Sunday, 23 August 2015

Golden Wedding Anniversary

 We helped my mum and dad celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary today. There were 14 of us there including dad's brother and his wife, and one of mum's oldest friends. It poured down with rain all the way to the Commodore Hotel in Instow, but not long after we sat down the sun came out.
 We all had a lovely meal and were very full afterwards. Then it was back to mum and dad's for a cup of tea and a bit of a chat. Adrienne, Caitlin and Ellie all but cleaned mum out of jewellery. It was a rescue to stop her sending all our family heirlooms to the charity shop.
Mum looked very lovely in her posh new frock. Caitlin decided she would try mum's wedding dress on. Don't they both look lovely!? Here's to a very happy next 50 years, mum and dad.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Tarr Steps

 We had a nice day out on Sunday. Once we eventually got to Tarr Steps. It seems it does matter how many times we've been before, we can never remember the way, so out comes the Sat Nav, and what do you know, the Sat Nav never takes us the same way again either. This time it took us down the link road and then left along some tiny country lane and half way round Exmoor trying to find Dulverton. Eventually we ignored and took the first turning we found signposted Tarr Steps. Of course this brought us to the wrong side of the ford, which is where we usually end up, but this time we were prepared. We were in the Land Rover. So we drove through the river. This caused much embarrassment to the girls because everyone stops and stares.
  Never mind - we had arrived! We parked, ate our pasties (now somewhat colder) and then set off for a walk. We did what we usually do, headed up-stream until we found the footbridge, crossed over and then walked back where the path is high above the river. Willow had a marvellous time, ran round like a mad thing and voluntarily went in the water several times. Caitlin took lots of photos as part of her summer Art assignment. We spotted several poetry boxes on the walk around so Ellie composed a poem, wrote it down on her phone and copied it into the book inside the box next to where we had our lunch. It's going to be up in Lynmouth Pavilion in September.
  After our walk we went to the café for a hot chocolate and cream tea (cos you can have them with hot chocolate instead of actual tea) and completely confused the waiter by moving to an indoors table between placing our order and it arriving. There were wasps outside. Tarr Steps is definitely nicer when the sun is out and you can paddle in the river, but it was still a nice day out. We didn't get home until 5.30. I am writing down the way so we don't forget it next time. Link road - North Molton - Withypool then turn right to Tarr Steps. Stupid Sat Navs!

Sunday, 9 August 2015


 We've been back a week now and already it feels like ages ago we were in Portugal. It was slightly strange to arrive and not need to adjust our clocks - I am so conditioned into thinking that whenever you fly to Europe and the sun you have to adjust your clock. But we soon got over that when we realised we were actually in THE SUN! After so many busy holidays this was going to be a 'do nothing' holiday.  Most of our time was spent on the beach and by the pool and when we weren't doing that we were taking a break from the sun by lounging around in our apartment. But we did manage to do a few things, of course.
 We went for a boat trip along the coast to see the caves. This wasn't nearly as scary as Caitlin is making it out to be here. She actually enjoyed it and despite the bumpy waves, so did I.
 We had a few meals out in restaurants overlooking the beach. The food in Portugal is very cheap but the service can be a bit hit and miss. This restaurant was a bit like being in Faulty Towers, with a doddery old waiter who kept wandering off to serve other people half way through taking our orders.
 Cocktails in beanbags on the beach were great. Carl had a few too many and had a bad head the next day, but it was his birthday.

 We went to Slide and Splash, a water park, on one day. It was quite windy but we managed to enjoy the sun too. Caitlin and I got stuck in the middle of one ride, Ellie got caught under a boat and cut her foot and knee trying to get back out, and Carl managed to lose 40Euro on a water slide cos he didn't listen when we told him to put his money in my purse, but insisted on keeping it in his back pocket instead.
Water parks are dangerous places!
We had a nice, relaxing time though. Which was the main point.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Two Days In London

 I took Caitlin and Ellie to London on Wednesday and Thursday. We had a lovely girlie time which started with a tour of the Google offices where Christopher works. Its great inside, with gyms, massage parlours, sleep-pods, canteens and coffee stations all free of charge. They make it so you never want to leave!
 We did plenty of shopping in Oxford Street then popped back to our B&B in Pimlico to change for the theatre. We just about made it to the Barbican on time and had great seats in the fourth row to watch 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. It was great, and the kids in it were fantastic. Really glad we went to see it.
 On Thursday we took the tube to St Pauls, walked across the Millennium Bridge to take photos and then went into Tate Modern to look at the art. After that there was time for a visit to Hamleys in Regent Street, then a late lunch in pub off Carnaby Street before heading home.


