Bournemouth Mini Break

Last weekend Rob, Dylan and I went on our first mini break together as a threesome.

We stayed in a questionable hotel (more on that soon) for one night in Bournemouth, Dorset. It was my treat to Rob as a joint B.day and fathers day present, and my last big spending blow out before my maternity pay ends soon (whaaa!)*

I last visited the Bournemouth as a kid with my family around 25-30 years ago, and all I can remember about the town was that it had lots of trees and it was sunny!

To be fair, I do like trees. And lots of trees are more than enough reason for me to visit somewhere again!

We lucked out with the weather as it was just at the begining of this heatwave with pleasant, managable sunshine right before things became unbearable like they have done in the last few days with the melting tarmac and stupid 30+ temperatures. We enjoyed walking around the gardens and beachfront, dodging the drunk students (there were lots, Bournemouth is a bit of a party town) and sniggering at them constantly taking selfies,** beers on the pier, browsing round the shops, a Nandos meal (my first in over a year!), our first ever Five Guys (what can I say, I am a sucker for a hyped up chain resturant!) and we took Dylan for his first ever swim in the hotel pool.

A post shared by @helshelshels on

Dylan rubber necking in Nandos!

Ah yes, the hotel. Shall we talk about the hotel now?

Rob is not letting me live it down, but I managed to book us into one of the grottiest hotels in England!

I am kind of notorious for not doing my research properly and once again I came up trumps!*** I blame booking.com. Its a kind of twisted, evil Ebay type of site with too many hotels, and they keep telling you that so many people have booked rooms in the last 10 minutes, that there is only one room left and the prices keep going up and down etc. So you end up making a snap decicion based on price rather than the star rating of the hotel and its reviews! Or at least I do anyway.

I booked us a twin room in the cheapest hotel that I could find online. It had dated, broken 80’s furniture, a tatty grey bathroom suite with broken, cracked floor tiles, windows with broken handles, watermarks on the ceiling and bit of a funny smell. But the worst thing was that the wardrobe was really wonky. It was propped up by a piece of wood, it wobbled when you walked past and it looked like it was going to topple over at any given moment! In all seriousness though, I really don’t know how they can get away with furniture like that in this day and age with all the health and safety rules and the tragic lawsuits in America against Ikea.

At first we were being terribly British, unsure whether to complain and not wanting to make a fuss etc. But we had D to think about and even if the wardrobe was fine while we stayed there, what if something happened to the guests after us and we ignored it and said nothing?

So we reported it and got upgraded to a much larger family room (with three large beds! One each!) This room was slightly less grotty and had more sturdy furniture thank goodness! In the end the hotel redeemed itself to us, as all the staff were so friendly and helpful and we had fun using the pool (and there were only a few dead flies floating in it! Win!)

It could have been worse – I could have booked us into this hotel that I spotted and posted on Instagram!

Where shall we go for our next holiday then? Maybe one of these hotels??!! As I said, I am never going to live this down!

*Even though they do want me back again where I worked last year, I want to stay at home with Dylan for the time being. We will tighten our belts and manage just fine. Maybe I will return to work in 2018? But for now I will be a SAHM.

**I am showing my age here, but as someone who hates having their photo taken and who got their first camera phone in their late twenties (when my partying days were long over) it never fails to suprise and amuse me how often some peeps take selfies!

***It feels so wrong to use that expression now thanks to a certain person in America! I cant think of another, sorry!

 

Lately #18

Its time for a quick catch up about the regular mundane happenings in our lives ATM…..

    • I found a job! Its only a part time temporary summer job in the village, but right now, that suits me fine and hopefully I will be able to go back to what I used to do (aka the easiest job that I have ever had) in the winter…. if the job becomes available.
    • I apologise to those who already know this from Instagram, but last month for my birthday Rob and I went to Lynmouth and Lynton. It pissed down with rain, but we had a nice lunch in one of the many touristy cafes, ate some fudge bought from one of the many touristy fudge shops, and rode the touristy cliff railway. I recommend a day trip to these towns if you are on holiday in this neck of the woods. Just eat and drink your way around the town. That’s what we did!IMG_2423IMG_2425
    • We also drove around the beautiful valley of the rocks in nearby Exmoor. We took the picturesque toll road, with its steep climbs and hairpin corners. It got a bit scary at times in the van, as after all, it is an older vehicle with a 30+ year old engine! Our breaks were squeaking, overheating and the back of the van had a trail of steam behind it going through all the puddles in the rain! Eek!
    • We went camping on the May bank holiday weekend. Only for one night because of the cat, but we met up with some friends from Kent, met their friends from Devon(!) and had a nice pub meal.

