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🍾🍾🍾🍾💕💕💕💕

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Keep right on to the end of the road……

Sunday arrived and we had beautiful weather for the Scottish relatives, friends and neighbours to celebrate the diamond anniversary.

Food, drink and chairs were in place. Guests arrived and laughter rang out. We spilled over into the garden and it was so good to see so many smiling faces.

I read a poem by Bob Marley, dad had bought a ring and we toasted the happy couple.

Tired but exhausted we went to bed, it was a delightful day!

Monday morning we said goodbye to Elaine and Jane and we had a relaxed day followed by dinner out.

An early start on Tuesday as we had to go to Eyemouth. Elaine had seen there was an ice cream and fish and chip shop named Giacopazzi's, which was the maiden name of our maternal grandmother, Valentina.
The journey was fine up to the point that we turned off on to the A1107. Not what I expected, we were high up, drop to the left, so I had to practice deep breathing and just put my foot down!

We met Kerry, who was so welcoming and offered great hospitality as well as her precious time. Some information was shared although little progress regarding any tenuous family link, but we will continue our research.

Next up Harrogate and another 3 hours in the car!
We briefly alighted at our accommodation and then on to Mama Doreen's Cupcake Emporium!

Our afternoon was exquisite, sumptuous treats galore with lashings of tea. For once I didn't partake in the Prosecco, of which I was thankful later!

We went back to the accommodation booked, and it took a walk across the rickety decking, down the loose slabs, holding onto the wobbly handrail. This didn't bode well. Mum's ankle had swollen and she struggled, and once inside the accommodation was reminiscent of student lodgings. Then a train passed, and, the last straw, we couldn't work the TV. The thought of having to kill 5-6 hours before bed as mum couldn't walk anywhere, required a decision to be made: so I did and we left to drive home.

We made good time and it was lovely to be in my own bed!

I had brought down with me Mum's and my Wedding dress – now over 60 years old. I didn't think Nina would try it on, but she did and wow! 👀👀

We are now gearing up for Saturday's celebration and I have even managed to go to work, get some hearing aids and visit our original next door neighbour!

💕💕💕🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉😴😴😴😴

Shine bright like a diamond….


My sister and I travelled almost 500 miles by road yesterday to be a part of the first celebration of our parents 60th wedding anniversary.

What a privilege to be able to be here, and what an achievement!

We arrived after a 12 hour journey, falling exhausted into bed. An early start today and a 5k walk before breakfast was delightful with a sunny aspect, unexpected, as we are in Scotland.

Rain prevailed, but jobs required were all carried out.

POA for the next two days agreed left a few hours to wile away before dinner. This was the perfect opportunity to find wedding and bridesmaid dresses, card and art work kept for over 50+ years. This in itself is so touching.
Then you come across a card with your grandmother's handwriting. This then evokes so many memories.

Today has been filled with so much joy and laughter, which will continue over the coming week.

I can't express how lucky I feel to be a part of all this. How wonderful it is to have so many memories and the possibility of so many more.

💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💍💍💕💕💕🍾🍾

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. 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕🍾❤️💕💕💕

Life changes

On Sunday we drove to Bristol to our niece's new home, to surprise Kevin's sister on the eve of a momentous birthday.
I'd been nearby, actually having lunch at the above pub earlier this year, and after a very early start we arrived before the birthday girl.

Viv was suitably surprised and pleased at the gathering of family in the garden.

There were bubbles and beer, lots of chatter, laughter, (thank you Lizzie),and also talk of the family wedding in 2018. Victoria asked Georgina to be one of her bridesmaids, which meant tears of happiness.


Andy and Victoria's neighbour enjoys taking a photo or two, so he popped round and these are a fantastic reminder of the day.

Viv retired from work on the Thursday and her and Don have some great plans to bring to fruition, plus time to spend with the beautiful Bella.

Viv isn't one to speak at occasions, usually beavering away, but today she did, briefly. She thanked people for coming, and then the tears started. She continued and thanked Don in his support of her retiring early: it was so touching. Viv has a serenity about her and it is obvious that she is loved and cherished by all who know her.

I wish Viv a long, healthy and happy retirement, to enjoy the times ahead, and the memories to be made! (And that I can follow suit as soon as possible😉)

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!

Dyffryn Gardens

Another day, another house and gardens, this one a National Trust property just outside Cardiff. The gardens less formal than yesterday, but a sculpture here and there.

