Blue sky days · Family · Fitbit · Holiday · Memory making

Bloomin’ Beautiful Bournemouth.

We were really lucky to be able to spend the Easter weekend away at the Dorset coast. It’s been a good few years since we visited there last- oh my – at least ten – where does time go?

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As we are British, I must of course, mention the weather, which actually behaved itself for the few days we were there. No rain, but windy as it usually is by the sea and a bit chilly a scarf was a necessary requirement. The sun did make quite a few appearances as the photo will testify!

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Departing from Bournemouth Pier our first visit of the weekend was to the noisy, busy harbour town of Poole, with its quaint, old fashioned houses. We hopped onto a fantastic open top double decker bus that took us on a tour of Poole Bay and the Sandbanks peninsular.

The oldest Pub on Poole Quay, is the Poole Arms with its distinctive green tiling which dates from the 1600s. As my family name is Poole and my parents were publicans for over forty years – I think think this photo is very apt!

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Poole Arms

On arriving at Poole Harbour we jumped onto one of the many ferries that take passengers around the coastline. We were very lucky to have a two hour trip that took us along the Jurassic coastline. We had a fantastic captain who is very knowledgeable about the area. He pointed out Brownsea Island a peaceful little island in Poole Harbour. It’s an idyllic spot – a haven for wildlife and the threatened red squirrel.

 

 

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H and I had a very happy few days away, as we’ve had a few upsets over the last year, these memory making times are important to us. Make time do be with folks you care about, life is sometimes way too busy…..slow down and smell the coffee, but only if there is cake alongside it!!

Keep smiling Maz 🙂Image result for coffee and cake logo

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Family · Food, Chinese, Noodles · Holiday · London · Memory making · Uncategorized

Wicked!

A couple of weekends ago we spent time in the ‘big smoke’ .. always wanted to say that! Our lovely sons bought us tickets to see the musical ‘Wicked’ at The Apollo, Victoria. 

Rather than drive there and back in one day we decided to spend a night at the Milton Keynes Travelodge.

Yes the home of concrete cows! Actually there is a vibrant evening party feel around the hotel. Lots of trendy cocktail bars and fab foody places. Next time we’ll definitely try one those!

After a quick train ride our first stop was of course Buckingham Palace. We spent the day wandering around and I was really very surprised how close all the tourist landmarks are to each other. I thought we’d have to walk miles to see them. We did walk miles but that’s because we wanted to see as much as possible! 

Good old Big Ben, and it did chime as we walked by.We stumbled across this fantastic old world pub nestled between 20th century buildings. Unfortunately it was full to bursting so we couldn’t get in, next time hopefully.

Meet Percy, Phil and Pete (mind you they could be Petra, Paula and Phyllis for all l know!) Who all live in St. James Park, I’ve never seen pelicans other than in the zoo before. They were so funny,they didn’t move but kept looking at us then turning away and then peeping around to make sure we we’re still watching.  They were so comical l had to be dragged away.

Horse Guards Parade. I’m really quite impressed with this photo.

Tummy rumbles reminded us we should eat….soon! We’d heard of Wasabi from No 1 son, so daring to be adventurous we gave it a go. Chicken Katsu, curry and rice, ok not overly daring, but it was very enjoyable!

I adore the look and feel of wood and this beautiful door canopy and frame just blew me away. 

So our day sightseeing was coming to an end but the best was to come was next! 

If you’ve seen Wicked you’ll understand how brilliant the show is. If you’ve not seen it..  go!

It’s just ….’Wicked’!!!

Memory making trips with J are always special.

Smile folks 😘 Maz 

coffee · Family · Fitbit · Holiday

Ellesmere, Shropshire

Saturday and the sun is shining. Ditched the housework, collected the wrinklies (also known as my dad and his lady friend) and pointed the car in the direction of Ellesmere in Shropshire. Not to be confused with the other one! 
Ellesmere is a hidden gem in rural Shropshire which is the most beautiful place on even a cool but sunshiny day.

First visit is The Boathouse, which nestles alongside the glacial lake in Ellesmere. Coffee and a homemade chunky sausage roll sets us up for a brisk walk.

How does that poem go?……dredging my brain for long forgotten words from my schooldays….’O I wandered lonely as a cloud…..A host of golden daffodils’

How fantastic and spring like are these basking in the sun, nodding daffodils? Gives me a heartfelt lift that summer will be on its way….let’s enjoy spring time first…no need to rush the year along.

