Coral and warmth

This weekend we embarked on a bit of a celebratory route. Friday night and a trip to Covent Garden and Clos Maggiore- billed as the most romantic restaurant in the world no less!

We were joined by friends Bev and Neil and it was superb. The food, the atmosphere, the service: all top notch!

Saturday was spent running errands and getting my nails done!

Sunday morning arrived and we packed for a surprise overnight stay (well a surprise for me!). A journey to Newmarket and we booked in to the Bedford lodge and spa hotel.

We both enjoyed a massage followed by time relaxing in the pool, sauna and steam room.

We relaxed in our room and then got ready for dinner where Prosecco flowed followed by another sumptuous meal!

Monday morning arrived all too soon and we made our way to breakfast. This was our actual Anniversary-35 years!

Champagne offered and as Kevin said 'rude not to'.

We made our way to the American cemetery and memorial, a place I visited in May. I knew Kevin would be profoundly interested in visiting.

We returned home refreshed and it felt longer than an overnight stay.
We had spoken about our hopes and dreams past, present and for the future, our kids, their hopes and dreams, family and friends, those no longer with us in body, but still in spirit.
We laughed, we shed a tear or two and we ruminated over what is the secret of a happy marriage.

I don't profess to know, and we've had a few dark times, but we have weathered them together. We are lucky to have a shared view on our family home and money ( Kevin saves it, I spend it! )

There is a warmth to Kevin that is like a big soft blanket that wraps around you when times are hard. He is the sensible one, his dry sense of humour can often throw you off guard. He built my confidence, he rarely chides, except when he tells me not to sweat the small stuff.

Kevin is the sweetest, kindest man, he's the secret to our marriage.

Whilst we are fortunate now to enjoy the good things life can bring, spending time, as we did this weekend, is the best 🎁

That apart, we have our Australia 🇦🇺 anniversary adventure still to look forward to!

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Recipe for success

A few days at home, a morning at work, a disturbed night, packing and we were on our way to Brighton! A detour to pick up the macaroons that on Wednesday were not ready, but. Thanks to colourfulbites for making the magic happen!
We had a good journey and a cuppa was shared whilst working on POA and shopping list!

We enjoyed the delights of the garden and we hit the road canhams for lamb, pasties and scotch eggs then Tesco for everything else. A stop at the florist at Hove station for a riot of gerbera and roses.

More prep and a wonderful pizza dinner was enjoyed. POA revisited for Saturday and more photos!

So it was 60 years to the day, up early, fantastic breakfast, but not until the food order was collected, and the French bread.
There had been a delivery which was a wonderful surprise – a signed card from Her Majesty!
Elaine decided that the pond had to be emptied and refilled. Jane and mum redid the meringue and it was all coming together: balloons, bunting,food and drink!
The first guests arrived, and then a steady stream followed. Fizz flowed, food was ready and a rolling stream of photos of family, weddings and music over 60 years.
We had photo booth fun, speeches, some more tearful than others. My Dad doesn't say much and he made such an effort to thank everyone – so touching.

Mum said a few words about the secret of their success: be friends, like each other love each other and make sure they don't snore!

It was a wonderful day and hopefully everyone enjoyed it as we did!

We were so tired but in a good way. Sixty years…….. raise your glasses to Celli and Andrew🍾🍾🍾🍾💕💕💕💕

Weekend fun

A really busy weekend, a tonic after feeling rough all week.
Friday included a lazy morning then lunch with Debbie at Masons. Great food, and company with the usual laughter and a good old chin wag.
Just what the doctor ordered. Time with Debbie is always uplifting!

Saturday was an early start up to London to meet the bridesmaids for Victoria's wedding next July.
A pit stop at Patisserie Valerie, then the dresses. Colour chosen, styles experimented with and a job jobbed.

Next up a taxi to Harrods for shoe browsing/shopping! I bought macaroons! A short walk to Harvey Nichols, more shoe inspiration and then it was goodbyes to the Mums with little ones.

The Grey Goose Bar beckoned with a light lunch and cocktail extravaganza for four! Delightful!


A trip to Sloane Street to Jimmy's where Georgina fell in love with the Cinderella edition!

You need a Prince Charming to buy them though. I loved it when Georgina tried them on and said ' they look good even with my jeans' Classic!

Kisses and hugs goodbye and we made our way home. Exhausted, but so very happy to be a small part of today, seeing all the beauties in their finery and a glimpse of what is to come!

That optimism for the future, the joy of seeing people so happy and making dreams turn into reality is again uplifting.