  • Family and friends have been asking how the cat is adapting to her new environment. And lets be honest, we are all crazy cat people here on the internet, so Im going to talk about my bae for a bit.
    She is Ok. She settled into the new house within a week, i.e she stopped walking around crying and whinging all the time. Then after two weeks we decided to let her out on her own (there will be more on this further down). In between, we have been showing her around the garden on a lead, much to the amusement of our new neighbours! Its my fault that she has this lead, as I was getting all neurotic saying “what about my poor baby if we break down on our way to Devon? She will be trapped in her carrier for hours, the poor thing! I had better get a lead just in case she needs a drink and to stretch her legs!” I mean, this is a bloody cat that we are talking about here, not a dog FFS!
  • Anyway needless to say she hates her lead, but Rob and I think its hilarious taking her for a walk! Poor Poppy!IMG_2368
  • Back to the first time that she went outside on her own – Its funny, I had been saying to people that I had not seen a lot of cats in our new area, and that she would be much happier here, as there were loads of cats back where we used to live and she was always getting into fights.
    Famous last words, me thinks! On her first venture out Rob said that it was the first time that he had ever heard some cats fighting around here, and sure enough Poppy comes back home with her collar missing, limping and bleeding! Bloody cat! She is a true Medway girl (born and bred in Chatham!) and she always goes around being a little gobshite and starting fights! But really she is a big chicken, she is just all mouth!
  • We also need to sort out a cat flap for her and then we can finally lose her litter tray once and for all. Hurrah! And after that I need to convince one of our new friendly neighbours to pop in and feed her (or we can unsettle her once again by putting her in a cattery) so that we can go to the Isle of Wight to visit my family! Yey!
  • And finally, I am sure that you all know by now that I like my cycling and I like to shout from the rooftops how awesome the women’s cycling scene is and that it needs more recognition etc. If you have the time, here are two great cycling related links for you to read. The first is an interview in the Guardian with Juliana Buhring. Now if you haven’t heard of her before don’t worry. All you need to know is that she is an endurance cyclist who has a new book out (added to my wishlist) and she has lead quite the life. Seriously, its the kind of life that needs a film made out of it – a crazy, unbelievable, tragic, dramatic life that has overcome many set backs. And also, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who talks about road kill when cycling! The second link is quite a, erm, delicate subject, but still one that needs to be talked about. Have a gander if you like to talk about yeast infections, pubes, periods, moon cups, sore lady parts and cycling. This is stuff that needs to be said.

Devon 2015

Towards the end of August Rob and I enjoyed our annual family holiday. We stayed in a lovely house in Croyde Bay, Devon with my parents, my sister, her husband and the three nephews. Then afterwards, Rob and I travelled on to Cornwall to visit our friends who moved down there a couple of years ago, and camped in the van for two nights on their farmland.

It was a wonderful nine days away and a lovely end to what has been a really good summer. I have been really lucky this year – I went away in March to the New Forest and have also managed to squeeze in lots of camping trips this summer. And that’s despite of Robs shoulder injury and me working weekends!

Sadly, this was probably my last camping trip of the season, as its starting to get colder and more damp now. And lets not talk about how I now have no annual holiday leave left from work until the next holiday year starts in 2016 (sob)!!

Our time in Devon involved lots of bike rides, lots of body boarding, amazing sunsets, hikes in stunning scenery and the usual over consumption of cream teas, fudge, ice cream, chips and alcohol.

It was our first time in the county and we fell in love with the area. We will definitely be going back again as north Devon ticks all the boxes for us – plenty of activities to do, stunning countryside and spectacular beaches!

