Category Archives: Lifestyle

Family Reunion Weekend

Things have been so busy around here lately that this space has been a little neglected – there have been plenty of ‘happy’ things occurring, but I just haven’t had time to write them down! However, I was determined to write a post this week – not the usual Happy Friday one, but a quick round up of our very special family reunion which took place last weekend.

One of my cousins on my father’s side has been working on the family tree for eight or nine years, and it was this that prompted our meeting. The weekend had been planned for months and we were so looking forward to it, not simply because we don’t often all get together, but because my sisters and I have two cousins who we had never met before at all! One aspect to point out about our tribe is that we are a family of pretty large age gaps – there are three gaps of over 14 years between siblings within the close family, which partly accounts for the fact that we haven’t all met – plus geographical differences, with one of my ‘unknown’ cousins living in the north of Scotland, whilst the other is based on the south coast of England.

It was decided that Cumbria would be the best place to meet, as it was pretty close to halfway between these extremes, and also happened to be where my father, his two brothers and parents lived for many years. The timing worked out perfectly for us, as G had an exeat on Friday, and B was also due to come home for the weekend, so we set off at lunchtime, picking B up on the way, arriving in Dalton-in-Furness at about 5.30pm. We immediately met up with one of my sisters and her husband, my cousin who had been working so hard on the family tree (he has gone back well into the 17th century, which is a huge achievement), his wife, and one of the cousins whom I had not previously met – he is the oldest of the cousins, whilst I am the youngest, so there is a 30 year age gap between us!


We were all staying in the same hotel, so we had a lovely meal together on the Friday evening – and started to sample some of the 35 gins on offer there!


We woke up to the most beautiful morning on Saturday – my favourite type of weather – thick frost, bright blue skies and glorious sunshine. This was perfect, as we had planned to climb up to the Hoad monument – or ‘the pepperpot’ as we affectionately used to call it, this being our marker to show that we were ‘almost there’ when we used to visit my grandmother when I was a child. The walk and the views from the top were stunning – we really were so fortunate to have such a beautiful day for it. We enjoyed a cup of tea and a biscuit at the top before heading back down to collect another of my sisters who was arriving by train.

hoadstart hoadstart2

hoad3 view1 view2 view3 teahoad1


My third sister, her husband, and also my other cousin and his wife from the south coast arrived, so we then had a good pore over the whole family tree. It is an amazing and fascinating piece of work, which is fantastic, but it also makes us want to find out more – the ‘whys’, if you will, as to our ancestors movements and decisions. We were also presented with a small part of the tree which showed our ‘direct’ relatives, which is very special – I can’t wait to get this framed and give it pride of place somewhere in our home. Following this, we all went on a walk around Dalton, seeking out houses that our parents and grandparents had lived in, which was so interesting.


By this time, it was beginning to get a little dark and cold, so we retreated back to the hotel, where we took over the lounge for a few hours, chatting, getting to know each other – and sampling more of the gin and wine! We then had another lovely evening meal and more drinks together, at which point it was decided that we should try to make this get-together an annual event, which would be fabulous – and I, apparently, have the task of organising the next one!


Sunday saw us all going our separate ways once more – we visited the Dickensian Christmas Market in Ulverston, which was absolutely lovely, then gradually headed back down the country, stopping off at D’s childhood home of Bolton-by-Bowland, and then to see some friends in Lancashire.

market market2

It really was such a special weekend. We can’t thank Phil enough for doing all the work on the family tree and then organising the reunion – it couldn’t have gone better. However, it also reinforced to me just how important family is. Of course, our little unit of four, and then my sisters and their families, are, and always have been, incredibly important to me. But meeting the cousins – one of whom we don’t see very often at all, the others, as I said, whom we had never met, really brought this home to me. Although we had not met, we got on so well, and found that we had so much in common, and I absolutely love the feeling that my ‘family’ has now been expanded.

As Michael J. Fox said – “Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.”

What an amazing experience – and roll on next year!



