Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Back to the Farm

On Sunday we went on a return visit to Manor Farm.
There were lots of new arrivals in the farmyard such as the cutest twin baby calves born 5 days earlier

and in one of the barns there were lambs which were also just a few days old.

It was feeding time not longer after we got there, a fact this pig was well aware of! She had heard the farmer's voice and had lifted herself up and was snuffling the air sniffing out the bucket of food he was bringing over for her.

Brown paper bags full of chicken food can be purchased and we always buy a bag to feed the multitude of hens, cockerels and ducks who wander around the farm.

We have never spotted this shepherds hut on any of our previous visits, the steps of which made for an ideal photo posing opportunity.

Just look at the dinky little stove set inside it.

The others weren't really bothered about going back to look inside the farmhouse again, but this is just about my most favourite part I had to nip in.

How cosy a scene is this?
A real fire blazing away and as well as the armchair itself being swathed in crochet blankets this clever lady has a shawl of granny squares draped around her shoulders as she works on the most beautiful blanket. Perfection.

And as if that wasn't wonderful enough there were even more beautiful items to feast my eyes on as I wandered around the room featured in the Wartime Farm TV series.
No more words from me ,except to say if you are ever in the area a visit is a must especially if you coincide it with one of the special events they run during the year. Now just enjoy the vintage loveliness in the rest of the photos.

Monday, 22 April 2013


We went to our first car boot of the year yesterday morning and found the field was packed with both sellers and buyers, the sunshine had lured us all out to see what we either buy or sell.

As well as this little haul there were a few more pieces of clothing for S and a pretty floral top for me but the photo I took of it was so disastrous I haven't bothered to include it.

This is my favourite thing amongst the bits I found for S. A safety pin patterned smock top from Zara for 50p. 

A  brand new and very capacious casserole dish for £1.00. So huge it'll take up loads of space in my not very big cupboards but I bought it all the same.

When G saw this the other way up and poking out of my bag he thought I'd bought a hanging basket but it is in fact a wicker food cover, maybe not very practical but I have a thing for wicker.

Bargain of the morning was this folding garden trolley for 50p. It is in need of a good clean but I hope it'll prove useful as when the weather allows we do try and eat outside as much as possible.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

New Additions

I have added a few new pieces to the dresser recently.
The sugar bowl was given to me by my sister after she had a bit of a sort out.

A sugar shaker found in a charity shop for 99p, I was thinking of possibly using this for sprinkling chocolate on hot drinks.

There has only been one jumble sale this year and there were pretty slim pickings to be had but I did find this shallow enamel bowl for 50p.

Finally a large glass jug, again from a charity shop, for £1.99 which as soon as I spied it on the shelf I could visualise full of Pimms or elderflower cordial and lemonade.

Monday, 15 April 2013


G came home on Friday with a beautiful bunch of tulips for me.
'What have you done wrong, what do you need to apologise for?,' his colleagues quizzed him.
'Nothing!' he answered. 'My wife loves flowers and I love my wife.'
Good enough reason for me.

Friday, 12 April 2013


We have had a very lazy Easter holiday. 
As we have only managed a couple of trips to parks and spent more time indoors than I would ideally like us to I determined that on Wednesday we would go out . I did very little research on line but decided that as Christchurch is only 40ish minutes away by rail and we've never been that is where we would go. 
I vaguely remembered reading something last year (when looking for things to do during the summer holiday) that they have a splash park and I thought, among other things, we could check that out with a view to making it a family day out destination for this summer holiday, ever the optimist weather wise you see!

I roused the children from their beds a bit earlier than they are used to during school holidays, smiles from one and scowls from another, I'll let you decide which, and away we went.

'What's there?', I was asked during our train journey. 'The ruins of castle, maybe it'll be a good place for hide and seek like Netley Abbey,' I replied, knowing how much they enjoy our visits there full of picnics and games.

The picture below shows the extent of the ruins, it's just one tower on top of a huge mound!
'I thought you would have checked it out on the internet first mum, you usually do when we go out,' was T's comment.
Point taken.

Standing at the top this is the view to one side, a hotchpotch of houses

and this is the view on the opposite side, Christchurch Priory.

I found the information board very interesting, but I was the only one. The children had scurried down again once they realised hide and seek wasn't likely!

