Author

I'm a part-time writer, full-time mother and dog-walker living in a small English village by the sea with my husband, daughter and a dog named Doc.

All posts by Dean B

Polzeath in the Summer

We don’t go much to Polzeath, even though it is a lovely beach.  Perhaps, because we live by so many other beaches equally as lovely as the said beach.  Yes, admittedly, we are a bit spoiled when it comes to beaches all because we live in North Cornwall.

A few weeks ago, we had family visit, even though we knew it was going to be a bit crowded, we thought it would be nice to take them there since they’ve never been.

And I’m glad we did, even though it was busy, it was still a beautiful day to be out on the beach along with the holiday makers.

Before T and her cousin hit the waves with their bodyboards, they had fun burying each other in the sand, as you do when you’re on the beach.

And when that was done, they hit the waves, along with many, many, people.

After enjoying the waves of course, we all had some Kelly Whip ice-cream – summer wouldn’t be complete with that.

And then it was time to go, even then, the beach was still busy and there were lots of surfers enjoying the waves in Polzeath.  Perhaps, that’s one of the reason why this beach is so popular?  If you wonder what it looks like when it’s not busy, you can have a little peek here.

It’s lovely to see Cornwall busy with tourists.  Once the summer is done, a lot of the small villages here become like a ghost town.  It’s the first of September while a lot think that summer is over, I don’t think it is gone yet.  Yes, T will be back in school on Monday, but if we’re lucky, we might have an Indian summer only then will I feel that it is indeed over.

Have you been to Polzeath?

What’s your favourite beach in your area?

Norfolk Mini-Series: A Yurt and an Orchard

Tolkien once said:

Not all those who wander are lost.

That is so true.  It was way past lunchtime after our visit to Castle Rising.  We headed for the cafe there near the church.  It looked promising at the beginning, but just as we sat down, they announced that they weren’t serving food anymore, which we found a bit mind-boggling since obviously there were still loads of customers coming in, it’s like they didn’t even care!

By this time the three of us were getting a little bit grumpy – tired and hungry.  My husband though, ever the optimist, decided that we should just drive by the coast and see where it would take us.

To be fair, we did enjoy the scenery, but I guess he noticed that we were getting more and more quiet, luckily for us, we were headed for a lovely surprise just around the bend.

The husband noticed a sign to what looked like a farm-shop and we all know that they always serve good food, don’t they?  He turned to us and asked if we wanted to stop.  T and I both said yes, we were that hungry.  And as we parked, I noticed a Yurt that looked like they were serving food.  I quickly went inside and was welcomed by a very friendly-smiley-waiter.  I asked “Are you still serving food?”  He smiled and said “Yes!”.  I swear I could’ve kissed him when he said that.

T ordered a fish-finger sandwich from the kiddie menu.  We were expecting a few fish fingers stuck in a bun, but was pleasantly surprised when this arrived:

Does this look like a kiddie meal to you?  Admittedly, she needed help, which her dad gladly did.

I ordered a mixed-seafood noodle dish, not really knowing to expect.  Wasn’t too sure about it when it arrived and I saw an egg on it.  But absolutely enjoyed it.  I don’t know whether it’s because I was starving, but it was really good and filling.

I give this restaurant  five stars for food and service.  Their waiters were all lovely, friendly and accommodating.  Apparently, at night they also have live music so if you’re in the area, do visit Shuck’s Restaurant at Thornham.  Click here if you need directions on how to find them.

After a delicious meal, the three of us were definitely energised and decided to have a little poke around Drove Orchards.  There weren’t just apples, but there were also pears and other fruits as well.

After walking around the fruit orchard, the three of us headed for the farm shop and decided to buy more than a couple of bottles of fruit juice from this lovely orchard to take back home with us.  They were all delicious!

Thank goodness for Shuck’s Restaurant and Drove Orchard for saving the day!  If you’re looking for good food or like orchards, do give them a visit.

This not-so-little-one turned Seven!

T turned seven over the weekend.  This growing-up business is happening way too soon for my husband and I.  We want to enjoy her more.

She had a party with her friends at iBounce on Saturday and it was just madness and mayhem.  But all the kids enjoyed it and that’s what matters isn’t it?  I wish I could share some photos but now that T is growing-older I’ve decided to refrain from posting photos of her where you can see her face.  If you’ve noticed, it’s always from afar, or her back or side view.  She’s growing up you see, and I want to protect her privacy.

What do we know about the number seven?

There are seven colours in a rainbow: red, yellow, green, blue, violet, orange and indigo.  Apparently, the number seven is significant in the Bible.  It denotes completeness or perfection.  The scholars believe that it’s because God rested on the seventh day after creating the world.  In Judaism, the universe is made of seven heavens.  And then of course, there’s the seven deadly sins.