Our Norfolk Holiday

The reason for my absence over the past couple of weeks is that we were away on a fabulous holiday in Norfolk for 12 days. For the first time in 11 years, I was able to go away without my laptop and didn’t have to work at all, so had 12 days pretty much “off grid”, which was bliss. Plus we just had the most amazing time! The weather was incredible – hot, sunny, with blue skies every day apart from the day we had to drive home – we were so lucky.

So here’s a little round up of the best bits, in verbs and photos:

  1. Having breakfast at one of our favourite eateries – Creake Abbey – on our first morning.
  2. Walking along Brancaster beach to see the beautiful seals.
  3. Drinking tea in the garden.
  4. Playing tennis as a family, which we did many times.
  5. Walking the dogs in the early mornings and evenings.
  6. Kayaking at Burnham Overy Staithe – the kayak turned out to be a great investment!
Kayak1 Kayak 2
Kayak 3
7. Drinking prosecco in the garden at sunset.
Sunset 2 Sunset 1
8. Playing with the dogs and B one evening on Brancaster beach.
Bran 2 Bran Lottie Bran HoneyBran 3
9. Visiting Muckleburgh Military Museum with B.
10. Watching the waves crash on the stony beach at Salthouse.
11. Eating brunch in the garden on many mornings.
12. Eating out at various local restaurants.
Orange food 2 Orange drink1 JS 2 JS 1 Orange food 1
13. Walking through the woods at Sandringham.
sand 3 Sand 1 Sand 2
sand 4
14. Picking strawberries and gooseberries.
15. Drinking Pimms in the garden in the early evening.


16. Walking around the lake at Holkham Hall.

Holkham Holkham B Holkham G Holkham D17. Swimming together in Hunstanton.
18. Enjoying a barbecue on Saturday evening.
19. Walking to the amazing beach at Burnham Overy Staithe to eat a breakfast of sausage and bacon rolls.
BB walk BOS beach BB Georgie BB Ben Breakfast beach
20. Jumping in the straw left behind by the combine harvester in the field behind our house.
21. Eating ice cream at Drove Orchards.
22. Sitting on top of the straw bales in the field as the sun began to set.
Bale Bale 3 Bale 2
23. Looking forward to going back again for another 10 days at the end of the month!
Bran 1



A Birthday Post

Well, I’ve still been crazily busy with work so decided that I would do a slightly different post this week, focusing on the lovely day I had on Sunday, which was my birthday.

It was a quiet but nice day, starting with opening my presents. B had come home for the weekend, so we all sat in our bed together whilst I unwrapped my lovely gifts. You will see from the photos below that a lot of the presents that I had asked for centred around a health and fitness theme (well, I’m 42 now, got to try to stay healthy in my old age!), and I am thrilled with all of them. However, I was also lucky enough to receive lots of other lovely gifts, all of which were so thoughtful and suited me perfectly – so thank you so much to everyone who was so kind and generous to me.


Fit Weights Gifts



B then made me breakfast in bed, accompanied with some Moet et Chandon which was rather nice! We followed this by a family dog walk, as the weather was so much better than we had expected. D had then booked for us to go out Sunday lunch, to The Jinnie Inn at Rolleston on Dove, which was delicious.


By the time we had fully stuffed ourselves with lunch, it was almost time to take B back to the train, so I then had a very lazy, relaxing afternoon, poring over my new recipe books, planning my healthy meals for the week – whilst drinking more champagne!


A chilled but lovely day!

Trentham Gardens


It eventually felt as though a proper winter’s day had arrived on Sunday, rather than the dull, grey, wet weather we have endured for the past two months, so we decided to make the most of it and head out for a trip to Trentham Gardens. This was also partly spurred on by the fact that we had some Tesco Days Out vouchers which expire at the end of the month and can be used at Trentham, but it also transpired that the entrance price is currently reduced until mid-February, so it is a really good time to visit. As many, many people evidently thought, as it was really busy (despite how it looks in these photos below)!

fgdogs ddogs

We had a lovely walk around the lake, a route which takes you beside the River Trent, past the bird hide, through the cascading weir and along a selection of woodland trails. It is a very dog friendly place to visit, which, of course, is exactly what we look for, and there were lots of different things to spot along the way – all sorts of statues and sculptures constructed out of various materials – wicker, metal, wood, etc.