A leisurely stroll around the mere listening to the birds, watching the   geese practising a graceful fly past and the black headed gulls dive bombing the bits of bread bobbing on the waves followed by a Mr Whippy..of course!

Didn’t quite hit my 10,000 Fitbit steps, but achieved a respectable 8962. 

We enjoyed a few happy hours with family. 

Remember to make memories folks, time is precious.

Keep smiling 😘 Maz

Family · Food, Chinese, Noodles · Sheffield · Uncategorized

Visit to Sheffield

No 1 son moved back to Sheffield October 2016 after a year in Bath. As we live in the Midlands do you think he’s trying to move away as far as possible.. hmm! To be honest he went to Sheffield uni at 18 and never  came home to live with us again. After gaining a degree and a hard worked for PhD… proud parent alert… as we now can address him as Doctor. 

This weekend was a first visit to his new flat and sunny Sheffield. I fell in love with this city twelve years ago and said this was the uni for No 1 son on the very first uni open day visit. I was right and it became his home.

Sheffield Town Hall, with beautiful blue sky.

Sheffield is a vibrant multicultural city with plenty of independent shops as well as the usual retail outlets. However take a slow stroll along the sometimes steep abd cobbled side streets and you will find amazing buildings. Like this fabulous corner pub ‘The Three Tuns’. I wonder if they managed to get a double bed upstairs and into those rooms!

Of course a visit to the Peace Gardens is a must. To watch a little one who is daring enough to brave the tall spouts of icy cold water from the fountains. Surprisingly there are always one or two brave? silly? who will dare! And more often than not… someone does!

Food often plays  big part of our visit as No 1 is vegan. Arrgghh I hear you murmur, yes it can be difficult, but not here. There is an abundance of varied food outlets, from street vendors to takeaway and high class restaurants. First stop, as H just cannot pass by a pastie shop. He reminds me of the Oxo children following the delicious smell of gravy. His internal sat nav must have all the pastie shops pinpointed! For the rest of us it’s the tiny Chinese shop. If the locals use it then it must be good. It was, spicy noodles are always a favourite.

Ok so not the most fantastic photo but from No 1 son’s flat it shows how Sheffield is a mix of buildings and big skies. It’s wonderful.

Love Sheffield 💕

Keep smiling 😘 Maz

Christmas · Family

New Years Day decisions not resolutions…

 

I’ve always found New Years Day to be an awkward sort of day. If we’ve spent the previous evening celebrating then it’s usually a day of slobbing out in front of the TV. Slowly hoovering up left over chocolates, cake, sausage rolls and cheese washed down with copious mugs of tea, followed by the odd glass of wine…after 6pm of course! More recently we’ve celebrated earlier in the evening with family. Enjoying a few drinks at a local pub, with lot of laughter and quite a few bags of pork crunch! Then going home to watch the New Year roll around in peace and quiet in our PJ’s. 

1st January arrives and with it thoughts of what shall we do? First job of the day is taking down the Christmas decorations. Love the twinkling lights of the tree but today is the day it all has to be removed and boxed away. With one decoration left discreetly hanging until twelfth night to ward off bad luck of course.

After a quick flick around with a feather duster normal service has been resumed. I’m not a slave to housework that’s one reason for downsizing!

A quick browse through the TV guide proved that Christmas TV was naff this year and a trip to the cinema was required. Rounding up H, my brother and family, film chosen, tickets booked online, sweeties bagged up …cinema trips always demands treats…off we go. A very enjoyable two hours of watching a hunky Chris Pratt saving a space ship and getting the girl was just what was needed.

Leaving the cinema, BRR not only had darkness fallen, so had the temperature. Quick we need food…well NEED might be an over statement…but a quick nibble and a drink is required to end the evening. Decisions…where? Wrekin Giant pub? Ok fine…nah closed! Harvester? nah closing! Quickly find somewhere, my nose is turning blue and teeth are chattering. Light bulb moment.. Novello Lounge!

We’d visited the Lounge recently during daylight hours with my eldest son who’s vegan and it got a big thumbs up from all of us. Evening changes it into a cosy, warm, inviting place with a super atmosphere and cocktails! What more can a girl ask for .. well is asking for Tom Cruise shaking cocktails too much??

Ever helpful staff rearranged tables for us.. food was chosen, drinks deliberated over and ordered and warmth was restored to fingers and toes.

It really is a fab place with friendly staff and the food choice is different to the other establishments. We’ll worth a visit!

