Apple Fair

Saturday was the best day of the year in this house ‘Apple Fair Day!’.

Seriously L and I love it more than Christmas. There are tents with Medieval Storytellers.

Giant apples, seriously never seen such amazingly huge apples. I should have gotten some to make a pie but got distracted by Mulled Cider!

  

There are stalls selling apples, apple cakes, fudge, heavenly apple juices, ciders, crafts and most importantly for us a huge HogRoast washed down with hot apple juice.

BEST DAY EVER!

If you have a local Apple Fair in the next couple of weeks, pop along and support it. 

British Apple Orchards are making a tentative comeback. Since the 1950s 60% of British Orchards and all the biodiversity that came with them, have been destroyed. But in the last 5 years new planting schemes are slowly bringing them back. If you have a spare patch of garden plant an apple tree, you won’t regret it!

    
 

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Day Out at Harry Potter Warner Bros Tour

My parent’s very kindly bought Miss L (and us!) tickets for the Harry Potter Tour for doing well in her school exams.  To be honest none of us knew what to expect, everyone I knew who’s been said it was ‘good’ but no more that that really.

We headed down to Leavesden where Harry Potter was filmed, and it was horrible! Driving rain, freezing cold your average British Summer, ick!   From what I could tell, you need to book in advance. We had to show our booking confirmation to the parking lady, and then she told us to park right next to the main building which was a god send as we then didn’t get utterly drowned running to the building.

You have to get there about 20 mins before your allotted time but once you’re through you can spend as much time as you like at the exhibits until it closes, they suggest 3 hours for the tour but I’d say you could comfortably do it in 2 hours.

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Miss L was somewhat overwhelmed, she was ever so quiet walking into the Hogwarts Main Hall and I was slightly concerned that we’d come and she was too old for it now. But that wasn’t the case she was just amazed to see it all in person, and that was the same all the way round. She hasn’t stopped talking about it since we got home and is dying to go again!

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It was wonderful seeing the Weasley’s house, complete with magical moving furniture.

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It’s basically a giant Harry Potter movie museum, and wow what a museum. The depth of craftwork on all the exhibits is amazing. Even if something had three seconds of screen time, it’s immaculate. I loved the detail on the Remembrall and Golden Snitch, it must have been very helpful for the young actors to be immersed in the world of Harry Potter to have such ‘real’ props.

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As you can see you can take as many pictures as you like, and the staff are more than happy to use your phone or camera to snap a family picture for you. In fact I’d say this is the closest I’ve come to ‘Disney World’ levels of customer service in the UK. The staff in the shops we went to were very knowledgeable about the films and were really helpful, offering up information and chatting to Miss L about everything Potter.

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The gift shop as you can imagine is amazing, and yes I did get a Gryffindor T-Shirt….for me!! Miss L had saved up and chose a Ravenclaw T-Shirt, Ravenclaw Book (yes she is Ravenclaw!) and Snape’s wand.  There are a good selection of wands from all the character’s except ‘He who shall not be named’ you can’t get his!  But there are items for every budget and you could go utterly nuts in there if you are a Potter Household, Paul sensibly dragged us out after 10 minutes!.

Talking of clothes, let’s not forgetting the costumes they are beautiful. I especially loved Hermione’s ball gown from the ‘Goblet of Fire’ I think L will want something similar for her Year 8 Prom next year – better start looking now!

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It’s a great day out and thanks Mum and Dad for the tickets xx

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North Norfolk Half Term Day Out

Had the most wonderful day yesterday. The weather was amazing and OH had the day off so we headed up to Brancaster for a walk on the beach, and then to The White Horse at Brancaster Staithe for a slap up lunch.

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I’d love to live in Norfolk one day, if you’ve not been I’d throughly recommend it , it’s such a chilled relaxed beautiful place. It’s definitely a little hidden UK jewel and well worth a visit.

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London Baby!

Yeah I’m watching far too much ‘Friends’ this summer holidays!.

But we did go to London this weekend for a little night away. Turns out if you go on a Sunday it is way cheaper to stay in a hotel.

We planned a little trip, staying in a Premier Inn near Tower Bridge. Miss L had been to the Victoria and Albert Museum for a school trip, and we’d never been there so we thought we’d make that the starting point.

My Great Great Grandfather was a Scottish stone mason who came to London to work on the V&A and the Brompton Oratory next door so I was fascinated to see what the stone work of the period looked like, he might have created some of what we saw? It was thanks to these buildings that the whole family moved and pretty much I even exist.  I loved the entrance way to the V&A it’s very glamorous, full of marble and some amazing architectural exhibits from all over the ancient world.

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We eventually headed over to the wedding dress exhibit, which Miss L had spotted on her school trip and she wanted to look round. She’s super interested in dress making and textiles at the moment. There were some amazing dresses there from all periods. I really loved the french wedding dresses, those people were tiny and I have no idea how they moved in those dresses??

