Sunday, 28 February 2016

Exploring Lincolnshire...

Ah, a week off.... Well, a relative week off anyway - time off school is rarely a holiday for parents! As I type this, I'm working again, he's back to school, and I'm completely knackered. Anyway... Daddy was working over half term so I took the little man to spend the week with his grandparents in Lincolnshire.

Finds from a mini nature walk in Grandma and Grandad's garden

As you would expect, we're there fairly regularly, and I spent my teens living there, but here's a little rundown of what we did on this occasion and some outings I'd recommend. 

Lincoln Castle

The castle has had a pretty significant revamp in recent years and reopened with a fanfare last spring. This was my first visit in a very long time (I think the last time was when I crossed the finishing line of the Lincoln 10k about 10 years ago!). You can now get into the castle for free and visit the nice cafe and shop, stroll about, sit on the grass etc. But they charge for entry to the Magna Carta exhibition, prison (this is worth seeing if you haven't been before if just for the chapel) and to walk the walls. The walls have been restored and for the first time (ever in my memory) you can now walk right around them. It was a lovely day, and we had a very impatient 5 year old with us so we opted for the wall walk only. It was really rather good and I'm sure we'll do it again.

The cathedral from the castle walls

Inside the cafe

Woodhall Spa is a really really pretty little town with some lovely houses. It always seems to rain when I'm there though - I'd love to take a stroll around sometime. We visited the cinema there as it really is a fantastic experience (and the Odeon in Lincoln is second highest in price only to Leicester Square - yes, this is true!). 

The Kinema is in a wonderful old little building tucked away in the woods (the clue is in the name!). You get an interval and an organist. So it (almost) makes watching Alvin and the Chipmunks bearable. Almost. 

Pretend you're in the 1950s at the Kinema in the Woods

Head down to Sleaford for the National Centre for Craft and Design. I absolutely love this place. My Dad doesn't. On this occasion though he was as enamoured as the rest of us as there was a fabulous exhibition of furniture on (as a carpenter he was in his element!). The little man got to make stuff and my Mum and I just loved pretty much everything. They have changing exhibitions throughout the year and a wonderful shop. Do check the place out.

The National Centre for Craft and Design

We visited The Garden House to see the snowdrops - there were quite a few. It's a relatively newly established garden and it can only get better year on year - they've planted a woodland walk (along which you can see the snowdrops) - the trees are pretty small at the moment but its' still worth a visit. 

The Garden House, Saxby

I was also rather taken by the formal gardens nearer the house, where we spotted some lovely hellebores and cherry blossom.

The Garden House, Saxby

The Garden House, Saxby

We pootled around the house a fair bit too - the little man loves his grandparent's garden as it's huge. We also had a bit of snow to play in!

Playing in the snow in our pyjamas

A couple of food recommendations too.... While we did end up eating in two (yes 2) separate branches of Pizza Express (the little man's favourite) we also had a fantastic lunch at Doddington Hall - their burger is fab (as is the cake). They have a brilliant shop there too. At the end of the week we had a very nice pub lunch at The Kings Head in Tealby (gorgeous old thatched building in a very pretty village near Market Rasen). 

And that was that, back to the smoke! 

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The Spring Clean...

I finally decided to have a wardrobe clear out last week when I got completely fed up of trying to wedge my dresses in, and find the particular black jersey thing I was after. It was fairly epic. This is what the charity shop is receiving:

27 dresses
22 tops
13 skirts
6 cardigans
6 items of swimwear/nightwear/underwear
2 pairs of leggings.

As you can see I was pretty ruthless. Still plenty of cardigans left though, so that's OK!

Now for a restock, or not... It seems that I still have quite a lot to wear (including a rainbow of cardigans). I did make one initial purchase though - a new t-shirt from Baukjen. It's this one, but in grey (as it was in the sale).

Not very exciting I hear you say, but I love Baukjen. Their t-shirts are fantastic quality and wash really really well. This one replaces a grey one I bought when I was still on maternity leave, and have practically lived in for over 5 years (and that was the last time I sorted out my wardrobe - eek!). 

I also have jeans from Baukjen as they fit so well. Mine are a bootleg cut which they don't seem to do anymore (I'm short so it's the best cut for me!). 

So I have a bit of a wish list, but I'm managing to restrain myself fairly well at the moment. Boden had these wonderful shoes in the sale (which I'd been after for about a year) so I snapped these up too...

They've also got some lovely new stuff. Thinking I might need to go for something like this?

Then there's my current fave Lindy Bop. I already have a dress from them which has hummingbirds on and I've been wearing it a lot, but I think I might need this one too...

But at the moment, I'm quite enjoying having some space! I did get rid of a lot of summer stuff, so give me a couple of months and I may be shopping... If you have any recommendations for flattering bikinis (with a substantial bottom half - not that I'm saying I have a substantial bottom mind - 50's style...) I'm all ears! 

I'll be taking a week off from this blog next week as it's half term. See you again on Sunday 28 February. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Beach Hut

I've long dreamt of having my own beach hut - I'm sure a lot of us have. Now I'm known for my love of concrete and brutalism, and mid-century stuff but a pretty colourful little beach hut is equally wonderful - no? Also eminently more affordable than a flat in the Barbican...

So, a couple of times a year we'll be at a beach and say "Yes, let's buy one!" - although of course this is yet to happen. We calculate how many times we'd have to go to make it worthwhile - factor in how many times we could actually go (when the rain is hopefully not horizontal) and decide not to. One day though.

These pictures were taken at Lancing beach last weekend (it looks idillic but it was a tad cold and breezy - I still see myself in my hut, making a pot of tea though, no?). Lancing is my favourite beach (that we can just pop to from South London anyway) - it's nice and quiet too, so don't all rush down there at once please! Anyway, when you buy a beach hut you're basically buying the plot - and the huts only last 20 years or so (if you're lucky with all that wind and sea spray and all) - there's an annual ground rent to pay too, so it can all get a bit pricey. A girl can dream however. 

If you are interested in purchasing a hut (not in Lancing though please, I don't want the prices to go up...!), this website is rather useful.