swans fairy

statue stars

Tree_sculptureThere are plenty of different areas to visit once inside the gardens, including the great adventure playground if you have younger children with you, but we stuck to the lakeside walk, which happily concluded near to the Italian Garden Tearoom, which enjoys beautiful panoramic views of the lake and garden. We sat outside, as we had the dogs with us and sitting in the sun was actually really pleasant by that point, and had a spot of lunch – pots of Earl Grey and bacon ciabattas for me and D, whilst G plumped for the Staffordshire oatcakes with bacon and cheese.

gardens food

We then headed out, with a brief potter around the various shops which make up the Trentham Shopping Village, returning home to get on with the rest of the weekend.

gardens gdbridge gdwalking lakesun

It was a really lovely wintry trip – one which we will definitely be repeating.


A Happy Christmastime

Well, it’s been three weeks since my last post, due to the Christmas and New Year break, so I thought that I’d do a quick round-up of the past couple of weeks – which were just so lovely!

Here are our Christmas and New Year highlights:

1. 18th December – a Christmas meal with friends from the village in which we used to live. It is always good to catch up with them and we had a delicious Christmas meal.

2. 19th December – the pantomime, Aladdin, at the Birmingham Hippodrome. This was absolutely amazing!! I have not laughed so much in a very long time, and I have seldom seen the children laugh so much either. The performances were fantastic, especially by my favourite Lee Mead, Matt Slack who played Wishy Washy and also Widow Twanky. Julian Clary was, of course, hilarious, and Marti Pellow made a pretty good “baddie”, and the 3D section was incredible. An absolutely brilliant night!

Panto sign Outside panto


3. 20th December – our annual “present swap” at my sister’s house. As we were not going to see each other on Christmas Day this year, it was even more important that we got together to catch up, eat mince pies, drink mulled wine and swap presents – a lovely afternoon.

4. 21st-23rd December – a lovely, relaxing few days with the children, doing little apart from playing games and watching Christmas films – perfect.

5. 23rd December – another meal out (we had had one before seeing the pantomime in Birmingham) before a theatre trip, this time to see Cinderella at Derby Theatre. This wasn’t a panto, but a re-telling of the story by the mice, and it was brilliantly done, so another very lovely evening.

FDmeal6. 24th December – the Christmas Eve service at Derby Cathedral, which was so nice – it’s a very traditional service, with plenty of opportunity to sing the old carols, so we love this. This was then followed by a roast turkey dinner at home, finished off with roast chestnuts in front of the fire.

7. 25th December – as usual, Christmas Day was enjoyed by all. We were all very lucky with the presents we received – my new wax jacket and Hunter wellies have been put to very good use plenty of times already. We had a Caribbean-themed lunch – lime and ginger marinaded seabass, sweetcorn fritters, spicy ribs, jerk burgers and saffron rice, followed by pineapple upside down cake. D’s parents arrived late morning, so we ate together then spent the afternoon mainly playing the new games we had received – Family Fortunes, The Logo Game and Suspend – lots of fun. The day was nicely finished off by a couple of hours in front of Downton – a great end to a lovely day.

B present G present


Christmas fizz8. 26th December – we went for a lovely walk at one of our favourite places, Calke Abbey, on Boxing Day. Plenty of other people had had the same idea – I’ve seldom seen it so busy – but we had a great walk and blew the cobwebs away!

Boxing Day walk

FG_walk DB_walk9. 27th December – after D’s parents had left, we had a family trip to the cinema, which was part of B’s Christmas present to us all. We saw Daddy’s Home, which was really good – not too silly, but very funny.28th December – we went to visit one of my sisters in the evening, for canapes and games. Again, this was another evening absolutely full of laughter – Pictionary, Charades and Articulate this time – hilarious!

10. 29th December-2nd January – we headed off to our house in Norfolk for a few days. Although the weather certainly wasn’t Christmassy, we got a couple of good walks in while we were there – which we needed to counteract all the cheese, snacks and wine we were consuming!