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This dress wasn’t in the wedding section but over in the Indian exhibit, it was an Austin classic for me. You can just see someone from Pride and Predjudice wearing it!

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On the way to the hotel we popped by the Tower of London to see the 100th Anniversary of WW1 Poppies Display. They’re all hand made ceramic and each one represents a British and Commonwealth life lost…there’s just so so many. It’s a very moving display, I got quite teary. Miss L was shocked to see how many there were and the display isn’t even half way finished yet. It’s due to be completed on the 11th November.

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It was a lovely day and nice to see a different side of London from where we normally go. I’m planning our next trip already.

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Ideal Home 2014

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I had an email from the Norwegian company Ekornes who make ‘Stressless’ chairs asking if I’d like to go to the Ideal Home Show and then swing by and see them. I had such a great time last year that I jumped at the chance!  This year I took Paul and Miss L with me…brave as I can’t get them round Sainsbury’s without someone whinging! I was a bit daunted at the idea of dragging them round the show with me but they were up for a challenge!

The Ideal Home show is HUGE honestly it’s really quite overwhelming. Luckily we got there quite early so it wasn’t too crowded and we managed to actually get round two of the prebuilt houses.  In all honesty, I really didn’t like the ‘multigenerational’ house. I didn’t see anything ‘multigenerational’ about it other than a second lounge area – big deal! There was no ground floor living accommodation for older people and no separate living space for 20 something kids. But the decoration was nice, and they did their best with what was quite a poky house with an obsession with wetrooms.

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However the second house we went round was much better. It was a 1920’s style ‘Arts and Crafts’ house which I loved even of they did go a bit mad with plaid and wallpaper. It was beautiful and I’m coveting the kitchen and dining room, not to mention a laundry area – love the tiles on the floor, you can just see them top right photo.

20140318-090618.jpgSadly by the time we got to the spectacular looking ‘tree house’ the queue to get in was an hour long so we decided not to bother and admire it from the outside. The queues on the other houses were equally as long sadly, so we didn’t get to see those either. Next time I’m going to try and get there as the place opens!

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The gardens were gorgeous though, and done by students at various horticultural collages. They did a brilliant job and I love the little gravel garden below. Fantastic if you have a really small garden where you want easy maintenance.  The garden with the metal framework was mine and Miss L’s favourite – imagine that with a clematis or rose covering it – gorgeous!!

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Ektornes, kindly gave us some spending money to treat ourselves with. So after dragging Miss L away from the Bongo’s she wanted – eek!  We bought a wine holder for the garden, you can pop a bottle of wine in the middle and then the glasses around it to carry down the garden.  I then spotted a fab pair of herb scissors, great to use with my newly planted herb pots and at the same stall snagged an outdoor salt, pepper and oil set – also for the garden. You can tell it’s spring can’t you?

There is so much to see at the show, I found it handy to snap a picture of something you liked or was inspired by just for a visual memory, I’d never remember half the stuff I saw otherwise! In the photo below are the things I loved at the show –  the perfect front door down to the right colour for my house, a smeg induction range (now on the list of things for the new kitchen!), a built in pantry – swoon! I’ll try and get that in the new kitchen when we decide on how to plan it. Last but no means least and super luxe outdoor room – I’ll never ever have one but it’s nice to dream!

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After 5 hours of walking round, we headed back to the Stressless stand and took full advantage of having a sit in their super comfortable chairs and putting our feet up, as you can see I look just a bit exhausted!

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But I wasn’t too exhausted to notice their new range of chairs. My Dad has a stressless chair and it’s one of those chairs that is insanely comfy but well…not too pretty IMHO. However they had a new range there which is based on an old design which is just gorgeous. They had it there in Orange but I saw leather samples in Raspberry, Red, and a few other cool looking colours.  But the stand was really crowded so I couldn’t get a decent shot of the chairs, so I’ve asked the PR for a few images so you can see them better, I’ll add them to this post when I get them.

All in all it was a great day out!

Update! Here are the pictures from the PR (mine were awful!). I’d love one of these as an office chair to read in or to work from.

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**Full Disclosure – Ektornes paid for tickets, travel and gave me some spending money to buy some nice bits and bobs**

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Day Trip to Wells next The Sea

Yesterday was the last day of our half term and as it was so sunny we headed up to Wells next the Sea in North Norfolk.  Wells is a lovely little fishing port and quite untouched still. The fish and chip shops are so delicious, as you’d expect in a fishing port. There are cute little shops, the brilliant Wells Deli where you can get a cracking hot chocolate and slice of cake on a chilly day.

We got there at lunchtime and headed straight to the fish and chip shop, which for a cold February Friday was packed. So we headed outside and found a bench with a great view to eat. It was as you can imagine a bit chilly to linger but it was nice finally seeing some sunshine and eating out in the open again.