If you google the number 7, you’ll find an endless list but before I digress again, I’ve decided to make …

Seven Fun Facts about T

  1. She plays the cello, and does ballet and gymnastics.
  2. Won her first ever race at sports day this year.
  3. Favourite authors: Chris Riddell, Neil Gaiman and J.K Rowling
  4. Favourite illustrator/artist: Chris Riddell.
  5. Ambition: Wants to be an illustrator like C.R or a writer like J.K Rowling.
  6. Favourite colours: Purple and black.
  7. Favourite hero (or more like a villain): Harley Quinn

Ah parenthood, I didn’t anticipate that watching your child grow-up could actually be painful.  It sounds selfish I know, but sometimes I just want her to stay little just little a wee bit more.

Now excuse me while I pick-up more wrapping paper off the floor.  I think I’ve forgotten what it looks like!

Norfolk Mini-Series: A Visit to Castle Rising

This is the 3rd post of our mini Norfolk series.  If you’ve missed the last two, please click here and here.  Thank you!

Right after we visited Norfolk lavender farm, we headed off to Castle Rising which wasn’t too far from the farm.  A bonus since we wanted to visit as much places as we can in a day.

Castle Rising is a medieval castle which was first built in 1138 by Norman lord William d’ Albini for his new wife, the widow of Henry I.  Later in the 14th century, it also became the home of Queen Isabella, another widow and who also supposedly murdered her husband King Edward II.  Ah these royals and their secrets and scandals.

I love old ruins, the older, the better.  I just can’t wrap my head around the idea that a building has been standing all these years.  I touch the walls and wonder what it was like in the medieval times.  What were their lives like?  What were their thoughts, dreams and fears?  Do you wonder the same too?

You approach the castle from the side and it is located on a hill.  I believe many years ago, this was probably the site of a medieval village surrounding the castle.  Like many, it is surrounded by a moat, but it’s currently a dry one.

And there it is, Castle Rising in all it’s glory and there’s  little T on the ground, contemplating how it was like centuries ago.

Can you imagine Queen Isabella entering the castle, dressed in her finest gowns and jewellery.  Upon entering that door, you step into a concrete stairs leading into the castle.

Can you see how much it has been restored?  All these years and these steps and walls are still standing.

This is the first room you step-into from the concrete stairs.  Of course, what is left are only walls and no more ceiling.

Apparently, when the ceiling collapsed (don’t know which century), they had to dig into the walls to create a hallway.  See how thick the walls are:

Little T had fun exploring every nook and cranny of this medieval castle.

Surprisingly the rooms on the top floor were more restored than the ones below.

Do you think Queen Isabella whispered to these walls and admitted her guilt?  I don’t think it’s ever been established whether she killed the king or not.  It’s one of those royal mysteries that’s never been solved.

And outside, T also had the chance to explore the site of a Norman chapel that actually even predates Castle Rising.

Too much exploring can tire out even an energetic little girl like T.

Do you enjoy exploring medieval castles too?

Norfolk-Mini Series: Norfolk Lavender

Where has the summer gone?  Already it feels like the beginning of autumn, temperature has definitely dropped, though I’m hoping it’s only temporary.  I’m thinking of the lovely days we spent in Norfolk, allow me to reminisce…

I always used to envy photos of lavender farms on Instagram.  We don’t have one nearby you see, so when we first thought of visiting Norfolk, the first thing I did was go online and see if I could find one near our base in Hunstanton.  Imagine my surprise and delight when there was actually one called just beside sunny Hunny.

We arrived in Norfolk Lavender around midday.  There were already lots of tourists and visitors milling around the rows of beautiful lavender taking photos of course and I don’t blame them.  They are beautiful and deserve a thousand photos …

Little T had fun walking through the rows upon rows of the beautiful and fragrant flowers.

Her dad taught her how to touch the flowers gently and to smell the fragrance they left in her little fingertips.

If I had a garden big enough, I’d plant rows and rows of lavender too.  They are my favourite!

The place though isn’t all about lavender.  They also have a garden where you can enjoy walking around and looking at different kinds of flowers as well.  They have lovely benches and manicured lawns perfect for a picnic, or a fun day out.

This lovely bloom, really caught my attention.  T said the colours were like a candy-cane and I so agree with her.  I forget though what it’s called.

This orange flower also stood out among all the greenery in the garden.