11. 31st December – we had a great New Year’s Eve, with some of my university friends who made the journey down to Norfolk to celebrate with us. We had a walk at Holkham Hall in the afternoon, followed by an “old school” meal of cottage pie or fish pie with vegetables, then two different types of fruit crumble and custard – accompanied by plenty of wine, of course! We then played yet more games (a definite theme this year, even more so than usual!) of Family Fortunes and Obama LLama (my favourite new game!) until midnight, which we toasted in with champagne and a round of Auld Lang Syne. A really fun night!

NYEwalk2 NYEwalk NYEmeal12. 1st January – we all felt pretty good the next day, which was fortunate as we had a New Year’s Day brunch booked at Creake Abbey. This was just what the doctor ordered, starting the new year with a full English breakfast – we really didn’t need that much more food, but it was delicious!


And that was just about the end of the Christmas/New Year bubble which we’d lived in for two weeks. It really is my favourite time of year – full of lots of time with family and friends, plenty of food and drink, and the opportunity to switch off from the real world for just a couple of weeks. The only sad thing is how quickly it went  – and that it is now over for another year. I’d love to have that time all over again – but the memories will have to suffice for now.

A huge thank you to all our family and friends for sharing this special time – and Happy New Year everyone!

The Pace of Life

Last week was the first week since starting this blog back in March that I didn’t do a mid-week post. Previously, I have been completing my Happy Friday posts, occasional Silent Sunday ones, and then a more random post on a Tuesday or Wednesday. However, as we are gearing up for the summer holiday and being away for two weeks, things have been slightly more hectic than usual, which is why I just didn’t have the time for last week’s random musings.

But, with our holiday now imminent, I have been considering the pace of life. D works ridiculously hard and long hours, leaving him very little time or energy for anything else, while I work for the business and then doing everything else that needs doing in the house and for the family, so everyday life can be pretty intense – as it is for many, many people. Therefore, I do believe that it is no coincidence that our two favourite places on earth – the North Norfolk coast and the Caribbean island of Grenada – have one huge thing in common – a much slower pace of life. When we are not working, this is exactly what we want: it is the reason we don’t have a microwave – we prefer to spend time cooking properly, even making popcorn from scratch; it is why we chose not to have an instant hot water tap when we had our new kitchen done last year – we’d much rather enjoy the “process” of making tea with our whistling kettle; and it explains why we gave away our gas barbecue last year in favour of cooking food slowly over the fire pit. Peace, tranquillity, simplicity and slowing down are exactly what we need to fully appreciate life and to re-charge our batteries. And right now, they have never been in more need of re-charging, which is why we are so ridiculously excited to be spending time over the next few weeks in our two favourite places, as shown below –

BOS sunset1 Grenada beach1

Summer in the Garden

Well, eventually, today, it actually feels like summer may have arrived. It is warm and sunny and beautiful, which improves everyone’s mood – hurrah! So I thought that it was high time that I did a post about our lovely garden, which we have been appreciating so much this year – and which I may have referred to once or twice in my “Happy Friday” posts!

Flower_3 Flower_8


The garden that we have inherited is absolutely beautiful. As with most 1930s houses, the plot size is really quite generous – even more so with our house and the one next door, as apparently, during the Second World War, when there was a farm adjacent, the farmer saw the women from the houses outside, watching over their children whilst knitting supplies for the troops, and decided to show his gratitude for their war contribution by giving them a little more land at the end of the garden. This may be just a lovely story, but the aerial view plan of the area certainly backs this up.

Garden_4 Garden_5

We are very lucky that the previous owners of the house were extremely keen gardeners. They were a lovely elderly couple, both retired, who used to spend hours each day tending it – it seems that she did the designing, choosing the plants, flowers, shrubs and bushes,  and the light planting work, while he did more of the heavier manual work – building the twisting path up the centre of the lawn, creating the flower beds and borders wherever she wanted – a real team effort. And they did a fantastic job of planning it out, so that there is continuously a riot of colourful flowers – no sooner has one variety withered, then a different beautiful bloom appears.