Here are some of my favourite photos from our week. Some are taken by Rob with his DSLR, some are from our Instagram feeds and some are from our phones. Im sure you will be able to tell which are which!

croyde

Croyde bay beach and sand dunes.

baggy point

Baggy Point which is National Trust land.

sunset beach

Sunset on the beach.

sunset

Rob had a play with his filters here, but it was pretty stunning IRL!

A little photography experiment with a filter and the two of us.

A little photography experiment with a filter and the two of us.

baggy point again

The walk along Baggy Point and views towards Woolacombe Bay.

Rob decided he wanted the white contempary house in this snap. Anyone got a spare million or two?

Rob decided that he wanted the white contempary house in this snap. Anyone got a spare million or two?

Croyde beach is officially my favourite sure destination now.

Croyde beach is officially my favourite surf destination now.

My tip for the day - don't allow yourself to be photographed in a wetsuit. Especially standing next to skinny nephews! But I don't care that I am not a size 6 supermodel. Im not going to let it stop me from having fun! (And sharing a photo of my huge arse on the inter webs!)

My advice for the day – don’t allow yourself to be photographed in a wetsuit. Especially standing next to a skinny nephew! But I don’t care that I am not a size 6 supermodel or thin and pretty enough to be in Taylor Swifts girl gang of BFF’s, Im not going to let it stop me from having fun! I managed to squeeze myself into my trusty old wetsuit to catch some waves!

Me bodyboarding!

Me bodyboarding!

We went to Ilfracombe. Its quite a pretty little town. We went to the Weatherspoons as you do.

We went to Ilfracombe. Its quite a pretty little town.

blooming lovely

We went all the way to Ilfracombe and then had lunch in the Weatherspoons, as you do.

We went all the way to Ilfracombe and then had lunch in the Weatherspoons, as you do.

We also went to the famous beach tunnels which were really, really hard to photograph. (This is a snap from my phone). They were not as good as I hoped they would be (we got round them in 5 minutes!) - I preferred the tunnels on the Tarka trail bike route!. Much longer and more fun!

We also went to the famous beach tunnels which were really, really hard to photograph. (This is a snap from my phone). They were not as good as I hoped they would be and we got round them in 5 minutes as we are uncultured townies who don’t read much of the historic stuff! – I preferred the tunnels on the Tarka trail bike route! Much longer and much more fun!

I am getting braver posting more photos of myself on here, ha ha! Its me on the tunnels beach, in my waterproofs. Not a trendy Seasalt mac, but a workmans jacket from my Dads former place of work!

I am getting braver posting more photos of myself on here, ha ha! Its me on the tunnels beach, in my waterproofs. Not a trendy Seasalt mac, but a workmans jacket from my Dads former place of work with a stain on the sleeve! Glamour is my middle name!

Me and the oldest nephew riding through a tunnel on the Tarka trail. He rode 23 miles, not bad for an 8 year old, eh!

Me and the oldest nephew riding through a tunnel on the Tarka trail. He rode 23 miles, not bad for an 8 year old, eh!

IG tunnel 2

After seven lovely days, the family all drove back home to Kent, and Rob and I headed in the opposite direction towards Cornish land to visit our friends for their annual bank holiday BBQ fundraiser weekend in aid of the local school. The event involved lots of drinking, talking, a chilli eating challenge (more on those chilli’s on here soon!), pulled pork and pulled beef eating and then some more drinking. We didn’t take many pictures as I was too busy drinking and Rob was too busy scoffing the pulled meat*, but here are some from our phones.

The obligatory picture of our van, the awning and the Kelly kettle.

The obligatory picture of our van, the awning and the Kelly kettle.

Rob got to drive a tractor. This made him very happy.

Rob got to drive a tractor. This made him very happy.

Another great sunset....

Another great sunset….

...made much better with a vintage VW in the shot and an Instagram filter!

…made even better with a vintage VW in the shot and an Instagram filter!

*Snigger!

More Camping Good Times!

It seems that my camping trips are like buses. Nothing, then they all come along at once!

Just over a week ago Rob and I did a little tour in the van, camping first at Ivinghoe in Bedfordshire, then traveling on to Truck Festival in Oxfordshire.