I have a close friend who knows a lot about flowers, especially wild ones. Every time she visits us, we go for long walks and she likes to point them out to me and ask “Do you remember what it’s called?”  I smile at her sheepishly and she laughs as if to say “Oh Dean, you never remember things!”  And she’s right, I never do!

I look at these photos now and I am filled with nostalgia and longing to go back!  It’s a lovely place really. They of course have a shop, a garden centre, a cafe and even a little play area for children (although you have to pay to get in), but the rest you can roam around freely.

If you’re in the area, do drop by.  You won’t regret it.  Click here to know the exact location.

Where to next?

Wait to find out 😉

Saving for our Daughter’s Future

*This is a sponsored post.

“I have a letter mum” T proudly held a white envelope up to us.  And she was right, it was addressed to her.  It was a summary of her ISA savings account which we started when she was barely a month old.

“How much have I saved?”  She excitedly asked.  Note the “I” and not the “we” as if it was her who deposited monthly in her account.  Ah bless.

We read the amount to her.  She gasped.  “I’m rich!”  Till we explained that this account was for her University fees.  My husband and I both actually sighed, with this rate, we’ll be nowhere near the £37,000+ it takes for a degree here in the UK according to this article.  To think, that’s only the cost of the Uni fees, they haven’t even included accommodation, food and clothing allowance.  Good grief.  And of course, by the time she’s old enough to go, it will probably be double that amount.  Thank goodness  T is only six, we still have time.  Do we really have time though to scrape and save enough to ensure that our daughter can go to Uni without a massive student debt to burden her?  And how are we doing this?

Scrape and Save

By scraping and saving of course.  I’m lucky I’m married to someone who is ever so careful with our finances.   We both are. We actually have an emergency fund we can dip into goodness knows, something unforeseen happens (knocks on wood, hopefully that will never happen).  It may not be a huge amount, but at least we have something to cushion us even for just a bit.

Have No Credit

My husband and I don’t own credit cards, no loans, no mortgage to think about.  Whatever we need goes out of our current account.  I don’t judge anyone and perfectly understand how for some people credit cards are a safety net just in case the numbers don’t add up at the end of the month.  And I know it can easily happen to anyone.

Buy only What You Need

Thank goodness my husband and I are both simply folks.  We don’t buy expensive stuff.  I don’t own signature brands and shun away from most things expensive.  If I see something I like, I wait till it goes on sale and if I find the price reasonable enough, that’s the only time I buy it.  We do like to splurge on each other during special occasions mostly on books though, especially Folio books.  As for other necessities, I usually wait for the sales before buying anything.

Small Joys and Simple Pleasures

Lastly, my husband and I are both homebodies.  We like the simple pleasures in life like a good home-cooked meal instead of eating out or watching movies at home instead of going to the cinema.  We both like to potter around in the house during the weekends.  We’re members of the National Trust and English Heritage which means, we don’t spend much most of our days out especially if we bring a picnic with us.

All these may just be little things, but when added up together can amount to something and surely we’re doing the right thing right?

What about you?

Do you also prepare for the future?

 

Back to School with Start-rite

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with start-rite.

I think this is the shortest summer holiday little T has ever had and I can’t believe that she’ll be back in school next month.  I’m panicking a bit because there are still some activities I want to do with her.  We haven’t even gone camping yet, or learned how to ride the bike without stabilizers, or learned the “You are my sunshine” song in the ukulele yet.

And yes, I do know the summer holiday will end soon.  In fact, in spite the panic, we’re actually ready for it.  She already has new uniforms in time for next month and also has a pair of  new school shoes courtesy of Start-rite.  We got little T’s first ever pair of shoes from them.  My husband was very particular about this. He didn’t want to just buy just any pair of shoe from the shops.  He wanted her properly fitted and booted.  Yes, T and has a history with this particular shoe brand and we trust it.

For this year, T chose a classic Mary Janes style for her school-shoes.  If you’ve been following our little blog for some time now, you will know that my daughter is very sporty and just like any other six, going seven-year-old, she loves to skip and run around like a loony.

What we liked about the shoes:

  • The velcro.  Admittedly, T still hasn’t mastered tying her shoelace yet so a velcro strap is a big help for her.
  • We like the style and the leather.  As mentioned, we’ve been happy with Start-rite from the beginning and know that we are getting good quality shoes.
  • At £42.99 we think that the price is just right.  Might be pricier than other school shoes, but at least we know that we’re getting our money’s worth and know that it will last her long.

When it comes to school shoes my husband and I don’t really mind spending more for better quality shoes and as I’ve mentioned, T and start-rite have a good history together, we know that this will last her till at least next year.  I won’t be surprised if it even lasts longer than that.