Lily Flower_10

Flower_9 Flower_Lottie

We are unable to spend as much time as they did actually working on the garden, but we are managing to keep on top of it by regularly weeding, mowing, strimming and trimming. We have done some larger jobs – we had some huge leylandii trees removed from the dark far end, which has brightened that section up enormously, and we then re-gravelled it and re-painted the fences, so that it has become our fire pit area. The main thing though, is that we (and the dogs!) are absolutely loving it! Although it hasn’t been warm enough to eat al fresco very much during the day yet this year, we have certainly made the most of the evenings, sitting around the fire pit on our bean bags, cooking fish over the fire, toasting marshmallows, and just enjoying being outdoors until late at night, with the fairy lights twinkling in the trees. Just beautiful.

Garden_1 Garden_3

The Liebster Award

I’ve only been blogging for a couple of months now so I’m very grateful to Lizzie at Firstooth for nominating me for this award!


The Liebster Award is a great way for new bloggers, or bloggers with a smaller following, to get to know each other. In accepting the Liebster Award, there are some rules to follow as best you can:

1)Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.
2) Post the Liebster Award badge on your blog.
3) Write 11 facts about yourself.
4) Nominate 4-11 bloggers (with fewer than 1,000 Twitter followers) who you feel deserve the award.
5) Answer the 11 questions posted by the blogger that nominated you.
6) Write 11 new questions for your nominees.

11 facts about me:

1. When we got married, we decided that we wanted four children, as I’m one of four. Then we had two, realised how hard it is to be a parent, and stopped there! But the two we have are fabulous!

2. My parents both died when I was in my very early thirties, which changed our outlook on life as we realised that life is very short and you don’t know what’s round the corner.

3. We considered emigrating to New Zealand a few years ago but, after careful consideration and research, decided that it wasn’t for us.

4. I love reading, and read all different genres of books.

5. I met my husband when we were at school – and love the fact that we appear on the same whole school photo, despite being in different year groups.

6. I did a French degree at university but have no idea why! I should have done history.

7. Yoga is my favourite kind of exercise.

8. I adore walking our three dogs every day – they are just too gorgeous!

9. I’ve recently re-discovered the joys of crosswords and colouring – and love both!

10. One of my favourite things to do is to go to the theatre, for both plays and musicals.

11. I’ve worked as a primary school teacher, a manager in the civil service, a web designer and now control the finances of the company I run with my husband.

Lizzie’s questions:

1.What is your biggest secret?
I don’t really have any secrets, apart from how I really feel inside sometimes.

2.Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Yes – the “Real Housewives” of anywhere, and peanut butter straight from the jar!

3.What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do?
Spend a year in France as part of my degree, away from my family and D.

4.When you get a spare hour how do you spend it?
Reading, playing the piano or doing a crossword.

5.If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
Norfolk or Grenada in the Caribbean.

6.What made you decide to start a blog?
To record the little things which bring us joy and happiness, as a place to collect memories of our family life and as a gratitude journal.

7.What’s your favourite type of blog to read?
Lifestyle – a bit about people’s everyday lives, and ones with interior design inspiration.

8.Is the experience of being a parent different from how you imagined it?
Yes – it is so much harder but can also be more fun.

9.If you can go out, where is your favourite place to eat?
I love good British pub food and, as a contrast, Waga Mama!

10. What is the best thing you’ve ever bought?
Our firepit! It has already given us so many lovely family (screen-free!) evenings out in the garden until late.

11.Where is your favourite place to go as a family?
For a holiday – Grenada; for the weekend, CarFest; for a day trip, a Norfolk beach or for a lovely walk.

My nominees:

One Lonely Momma

What Mummy Did Next

Hills and Daffodils



Dear Dads

My questions:

1. Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?
2. What achievement are you most proud of?
3. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
4. What is your dream job?
5. Who would you like to be stuck on a desert island with?
6. What is your favourite food?
7. What is your favourite book, and why?
8. Do you have any unusual habits?
9. How would you describe your house interior style?
10. Do you have any phobias?
11. What one thing would you tell your 18 year old self?

