Blog, Books, Cotswold Company, featured, life, Out and about, Walks

Well 2020 is fun!!!!

So how’s everyone been? Are we all having a great 2020?!

So it’s evident that I am not good at writing regular blogs so I’m not even going to apologise for it. Well this year has been different hasn’t it, who saw a pandemic coming and full on lockdown? I was furloughed at the end of March and went back to work a few weeks ago and reopened on the 1st June.

Furlough flew by for me, I read my body weight in books, did a few IGTV’s which I’ve never done before, did an online Excel course and walked 100 miles on a virtual walk around Cornwall – all from my home in on the Norfolk / Suffolk border. Keeping myself occupied and being productive was definitely the best way for me to deal with lockdown as it still felt like I was doing stuff rather than sitting and eating all the time. Having wonderful weather during furlough was also a massive blessing and having a garden to sit outside and enjoy the sun.

Going back to work has been great. I enjoyed my time off but going back has been lovely. Seeing people again and being able to talk to customers and colleagues – as humans we really do need contact and conversation. I can see by the customers I have seen so far that the freedom to come out, shop and talk to people has the ability to really lift the spirits.

I also kept busy with my Etsy shop Feather and Fauna. I set this up last August selling vintage prints of birds and animals and it’s built up very nicely. I always wanted a project that was mine, so having my own small business is an absolute joy allowing me to have a creative outlet and earn some extra money.

Starting this shop has given me such a buzz and I thoroughly enjoy collecting the prints and then doing the photography for them. Lockdown has been good for business seeing plenty of orders coming in and some of them going off to the US and Netherlands.

Yesterday afternoon we went to the beach for the first time in months, it was SO lovely to see and hear the sea again and breathe in that sea air, feel the sand squish between my toes and let any tension just wash out with the tide. The first real sense of freedom had returned and I look forward to getting to visit some of our other favourites places soon.

I’m lucky that my friends and family have all been well during this uncertain time and have had the wonderful news that I will be an Auntie again in October. I hope you and your families are well, I’ll try and make it less than a year before I post again but who knows lol!

Blog, Books, featured, Holiday, life, Out and about, Walks, Wordpress

A Scottish getaway

Hubby and I have always holidayed in Scotland, our first holiday together was after 6 months or so of dating when we went up to Oban and continued to visit the West Coast on a number of occasions as it’s so majestic in its scenery. However when my sister in law moved up to Scotland to move in with her Scottish boyfriend and now husband, she moved more on the East side so we have visited there ever since.

We haven’t always managed to get up there every year as we tend to only have one proper holiday a year and Cornwall is always calling me in a different direction. However, now we have a niece on the scene, she’s about 18 months old and as cute as a button – the pull to go to Scotland again is strong. Our holiday there last year was amazing and we stayed in a cute traditional little bothy and this year we did self catering again and stayed at Cornescrorn Cottages and ours was called The Byre and from the second we walked in, we could have moved in – it was gorgeous. Like a home from home, nothing not to like, loved the decor, loved the layout, loved the atmosphere and location. Positioned about 2 miles up a very bumpy road (ideally a 4×4 would have been handy) but heading off to somewhere so remote was quite exciting. Two cottages positioned together, no one staying in the other one while we were there so other than the occasional visit from the farmer to tend the sheep, we were on our own and my god – it was heaven.

We were so lucky with the weather, beautiful sunshine most days and light that streamed into the Byre was gorgeous. Chicken soup for the soul to be able to sit in the living area, looking out of the window at rabbits, cows, sheep, pheasants with mountains as the perfect backdrop. It really was exactly what I needed. I have had a lot of anxiety lately which I’ll cover in another blog when I feel ready, but I needed this break and I needed this level of serenity.

We spent a lot of time with sis in law and little’n which was so nice to have such quality time together. Jason’s parents had just moved up there from North Norfolk, literally about a week before we arrived so we got to see their new home and feel satisfied that they were going to be really settled and happy there.

Mid week we had a trip to Dundee where we visited the V&A and also went on the Discovery ship which was of course built for Scotts expedition to the Antarctic which was amazing to not only see but to go on and imagine the history of it. My favourite part was the dining hall and the cabins where they all slept, they were cute little rooms and beautifully preserved. Such an amazing piece of history to be able to visit.

