Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Brilliant Bank Holiday

Despite the awful weather and a week of the lurgy we made ourselves chuck some things into our battered little caravan and on Saturday trundled North for a long planned stay in the Yorkshire Dales. And blimey it was the best thing we've done for ages!
The sun came out and we visited Woody's childhood holiday haunts at the amazing Brimham Rocks and the very charming Pateley Bridge (where I reckon we had the most delicious fish & chips ever). I couldn't get over the scale and space the rocks covered, acres and acres of weird and wonderful geological monuments with the most astounding views across Nidderdale and beyond. It was absolutely breathtaking.
The forecast was looking so promising for Sunday we made a break for the coast to Staithes. I've longed to visit here and it was just wonderful, picturesque and peaceful. But even on a beautiful day I could imagine how rough and dramatic it must be when the gales howl.

It was the most perfect day of watching the tide creep in, boys making new friends, eating more fish & chips and feeling the sun warm us right through. Never thought we'd be spending a day on the beach. I feel so lucky that we did.
We spent the Bank Holiday exploring a stunningly green gorge (which was a bit hair raising with an overactive 6 year old if I'm honest) but unforgettable. Later we visited a place I've read and studied  about for years but haven't ever got to visit before.
Fountains Abbey was one of the greatest monastic houses in Britain during the Middle Ages. At university I was completely absorbed by the whole world of the Cistercian monks and how their English houses came to dominate.
My dad grew up in the city with a small Cistercian monastery underneath his school with finds and even skeletons being dug up on his estate. His stories sparked my interest in medieval history and I did my first ever bit of archaeology at that tiny site as a volunteer, so seeing its big sister was pretty overwhelming for me.

The boys mostly enjoyed hurtling around and exploring, but that's what got me started too so all good.
We had such an amazing three days. Even the rain came at the right time, just as we were settling down to bed and for our journey home.
A brilliant Bank Holiday. Hope yours was too. xxx

Friday, 24 May 2013

Walking Home

It hasn't really been an easy week. Sickness bugs have laid half the house low and the other half of us are tired out too with broken nights and much laundering going on.
My little man has found all the disturbance pretty unsettling. Lots to learn about things not always being possible. He's such a caring chap, but he's found it all a bit hard this week.
I worked from home to after my bigish boy while Woody was out on jobs when he'd recovered. Flat lemonade, cuddles and plenty of Star Wars made the world of difference.
And I got to pick little man up from school!
This doesn't happen all that much these days but I still get to drop him off a lot. But I really miss hometime, that hurtle out of school and the thud into your arms with a massive smile and a grubby face.
So I asked A which way he wanted us to walk home and he picked wooded route him and Daddy have found but I don't know all that well. "This is the Steepy Steepy way home mummy, because it is steep."
Just to hear him singing along to himself and rattling on with me was really precious. "What a lovely day mummy" he said when we came out of the trees into the sunshine. Oh if only you could bottle that!
 Not sure how many more days like this there'll be when you feel a little hand slip into yours, stop to look at dandelions and wonder how the yellow bits turn into fluffy stars or smell how stinky wild garlic really is up close.
Quite a lot more yet I really hope. xxx 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A Grand Day Out

Sunday was such a lovely day up here. We fancied a trip out and ended up at Chatsworth; the playground for the boys while Grandma and I had a good old saunter around the gardens.
I was ever so tempted to paddle in the Cascade, it was properly hot and now I'm even sporting a bit of a pink nose incredibly. We got so distracted by the water we completely missed the kitchen garden, which was a bit of a shame, but we really enjoyed just wandering where our feet took us.
There aren't all that many flowers, there's more landscaping than planting really, but these tulips were amazingly vibrant close to the mansion.
They had a great time climbing and exploring the sculptures. To be honest I'm not absolutely sure they were really supposed to do this, but that's daddy in charge for you! Very sorry Chatsworth.
Look at that bright blue sky! Perfect, lovely. A happy day x

Monday, 20 May 2013

A Bit of Sun and Rain

Fresh eggs. 
 Spring flowers.
Evening light in the garden.
Simple things on plates and a lazy afternoon with my lovely sister, brother-in-law and my fantastic little nephews.
Flowers and a frock. Smashing weekend.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Thinking of Summer

I rather like a wet Saturday afternoon if I'm honest. I was out this morning on my bike and got completely soaked but I really enjoyed myself, glad to be home now, warm and dry and listening to the radio.

After our beautiful Bank Holiday my mind's really turned around to thinking of summer at last and on this wet afternoon with cycling on the telly to watch, I'll be day dreaming about our plans for the season ahead.

We've planned a couple of jaunts in our little caravan. For Whit Weekend (the start of summer I always think) we're heading up to the glorious Yorkshire Dales to a lovely farm campsite near Harrogate. Next summer the Tour de France departs from Yorkshire and there's a second stage too so we're doing a bit of a campsite recce ahead of time. 
And later we're dragging the van all the way down to Cornwall for the first time to a lovely site close to the beach on the North Coast. I'm beyond excited!

Really can't wait to get out of the road again, hope the weather sorts itself out by then. Do you like my new mugs? I think my favourite part of any of our caravan trips is that first cup of coffee in the morning, either tucked up in my cosy bed or sat in the field enjoying a sunny early morning. Couldn't resist these little pot-bellied enamelled mugs, I'll enjoy my early morning coffee even more I think.

I've had a couple of other summery treats too. My long search for the ideal Breton top is over at last! Thanks to a voucher and a bit of a sale this Boden number has come my way and is just the job. And some new reading material too. I love Monty's French Garden's series so I'm looking forward to reading his travelogue; a perfect summer read.
My garden still looks very spring like and the colours have done a fabulous job of lifting me out of  my winter stupor.
I've got tons of seedlings maturing too; nasturtium, Amii Magus, cosmos, sweet peas, fennel, verbena bonariensis. Summer is going to be pretty colourful too I hope.
But its too wet for gardening now so I might just have to have a sneaky read I think x

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Along the Riverbank

Oh its been a long time coming hasn't it! Finally, finally, a warm, dry, calm Bank Holiday weekend after the worst of summers and the coldest, longest winter.
So we were out again. Not many homey posts on the blog these past few weeks, I've been sick of the place to be honest. And I've loved every, single second of being out! Beach last week, river this week, along a lovely Dale where my friend lives.
Despite some pretty loud grumbles from the smallest one  (sleepover in big brother's room = v.v.tired!) I just tuned out and listened to the birds singing and the babble of the river.
I've been a bit under the weather all weekend with a funny virus thing that makes my face burn and legs ache, but thanks to the wonder of Lemsip and fresh air, I'm feeling tons better now.
Being down by the river was the best medicine in the world. We sat for ages watching a dipper snatch sticklebacks from the shallows and feed them to her baby.
And the colours are coming at long last! Flushes of blue forget-me-nots along the green river bank and foaming cow parsley on the way up too.
Ooh I fancied a kayak on this still part of the river. Its a lovely spot here, the river is crystal clear and shallow in most parts, but there's a lovely swimming spot that (if we ever get a scorching summer day again) I might just have to visit for a dip. The meadows alongside are perfect for picnics. Roll on summer I say.
It felt like a real blessing today. Just what we all needed (even the grumpy smallest one in the end who, once he'd remembered how much fun paddling is, was transformed).
A beautiful day xxx