For the third year in a row, I bought Rob Truck festival tickets for his birthday, and we decided to do the same as we did last year where we camped somewhere near (ish) the festival site for a few days beforehand, then went onto it. Truck festival is only on for two days, so this is our way of prolonging the good times! And nope, I have never heard of Ivinghoe either, until I searched online for nice campsites near nice bike routes!

After a massive Google-athon I found a trail called the Ridgeway (which I also had never heard of before) which you can cycle on for half the route. Unfortunately I booked us on a campsite at the wrong end of the 87 mile route – You know me, I never do my research properly! Whoops! But even though we never got to ride our bikes, we still had a lovely time and fell in love with the area, and have vowed to go back again as soon as we get an opportunity to do so. We have also added walking the Ridgeway in full to our bucket lists. I am itching to do some proper hiking after watching Wild recently!

Here are some picture from our stay at Ivinghoe. Sorry, there might be a lot of the same thing but it was just so beautiful!

The night we arrived there was a nice sunset.

The night we arrived there was a nice sunset.

A snap from my mobile - I like the orange glow the sun set cast over the van.

A snap from my mobile – I like the orange glow the sun set cast over the van. Spot my super long shadow!

Ivinghoe Beacon. Of course we walked up to the top of it. I like to get high on my holidays!

Ivinghoe Beacon. Of course we walked up to the top of it. I like to get high on my holidays!

The campsite had a nice play area as well as a nice view. We want to come back again with my nephews and family.

The campsite had a nice play area as well as a nice view. We want to come back again with my nephews and the family.

From the campsite, the start of the Ridgeway trail.

From the campsite, the start of the Ridgeway trail.

On top of the beacon

On top of the beacon

There was some chalk figure in the distance

There was a chalk figure in the distance

Look its our van from the top of the beacon (with a zoom lens)!

Look, its our van from the top of the beacon (using a zoom lens)!

More views. Not too shabby, eh!

More views. Not too shabby, eh!

more viewsfieldsbeehills

Walkers are spoilt for choice!

Walkers are spoilt for choice!

We walked for around 12 miles, climbing up to the top of the beacon, then wandering though woods into Buckinghamshire to a National Trust spot called the Ashridge Estate which had a monument that allowed visitors to climb up to the top for £2.50. The man collecting the money at the bottom of the stairs told me that I would be able to see all the way to Wembley Stadium and the Shard! I had to go up there of course, as I am such a big kid when it comes to going up somewhere high!

Unfortunately, we never saw the famous London landmarks because it was too hazy, and it was up here that I learned, after 13 odd years of togetherness, that Rob does not like heights! He said it just proves how much I listen to him, and I just sniggered at him pressing himself against the wall and not going anywhere near the railings! Aren’t we such a cutesie couple eh!

From my mobile - the monument.

From my mobile – the monument we climbed up.

From my mobile - the view from the top of the monument. You can see all the way to the Shard apparently.

From my mobile – the view from the top of the monument. You can see all the way to the Shard apparently.

Next, on Friday morning we drove onto Truck festival for our next two nights. We like Truck festival as its a smaller, family friendly festival and is pretty chilled and relaxed. This year it seemed that they had increased the capacity, as it was much more crowded and the queues for the toilets we pretty bad (think Glastonbury levels). Worst still, we could not get into the barn to see one of the bands who we were looking forward to seeing the most, as the venue was at full capacity. I was gutted as we were really looking forward to seeing Slaves again. Boo.

But despite the increased crowds (which also meant that there were more coke snorting dickheads around) and the poor toilets (which there were less of than last year, but more festival goers. Go figure?) we still enjoyed ourselves and managed to watch a few bands. No one particular blew us away, but we enjoyed The Charlatans, Basement Jaxx, Public Service Broadcasting and Peter Hook. We also enjoyed a few bevy’s, lots of BBQ’s back at the van and put our hands up for Detroit Maidstone. Or at least I did, as Rob can still only raise one arm halfway up, due to his ongoing shoulder problems!

More snaps below, all from our mobiles I am afraid as we didn’t bother with the proper camera at Truck this year.

I do love camping in our van!

I do love camping in our van!

Inside the awning - keg set up and a can of wife beater on the go!

Inside the awning – keg set up and a can of wife beater on the go!

