Thursday, 25 September 2014

Poppy's Place on This Is Your Kingdom

You may remember back in March I wrote a post celebrating the arrival of the best cafe in Fulham, Poppy's Place. Since moving to Cambridge I must say I've had a lot of pangs for a Poppy's Place lunch! A shortened version of my original post has now gone live on This Is Your Kingdom, you'll see my contributor's badge on the right handside of this blog so do click on it and discover the wealth of wonderful things to discover up and down the country. Do go have a read but more importantly get yourselves down to the Munster Road in Fulham, and try their delicious food out for yourselves!

I was especially excited as my article made the This Is Your Kingdom Autumn newsletter and the front cover of the website! I've been whooping for joy since this morning so just had to share the love with all of you!

Hope you enjoy the read!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

What a week...

Matilda started Full time school from last Tuesday. She is loving it but Me not so much. I miss her dreadfully, the house being so quiet which on the plus side means I get a lot more done during the day avoiding all the late night work sessions, but I miss her company.

I'm sure I'll get used to it, thankfully work and family visiting from Portugal has occupied my mind. After a hectic week in school, Matilda was spent yesterday so we had a very quiet weekend trying to recoup our energies ready for the week ahead. The weather yesterday kept us mostly at home where we watched films, did homework (yup homework at the age of 4!), got a lovely Indian takeaway from a new discovery: Inder's Kitchen in Cambridge and read lots of books. An early night for us all gave us the impetus to venture out to a lovely Vintage Fair in the neighbouring village of Whittlesford. Then the Husband took Matilda to see her very first 3D film The Boxtrolls whilst I went off to do some shopping for dinner. Then we hurried home to a lovely piece of Roast Pork that had been slow roasting for hours, the cooler weather is calling for more roasts and cosy evenings in.

The biggest milestone for Matilda this weekend was attending her very first proper swimming lesson. She's loved being in pools with her daddy the last couple of Summers but our first disastrous attempt at swimming lessons when she was 18 months old, which she clearly did not enjoy has put us off until now. In what seemed like someones private indoor pool, she was only one of three children with an instructor so she took to the lesson like a duck to water! She even attempted to dive down to the bottom of the pool, egged on by another more experienced little girl. She's super excited about her lesson next weekend which is always a great sign of a good teacher, thank you Ciara from Aweswim Royston!

Now I'm near enough ready to collapse on the sofa to watch the new series of Downton Abbey, anyone else as excited as me about its return to our screens?! Have a good rest of the evening and a good start to week tomorrow x

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

I left my heart in Cromer...

One of the big advantages of living just outside Cambridge is our proximity to the stunning Norfolk coast, one of our most treasured destinations in the UK. Now that it only takes an hour and a half to the beach as opposed to the 3-4 hour slog from West London, we'll be escaping there a lot more often.

The lack of Summer holiday due to our move was beginning to take it's toll by the Bank Holiday weekend, and in desperate need of some fresh sea air and respite from the unpacking, we took off first thing Saturday morning. Thankfully the weather was on our side (at least up until Monday lunchtime), the sun came out allowing us to enjoy the wide sandy beaches and their most special treat - the glimpse of three seals frolicking near the shoreline at Horsey Mere, how lucky were we?!

Cromer was the focus of our visit this time, a quintessential British Seaside town garish and a lot of fun especially if you're an impressionable four year old with a definite penchant for neon lights. This town is the height of cheese, do not expect any level of sophistication, here is where you get let your stylish hair down and dispense with any attempt at cool. What fun it was!

You can just make out the seal's head bobbing around!

Monday, 15 September 2014

A weekend of food, family and friends...

Friday transformed itself into a gloriously sunny day, the perfect kind of day for a wedding. Lucky for us we attended a family wedding in the prettiest Essex village of Kelvedon in a picture postcard church. The reception took place at the rather grand Prested Hall on the Suffolk/Essex borders where the wedding guests were able to roam the beautifully understated manor house together with the pretty gardens complete with moat and wandering ducks.

Feeling a little on the full side after a huge three course wedding breakfast we took to the dance floor. We had a magical time dancing until the early hours (and that was just Matilda who insisted on going back to the dance floor in her new Minnie Mouse onesie just as we were leaving!). She, especially, had a wonderful day running around playing with the other young guests, drawing pictures for the 'wedding girl' ie: the bride. Though I suspect the rather fabulous fireworks display was her favourite part of the day, a display that would put most public 5th November displays to shame, we were all mesmerised. As we left at about 12.30am she said 'when are we going to another wedding'! The sign of a truly successful wedding I'd say....