Jason’s sister is an artist and has launched her business Lou Campbell Art so we went to Peel Farm which is one of the places she sells her artwork and we also helped her get some new shots together for her to use on social media so that was a lot of fun. She’s very talented and her products are available to purchase online so check her out and give her a follow on Instagram.

Louise took me to The House of Bruar as she said she’d take me shopping for the day and we’d have lunch and I was bit sceptical that we could be at one place all day but we were there quite a while. The best way I can think to describe it to someone from Norfolk is, think about Roys of Wroxham on steroids and by that I mean Harrods standards!!! It’s amazing! I mean I have high standards being in retail myself but this place is beyond immaculately presented and such a wide selection of products from interiors and art to clothing to the food hall. If I was ever to move to Scotland, I would need to work here although I’m not sure I’d rock the uniform – a mid shin length tartan pleated skirt!!

I think this was the first holiday we’ve had where we were more than happy to head back to our accommodation in the afternoon and literally just stay there and sit and enjoy the sun, open a beer for hubby and a bottle of wine for me, I would sit there and read and Jason was doing some whittling and both be utterly happy and content. Quick mention, my holiday reading was The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. A book about walking the South West Coast which may be odd when I was as far from it as I could be, but what a beautiful book. I seriously recommend it. It’s not often I get through a whole book in a few days but I literally struggled to put it down.

I think we both learnt with this holiday that sometimes it’s ok not to do much. Sometimes you need to just sit down and take time out. It’s important to allow yourself time to recharge and rejuvenate in order to be able to go back to your normal life, and carry on with renewed vigour. You have to learn to listen to your body and your mind and go – you know what – I need a rest, and that’s ok. It’s something we don’t always do enough of but it makes a difference.

 

Blog, featured, Holiday, life, Norfolk, Out and about, Walks

Bungay – a unique little town

This week I have a well earned week off and so far it seems I’ve picked a good week as it’s crisp out there but lovely and bright and blue skies have shone through and it certainly doesn’t look like December.

Yesterday was such a beautuful day I decided I should get my backside out of the house and head into Bungay for a walk. It’s only about a mile but it’s a really nice walk over Ditchingham Dam and then heading up Bridge Street which is renowned for it’s colourful houses. 

Bungay has loads of lovely little independent shops especially on Earsham Street where all my favourites are. My first port of call was Aurina who sell some gorgeous home interior and gift items and in addition to a bespoke service where they can make you curtains, cushions etc in any of their unique fabrics. They have 2 stores, Bungay and Burnham Market and it’s nigh on impossible to not buy something when you’re in there even if it’s the rather cool notebook I got myself yesterday!

Bungay is lucky enough to have a tradtional greengrocers called Giddens & Thompson plus a fresh fish shop where we sometimes treat ourselves to fresh crab. It’s lovely that we have these shops in town as so many of these more traditional stores have gone by the wayside so it’s important to be able to support local whenever you can. 

Down the far end of Earsham Street is where you’ll find Earsham Street Delicatessen and Bells of Suffolk. The deli is my favorite shop in town, Michelle stocks some wonderful food items and pays such attention to detail in her visual merchandising. There is a made to order sandwich and coffee counter (without doubt the best coffee I’ve had) I could do with her delivering one to me each morning to set me up for the day.

It’s such a good place to go for gifts particularly at this time of year as you can make up your own hamper of goodies and will be utterly spoilt for choice as to what you put in. Plus there’s always something yummy by the counter tempting you such a the tiny mince pies shown below. Panettones,  mulled wine, cheese and biscuits – the deli won’t let you down.

Bells of Suffolk sell some great  home interior items and do some gorgeous Christmas decorations which is what I was looking for yesterday and treated myself and my Christmas tree to a few new decs. 

The Art Trading Company will fill all your budding artist needs for Christmas presents be it for the novice artist or those who are more accomplished than myself plus they provide a framing service for those pieces you wish to gift or put up on your walls at home.

The Little Green Wholefood Shop is your go to place if you are trying to live healthier and more environmentally friendly. If  you want to be Gluten, sugar, dairy free they will be able to help you buy some great ingredients. 

From fresh fruit and veg to beers and spirits to shampoo and washing powder, this little shop has the lot and is a gem of a store.

Crocks is a Bungay institution as it has been there forever, they always have the best window displays and sell some great gift items if you want some thing that little bit different.

Blog, Holiday, Out and about, Walks

Sunny Scotland!