Another snap of our camping set up. Rob cooking something greasy for breakfast!

Another snap of our camping in action. Rob cooking something greasy for breakfast!

Inside the barn. This years theme was Xmas.

Inside the barn. This years theme was Xmas.

On the big wheel. Another £2.50 well spent getting high.

On the big wheel. Another £2.50 well spent getting high.

Oh, and the only things we forgot to take this time were eggs and my contact lenses. Not bad for us, considering we nearly drove off without our bedding, but remembered at the last minute. That would have been interesting!

A Quick Camp Out At Lydd

Rob and I are both off work this week. I hope its an opportunity to catch up on my blogging, but its Thursday already (whaaaat!), and is a really busy week for both of us as we are frantically decorating before we get the new flooring fitted next week, and generally trying (and failing) to keep the dust under control and our house looking semi-respectable!

Amidst all the chaos indoors we managed to go camping locally for one night at Lydd, near Dungeness Kent. This was our first camp out of the season due to time constraints and Robs shoulder injury.

It was a last minute decision to go away. I basically dragged Rob away from his desk (his work has been really stressful of late) and all the decorating, to make him get some well deserved R+R!

I booked the campsite online the day before, and on the morning we set out, we packed our bags and food and then bought any extras that we needed in the supermarket on route. I thought to myself – “we are getting really efficient at this camping lark, look how easy the planning and packing was”….

….That was until we got there and I realised that we had forgot to pack our towels!!!

Ah well, there is always something that you forget to pack, eh! At least we remembered the important stuff like beer and a bottle opener.

Neither of us took our cameras as it was only a one nighter. We went on a nice bike ride into Rye, to a lovely pub, riding all the way on a dedicated cycle path which is part of the National cycling network. (Which you can find out more about here and sign a petition for more funding and investment here – Thanks Secondhand Susie for that link!)

Here are my two obligatory grainy Instagram snaps! And if you are interested, after wondering if we would be able to buy a couple of cheap beach towels at the nearby Camber Sands resort, we decided instead to just drip dry and improvise with a clean tea towel for me and a pair of boxer shorts for Rob!camping at lyddfire pit

My Birthday 2015

“So how old is Aunty Helen going to be?” said the oldest nephew as he was drawing me a Mario themed birthday picture around my parents house.

After my Mum told him the answer he replied “well, she doesn’t look it, and she rides her bike!”

I’ll take it! When you get to my age you take whatever compliments you can get. Even if they only ever come from the mouths of seven year old nephews. Bless him!

He also drew a picture of me inside my birthday card looking slightly deranged, wearing glasses with crazy eyes and holding up peace signs. So a pretty accurate then! Although, Rob did question the peace signs. He said that it would be a more realistic portrait of me if my fingers were held the other way round! The cheek, eh!mad aunty h

Now that my B.day has been and gone, its time for another little round up on here!

The day started off with a visit to the hospital for Robs physio appointment. Yes, it was a bit of a chore, but its hard to rearrange these things. And Rob was very happy to go, as apparently his physiotherapist looks a bit like Scarlett Johansson!

So my parents drove us to the hospital (as Rob was still unable to drive) and we waited for him in the car park while he took his top off in front of a Black Widow lookalike (the poor love!), then afterwards we drove onto Toys Hill near Sevenoaks for a nice walk in the woods and to climb up the highest point on the North Downs.

Here are a few snaps from our day all taken by Rob (of course). If you are planning a visit to Kent, I would highly recommend coming here for a nice walk. Its an area managed by the National Trust and very pretty and scenic.toys hill 1toys hill 2toys hill 3toys hill 4toys hill 5

Then on Bank holiday Monday, it was B.day celebrations round three for me! Rob, the parents, my sister, her husband and kids and I all went to our local park for a birthday picnic. It involved lots of food, booze, frisbees, footballs, rugby balls and bike races between me and my 7 year old nephew.

And I managed to fall off my bike and then break it in two separate incidents, what can I say, I was on fire that day!

I fell off racing my nephew up a hill, when just before I got to the top, right before it got really steep, I ran out of steam, messed up my gears, then started rolling backwards down the hill! I panicked and slammed on my brakes too hard and toppled over! I fell backwards and landed on my head and somehow managed to bruise my ankle and graze my shin quite badly on the opposite side of my body to the side I fell on???!?

