Saturday, 29 December 2012

Spotty blanket


what a miserable horrible wet day it is outside! And husband is poorly so I am sat with a cup of tea by myself for the first time in a while (for the christmas week we have been between parents houses and always surrounded by people).

I made a blanket for Mike's grandma for christmas, except I ran out of wool so I've turned it into a pram blanket and we've given her the pastel blanket instead.

Want to see the blanket I love so much that I'm very pleased I get to keep it?

spotty blanket
It's small (only 25 x 34 inches) but I don't want to add a border which would detract from the spots. But I love it so much! it's so bright in real life too. Pattern is from here.

A few more photos:

Hope you like it too


Sunday, 25 November 2012

crochet rabbit, alien and pig

There are so many new babies around at the moment that I have a choice of people to thrust my crochet upon (I hope they appreciate them!)

firstly, I made another bunny rabbit, this time with some multicoloured yarn I bought on our trip to Bath.

stripey bunny rabbit
This rabbit was made with Emma Lamb's pattern which works up very quickly, if having slightly oddly shaped arms! The last project I made with stripey yarn I didn't like very much but this one is vibrant enough that I love it.

a pig and an alien
I also made this pig and alien, the pig is a giant squishy ball with normal ears/legs/nose and a tail made by sc-ing a chain tightly inwards. The alien is straight from Nikki Trench's super cute crochet book and is the first time I've ever crochet-ed with felt!

I am really pleased with all of these softies, after a disappointing hot water bottle cover and the time-consuming blanket projects these small things are a delight to make and give away. 


Some recent makes: hot water bottle cover

I am writing a few posts at once for this week because I had scheduled these and they didn't post! I have been doing a bit of crochet recently. The first of these is a hot water bottle cover which was initially made to be a christmas present but it didn't turn out well enough to give away. I like the concept though and will fiddle with it a little in perseverence. Just this week Coco Rose posted a hot water bottle cover tutorial so perhaps this will help next time.

hot water bottle cover

I made 6 sunburst granny squares and a stripey back. This picture was pre-blocking so it looks slightly better but I think I would prefer smaller squares, or even a completely stripey cover - what do you think?


Saturday, 10 November 2012

A canal-side walk

A few sundays ago Mike and I packed up a picnic of ginger butternut squash soup and a thermos of tea and drove a few miles to the canal for a walk.
the route

It wasn't a particularly sunny day, or particularly cold but I also took my new atlantic blanket company blanket (a present from my parents) to snuggle under amongst some leaves.

some highlights from the walk
It was a really lovely walk, with plenty to see along the way (some locks, an old viaduct, a very muddy community road and a few horses) but I really don't like driving to get to a walk.


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Bristol, catch up

I'm so sorry readers that I haven't blogged since I started work. I got a bit caught up in everything job related and have only just got to the point where I think things are calm enough to take up hobbies again. Work is going well, i'm not enjoying having no knowledge and I am a bit rubbish at talking to people and making friends but, on the other hand, it's really exciting learning lots and meeting new folk.

As a reward for my first ever pay package, Mike and I were planning to take a trip somewhere. Happily our friends Tom and Mel got engaged (yey!) so we were able to coincide a lovely hotel stay with a trip to Bristol to celebrate with them. We scoured reviews and settled upon the Bristol Hotel booking one of the amusingly named 'passion packages' because it was cheaper than adding breakfast each day (and included not only breakfast but champagne and chocolate fondu with homemade marshmallows).

We travelled down to Bristol on the friday afternoon arriving in plenty of time for dinner. Most places were booked up but we spied a little italian restaurant. I, as usual, over ordered and ended up leaving all my main course chips because I'd eaten too much homemade bread and smoked salmon starter. It was a lovely meal and a very fun restaurant to eat at with a jokey and relaxed owner. That night we got our marshmallows for pudding back at the hotel. We were therefore in bed by 9.30 but wrapped in posh dressin gowns and slippers in our fairly large room.

relaxing in our room with champagne and marshmallows

On Saturday, after an epic breakfast, we walked to the station to catch a train to Bath for the day.
Sunrise in bristol and a lovely walk to the station

I mostly wanted to visit two shops I'd heard about: the makery and the fudge factory. It was such a gorgeous (cold) day that upon realising how expensive the abby and pump rooms were to visit, we decided to just walk around and explore.
welcome to bath! home of abby, baths, craft and fudge

We played some mini-golf up by the crescent (I lost by so much), we kicked leaves, we watched some rugby from the road and we found a very random furniture warehouse filled with antiques, some amazing handmade kitchens, and no actual staff (seriously, we didn't see a soul)

leaves, mini golf, rugby and the crazy shop

Finally, we had a very disappointing afternoon tea with teabags instead of leaf and no clotted cream!

That evening we met up with Tom and Mel at a pub in Bristol, failed to get into a free gig and ended up splitting 3 peppermint teabags between 5 in the most odd cafe ever which we chose only because it was open at 10pm.