If you’re able to participate in this then please tag me once you’ve completed it so I can have a read! @Daisytrixabelle

One of the reasons why I blog

As I said when I first started this blog almost three months ago (woah – where did that time go?!), one of my motivations behind it was to create a record of the little things which bring me and my family joy and happiness. Part of this is most definitely covered by my Happy Friday posts, in which I record ten things which have made me happy in that week. But another aspect of blogging that I’m loving is being able to document, in words and photos, some of the oh-so-lovely times we have as a family. G and B are growing up so quickly, and we already feel that our days together as a four are numbered, so I feel that it will become even more special as time goes on to have this as a journal of the happy times that we have experienced together.


Talking of which, we have just enjoyed an absolutely lovely weekend! After the past few weeks having been taken up with G and B revising for their end of year exams, it felt so special to be able to spend Saturday all together. We began the day with a fabulous breakfast of the delicious croissants which I had bought at the farm shop earlier in the week, then we went back to Kedleston Hall, where I had walked the dogs the previous weekend, as it was a beautiful sunny day and I really wanted to share the lovely walk with them. We had a great time – lots of pleasant, relaxed chatter, fun with the dogs, with the prospect of our first picnic of the year at the end! We had walked fairly quickly, so felt that we truly deserved our lunch of bread, cheese, pate, crisps, sugar snap peas and watermelon  – and to be able to eat outside always feels like such a treat. Of course, we had to finish off our treat with ice creams, so we all went home very happy.

FD GBWalking Swan

As the weather was so kind to us, we decided that we would light the fire pit and barbecue our evening meal over it, so we had homemade burgers, fish and homemade garlic bread baked on the side of the grill – it was so good! G, with her obsession with bacon, then decided to try cooking bacon over the fire, which, I have to say, worked very well. We had such a great night out there that we stayed out until 11 o’clock, with D cooking yet more bacon at about 10.30pm! It was a very special night.

Flower Flowers

The following day saw me and G going for a shopping trip into Derby to buy some final holiday clothes. It was a really lovely “girly” trip – and we may even have got some tasty lunch at Ed’s Diner whilst we were out!

Fries G-Fries

See, I know already that this is one of those posts that I will come back to in the months and years to come, to remind myself of what a lovely weekend it was. I don’t want to suggest that such weekends are so few and far between, but some are just especially lovely, don’t you think?


Zenas Suitcase

Kedleston Hall

I can’t believe that it’s June already – time is certainly flying – not that I’m complaining, with our holiday now being only six weeks away!

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We had a pretty quiet weekend, which was nice. One of the highlights of it was my trip to Kedleston Hall, near Derby. We have had our National Trust membership for several years, but have certainly not made the most of it in the past couple, so I’m determined to change that this year. So, when I knew that G was going to be busy revising, and D and B had planned a run and a game of tennis for Saturday afternoon, I decided that I would take the dogs for a lovely walk at Kedleston Hall. We have been into the hall and walked here a few times previously, but I took a very different route this time, doing the “long walk” (which isn’t at all long, but at 3.2 miles is the longest of the set walks on the estate).

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As you can see from the photos, it was absolutely beautiful! The route started off near the hall itself, from where I walked down to the Adam Bridge, then turned to the right to walk amongst the sheep and lambs alongside the gorgeous lake, complete with swans. I passed two weirs before reaching the end of the lake and turning up into woodland, continuing to then follow a pretty, sun dappled path up into the woods which run along the back of the estate and hall. There were stunning views of the hall and countryside along the way – as you can tell, I got a little carried away with the camera! I was stomping at a pretty good speed with the dogs, but, had I wanted to stop, there are plenty of benches dotted along the way, often with amazing views to admire as you rest or have a picnic. The woodland path then dropped back down to the side of the hall, where we had started – the great thing, following our misadventures of last weekend, was that there was no possibility of getting lost – the route was very clear and simple to follow! Phew!


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Now that I have discovered this walk, I think that it will become a very regular trip, as it was just so lovely. The only downside is that dogs have to be on their leads all the time. I can fully understand this on the parkland areas, because of the freely roaming sheep, but it seemed a shame that I couldn’t let them off to run around and explore the woodland areas.

13 9 15

Having done two fabulous walks in the past two weekends on National Trust properties, I feel quite confident that we WILL get the most out of our membership this year.