Tuesday, April 22, 2014

House remodel : Week 7


Oops - It appears I missed a week last week!

We are currently going through one of those stages of the build that I was warned about where nothing much looks different, although an awful lot is going on behind the scenes and of course everything is still hiding behind the scaffolding and protective wrap, so photographing it is tricky too.

The oak staircase arrived last week and looks brilliant. It's not going to be in place for a while yet which is absolutely fine by me, the builders can keep walking up and down the ladder in their big boots until then!

We have now been living in two rooms of the house for nearly two months (Gosh!) and though it has mostly been ok, it is starting to drive me slightly bonkers and I am wondering if my kitchen will ever be properly clean again. I even caught myself looking longingly at "before" pictures of the house where we had, what seemed like, acres of carpet to spread out on. All we have now is tiles, laminate and bare floorboards!

In the next few weeks we hope to reach the halfway point of the main structural build and being on the home straight will be a big psychological lift. I am looking forward to be able to find things again, not being woken by the builders every morning and being able to retreat to a corner of the house to have a quiet phone conversation, without apologising for the noise in the background.

We usually have our annual Canada Day party on or around July 1st and I'm quietly hoping that maybe the house will be in halfway presentable shape by then. I haven't told the builder that though...
 
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Living Arrows - 16/52

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35mm, F11, 1/100, ISO 100

I had a choice for today's picture, between a posed shot of Theo with his Easter haul and this picture taken in the field by our house. It was a tough call, but this picture won in the end. 

It very much sums up a moment we are in right now. The field's are in bloom and Theo is obsessed with his bike. We go through this field most days on the dog walk. This time last year he was small enough to be carried in a backpack (can that really be true?!) And six months ago he was walking, but mostly dragging behind. Now the bike goes everywhere even across bumpy ground and he races ahead of me and the dogs, so keen to get everywhere fast. It feels like a metaphor for how fast he is growing.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

South-coast Breakfasts : Wellies Restaurant

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With the long Easter weekend ahead of us, we decided to start the 4 days off with a hearty walk at Kingley Vale Nature Reserve followed by Brunch at a new restaurant in a converted barn a few miles down the road. It was also a good excuse to escape from the house as our contentious builders are still hammering and sawing away, even on Good Friday.

I have seen mention of Wellies restaurant in a few local magazines and online and it's been on our list of places to try for a while. It's miles from anywhere, literally in a farm yard with fields surrounding it. It's a place frequented by walkers and horse-riders, more than the usual beach-goers and yachties.

They are open seven days and serve evening meals on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays. The main restaurant is quite small, but there's a lovely deck at the back looking out on to a courtyard which is doggie friendly (hurray!)

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Our Easter feast consisted off a large full English (for Jim) a small English (for Theo) bacon and scrambled eggs (for me) hot chocolate, cappuccino and orange juice.When we arrived at 11am we were the only people there, but by the time we left it was starting to fill up with people arriving for lunch.

By its own admission, Wellies is off the beaten track, but it's definitely worth seeking out. Amidst tranquil surroundings it feels exclusive and undiscovered and the food is great. We've had a sneaky look at the dinner menu and we will definitely be going back. (It would be lovely for my birthday in August - hint hint!) Visitors to Goodwood or the Festival Theatre could do a lot worse than jumping in the car and heading west to track this place down.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Living Arrows 15/52

bikehat  35mm, ISO 200, F/2.5, 1/2000 

We have some tired eyes in this week's portrait. A dry cough has been plaguing his (and our) sleep for the last few nights and he was running out of steam by the time I got the camera out yesterday.

His bike "hat" is on his head most of the time these days as he's just started to get the hang of his balance bike and is relishing the speed at which he can navigate the footpaths and tracks round our house. It's one of the first things he asks for in the morning and we have quite a battle persuading him to take it off at the end of the day.  

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

April's Center Parcs Challenge... Easter nests

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This month's Center Parcs challenge, which gives you the chance to win a family break at a Center Parcs village, is all about making Easter nests.

Theo has made loads of these recently. They did some at his nursery, we have made them at home and lastly a third batch with his grandma and cousin Millie. These photos are from that third making session. Our house is currently surrounded by scaffolding which means the light in the kitchen is terrible for photographs, thank heavens for his grandparents bright kitchen!

We eat variations of these Easter nests all year round (off season they are simply "chocolate crispies") so we just switched cornflakes for Shredded Wheat (for authentic nest appearance) and added some chocolate eggs on top... because clearly they just aren't chocolatey enough on their own.

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The Center Parcs experts have some interesting twists on the originals, including a diet-friendly savoury celery version. You can check out the challenge page for inspiration and information on how to take part.

I’m a Center Parcs Family Blogger and visited Longleat village with my family. If you want to enter to win a place as a wildcard winner just go to the challenge page to find out how http://bit.ly/1okzxJv 

CenterParcs Family Blog Club
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On and around the water of Chichester Harbour...

We've had a couple of outings around Chichester Harbour this week thanks to the brilliant (and very reasonably priced) activities run by the Chichester Harbour Conservancy. On Thursday we took part in a kite making workshop which was held at Hayling Island Lifeboat Station, a beautiful modern building right at the harbour entrance with amazing views (we could see our house several miles away across fields and water)


We made kites from bin bags, which flew amazingly well and actually looked rather beautiful when airbourne. In June there is a mass kite flying event to celebrate 50 years of Chichester Harbour being an Area Of Outsanding Natural Beauty, so they are hoping a few of these will be flying on the day...

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I can't believe the weather we had, not bad for early April!

And today we took Theo and his cousins out on an Easter egg hunt aboard the Solar Heritage a solar powered boat bought with lottery funding. They do wildlife tours and champagne breakfast trips too (we might be back!)

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The best part of the boat trip for me was cruising past all the expensive property on the waterfront. I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone to discover that we rather liked this New England style house that looks like it's straight out of Nova Scotia...

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall gingerlillytea 
 
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Liberating photos from the computer

I've been reading a lot recently about the importance of actually printing our photos. Most of us have a hard-drive full of pictures, but very few tangible copies of them. Aside from the pleasure of surrounding ourselves with our own pictures, having prints of our photos is another line of defence if (God forbid) we lose the digital copies.

So Last week I decided to get a few of them printed. When they arrived in the post I stuck a load of them up around my desk and decided to put the others in a frame.  


This Umbra Gridart frame is from Red Candy and takes photos that are 4x4 inches, it would be brilliant for instagram pics, but also works well with standard 4x6 inches prints, providing the image has enough space to allow trimming. 


If you don't already have a paper guillotine and plan on doing anything like this, buy one! Seriously, it's one of the most useful things I ever bought and scissors do not do the same job, no matter how neatly you cut.


Once trimmed, I laymy photos out on the sheet that came with the frame and moved them around until I got a layout I was happy with....


I used Pritt Stick to glue them in place, mostly because it was the only thing I could lay my hands on, but actually it's perfect for this job, because it's easy to peel off and reposition the images if you need to.


And here is the finished result... I love it! Theo is having such fun pointing out all his family members and I love the modern contemporary look of frame.


Thank you Red Candy for another great bit of homeware!

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