On the Sunday with another great breakfast in our tummies we checked out (leaving the car in the carpark for the day) and wandered up the harbour to get to the SS Great Britain. We stopped off at the M-shed on the way to learn some of the history of Bristol and there were these awesome tiny ships on the windowsills and some firemen outfits to dress up in!
tiny ships, old firemen, real ships and rosie and jim!
The actual SS Great Britain was BRILLIANT. Even if we weren't both engineers I think we'd have liked it. There was a 3 storey moving engine, a propellor to play with, wax dummies and tonnes of history with just enough information. You walk to the ship through a museum which builds a good level of excitement before you finally get to it.
the SS Great Britain - majestic!

After the ship, we bought takeout tea and carried on up the harbour to the Locks and the Bridge.
Brunel loving geeks

Having crossed these Brunel landmarks off our list we returned to the hotel to drive back home content with our weekend memories (with very chapped lips from the cold). We definitely ought to take advantage of our childless state and go for more weekends away but I think the best kind are these last minute ones where you don't think about the cost too much and just have fun.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A walk around Charlecote and Wellsborough

This Saturday Mike and I enjoyed a walk around the Warwickshire countryside. We never normally drive to a walk but we were planning on going onto Stratford upon Avon afterwards for some cake and a coffee and a wander. We were also scouting a potential village for house buying.

The walk started from Charlecote house. We didn't go to the actual house so I have no idea how good it is but it looked very grand from the outside!

the map!
 The maps in this little set are useful, but nowhere near as easy to follow as an ordinance survey so we ended up slightly offtrack. But nevertheless it was a lovely 6 miles of woods, open fields and skies and a bit of river.

These are some of the photos from the walk. The ladder was supposed to be a bridge! Also, the written directions told us to go underneath the road and so upon seeing this (very low) path we thought we were supposed to crawl through. Turns out there was a proper bridge around the corner. 

We also happened upon a fence post that we had to climb over. I stepped on it and the whole thing collapsed! It was actually a tumble-style which I've never seen before (I thought I'd broken a fence).

husband successfully navigating the tumble-style

This time last year we did long walks every weekend. The summer tends to get busy and this one was particularly damp so we're going to try to take advantage of these crisp and dry days to explore until we fill our weekends with looking for houses properly.

Upon getting back to the carpark we decided to go and buy a cup of coffee and a cake from the house since we'd used the car-park. Instead though we (I) got completely sidetracked by the amazing flower and vegetable shop. There were about 45 varieties of squash (pumpkins, courgettes etc) both edible and inedible as well as large bunches of the last of the season's dahlias. The colours in the whole place were amazing.
so many varieties

Mike allowed me to buy 3 different sorts of squash and he also sneaked in a bunch of the Dhalias for me :)

 After a 2.5 hour walk and a long time choosing squash, we didn't go on to stratford upon avon and instead returned home. This will be saved for another weekend!


Monday, 1 October 2012

Green tomato chutney

I gave up waiting for our tomatoes to turn red. Secretly I was pretty happy about this 'cos it meant I could make green tomato chutney. 

before and after

The recipe is very simple and comes from a neighbour. She gave the recipe to my mum. It's pretty old school- if you like chutney with a kick then this isn't for you and it's very sweet. However it's so easy and tasty that it's worth making. It goes very well on a cheese scone instead of pickle. 

The recipe:
1lb green tomatoes
1lb white onion
1lb raisins
1lb sugar
1 bottle HP fruity sauce

Simply chop everything and stir together resisting the temptation to add liquid (plenty will come out of the tomatoes). It is ready when you scrape a spatula across the bottom of the pan and it leaves a gap. 

scrape and it's done

Now I've made my first chutney of the year it may be time to start on Christmas chutney and marmalade for Christmas presents. 


Friday, 28 September 2012


Yesterday was a great day, I submitted by PhD Thesis to the exam schools in Oxford.  Sadly there is no fanfare for this (it comes after the Viva exam when you get to be Dr.) but I was happy all the same. I took a photo of the slip of paper just before the copies of the thesis got sent away to the examiners.
submission process

In celebration of the culmination of 3 years work and the end of 8 years at university I did a bit of window shopping (I need a handbag and coat for work), met a friend for lunch (we had cheese toasties at Zappis), learned to blowdry my hair after a haircut and had a makeup lesson at debenhams. Good girly day right?

In the evening Mike took me out for dinner. I was sorely disappointed (though the restaurant has amazing reviews) but Mike loved his meal. I had a goat cheese tart (not any better than shop bought) and mussels (which I think will never live up to those I had at the original Loch Fyne). I skipped pudding though perhaps the cardamom creme brulee would have won me round?