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We decided to go for a walk down to the beach. Wells beach quite a way from the village and  is accessed via a seawall you walk down. You walk maybe a mile? And there it’s in front of you as far as the eye can sea when the tide is out.  We managed to get 3/4 of the way to it before Miss L was moaning about being cold and being blown about – in fairness she had a point and she also learnt a life lesson about putting your coat on when your mother tells you.  You know what kids are like she was sure that she knew best, when she refused to wear it as it wasn’t ‘cool’. We had a good giggle about how annoying it is, when your mother is right (Obviously I never tell my mother when she’s right LOL!)  But it was chilly so we headed back for hot chocolate and a wander around the village – any excuse!

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We also stopped for first mother/daughter seaside photo of the year. I’ve noticed that once again I’m slipping out of family photos, which is something I wasn’t mean to do. So I’m trying harder to get infront of the camera rather than behind it all the time!

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We had a wander around the town and saw on the front some of the terrible storm damage done by the Storm Surge in December. Thankfully most of the businesses seem to be rebuilding but it was heartbreaking to see a couple who had obviously  gone under and could no longer trade.  But luckily a lot of the smaller shops going up the hill seemed to be ok and we had a lovely time browsing them.

Then we came across a gorgeous Georgian Square which we’d somehow never seen before, couple of good looking pubs and I’m coveting ALL the houses there – love me a Georgian House! Friends have now told me how good the pub’s food are in the square, so next time we’ll have to pay them a visit.

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If you’re in North Norfolk, I can really recommend Wells for a visit – especially in the summer when it’s warmer and you can hang out on the beach. I think we might have to hire a holiday home up there this year to explore more.

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London Baby!

The last weekend of the summer holidays we decided to go to London for an overnight stay to celebrate the end of the holidays, as we’ve not been on holiday this year.  I managed to get a deal with Expedia for the swanky Four Seasons in Canary Wharf, it was half price and there was an upgrade deal on the room.  It wasn’t that super central but from the photos it looked like it was on the river and I’m rather fond of Canary Wharf from when I worked there many moons ago.

I love walking through the city and seeing how the skyline has changed, some of those buildings are now absolutely massive and very beautiful.  We walked down to the river and over to the Tate Modern and the Globe – which one day I will have to go and see a play at. it’s on my list of things to do, just need to remember to book it!.

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We then wandered down to Borough Market where my daughter shopped herself silly for cheese, bread and fancy fruit, and bought lunch from the market – super yummy pasta. Then Miss L and Paul went and adventured around HMS Belfast (which they both recommended, they were on there for a good couple of hours), while I took up residence at the top floor bar overlooking the Belfast and the river. If you get a chance go up there it’s has a really amazing view and a pretty chilled out place to get a coffee or glass of wine by the river.photo 3

Having wandered around the South Bank some more we got the Thames Clipper to Canary Wharf and the hotel is right by the dock which was handy.  I’ve not been to Canary Wharf since I worked in London twelve years ago and it’s gotten so much bigger. Bizarrely it reminded us all of Vancouver, lots of apartments and the river is very accessible which it isn’t in a lot of places in London.  In fact I think we all wanted to move there instantly, it’s a really nice area if a little new and shiny.

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I’d quite happily stay there again, it’s not super central but it’s a lot cheaper and quieter than the West End and with the Thames Clipper’s going there every 20 minutes, it’s not trouble getting there. With the Expedia deal on the room we got an automatic river view upgrade for the same price as the cheap room – yay!

Oh my word the view over the city was amazing and we had great fun boat and building spotting, you could even see Crystal Palace from the room – we are such geeks!  There are loads of places to eat at Canary Wharf, so we headed to Browns, had dinner and saw a beautiful sunset. At this point I was really wishing I’d booked more than one night!

All in all it was a brilliant weekend away, we really should do it more often it really felt like a mini holiday. Roll on half term!

 

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Lavenham

On Saturday we did a day trip over to the village of Lavenham in Suffolk. It’s one those almost untouched English villages which is full of Tudor and Medieval buildings with just a few Victorian and Edwardian thrown in for good measure. It’s set in rolling farm land which at the moment has ripe corn in, so was just beautiful and glowing.

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I could have wandered around for hours taking photos it’s so pretty, but strangely my family weren’t up for that. I was dragged to the quaint shops and then for a really delicious ice cream – hard life!

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I love how the residents had planted their gardens, pots well pretty much anywhere you can put a plant to set off the buildings which are really colourful. Quite a lot of the houses were entirely white washed including the black beams. But I’m guessing that is probably more traditional than the look we associate with Tudor buildings.

The bright yellow building in the very top photo above is a museum but we got there too late to go round it. But what a spectacular looking building!

Hoping to go back again soon, I think there were some cream teas I missed out on.

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