Thursday, 28 April 2016

A Street Party celebrating the Queen's 90th Birthday

Determined not to be outdone by the celebrations up and down the country over the last few days I joined our village's Street Party Committee at the end of last year.The memories of the 1977 Jubilee always fresh in my mind despite it having been decades ago whenever these momentous Royal occasions occur I'm determined that Matilda will also have equally clear memories stored in her mind.

Our committee set to work raising monies so that the day could be free for everyone. We started off with a generous donation from the Parish Council which then seemed to encourage all the other local businesses to contribute. We were flattered and so excited to have received such warm support. It meant that other than bringing a plate of food to share the children could go on all the inflatables and the go carts for free all afternoon.

The weather was kind to us after the morning hailstorm, the sun popped out on a few occasions to break up the bitter cold. The children however didn't appear to feel it! The village pooled their resources volunteering to help on the day to make it a memorable occasion for our children! This community spirit played a big part in our decision to leave London, we're so lucky to have found one of the friendliest villages around.

Let this be the first of many community events!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Easter Adventures...

This comes a little late as seems to be the norm with my blog at the moment...We had a good Easter break. A stunning start and finish to the Bank Holiday weekend. In between left a lot to be desired with rain lashing down, high winds and lowering temperatures but we made the most of it and got outside wellies and water proofs at the ready.

Ickworth, a stunning National Trust property just down the road from us in Bury St Edmunds was our day trip of choice on Bank Holiday Friday. The National Trust really have pitched it right for families. There were Easter Craft activities, games laid out on the lawn and over 4500 people to scrabble past to the heaving cafe. It was a lovely afternoon out, sat in the warm sun looking out over the beautiful gardens.

Easter Sunday after the annual village Easter Egg Hunt organised by my lovely neighbour Liz who also runs our local vegetable box delivery company Cheveley Fruit and veg., we headed up to our favourite escape Norfolk. The husband had treated us to a stay at the amazing Gunton Arms. A former coaching inn owned by the Chelsea Art Dealer Ivor Braka it has been transformed into the perfect escape from everyday life. Set in a beautiful deer park, only the deer and ancient trees obstruct the far reaching views. Walls are covered in modern art including Gilbert and George, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, there are little touches of humour popping out from every corner. The Gunton Arms deserves a post of it's own so more will be revealed at a later date.

Matilda and I then flew off to Portugal for a week to see my Father and to visit family. We managed a few lovely days out exploring Lisbon with my niece, we ate far too much and basked in the heavenly hot sun and clear blue skies typical of Portugal.

The two weeks went all too quickly and the return to work seemed a little harder than normal. The promise of warmer days to come and the reawakening of nature is encouraging though, I'm enjoying working in our conservatory looking out onto the garden whilst the office gets a makeover! Hope you all had a good Easter break.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Cool Norwich

Don't know about you but when I used to think about Norwich I'd assume drab, grey, uneventful. Perhaps because I had a friend who spent her degree years at Norwich University complaining about it and trying to leave. This was *hiccup* over 20 years ago now...

Wow how wrong could I have been! Norwich is a cool, funky city with plenty to do and see.

Its pretty intricate web of lanes leading off the main Market Square filled with independent shops, restaurants and cafes full of much temptation reminded me of the Brighton Lanes. A creative, arty vibe fills each corner of this picturesque city centre. The vibrant market is packed with beautiful flowers and all manner of fruit and veg. The cheese stall in particular caught my eye with its wonderful local cheeses as well as the more exotic. There are a couple of great Oriental stalls and a great haberdashers.

There is a vast array of small independent shops ranging from traditional record shops to interiors boutiques to a number of great charity shops. My favourite discovery was the magnificent St Gregorys Antiques occupying a beautiful church that had previously laid empty. A veritable treasure trove of vintage homewares, clothes and music you could lose hours in here...

A great weekend destination, don't overlook Norwich when you're making your way to the North Coast, this city is definitely worth a peek.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

First day of Spring?

It certainly feels like we may have turned a corner today. Thick fog this morning gave way to a beautiful perfect blue sky with a warm sun sending it's powerful rays down upon us.

The husband went off to Shanghai this morning for work so we were left with a girlie day ahead. A quick trip to Waitrose for supplies we then returned to sling on our wellies for a two hour walk in the sunshine. We went through a field of sheep and their babies, played with ladybirds we paddled in the Ford with ducks and a frog happily swimming past us! We chatted with dog walkers and their two lovely dogs Chloe and Delilah, made friends with a beautiful horse. Spring was all around us, nature woke up encouraged by the warm temperatures of this afternoon. Can't wait for more days like this spent along lolling beside the water with a good book and a picnic...