I would like to make a point about how important it is to wear a bike helmet here people! I went down fast and hard on my head, and boy, was I glad that I was wearing my helmet! Always use protection, people – Its better to be safe than sorry!

My leg still hurts one week later, but I am not allowed to complain as my fall was no where near as bad as Robs. Nor am I allowed to use it as an excuse to wimp out of my 35 mile bike ride in June (which I might have mentioned once or twice on here before?)!

As for breaking my bike, I changed gear and managed to mangle my chain. We think it was a knock on effect from my fall where I must have dislodged some vital part on it or something. Rob did explain it to me, but it went in one ear and out the other. All I needed was a new chain (costing just £12) which Rob replaced for me. I was worried that I might need a new bike, but luckily the bike will live on to ride many more miles!

…Including 35 miles at the end of June!!!

Early Birthday Treats and a Failed Blog Post!

Its my birthday this month, so for a treat my parents took me out for the day. We went up to Hampton Court and had pizzas at Pizza Express and then they bought me some vintage Pyrex.

They sure do know the way to my heart. Pizza and Pyrex! All in the same day! Boy, I am a lucky girl!

On my Instagram feed, every so often I will post a picture of Hampton Court. If you are wondering why, its because my parents are from the area* (OK, technically my Dad is a scouser, but he moved down south in his mid teens), and we go up to Kingston and its surrounding area to tend family graves. And because we like it up there, of course. We love the parks and we often wander around the grounds of Hampton Court.

This visit was different though, because this time we actually coughed up the entrance fee and went inside the palace rather than its free grounds!

This is a rare, once a decade, type of occurrence in my family, which involves a lot of grumbling about the price of the tickets, some feeble attempts of trying to remember all that we know about the Tudors gleaned from the tv series and Philippa Gregory books, and us nearly fainting from the shock of the price of a cup of tea in the cafe.

What can I say, we are a cultured bunch! If I were a more eager blogger I could have taken our good camera up with me and written up an informative blog post about the history of the palace and what you can experience from a visit. But…. you guessed it, nah, I didn’t bother. What can I say, I like to be a consistant slacker! At least I managed an Instagram picture, I suppose!IMG_20150512_214852

After we managed to absorbe our current decades worth of culture (we were facinated by the historic cakes in the cafe and could probably tell you more about them than the history of the royal families in the palace!) we had a little wander around the local shops in Hampton before scoffing down our pricey pizzas.

I dragged my Mum into one of the antique shops and she ended up treating me to my early birthday present…..to some pretty special Pyrex!

As I have somehow managed to write an overly long introduction to a post on Pyrex all about my family background and visiting Hampton Court (in other words, nothing that ties in with, or is relevant to Pyrex -Damn I am so good at this blogging malarky!) I think its best that I share the Pyrex in another post. Take two, if you like.

Hopefully in my next attempt at blogging about my latest haul, I will not waffle on all about myself (yet again) and let the Pyrex do all the talking!!! Fingers crossed. Sorry everyone! I must try harder!

*BTW if you think that we are a posh lot because Kingston is a very well heeled area, think again. My parents moved to Kent because they could not afford to live in the area (and this was back in the late 70’s/early 80’s), and a lot of my Surrey family come from a Roma background.

New Forest 2015

Rob and I have just got back from a short mid week break to the New Forest!

We had been itching to get away somewhere on holiday ever since the new year, and discussed many options of were and when to go. We did consider a city break in Europe, and we got very close to booking a short break to Copenhagen (I wanted to see the SAS hotel and other Arne Jacobsen landmarks, the Finn Juhl house and go to the design museum etc), but in the end I chickened out because I did not want to fly! Another factor that contributed to our decision was the cost. We are very lucky to own a camper van, and so we want to enjoy it as much as possible. We much prefer to have lots of budget mini getaways rather than one big indulgent holiday!