You know when you’ve had a great weeks holiday and you go back to work and feel like you need another holiday? Well that’s me right now, we came back from hols at the weekend and went back to work yesterday and we both definitely have the post holiday blues.

I’m sure we can all relate to getting to a stage when you’re ready for a holiday, everything annoys you, no one can do anything right and you just want to pack up and leave it all behind. That’s where we were at, we hadn’t been away for over a year so we were really looking forward to heading up North.

We went up to Scotland for a week to catch up with my sister in law, her hubby and their little bubba who will turn one in September.

Now it has to be said, when you live south of Norwich, Scotland is a bloody long way away and it’s not like you hit the border and you’re there, Scotland is huge! That false sense of relief when you pass the Welcome to Scotland sign and then the realisation that you have another 3 hours to go. We were heading for near Forfar which is close to Dundee. We did cheat and split up the journey a bit and stayed in Roslin for the first night. If Roslyn rings a bell, there is an amazing chapel there as featured in the Da Vinci Code film with Tom Hanks. It’s a beautiful place and we had a bit of jaw drop moment when we walked in. You’re not allowed to take photos inside the chapel so here’s a few from the outside, you’ll have to visit yourself to see the inside properly or watch the film again!

We stayed in a traditional Scottish Bothy which is a small cottage which were traditionally used by farm workers or kept for use as a mountain refuge so they are generally fairly remote and come with great views!

Ours was really sweet, all that we needed and I’m sure we’ll rebook the same place next year. We chose this location as it was a 20 min drive from family and near a couple of walks we had ear marked to do.

So Scotland isn’t known for its good weather, it’s pretty much renowned for being wet, grey and moody. The last time I saw sun in Scotland was my first trip there around 15 years ago which was my first holiday with Splendid Chap.

This time however, it did itself proud, the heat wave that has hit the country has spread so far north that even the glens and lochs have felt the warmth of the sun. Scottish scenery can look very dramatic whatever the weather but seeing the sun basking down on such a spectacular landscape can be a little awe inspiring.

We were recommended by the Bothy owner Sue to do a walk at Corrie Fee and she said that it had real wow factor. It involved an hours walk up through the forrest which was a slow burn uphill which my Norfolk legs aren’t used to and I’m not particularly fit but with hubbys motivation I kept at it and boy was it worth it!

This to me is Scotland at its best. This kind of view makes everything else disappear, your worries, your gripes, your insecurities – they all pale into insignificance when looking out at something so beautiful.

We had a brilliant week and it was just what we needed. The great outdoors, sun, family – it was the perfect way to recharge our batteries. Thank you Scotland.

 

 

Blog, featured, Out and about, Walks

Wake me up before you GoGo

No, this isn’t a post about Wham or George Michael although I could quite happily chat about him until the cows come home. This is about the wonderful city of Norwich, the place where I work, being home to GoGo Hares.In case you haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about Break Charity have teamed up with Wild In Art to create a large scale art sculpture trail. This involves 50 pretty big sculptures of hares around 5ft tall, all the same design, but individually painted by different artists to create a unique trail in the city. The hares are positioned all around Norwich and set up as a trail and numbered so you can explore the city and collect all the hares.IMG_3296This concept follows on from GoGo Gorillas back in 2013 and then GoGo Dragons in 2015.  In addition to the city hares there are also 18 county hares dotted further out which are a different design and if this wasn’t enough there are 150 baby leveret hares that can be found in any variety of different shops and restaurants that form part of a learning programme called GoGoCreate which are all painted by children.The hares are on display from 24th June to 8th September and there are GoGo Hare leaflets available from places like the  Forum which contain a trail map to follow so you know where in the city the hares are located. There is also a really good app you can download where you can log the hares you’ve found by entering a unique 4 digit number. This then tells you how many you have found and you can unlock rewards and it just adds to the fun of it.

Now it may sound like you have to have kids to enjoy this but my husband and I have no kids, we’re in our early 40’s and we really enjoyed spending a day in the city looking for hares. It’s gets you to visit some parts of the city you may not normally go to. Now don’t get me wrong, you’re unlikely to do all of them in one day, I like clocking up my steps but it’s a lot of walking so I’d recommend if you’re going to do this as a family activity, possibly break it down into 2 or 3 different sessions.Because the hares are all painted by different artists, they vary a great deal. Some are based on Norwich and depict scenes from the city and some are based on history and even films. This is part of what makes it such fun that there is such a variety of styles and subjects. Here are a few of my favourites.