 It's been a busy month. The end of the school year always is. But now its the summer holidays and I can catch up with all the things I haven't had time to do until now. At the beginning of July we went to Pilton College's Awards Evening, where Ellie got a runner up Key Stage 3 award from the English Department. She was quite happy to have not won, as the winners 'Only get a trophy to keep for a year' but she a £10 gift token. We were all very proud of her.
 On 11th July Carl and I were in Cardiff to see England beat the Australians in the first Ashes test. It was fabulous and the atmosphere inside the ground was great. You don't get that from watching it on the telly. The chants of 'Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio,' accompanied by waving every time we got one of them out was just so hilariously English!
 When it was over we rushed back to Ellie's guitar concert and made it in time for the second half. Caitlin was there to watch her too. She'd done a good job getting Ellie to her rehearsals and the start of the concert.
We have birds living in our house just outside our kitchen window. They are very cute and sing a lot. The babies are almost ready to fly the nest by the look of it.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Caitlin's 18th

 My second baby is now 18! I can't believe it! But we celebrated in style on Friday night. She wanted a fancy dress party and she wanted to go as Anna from Frozen, so I made her this dress. She looked stunning in it.
 Everyone made a great effort to dress up. My sister and her partner were definitely the best ones there though! Well done Shrek and Fiona.
 There was much legal drinking going on, thanks mostly to Blues Brother Elwood and his Mexican son. Caitlin discovered she does like shots, but doesn't like Sambuca - liquorice, who would?
 Granny, Caitlin, Mum and Aunty Beth.
 The Betazoids
 Eventually the teenagers all warmed-up and there was actual dancing going on. I think they got so fed-up of the embarrassing Mum-dancing they felt they had to show up how it was done.
The last men standing!

Monday, 4 May 2015

My Disney Experience

 From the 28th March - 11th April we were in Florida for our fourth trip to Disneyworld. This time there were eleven of us, ranging from 12 -73 years. The weather was kind and we had a good time, although there were moments (aren't there always?). We did ten different parks in fourteen days. Hence the three week delay in blogging. I am only just now recovered!!
  Disney is the main reason for going of course, and it was just as lovely as always, so the majority of our time was spent there, but they did seem to be revamping everywhere which meant a lot of places were boarded off and inaccessible. Animal Kingdom in particular was not nearly so pretty as is usually is. Disney have also managed to kill-off spontaneity with their new Fastpass+ system. You book your three Fastpasses 30 days in advance and then you are fixed on going to that park on that day - change your mind and you lose your Fastpasses with no chance of getting any more cos they are all gone! I liked the old system better, even if it did mean walking backwards and forwards across the park a lot.
 We are big Harry Potter fans so Universal was a big draw with its two Harry Potter worlds and the chance to go on the Hogwarts Express between the two. Lots of people asked about our t-shirts: Primark at its best! The Gringotts ride was fun but not as good as I thought it was going to be. Forbidden Journey is better.
 No Disneyworld holiday is complete without a visit to see Mickey. We went to the Tusker House restaurant in Animal Kingdom and met Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy. (It cost an arm and a leg though!)
 The water parks are always fun, and not a Fastpass in sight to regiment your day. We did two days at Blizzard Beach and one at Typhoon Lagoon. I think I prefer Typhoon Lagoon. It has the two man boat rides that are like rollercoasters and shoot you up and down tubes. They make me scream a lot.
This year we also did Busch Gardens for the first time ever. They managed to do all the big rollercoasters and only had a very long queue for Cheeta, all the others they only waited about ten minutes for. Good job too because I was the one left holding the bags. The only other ride we really queued for the was the water rapid ride. We all got hot and bother in the queue and then very wet on the ride. Adrienne got the wettest - that seemed to the pattern on every wet ride we did.
  I'm all Disneyed-out now.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Two Days in Dorset

 We've just had a lovely two days away from home. On Tuesday we drove to Lyme Regis, not too far away from us but somewhere I've never been, as far as I know. It's a pretty little village with narrow twisting roads and lots lovely touristy/arty shops. The weather was fantastic for February. We had pasties and chips sat on the beach and enjoyed the sunshine.
Then we went for a walk out to the end of the harbour wall and took lots of photos of the sea. On the way back we sat by the sandy beach and had ice creams. Willow was unimpressed by the fact that she was not allowed off her lead to run around on the beach. 
A short drive down the coast took us to Charmouth, where our B&B was. We parked up and walked down to that beach where Willow could run around as much as she liked, although she wasn't too fond of all the pebbles. We didn't have any hammers or other such devices but we had a good go and cracking open some pebbles. We didn't find any fossils.
 On Wednesday another short drive took us to West Bay - where they film Broadchurch. The weather wasn't so nice and it wasn't as packed as I was expecting it to be, but there were still plenty of people around. We walked all the way along from one end of the cliffs to the other then back again before heading off for hot chocolate in the nearest café. We also managed to spot the house that is David Tennant's home in the series. It's another pretty little village, but probably nicer in the summer.
 Willow had fun on this beach too, she spent a lot of time trying to get us to play ball with the pebbles, woofing at them and pushing them along with her paws. I tried hard to pretend she wasn't with me!

Saturday, 14 February 2015


I've just spent the last two mornings on a local farm watching the lambing. It was all very exciting. We weren't guaranteed any lambing for the hour we were there, of course, but in the end we saw lots. Our very first lamb was one that was coming out head first instead of head and feet first, so the farmer had to push it back in and rearrange it. Then we saw births that were more straight forwards. All the lambs were very cute and look - I even got one to smile for the camera!