Sunday and I'd booked tickets to Highclere Castle in March. Highclere is the home of the Earl of Caernarvon. Most recently the house is the setting for Downton Abbey and there are many references to that. I was pleased that there was also an Egyptian exhibition as the 5th
Earl was heavily involved with the excavation of the tomb of Tutenkamun in 1923, and I knew Kevin would particularly enjoy this.
The exhibition was fairly small but allowed the queue for the house to dissipate. The House is lovely, although I enjoyed Althorp the previous week more, especially with the guided element.
A scone and a cuppa was next before we strolled the wonderful gardens-Kevin suggesting that they were Capability Brownesque!

We walked to the Goodwill Garden, the Monks garden and sought the secret garden, unfortunately closed.

A slight detour and we saw a statue, which confirmed Kevin's thoughts re the garden landscape: I was suitably impressed

The folly loomed ahead so a quick walk up the incline for a few fun photos

We prepared for our journey home, which was a bit squeaky as we were 9 miles from a garage, with only 6 miles of fuel showing on the dashboard. At one point 3 miles to go and 0 miles showing!
We managed to limp into the garage to fill up and made the journey home. It was tiring but also thoroughly enjoyable, the sun shone, we laughed, and we are now very experienced in circumnavigating the M25.

I have had a memory packed weekend with loved ones, clement weather and precious time with special people. 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕🍾❤️💕💕💕

Two decades and a funeral


Bev and I have known each other for over 30 years and a recent invite to accompany her to althorp was one that I had to take up.

Weather was set fair and I drove to her home, and we made the journey to Northants.


First stop was to visit the above, then we made our way to the cafe for lunch. Ginger beer and a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich went down a treat.

We wandered through the exhibitions delighting in the photos of Diana, reminded of her charity work, and her legacy. As we approach the 20th anniversary of her death, there has been renewed coverage in the media, only last week the programme with her beloved sons ‘Diana, Our Mother’ which gave a flavour of the fun loving woman she was.

We thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the ancestral home, with an enthusiastic and informative guide. We then made our way out to the lake.
It is such a beautiful spot and we spent time on a bench reflecting on the last twenty years. We are both blessed with wonderful families, good health, and take opportunities that come our way. That doesn’t mean that we’ve not had difficult times, but with love and support we have had the ability to cope.
A cuppa and a sweet treat were required before hitting the gift shop!

A long journey back and a fish supper was consumed, before I made my trip home.

A truly wonderful day spent in lovely company!

Cricket ย England v South Africa

The reason behind our trip was the cricket match today, and we awoke to get skies and drizzle. 

Breakfast and getting ready took precedence and the drizzle became heavy showers ๐Ÿ˜ž 

As we wiped away 40 minutes a break in the clouds, and the rain stopped so we walked to Cardiff bay station.


We had a lovely walk to Sophia gardens, but on arrival found we were 2 1/2 hours early! 


Once in the SWALEC ground we had a tea and chatted to other spectators.


AB de Villiers won the toss and England into bat. Behind where we were sitting I spied Mike Phillips, a Welsh rugby player, and had to take a cheeky snap


England batted well, with Dawid Malan hitting an impressive 78 on his debut. They got 181 runs from their 20 overs, so a chase was on.

Very few would know all of the players on both sides, but we were treated to a feisty display both with bat and in the field. SA lost the key wicket of AB de Villiers and SA were 19 runs short. England won the series 2-1.

We stayed for the celebrations and presentations.


We had failed to find the time of the last train to Cardiff Bay, so went for a bus, but had to call a taxi in the end.


We picked up a bottle of fizz, some pasta and cheesecake and enjoyed a mini feast.it has been another lovely sojourn with laughter, nature and sport. 

When’s the next one? โ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Chippenham, Cardiff and Cricket.

Debbie and I left yesterday and travelled to Chippenham. A detour to the Swindon retail outfit resulted in English pounds being spent and a easy ride to our hotel for the evening.

A walk around to find our bearings and a refreshing cider each had to be done. Before we knew it it was time for bed and the comfort of our room at the Best Western Angel  +. This morning our task was to find breakfast and a short walk to Grounded provided that.


A short drive to Calne and to visit Bowood House, the family seat of the Marquess of Lansowne. We felt a rugby connection with Lansdowne Road, and the house is approached from Derry Hill. 

Another interesting fact was the 2nd Marquess was made Prine Minister for negotiating peace with America after the War of Independence.


