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Boat House Cafe in Chichester Marina

Boat House Cafe in Chichester Marina

by Clare Mansell
Lunch at the Boat House Cafe...
Fish and chips

Like many people, today marked the end of Christmas leave. It’s been a pretty lacklustre festive fortnight. We are only just at the end of our winter illnesses (in time for work tomorrow, typically) and its rained relentlessly for most of the last two weeks.

Our round of family illnesses has meant we had to cancel pub lunches, a long-planned theatre trip and a visit to family in East Sussex and after over two weeks of making excuses, I genuinely think some people started to think we were avoiding them.

It wasn’t all bad news though. Some particularly brave friends we haven’t seen for two years dropped in for coffee despite the coughs and colds. They stayed at arm’s length and seemed to have escaped without becoming infected. Today we thought we’d better make an effort to finish Christmas leave on a high and make up for the cancelled trips, so we headed to Chichester Marina and the Boat House Cafe for lunch.

It’s only been open for about six weeks, but even at midday in mid-winter it was packed. The ambiance, the decor, the staff, the serving time and the food were all faultless (what a pleasure it is to report that when it happens!) They even allow dogs inside and there was a queue of them nearly as long as the human one when we left. I have this place marked down as my first venue to review for south-coast breakfasts in 2014. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!

Tomorrow is yet another new page. Not the start of the new year, but the start of the working new year and we have many things to make progress with this year, as I’m sure you all do too.

Happy New Year my blogging friends!

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2013 – A year of changes..

2013 – A year of changes..

by Clare Mansell

2013 has been a big year for us. In  January we will still living in Northern Scotland patiently waiting for our tenant to move out of our house so we could relocate and start an exciting new chapter of our lives. Jim’s new job had started and so I was left 550 miles away counting the days till we moved south. We finally moved in on January 31st to a house that had, for the 4 years since we’d bought it, only really existed to us in photos.

We start January 2014 once again waiting patiently for another very exciting change to our accommodation. This time a six month complete remodel of our 1900s bungalow that will transform it into a New England style two storey house.

Enjoying the sunshine...

At the end of 2012 I had taken a break from blogging, but by April this year I resumed, tempted back by a bloggers competition. Although I didn’t win it, I did go on to become a Center Parcs ambassador, get a new office chair and win a house clean and John Lewis vouchers, none of which I could have done without the blog. A reminder to us all that blogging can be a powerful thing…

Although our house move meant I temporarily lost a dedicated space for sewing, it was still a busy year for my Pfaff. I completed two quilts, three pairs of shorts, two trousers, several bee blocks, three swap cushions and several applique t-shirts. By the end of next year Theo’s bedroom should have been transformed into my office and sewing space.

Several of this year’s highlights came courtesy of the brilliant and welcoming local community we moved into. There were tractor rides, woodland work parties, apple pressing days, open air films, bike rides and community picnics, nearly all of which we attended as a family, often roping in my parents too..

Maybush Copse picnic

And beyond the village we roamed the county on a (never-ending) quest to find the south-coast’s best breakfasts. Though the winter months have been quieter on this blog, as we head into spring I am looking forward to sharing tales of our build, along with cooking, photography, sewing and our life in the country. Our 2014 is looking pretty exciting already and I hope yours is too…

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