Saying that though, last week we stayed in a caravan at Sandyballs holiday park. Its far too cold for me to camp! I am a bit of a diva when it comes to what time of the year to camp. For me, a large part of the camping experience is sitting around outside your van/tent in the evenings eating, drinking and talking rubbish. In early March the evenings are chilly, the nights still draw in quite early and the mornings are damp and dewy. We do know people on the VW scene who camp all year round, but I am not that hardcore. Instead I enjoyed the gas fire and central heating in the caravan!

The aim of this holiday was to get away from home and work, and to relax and enjoy some hiking, biking, swimming, eating and drinking. We certainly did all of that!

We had a lovely time, it was out of season so the park was nice and quiet, we lucked out with the weather (for once it didn’t rain!), we got out on our bikes every day, saw lots of ponies (including two who were very interested in our picnic lunch!) and just enjoyed our van – even though we didn’t camp in it, its still nice to explore the beautiful surroundings in it.

Here are some pictures, all taken by Rob, from our break. Warning – I hope you like lots of pictures of ponies!woodsstreampath

there was no way I was going to pedal up that hill!

There was no way I was going to pedal up that hill!

It might have been best to go through the gate. Hindsight, eh!

It might have been easier to go through the gate. Hindsight, eh!

birdydeerserniemossgull

Lymington harbour

Lymington harbour

tired ponyred ponywhite ponyvan and ponypony pony

Camping At Kingsdown, Nr Deal

At long last I had a weekend off, so Rob and I managed a quickie.

Thats a quick local camping trip for one night only. In case you were wondering!

We headed down to a cute looking campsite with sea views in Kingsdown near Deal in Kent. What can I say really, it was lovely and we had a wonderful time. The site was great, the village and its three pubs were great, the beach was a five minute walk away, the food was great, the Kelly Kettle was great. So yeah, it was all great!

Did you hear me mention Kelly Kettle, you say?

Yup thats right, Rob twisted my arm and persuaded me to part with my hard earned cash and buy him one as an early Xmas present (and his only Xmas present). It was a success! We both love it and drank far too many mugs of de-caff coffee (as we forgot to pack any teabags!) Its such a simple thing, but foraging for dry grass and twigs to light a fire is pure fun, and taps into our inner girl guide/scout/caveman/cavewoman instincts. It just added another element to our camping experience and if you are into the great outdoors, I recommend that you treat yourself to one.

As well as hot drink making, we also walked the 3 odd miles along the coastal path by the shingle seafront to Deal (stopping at a pub, of course) and back. We ate lovely meal in a local pub and then sat around a campfire, supping hot cups of coffee by our van for the evening.

Fingers crossed that we might be able to manage one or two more quickie camping trips before winter is upon us!van spotkelly kettleIMG_7459IMG_7460cliffbeachpretty housesboat

Isle of Wight 2014

This time last week I was on holiday on the Isle of Wight.

Le sigh, it all seems so long ago.

As ever the island was green, lush, quaint, old fashioned and cute. The weather not so. It pretty much rained everyday. Still, we did not let the weather stop us from having fun. Some of the highlights were – bike riding, coastal path walking, beach going, swimming with the nephews, eating lots of chips and donkey seeing.

Sorry, I do not have many photos to share on here, as very single shot I took has a member of my family in it (its not my place to plaster their photos all over the internet!) Even Rob did not take that many landscape photos because of the pesky weather.

Here are a few obligatory photos from our week away all taken by Rob (as usual). Plus there are a few more on my Instagram account if anyone fancies a gander.

The Needles

The Needles

Colourful chair lifts down to Alum bay. Sorry complete strangers for plastering your photos all over the internet BTW.

Colourful chair lifts down to Alum bay. Sorry complete strangers for plastering your photos all over the internet BTW.

Me on my bike on a really tough, treacherous cycle path. Baby's got back...and front...and sides!

Me on my bike on a really tough, treacherous cycle path. Baby’s got back…and front…and sides!

A donkey at the IOW Donkey Sanctuary. I think this one is called Miley...

A donkey at the IOW Donkey Sanctuary. I think this one is called Miley…

Poppy the donkey. Almost as cute as our cat Poppy!

Poppy the donkey. Almost as cute as our cat Poppy!

And finally, my fave, Dave the donkey. Everybody knows a Dave including donkeys!

And finally, my fave, Dave the donkey. Everybody knows a Dave including donkeys!