As well as the castle ruins there is the remains of the chamber block, both are owned by English Heritage

On the green between the castle and the chamber block sits a bowling pavilion. There is a paving slab by the entrance to the green which reads Kings Hotel Tea Garden. The Kings Hotel is opposite the green and for me it conjured up visions of ladies dressed in their finery taking afternoon tea whilst sitting prettily under parasols, or have I just been watching too many period dramas?!

We followed the river side walk

round to where the splash park and playground are situated, passing swans and a floating blue plastic hippo as you do and decided that yes we would be like to return here in the summer with picnic and swimmers packed.

As always there we other little things I noticed along our way which I couldn't resist snapping.

Standing on a corner not far from the station was a pub and I really liked two of its windows. First off is how they used the ghost for 'spirits'

and secondly this one with its patchwork of glass squares.

Another reason for a return visit would be some of the shops. I did have a quick look around the charity shops, they didn't have an awful lot in them so I'm not sure I would bother next time. There are quite a few shops I would like to pop into though, the window displays of home wares and clothing were very enticing but the only one I did venture into this time was Lavender and Bay, lured down the side street it is in when I spied this hand painted CK motif on the advertising board outside.
And I'm glad I did as the lady in the shop was so friendly and told me about the ferry service which runs to a local beach in the summer, another possibility for a day out.

Finally a pretty bike complete with lush greenery outside another shop.

Whilst out T asked if we could buy a new toy for the cats so we bought a little orange furry mouse complete with a bell attached to a piece of elastic. 
Well Malcolm has been mad for it. He has never really shown much interest in the other toys we have had for them. My handbag was sat on the floor with this just visible and he managed to knock it out of my bag and as soon as it was taken out of it's packaging he had leapt on it gripping it tightly in his front paws and pedalling away on it with his back paws. It doesn't contain catnip, but he is in love with it nonetheless. I'm sure Malcolm was just as pleased as I was that we went to Christchurch for the day.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

On the Trail

The children had to wait until Easter Monday for their Easter egg hunt at home. Thankfully it was dry and we were able to hide a few eggs out in the back garden. I asked T if he wanted to take part this year. 'Ah yeah if it means chocolate at the end of it,'  was the answer but in reality S did most of the seeking out and when she found each hiding place T, who was following closely behind, just added his egg to his haul and then waited for the next find to be discovered. I suppose that's what happens when you get to 13.

On Tuesday I had to go into town as I wanted to buy some paint from Laura Ashley. I'm going to start decorating our bedroom soon and as they currently have 30% off their paint range it's too good an offer to miss.
Whilst in town S and I went to the art gallery as this is another venue on the Lego trail which we started on Friday in Winchester.
Before the construction of the Itchen Bridge crossing over to the centre of town from our side of the water would mean using the Floating Bridge, information here  if you want to learn more about this cable ferry. 
Hanging in the art gallery is a painting of the Floating Bridge by L S Lowry, which can be seen here and this has been used to create a table top sized Lego model.

And so to today. I didn't want to venture too far so we decided to visit one of the small green open spaces in the City, one we hadn't been to for a long while. It seems that a relatively new group have formed with the purpose of caring for the area and there have been a few changes since our last visit. The helicopter climbing frame has been painted and I was coaxed into climbing into it and no I won't be sharing the photos or the video T took of me trying to get out of it afterwards! There are two of these new noticeboards decorated with wood carvings.

But the most exciting addition by far was the discovery of a rope swing. My oh my they had so much fun with this. Huge smiles, big belly laughs and nearly uncontrollable giggling at one stage. Priceless.

Whilst the children were flinging themselves around I went round the corner and hid a few eggs (thanks Diane!) for them to find. You may be able to spot a blue egg hidden in this tree next to T. This was his last egg to find and he had walked past it countless times before he finally found it, the look on his face says it all!

My mum came along with us

and we reminisced about the times when we have been here in the past and T and S could fit in these baby seats on the swings and not just perch on top of them like they did today.

Another discovery was this huge burnt tree. It looked  (although you can't really tell from my rubbish photo) like some kind of multi legged spider and would make an excellent den.

We went in for a closer look and saw there are hundreds of burnt looking cones still attached to it

and the way the bark had come away from the branches here it immediately reminded me of the tiger bread you can buy from bakeries in most of the big supermarkets. Maybe a good spot for a picnic later in the year, perhaps the summer holidays when the sun may finally make an appearance for longer than a couple of hours.