crosby beach

made another visit to see my mother over the weekend,  but via liverpool to celebrate both a birthday and introduce the city to my husband, who had only ever been to the football ground!  we stayed at the vast and spacious titanic hotel, which is pretty comfortable but a short taxi ride away from the centre of liverpool.  we just missed seeing the interior of the wonderful metropolitan cathedral, its austere 60’s design is just beautiful – it will definitely be on my list for next time.  however, i did make it to crosby beach, a short 10 min drive from the hotel, with its Anthony Gormley sculptures randomly placed on the beach and in the sea, its definitely a must go to see.  i arrived just as a storm was brewing, so i saw it windswept with dark skies, but it just added to the drama and it also meant nobody else was on the beach.  liverpool is definitely a city of interesting architecture, from rows of georgian houses to warehouses along the docks, its a great weekend destination.


my theatre buddy son chose ‘flick’ at the national theatre for us to see – a long 3 hour play based around 3 characters who work in a failing old style cinema in america is slow and purely a study of personalities.  i must admit i almost fell asleep in the first half, but revived by some break time chocolate and a much more interesting script for the second half, found it more enjoyable.  i also like to see what the end is going to be!  its not going to be for everyone – its bleak, its the lives of real people that you are watching;  several viewers left during the break, but my son absolutely loved it.  it helped as he is into film, and a lot of the play is based around the love of films.


alde valley spring festival

i love discovering new things in remote spots that you would never know existed;  the alde valley spring festival has just started at White House Farm in Great Glenham, suffolk – celebrating food, farming, landscape and the arts. you are greeted with fields of bleating lambs, a shepherds hut, tea room with homemade flapjacks, and several barns and outhouses filled with art, including works by the renowned local artist Maggie Hambling.   outside is a covered seating area, laid out for dinner for many;  there are supper evenings on thursdays cooked with ingredients grown on the farm, lots of activities for children,  all in all a lovely place to drop by, have a cup of tea and see some art.   i particularly loved the hand made knives by Tobias Ford. there is even a shop selling ethically sourced baskets, local honey and ceramics.   take a look at their website to see whats on.

the colours of morocco

having visited morocco recently, i have since been totally influenced by the earthy tones;  you can easily change the mood of a room by adding soft furnishings in contrasting colours – its a quick and inexpensive way to throw colour into a room. you can buy direct from moroccan artisans the – lots of the items are sourced from co operatives so you feel that you are giving something to the community.

if you feel brave, you can retile a bathroom or kitchen floor, or even add some moroccan inspired tiles to the walls – a border in the kitchen always looks good.  you can buy some lovely reclaimed tiles, including moroccan designs from bert & may.

for moroccan paint colours, try the shades old ochre and delilah’s secret , both from fired earth, etruscan red from craig and rose. 

20Sep2014_0035 20Sep2014_0032 20Sep2014_0025 market22Aug2014_0669 market22Aug2014_0668

healthy breakfast pot

inspired by the nectar cafe triyoga, i have decided to vary my breakfast options – standard toast and muesli have become very boring, even though i change my brands and type of bread.  i made these really simple pots of oats and chia seeds, soaked with almond or oat milk;  buy green cardamon pods and crush in a pestle and mortar to get the seeds, sprinkle into the oats and chia seeds with a drizzle of honey and a squeeze of fresh lime.  sprinkle some sunflowers seeds and rose petals on the top, cover with some cling film and leave overnight – delicious with a handful of berries and so nutritious.  you can buy gluten free oats  or quinoa if you prefer, and for those of you reducing the sugar, leave out the honey and add some grated apple as well as the berries to add a bit of natural sweetness.  make 2 or 3 at once,  for a quick breakfast or for  a handy nutritious  snack.

i am very lucky to have parkway greens at the end of my street, not only does it sell an amazing array of vegetables and exotic fruits, but is now stocking a whole wealth of health food products, such as cereals, spices and oils.  i found the rose petals in china life, again just round the corner from me;  an amazing choice of high quality  loose teas from china, as well as beautiful ceremony tea sets.  i love giving the teas and pots as presents.

by the way, i bought these lovely linen mix tea towels from ikea – if you look carefully there are some really nice pieces to be found.

a day trip to paris

maria and i did our annual day trip to paris on a £59 return ticket – you have to book in advance, but its worth it.   we arrived around 10am, in time to have breakfast in one of the many street cafes – luckily it was a beautiful sunny day, so we could sit outside.  buy a book of 10 metro tickets – you may not use them all that day, but they are worth keeping for the next visit and means that there is no queuing for tickets.  the metro gets you from one side of paris to the other very quickly.   we visited the canal saint martin area – an up and coming area, with restaurants, bars, shops such as agnes B and APC;  have a drink at the Hotel du Nord, which faces the canal.   Paris is a city for walking around, enjoying the sights and streets – its amazing that its just 2 hours from Kings Cross by train. we ended up at the Pompidou Centre to see the Paul Klee exhibition – the abstract watercolours and oils from tunisia are my favourite.   we also had time to visit the wonderful collection in the rest of the gallery – famous pieces from rothko, matisse, freud – there are some beautiful pieces.  visit the rooftop restaurant to get the breathtaking view of paris through the rooftops!

sign up for offers with eurostar, i noticed that there is another offer of £59 return for may!

paris20Apr2016_0025 paris20Apr2016_0050 pompidou20Apr2016_0070

huts and hideaways

you always have a wish list in your life – and as you get older, you find that the list gets longer….

on my list is a shepherds hut or a gypsy caravan in my big rambling garden ( oops thats 2 of my wishes – the big rambling garden) -have a look at the ones from huts and hideaways and remember you can always stay at the wonderful shepherds return – another of those things on my neverending list.

I definitely miss my whitstable cottage  – its been 3 years now,  but its spurred me to book some weekend day trips.  you forget how beautiful the english countryside can be – despite the terrible weather.

its all the rage, glam camping – i keep reading all about it – i must give it a go – not with robert of course, but one of my bohemian girlfriends who will appreciate the rustic natural life.   someone sent me this info and it looks really cool for a girlie weekend.

Introducing Mad Dogs & Vintage Vans – boutique glamping in the heart of the Wye Valley.  Come and stay in our beautiful vintage caravans in the grounds of a Grade II listed Rectory , nestled in the rolling hills of Herefordshire with stunning views out to the Black Mountains.  All our caravans have their own characters and are packed full of period features and vintage charm.  Bring the family or glamp it up with girlfriends, it’s the perfect place to relax and reconnect with nature.”

came across this website that looks very interesting, fun things to do with friends or with an adventurous family – vintage vacations.  my friend has this lovely 70’s caravan right near the beach in whitstable – a much cheaper alternative to a cottage and much less maintenance.

22Nov2015_0066 (1)

whitstable_3474 (1)