The gardens landscaped by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown are stunning. Every twist and turn of the paths provide differing vistas to enjoy. The lake with the Doric Temple, the cascade and the House itself just beautiful. The grander rooms of the house were designed by Robert Adam, a prolific interior designer of his time, and the orangery he designed is where you walk in for the tour. No photos are allowed so you'll have to visit to behold the beauty.

We left after a cuppa to continue our journey to Cardiff. We arrived through rush hour traffic and were met by our Airbnb host. The flat is lovely with all amenities and near to shops and bars: handy for the Lions match tomorrow, weather permitting! 

We cooked dinner and watched the cricket being played at Taunton, the second match of three. SA won, setting up Sunday's match conclusion in Cardiff, the purpose of our trip.

We went for a walk in the rain and returned exhausted from our perambulation.

I'll leave you with two pictures 

Diana’s Dresses

As soon as I saw the exhibition advertised I had to go. My companion today was my wonderful ex colleague Bev! 

The weather forecast was mixed, but we dodged the rain and made our way to KP. There was a queue, as would be expected and we sauntered round the King’s and Queen’s apartments before reaching the Diana exhibition. 

First Lady of the bed chamber!
Does my bum look big in this?

There is still such an interest in the iconic Diana, her beauty, grace and style. As with all of us, a complex women, she had her faults but did great good, broke down barriers and cut swathes through taboos!

Diana and I were born three days apart and I followed her life as she blossomed from the shy, gauche teenager into the beautiful, purposeful woman.


How would she have aged? What would her hairstyle be? Would she have married again? Would she have had more children? 

No doubt she would have loved Catherine, loved the Wedding, and adored her grandchildren, both at their Aunt Pippa’s wedding today! 

She lived for her boys and gave them the human touch that will shape their lives and loves. She would be immensely proud of them both. ๐Ÿ’•

We walked through the shop and emerged to darker skies, we sauntered round the edges of the white garden. 


The heavens opened and we took shelter but decided to make a dash to a nearby restaurant. We enjoyed some fizz, food and an impromptu visit from Bev’s brother Paul. We laughed, reminisced and  spoke of our travel plans over the coming months. 

Via different means we both are aware that we are in charge of our happiness, something that comes from within, not found in money. We are so proud of our children, all making their way, happy to celebrate their achievements, success and happiness.

A quick change at Tower Hill and cloudy skies with a walk to Fenchurch street, where we caught a train home. 

More laughter, more talking and a wonderful day! 

Rollercoaster ride


The last eight weeks have felt like a rollercoaster ride, although I’m not a fan of them in reality. Little did I know that I would have the surprise of my life within that time, and share it with so many family. 

Kevin and I enjoyed a wonderful week in Portugal with Viv and Don, and the timing of that was just perfect.


Nina has settled well into her new job and routine of commuting, and her and Jay are enjoying quality time together and it is wonderful to see them so happy. 


Joseph has come on in leaps and bounds with his tattooing and is now tattooing on skin and we are so proud of how he is applying himself to this, striving to improve and to forge a career in something he so passionately loves! ๐Ÿ’•

I have caught up with friends, and have delighted in the news that Debbie has become a Nanny, and I can’t wait to have a cuddle with Ronnie next week! ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—

Work, as always seems the way, has been my greatest challenge. It has been very hard even with a week’s break! I’m not going to dwell on that as I can only do my best and what will be, will be. 

In the next few weeks I have some amazing things lined up, I am looking forward to them immensely,  and will start Christmas preparations in earnest. We are also awaiting the arrival of a new family member with the imminent arrival of Daniel and Lizzie’s baby girl. Watch this space……..

Fun

Fun!

I love to have fun, and quite often have an irreverent sense of humour. Making people laugh or smile makes me feel good as well as lightening the mood of the other person!ย image

Snapchat have a great variety of filters and I have recently been using them and sending the photos to family. Responses have been mixed, but undoubtedly have raised a smile.

Quite often life throws curved balls at us and it’s our ability to laugh and smile that can help to offer comfort and lift gloom temporarily.๐ŸŒฅ

Treasure…..


I have many things in my life that I treasure; my family, friends. I am grateful for my home, car and job. There have been times where we have faced circumstances that have been difficult, but we have dealt with them and, fortunately, came through the other side.

My garden has given me pleasure and although i don’t spend as much time in it as I should, I took this photo of irises after flowering. These berries look like little red jewels and look dazzling in the sunlight.

 #developingyoureye, #treasure, #jewels, #garden.