As parents of young and active kids, it’s always best to spend a little bit more for good quality school shoes, isn’t it, especially if we know that it will last longer than most of the other brands.

What about you?

Are you a Start-rite parent too?

We are!

Norfolk Mini-Series: By the Seaside in Sunny Hunny

It all began in Sunny Hunny.  Apparently, it isn’t always sunny in Hunstanton but we were lucky enough to be blessed with glorious weather the few days we were there.  We used the lovely seaside town Hunstanton as base for our trip.  For those who don’t know, “Hunny” as some fondly call the place, is a lovely seaside town in West Norfolk.  It’s one of the few places in the West Coast where the sun can be seen setting over the sea.

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon.  After some tea and cake, we decided to take a walk by the pier.  Was really impressed with the lovely flowers by the promenade.

We knew there was a seaside carnival, not surprisingly T wanted to head for there as soon as she could see it from afar but first my husband tried to convince me to try out the jellied eel.

I took one look and politely declined (did have a taste though) and instead enjoyed a small pot of mixed-seafood.

Not to be left-out, T all ready for the seaside fair asked for some cotton candy.

And then she was all set for some serious fun in the fair.

Sadly, T wasn’t tall enough for some of the rides.  To cheer her up, we said yes to a temporary tattoo.

Her first choice was a sugar skull (she loves them), but then decided on the grim reaper.  Yes, my daughter is a bit “dark” that way.

The woman doing the temporary tattoos tried to convince her to add some colour and perhaps even some glitter.  But T knew what she wanted and politely said no.  I don’t blame her.  I don’t think the the grim reaper will be pleased to be dusted with glitter and colour.

And here’s my little goth girl, proudly showing off her tattoo.  The woman said it will last a week and she was right!

We enjoyed the lovely picturesque scenes on our way to the flat.

It was a beautiful end to our first day in Sunny Hunny.

Where are we off to tomorrow, mum?  T asked.

Off to the Norfolk Lavender Farm.

Wait for it!

A Wedding and a Short Holiday

After being away for about two weeks, we are back!

We actually came back late last Friday, but the following days were all a bit of a blur.  T attended a party last Saturday, hung out in a friend’s house after, Sunday was spent resting (or trying to).  Went out food shopping Monday, Tuesday T had a playdate with two friends and today she’s having another one, plus a sleep-over!  Yes, our little house is still in a bit of a frenzy this week I’m afraid, so while we’ve been back, I haven’t really been online much lately.

This is really just a quick note to say the wedding was a blast.  T enjoyed her first time ever role as bridesmaid/flower girl.  She absolutely loved twirling in her white dress and pink shoes, matching with her cousin of course.  They both loved it.

Then we were off to Norfolk for a few days.  Our base was Hunstanton and it was lovely there.  Will do a little short series on Norfolk and all the lovely tourist places we visited.  I think they are all worth a mention here, so please bear with me as I slowly sift through the dozens of photos I took, hopefully they’ll all end up here.

Now excuse me while I make lunch for two excited little girls …

The End of Another Term and A Bit of A Break

Today is little T’s last day of the term.  We thought it was on Wednesday, it turns out that it’s an inset day which is a good thing, because we drive up to Beds on that day for my sister-in-law’s wedding, at least, my daughter doesn’t have to miss her last day in school.

It was the children’s end-of-term school play last week.  Last year, T played little Alice in Alice in Wonderland.  This year, it was the Jungle Book. In their school, the Year 6 kids (the ones leaving primary school) are chosen for the big roles, so this time she was one of the jungle dancers and she also played the cello along with her friends during the school play.

As I’ve mentioned on past posts, little T goes to a very small village school.  There are only about 60+ kids in the entire school which is lovely.  Most of the kids here have known each other since they were toddlers.  It’s a lovely school with very caring and helpful teachers and this becomes obvious during their school play.  Everyone does really well and plays it with gusto.  We are reminded about how lucky we are with the school, everyone seems to really like each other, from the students to the teachers and this all becomes obvious during the end of the term.

I can’t believe she’ll be in Year 3 come September.  How time flies.  If only it would just slow down a bit, I want to enjoy little T more.  Does that sound selfish?

And last Saturday was also T’s last ballet class for the term.  Parents were invited to watch them dance.  It wasn’t really a performance, but it was still lovely to watch nonetheless.  T and another girl kept yawning the whole time, but still they danced their best.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, we’re driving up country to be with family.  Will be away for more than a week.  I’m taking a break from blogging and social-media.  When one is tuned in too much, it’s also best to unplug as much as you can.  Too much online buzz I think is bad for the soul.

Hope you all have a good start of the summer break.  I know we will.