With only one day to recover from all the enjoyment, yesterday we hotfooted it down to London for my good friend's birthday lunch at the Malmaison Hotel bistrot Strip Bar & Steak for more indulgent food. If you're ever in doubt as to where to go on a Sunday do give them a go, for £20 you get a very fulfilling 3 course lunch which you can wash down with limitless prosecco for a mere £15 extra! Sadly I was driving so I reluctantly had to stick to the sparking water. Been feeling like I need a couple of days to recover from the weekend's extravagances today. Hope you all had a good weekend too!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Matilda's First day at big school

Yesterday was the day that I'd been dreading since probably the day my baby was born. The day when I would have to relinquish her to full time education, the day when her independence from me would grow a little stronger.

Since the day she was born we've not spent a day apart, she has been my constant companion since the 2nd December 2009. Aside from a daily 3 hours at nursery we've been together pretty much all the time. She became used to from an early age coming to work with Mummy (thank you to all our patient and accommodating clients!), or keeping quiet when Mummy was on an important Skype call but now she'll be leaving Mummy for over 6 hours a day. From the first moment I saw her I fell in love and that love grows day by day, watching her take her first step, saying her first words, falling over for the first time, eating those very first carrots to having her first boy crush I've delighted in every stage while cherishing every little detail. Now it is time for her to grow up a little more alone during those school hours, that will seem like an eternity to me each day.

The toughest thing is not being there to protect or defend her. She'll have to begin doing that for herself. Wondering how she is, what she'd doing, how she's coping. Worrying whether she's making friends, whether people like her or will be nasty to her.

Thankfully she is an exuberant, happy, curious, confident little girl who will undoubtedly be alright. It'll be me that'll be a quivering wreck in the first weeks coping with the unnerving silence in the house during the day. I always knew the day would come when she would have to take the first step in the big wide world without us there to hold her, but knowing this doesn't make it any easier. Deep down I know we have shaped her to be a beautiful human being who is kind, considerate, polite and full of love which can only stand her in good stead for the future. Though just like any other parent I worry about her facing difficult situations alone.

Hopefully our extremely close relationship will allow her to confide in us when she is troubled or indeed elated and I know we have tried to equip her with plenty of love to see her through. We are deeply proud of who she is and are confident that she will continue to make us proud as she grows and develops in life.

Remember my beautiful, darling Matilda that you are forever in our hearts and here whenever you need us or indeed when you don't. We'll be waiting in anticipation at the school gates for you with a big smile and a big hug, ready to feel your unconditional love.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Climbing Trees

The Summer's main goal for our little Matilda was to learn to climb trees. Being surrounded by so many climeable trees the temptation has been great for her so she has , I stand beneath her arms open wide ready to catch but she has yet to slip. Generally we have to get her up as her little legs don't quite reach the high branches, but once she's up there demonstrating her strength she does rather well.

The National Trust ran a survey on children's top activities recently as part of their Things to do before you're 11 and 3/4, and guess what tree climbing was right up there in the top three. An outdoor activity not only revered amongst children but their parents too. I think most of us have attempted to climb a tree at least once in our lives.

Matilda steely determination to conquer this goal in her mind is allowing for big progress, her love for nature is growing day by day. She loves to hug the trees, collecting their fallen leaves and now the conkers that fall from high to add to her 'collection'. Twigs, leaves and sticks live side by side with her toys, she spends ages arranging her 'collections' just little country girl.

Monday, 8 September 2014

An English Village Fete

There is not much that is more quintessentially English than a village fete. I love to attend a fete, there is something so wholesome about basking in the English sun playing fun games, listening to a brass band and eating cake.

Historically the village Fete was the one day a year given over to the community where they could sell their wares and generally have a good time, it was a holiday when all young and old came together to enjoy themselves. The principal remains the same today across the country for as soon as Spring appears so do the fetes.

Taking advantage of the September sun our neighbouring village Little Shelford was host to a fun weekend last Saturday and Sunday. Its Medieval theme drew guests from all the neighbouring villages and beyond, all raring to revel in the warm late Summer temperatures. A Medieval Feast on the Friday night kicked off the proceedings ending with a day of music and picnics on the Sunday.

We spent Saturday afternoon taking part in all the activities on offer. We ate delicious Venison burgers, devoured homemade cakes and watched a fascinating Falconry display by the super knowledgeable Fens Falcons. Matilda took part in the children's races and managed to try out every traditional game on offer, even managing to knock a coconut over where all adults (including us) had failed before her!

Seeing her have such great fun, make new friends and run around the fields was a truly magical moment for us. Any tiny doubts we may have had about making this move slipped away as we watched her play in the open countryside. Long live country life!