wife so I have high hopes for this book.

Well I suppose I had better get my lazy bum out of bed. Having been out for my power walk it is a real luxury to jump back in to bed with my first cup of tea of the day and either do a bit of crocheting or catch up with blogland. Alex and Daisy normally come in for a bit of early morning trash TV watching. Poor old Mr P is the only one who has to leave for work and miss out on the relaxed start to the day. Hopefully next week we can all enjoy our holiday and have a nice time together as a family. The in-laws are also coming along which is fine, they are very easy company, even if their odd ways do start to bug me a bit my the end of the week.

I haven't taken any pictures this week, so I will leave you with a picture of my two looking sweet, loving and happy together. I am hoping for plenty of this next week with no bickering, arguing or generally trying to kill each other! Please cross your fingers and all wish me good weather and good children next week.

See you all after our jollies. Till next time.



Friday, 13 August 2010

A Palace and a Perfect Picnic

Hello, how are we all, good I hope?. Another week vanishes and what a busy one it's been. We have been on day trips and picnics and generally made the most of the free time. September is just around the corner so it won't be long before we are all back to the grind and ties of school life.

The week started off well, we went on our day trip up to London for our visit to Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews. We were up with the lark, well before 8am, met the in-laws and caught the train up to London. It was a very busy train and we had to stand all of the way. Good job it was a fast train and only took just over half an hour. A brisk walk down Baker Street to the underground and then just a couple of stops to Green Park. We walked through the park in the glorious sunshine, the kids just had to stop and have a quick sit in the deck chairs before we hit the Mall and Buckingham Palace.

We hit the mad rush to see the changing of the guard. There were literally thousands of tourist waiting to catch the smallest of glimpses of the marching soldiers. I felt like telling them to go to Windsor Castle and watch it. You can see the changing of the guard in relative peace and quite and you can normally get a great view of the actual change over ceremony.
Once we had made our way through the masses we headed down past Buckingham Palace and out towards the Royal Mews. It was really peaceful there and not overly busy. We all enjoyed seeing the various carriages that were on display, all of them gleaming and very polished.
I can't remember what each carriage was called, one was the Australian carriage, given as a gift to the Queen on a visit to Oz. This ones name escapes me. I must admit I'm not terribly good at reading all the blurb on exhibits.
This was the one used by Lady Diana and Prince Charles on their wedding day. I remember the Royal Wedding so well, I was sat in front of the TV literally glued to it, I didn't want to miss a thing. I would have been about 12 I think and was totally taken in by the whole of the Royal Wedding, it really seemed like a fairy tale to me. I even made a royal wedding scrap book of newspaper and magazine cuttings.

We stayed in the Royal Mews for about 45 minutes, looking at the carriages, cars and horses and then headed over the road for a spot of lunch in a cafe before heading back down to Buckingham Palace and our tour of the state rooms. Unfortunately there were no cameras allowed in the palace, well not photo taking. So you will have to make do with a few images from the outside.

Inside the Palace was absolutely beautiful. The rooms were all so lavish and the attention to detail fantastic. The ceilings in particular were wonderfully ornate. We had a bit of a problem inside the Palace, as Alex decided he needed the loo. The toilets are situated right at the end of the tour and are only accessible once you have finished looking around. This takes about two hours! We had to ask one of the wardens if there was a loo that he could use. After a long wait we were escorted to this very hidden almost secret little toilet and then escorted back to the Grand Staircase and the start of the tour. Alex wanted to know if he had used the Queen's actual toilet! The hand basins were very posh and did have some very lovely smelling Molton Brown liquid soap and hand cream though!
A big part of the tour was the exhibition of the Queen's year. There was a collection of her hats worn at Ascot and Chelsea flower show. A few of her dresses and coats were also on display. A huge collection of cards she had received for her birthday were also on display. The exhibition really did highlight how hard the Queen works throughout the year.
I also didn't realise just how attractive the Queen was in her younger days. She really was a very slim and attractive lady.
After the tour we headed outside into the gardens and had tea and posh cake in the marquee set up especially for the period when the palace is open to the public. It was all very civilised and our visit was finished off with a look in the gift shop and a couple of small souvenirs.

Here's Alex and Daisy sitting on the fountain outside the Palace.