All in all it was the perfect end to the first day of 2017. Here’s hoping we enjoy a few more like it 😃

Christmas · Family · Holiday

Christmas…Bah humbug? or whoohoo!?

Do you enjoy Christmas? Or do you think…. possibly as I do…that the whole world…well maybe just the county then, is having a much more fantastic time than I am? Everyone is posting pictures on social media wearing sparkly tops, drinking cocktails at a Christmas market or in some swanky bar, while I’m sitting at home I’m my PJ’s. I stress obsess over making this time of year special and honestly would love to be invited to share a family lunch. Somewhere I could just turn up in my sparkly top, clutching something fizzy and presents. Hey, I’m happy to muck in and would heartily do the washing up or keep the littlies entertained….if I didn’t have to prepare anything other than choosing the wrapping paper and matching gift tags.

To add slightly to my ‘stressmas’ is a lovely son, who is vegan and who visits us for the holidays. Not mega problematic but when we are primarily a meat eating household with vegetarian options it can send me off kilter. You will quite often find me in the free from aisle in a large supermarket reading the reverse of packets as if they were the next bestselling novel. Thank goodness he’s quite handy in the kitchen and is happy to take over. 

Don’t let’s get started on the present buying. My father has the best idea. His Christmas shopping consists of popping to the bank and buying money gift cards..  sorted! 

Next year…as Del Boy and Rodney were fond of saying…we are going on a trip away. Where someone else can do the ‘stressmas’….I’ve already picked out my sparkly top and shoes! See you there maybe 😃

I’m not completely bah humbug but would appreciate a little more whoohoo at Christmas time. 🎄

Why do we put ourselves through this madness every year…..because it’s Christmaaaassss! 

Smile 😃 Maz x

Family

Family …friend or enemy..?

During the month of December I have a relative who will have a birthday . Nothing strange in that occurrence you’re thinking. Although it has made me think about how a family can become divided due to a family ……we’ll call it a ‘feud’ until I can think of a more appropriate term. A decade and a half plus three years ago this problem happened, a life time for some of our younger family members. I’m not going into the reasons, to be honest I only know the bare bones, the Chinese Whispers that pass around families. My thoughts are, I wasn’t involved in this feud and somehow it has had an impact on the life of my family. 2017 will be a big celebratory year for the family and there are going to be a few zero birthdays happening. Big birthdays are always a good reason for family to gather. Lots of planning goes into making a special occasion that everyone will remember and talk about in later years. Now back to my ‘estranged’ relative, in retrospect  I have never celebrated any special occasions in their life – other than a wedding almost thirty years ago – that unfortunately didn’t last. I nor my siblings have been invited to any special birthdays throughout the years or looked forward with anticipation and excitement to the birth of a child, as I have done with other family and close friends. My children haven’t cousins of their own age due to my own siblings being much younger than me, which meant their children are still quite young. My cousins children are of similar ages and they simply became ‘cousins’. We had the usual birthday parties at the noisy play barns and summer play dates. We celebrated end of A level results and the moving onto University stages. We also endured each others sad times when losing loved ones.

My feelings are that this relative has missed out on such a lot of happiness over the years and the child that eventually blessed a new partnership does not really know any of their extended family. Maybe I am making assumptions here, perhaps her life is full and she is content?  I can count on one hand (minus a thumb) the amount of times I have had contact with this child or the parents over the years. The child has never had the advantage of spending time with the other young people in the family, there are six of them . Not spent time at the park, eating ice cream or visiting and playing with each others new toys. There are not any photos in my faded albums of these people. Nothing to remember them by, no history to recount, no memories to conjure up when clearing out the cupboards and the old photos fall out. Just distant thoughts and a ‘I wonder what happened to them?’

For sixteen years I sent a birthday card, however I am positive by the time the child could read, the question would be asked ‘Mum, who are these people?’ This year I didn’t send a card….

On the other side, they have not experienced my sons grow from gangly, spotty teenagers into fantastic young men. My siblings become parents to gorgeous children and now looking forward to becoming a grandparent and myself…a great aunt!!

So, am I the enemy by default because I didn’t get involved and didn’t take a side? More possibly I am an innocent bystander that got caught in the cross fire. Do we really need extended family? Are we happier in our own bubble of life? Will the child look back on life in years to come and wish they had known some of those distant relatives? Who knows the answer.

My children look back on their childhood with a smile and recount many happy moments with their family, both extended and just boring old mum and dad! That makes me extremely happy 🙂