The sun shone intermittently but the moisture in the air did not dampen our enthusiasm.


We stopped for the obligatory cream tea and wandered around the stalls where books were being sold. Debbie bought 3 wisdens at a knock down price. For drop everything and read at school I got of photo of me reading one. 


A short drive to Cardiff for some shopping, oh and a glance at the principality stadium! 


We booked to see the film Hampstead and the cinema is a short walk from where we are staying. The film was funny, poignant and based on a true story. Truly delightful. A burger at Five Guys followed with a stroll home to a face pack, strawberries and casino royale.


Onc again,exhausted from our wanderings, bed is welcome and much cooler, so hopefully a good niht’s sleep😴😴😴😴😴😴

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 

Homeward bound

After a night in a warm room we were woken at 8:32 this morning. This left little time for showers etc and as it was miserable outside, we made our way to breakfast, which was again, very good! 

A meander through the streets of Bakewell meant buying cheese, beer and treats for home!

We returned to the hotel, packed and we were on our way.


The scenery we have seen on this trip has been so beautiful to behold, even in β˜”οΈ. There are so many more places to see, we have just skirted round and through them!


Our final stop just had to be a cake shop, Patisserie Valerie, at Cambridge services. One last hurrah for us both. Satiated, we carried on and Debbie dropped me off at home at 980 miles from when the journey began.

Joe was just leaving as we arrived, but a window tap and bibib attracted his attention to turn round. Hugs all round then Debbie left to get home too.

I unpacked, watered the garden and took some photos

This last week has been so good,so good,so good (sweet Caroline), I’ve been inclined …. to drink too much, eat far too much, and laugh (you can never laugh too much!).  I am blessed with great family and friends and I am lucky to have the opportunity to do things like this, and the means too.

Wonderful memories made and also a wanderlust to visit more of our beautiful ‘green and pleasant land’

I smelt a rat, and now the cat is out the bag……

I am quite a prolific sharer on social media, so this last week not to be able to share has been hard for me!

Five months in the planning, Kevin, Elaine and Jay and a few others had been in cahoots to pull off a wonderful surprise.

Over those last few months, Kevin has been making arrangements for some Cubans to come over. We were to wine and dine them, take them to see West Ham and I have just accepted the vague outline of everything.

Then last Friday a phone call whilst at the farm shop got me thinking that all was not what it seemed, but that was temporary as I didn’t want to feel disappointed and make the Cubans feel uncomfortable.


So I got home and Kevin opened the door and said that the Cubans were in the lounge with Jay. I looked to my left and there was Andrew and Lis on the sofa. That was when I uttered the, what will now be infamous, words, ‘I smelt a rat…..’ Tears of joy overwhelmed me and hugs then ensued. I was dumb founded, but not speechless and Jay has it all videoed.

I was told who was in on it and what the coming days plans were, and still I couldn’t believe they were here. More tears more hugs.

We then surprised Nina and Joe, more emotion, a few expletives and pure joy. Nina and I are now faced with never believing a word Kevin and Jay say again!

We readied ourselves for a meal out at Masons and it was fantastic to hear the banter, the laughter and I found myself just basking in pride and joy that we were altogether, making a new memory.


I woke up in the early hours with a big grin on my face and still overawed by the previous afternoon’s events.

Saturday and Kevin and I were to go to London and Lis and Andrew were going to watch West Ham play. We travelled on the train together, but still wanting to surprise other relatives I couldn’t post any pictures with them in.

Sunday was a trip to Brighton to surprise my parents. Another web of deceit and a journey to the Royal Oak at Poynings. 


An arduous journey home, with Andrew and Lis remaining in Brighton, didn’t dampen my good humour. More memories shared and made and fudge purchased.

The rest of the week has been littered with catching up with friends, visiting Greenwich, taking in a show, oh and work! 

Mum and Dad returned to Scotland yesterday and today we visited Kevin’s family in Surrey, surprising his sister, her family, and his mum. Unfortunately Joe was unable to join us, but I did manage a photo of all the cousins present and significant others to mark the occasion.

We have a few more days left with a couple of days out planned which I will blog about.

It has been a magical time and I can’t thank those involved enough for their efforts, their silence and the joy they have given me.

I put a brave face on sometimes, but to hear their voices, knowing they are in the lounge, having physical contact is just fantastic and I will treasure this time, safe in the knowledge that we will see them again in 2017.

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