Tuesday's outing was a rather wet visit to Legoland in Windsor. We had a great day out with our friends even though we got absolutely soaking wet. I managed to avoid all of the scary rides and the little ones had such fun going on all of the rides with their friends. I wish I had their nerve, none of the rides phased them at all.
Wednesday was spent at home, and then Daisy and I went off to a friends birthday party. It was a pyjama pamper party. All the little girls had face masks, nails painted and hairs put into rags. I helped out with the nail painting and face masks. The girls had a ball, they loved all the beauty treatments and especially loved the party games we played after tea. Daisy's short hair had curled like crazy when we took the rags out the next morning.
Thursday was spent on a perfect picnic with our friends. We went to Cliveden house and spent about four hours in the water garden there. The kids went off and played adventure games whilst we sat and drank tea, crocheted and chatted to our hearts content. They came back for lunch and off they went again. There was very little whinging or demanding it really was the perfect picnic.
I have felt knackered today, I am blaming it on the busy week, so we have done very little apart from a visit to the in-laws. Alex has begged a sleep over with Mr P, he reckons I snore too much! Which is like the pot calling the kettle black as I can hear both Mr P and Alex snoring right now and I am sat downstairs!!
So this is where I'm sleeping tonight... Alex room, finally a picture of his finished bedroom.

Here is a quick progress picture of my blue blanket currently being made for Alex's bed, I have a long way to go me thinks! I have decided to do a granny stripe to which I will add a border and picot edging.

Enjoy your weekend and lets just hope its not too wet where ever you are. I will leave you with a picture of Alex taken earlier today. We needed a photo for his Blue Peter badge pass which gets him into lots of parks and attraction free of charge. Its only a tiny head shot needed so we chopped his head out of this picture for the card!

Till next time.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

A day at the Zoo and a blanket reveal

Hello, I hope you are having a pleasant weekend. It's a shame the weather has turned a bit wet, where has the Summer gone?

We went with some friends to the Whipsnade Zoo on Tuesday and had a really pleasant day. The weather was perfect for walking around the zoo, the only fly in the ointment so to speak were the pesky wasps, that seemed to plague us all day. I really can't see the point of wasps, they are just a pest in my opinion. I know they eat aphids but so do ladybirds and they don't annoy or sting. Anyway, wasp rant out of the way, do you want to see some pics of the rather lovely animals?

A ring tailed Lemur walking the tightrope.

Some very pink flamingos. They were such a beautiful deep coral colour

My favourites, the elephants having their morning walk about around the zoo, nose to tail, so very sweet to watch. We saw the elephant show in the afternoon too, which was good fun to watch.

The meercats were rather amusing too. They are so busy keeping watch, squabbling and playing around. He reminded me of the compare the meercats fella - simples!

The penguins were very stinky little fellas.

The brown bears were prowling around, it was getting near to their lunch time when we saw them, so they were very active.

Whipsnade is well worth a visit. It is a really roomy zoo with loads of space for the animals. It is a tiring day out with lots of walking.
Anyway, moving on to my blanket reveal. I can't believe I actually have a couple of finished crochet projects to reveal. Three months ago I couldn't even crochet so it just goes to prove that we can all learn a new skill even at the ripe old age of 41!
First reveal - my ripple scarf, made as a practise for the ripple pattern and then turned into a scarf for Daisy.
I also crocheted the little flower on the bottom of the scarf. I treated myself to some Debbie Bliss cashmerino DK in 10 delicious colours. It was a dream to work with and I am really pleased with the result. Not bad for a first attempt at the ripple.

With the fuchsia pink, rose pink, cream, purple and beige pink that I had left over, I decided to crochet a giant granny square and see how far I got. Well this is how far I got (after a stock up on the colours) a girly blanket for Daisy.

Spread out in all its glory.

A close up of the colours (sorry not a good photo - taken in the evening). Do you like my edging?

The edging, ripple pattern and the flower are all courtesy of Lucy at Attic24 whose tutorials are second to none. Thank you Lucy, your tutorials have helped me learn so much about crochet.
The next project is to finish off my granny square blanket, I have about 30 squares finished so far.
I also splashed out today in John Lewis on this lovely lot.

What is going to be I hear you ask. Well Alex is making big noises that he should have his own blanket, only in blues and creams mind you. I did persuade him to allow me to include a really lovely deep dark purple. So that will be my next project I think, the pressure will be on! Granny blanket for the sofa will just have to wait.
For anyone who is remotely interested the yarn is a Rowan pure wool DK. Never crocheted with pure wool before so it will be interesting to see how it feels. The woman in John Lewis who helped me choose the wool was a Rowan rep who works in John Lewis most of the time. She had the most fantastic hand knitted sweater on in the most gorgeous soft heather colour. I was truly jealous of it and also of her skills as a knitter.
Enjoy whats left of the weekend.
Till next time.