I’ve still got 7 city hares to find and haven’t seen any county ones yet.All 50 hares will be auctioned off to raise money for Break on Thursday 11th by auction house TW Gaze.  is a registered charity and works tirelessly to make life better for vulnerable children, young people and families.It really is a great idea and a fantastic addition to an already wonderful city and I’d wholeheartedly recommend spending a day on the hare trail.

featured, Holiday, Out and about, Walks

So it’s been a while…

 

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Beautiful Polperro

Well I haven’t really got an excuse for my absence so lets just pretend like I’ve never been away. So what’s been happening….I had a fantabulous holiday down in Cornwall with hubby and our friends J and Lisa. We stayed in a holiday cottage in Polperro, we hadn’t been there before but J and Lisa stay every 6 months or so and I can now see why – the place is glorious!! It’s a very traditional, unspoiled fishing village which is very pretty, has a lovely harbour and some great pubs!!

Luckily enough our holiday cottage was right next door to the Blue Peter pub, and we also frequented the Crumplehorn and The Ship a fair bit…well it’s only right to try them all. I think it’s fair to say we all drank our share of beer and cider in my case, well we were on holiday after all.

We were really lucky with the weather, it drizzled a bit but on the whole it was very dry and reasonably warm considering it’s still only April. As you can see from the photos below, the view from the living room wasn’t too shabby, certainly beats my view of the neighbours uncut grass at home. We are all missing the place desperately now we are back home to normality. J and Lisa are back again in October but we’ll have to wait until Easter before we can return and join them again. I could definitely live here, it’s not until you’re back by the sea that you realise how much you miss it and how calming it is.

Cornwall is the only place you will catch me drinking tea and that’s because those lovely Cornish folk serve it with rather delicious scones, cream and jam, if that’s not a good enough reason to go back I don’t know what is. We visited our friends who live in Plymouth so it was great to catch up with them, we also went to The Lost Gardens Of Heligan and had a really nice walk round there and saw these two fantastic sculptures. It’s a great place to visit and i would highly recommend wearing decent walking boots – this isn’t your average garden.

One day the four of us walked the coastal path from Polperro to Looe which was approx 5 miles which doesn’t sound much but when there are lots of paths going up and down with some really steep bits, it felt longer than it was. You’ve got to remember I come from flat old Norfolk, I’m not used to these gradients but all good for the leg muscles which I need to get in shape for the Lake District later this year.

One of our favorite things to do each morning was to go down to the beach when the tide had gone out and collect sea glass. I’ve never managed to find sea glass anywhere before and there was so much of it in Polperro we ended up bringing so much back with us. It’s very addictive looking for it, you start out picking up any bit you find and by the end of the week you’re getting fussy about only wanting certain colours. As you can see I also found this decent sized lump of Amethyst which hubby was more than impressed with as he is training to be a gemmologist and says this had no place on a Cornish beach but I don’t care, I found it and love it.

So that’s my holiday, it was amazing and I can’t wait to go back. We were all very sad to leave as these grumpy faces show lol.

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Sad faces leaving Polperro

Christmas, Out and about, Uncategorized, Walks

Happy New Year

imageIt doesn’t seem like 5 minutes ago that we were all getting excited about Christmas, presents, turkey etc and now here we are, the start of a New Year already begun. I’m sure there were more than a few of us feeling a bit heavy headed this morning at whatever time we crawled out of bed. I had work today so I didn’t overdo things last night, to be fair, I rarely do. Drinking to excess and feeling awful for the next day is not my idea of fun, so I had a couple of ciders, a couple of G&T’s but not enough to make me regret things!! Control freak…..me……never! Continue reading “Happy New Year”

Out and about, Walks

Holibobs!

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Hi, remember me. It’s been ages, I know. The month just kind of got away from me. So what’s been happening? Well we went to see the live screening of The Rocky Horror Show ( I wonder why the word ‘picture’ was dropped ). Anyway we saw it at the Odeon in Norwich with our friends Rob and Anthony and it was BLOODY AMAZING. Lots of great guest narrators including Stephen Fry, Ade Edmonson and none other than Richard O’Brien!! Continue reading “Holibobs!”