Displaying 2016-03-13 07.45.40 3.jpg

Displaying 2016-03-13 07.45.40 3.jpg

Friday, 11 March 2016

My first Mothers Day as just a Mother...

My first Mothers Day without my own Mother was always going to be painful. Her absence stayed with me throughout the day, it felt disorientating not to call her to wish her a lovely day whilst having a good old gossip at the same time. She was a proud Grandmother and often said that her Granddaughters were extra special because they were her daughters twice over if that makes sense? For her the day was equally about her as Mother as well as us being Mothers.

Matilda and Glen made every attempt to still make it a special day for me. I was thoroughly spoilt including gifts made by Matilda, flowers, books and the bread machine I'd been dreaming about for months! Breakfast of smoked salmon and eggs was served by my little waitress Matilda who went to great lengths to dress the part.

The morning was spent with my feet up reading the latest issue of my favourite magazine The Simple Things until it was time to go to lunch at a local village pub the The Three Blackbirds in Wooditton. If you're ever this way it's worth dropping in as the food was sublime with excellent service to boot as well as a welcoming open fire. It's recently been taken over by a local Farmer so a big deal is made of sourcing local seasonal produce which is served with great flair.

As Matilda had gone to great effort we treated her to a trip to the cinema to see her favourite Kung Fu Panda 3, we then collapsed in front of Countryfile and the last episode of Call the Midwife.

A lovely day tinged with sadness though I appreciated all the love showed to me by my little family. Made me feel special. Hope you all had a beautiful Mothers Day last Sunday?

Friday, 4 March 2016

The arrival of March

As you know this year so far has not been kind to me or my family. March brings with it yet more reminders of our huge loss. Today would have been my Parents 65th Wedding Anniversary with what would have been my Mother's 88th Birthday tomorrow. Mothers Day on Sunday will also be difficult to get through though Matilda is plotting and planning to give me a wonderful day. My Mother will be with me in my heart whilst looking down on me continuing to guide me.

Meanwhile Matilda, always providing a burst of positivity has been in secret talks with Daddy and announced the itinerary yesterday on our drive home. We will have breakfast at home which her and Daddy will make, she'll be the waitress. Then we'll go to the Red Lion (our local pub) for lunch followed by a walk in the woods then she'll serve dinner. Not sure who'll be making dinner...

For Matilda I'll be brave, I'll garner strength from her energy and enthusiasm to face the next few days.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Finding comfort in nature

A couple of weeks ago I came across this article encouraging us all to get outside in the great outdoors, it struck a chord with me as one of the reasons for our leaving London was to enable Matilda to enjoy a childhood more steeped in nature. More green space to play in and to explore was top of our wishlist. We live in village surrounded by beautiful country walks which as the weather improves we'll no doubt benefit even more as exploring after school on our way home will be possible as days grow longer.

I've always found comfort in a walk in the country, taking time to absorb mother nature where the change in seasons is so much more prevalent than the city where we all rush around not taking time to admire our environment. My escape when I was living in London would be to the Cotswolds, an easy drive but a world away from my woes.

Living in the countryside has never been so important to me as in the last few days when I've gone from being both a mother and a daughter to only being a Mother. I lost my Mother last week, she gave up the fight surrendering to death and most certainly finding peace without pain. I'm not entirely certain of my feelings right now, I guess the grieving process will take various forms and creep up on me when I'm least expecting it. I relied on her for a lot and despite the distance that kept us apart she was always the first person I turned to for advice or to share news. Her absence will take some getting used to, not being able to pick up the phone to have a chat or a moan, my heart aches for her presence. She was my Mum, my best friend and my inspiration, she leaves a huge hole in my life, one I'm not sure I'll ever be able to fill. We always need our Mothers no matter how old we are...

Over the coming weeks, months and years she'll remain alive in my head and in my heart through our shared memories. She was a country girl so now when I need to be near her I'll take a stroll along the footpath deep into the fields where her spirit will undoubtedly guide me. I'll hear her voice and see her face at every minute of the day following me on my daily routine. I shall keep grasping onto her memory and keep it alive in my heart so it will never fade.

Sleep tight Mamin. Until we meet again.

I would like to say a huge thank you to all of you for all your messages of support which have been of great comfort to my family and I. Apologies to those friends I'm yet to call back, it's taking a while for me to be able to speak. You know who you are. I'm taking it each day at a time.