This week whilst waiting to submit (you have to informally invite all the examiners and wait to hear back) I have done lots of tidying and sorting; I had to clear out my desk at the lab and find somewhere for all the stuff to go. (I can't wait for Mike to finish my bureau so I have somewhere to keep pretty stationery but in the meantime I am enjoying researching bureaus and writing desks for interior inspiration). I bought and labelled flour containers in our baking cupboard, and emptied the one box we hadn't yet unpacked. I also baked a honey spice cake but it was far too sweet and therefore is considered a failure.

This weekend we have some visitors and I'm planning a visit to a country estate for an autumn walk tomorrow (and forage). I have given up on the tomatoes and picked them green so making chutney is probably also on the itinerary.  Next week I have no plans at all so hopefully Mike will whisk me away somewhere for a few days of relaxation before I start work properly on the 8th.


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sunny weekends

Since we moved house we are entirely lacking in a social life which has the unexpected bonus of lots of time to ourselves. The weather over the last few weeks has been my favourite: sunny with a slight nip in the air in the morning so that the leaves gleam.

The new place has two sets of decking with table and chairs on (spoiled I know). One gets breakfast and evening sun, the other gets the rest of the day. I could happily eat all meals outside if suitably wrapped up. Meals of salad and bread for warm days, or soup for cold.

We had some great success with a walk on Saturday afternoon. With a screenshot of the ordinance survey we hadn't known there was going to be a pub exactly halfway around the 6 mile journey! A pub with deckchairs, hampers, cider and icecream next to the river. We will definitely be going back there because the food looked ace! The walk itself had lots of variety - a lovely wood, some open fields and a meandering riverside. I have incorporated some of it into a new running route (though I have to be very careful to avoid tree roots in the wood and so my pace suffers).

morning run
In over-excitement about autumn I spent a fortune on food yesterday, on the menu (literally, a chalkboard menu a friend bought me for my birthday) this week:

Sea bream with smoked paprika spiced aubergine and tomatoes, leek and potato soup, butternut squash and sage risotto, butternut squash, sage and sausage casserole, fish pie...(you get the idea). 

I am also about to give in and use our green tomatoes to make mum's chutney ready for winter. I've got enough plum and blackberry jam to last forever so if anyone would like to swap it for apples (which we don't seem to have any of nearby) then that would be awesome.

PhD is still plodding along. I spent yesterday making sure all the formatting was perfect. Today I am researching residue functions in MRI and how my project may help. Hopefully finished this week!

Does everyone else love autumn as much as me? Wooly scarfs, blankets, lined-boots, tights, still sunny???


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A reveal!


hanging out after blocking

I can finally say that this blanket is done.

some closeups

It was originally started for a friend's baby but it turns out her sister crochets too so now it's in the 'pile of things I really should give away but-oh-it's-soft-and-pretty etc'. I'm not sure I like it as much as the bright blankets I've made but it is much better yarn and so the softness is a definite plus. I also made it big enough to snuggle on the sofa in (though it doesn't look it in the pictures). I would have made bigger but I was stopped by a lack of pink yarn (and even had to take apart a pink elephant to finish it so now he has blue ears)

Anyway, here it is. The pattern is Lucy's summer square with a HDC border, the cream wool is a huge ball of aran I got from a discount shop and the other bits are odds and ends given to me. 

I hope you like it. It's hard to take photos of blankets!


Monday, 10 September 2012

Work outfits


this is exciting because it means I can blog again.

I started work last week. First post back is this one purely about dressing up for work. Having been a student for 8 years (yes) I am used to wearing jeans, or pjs. But last week I got to dress up smartly every day and wear heels. I bought some lovely underdress slips (not the squeezey ones though because I thought I was going to faint when I tried one) and played around with existing dresses. I also bought a new 3/4 sleeve dress and a belt from Jaeger which I adore (but it was too warm to wear the dress last week). I currently have 8 outfits, but may buy one more dress in navy 'cos I'm taking the one with the gold collar back.

The first week of work was great! It was an induction week with some playing around with cars, and lots of team building. For the next month though it's back to finishing the PhD. Which I better actually get back to because I'm supposed to be submitting this week. 

so long


Thursday, 30 August 2012

House move

We have been moving house, and have no internet for a while so here is a quick update whilst I'm at uni for the day.

I secretly enjoy moving house, the sorting and organising and labelling and list making. Not to mention the fact that we were both off work and so I got to spend a week and a bank holiday just hanging out with my husband (where hanging out is doing all the cleaning and manic stuff but also eating random combinations of leftover freezer food, playing boardgames, singing songs to each other and having tea in bed before starting the day).

We had less than 24 hours to move house so everything from upstairs went to live in the garage while we cleaned. Once again my miracle products (Magic Eraser and Biomex) made good work of everything and we were very proud of the results (and the checkout clerk was impressed). We also cleaned half of the kitchen to save time on the day. Then Mike's parents came to help and his mum and I finished the cleaning whilst the chaps packed up the van. It was 3 trips in the end (of 1 hour each way) so we were all exhausted by the end but it's done!

Disappointingly the new house wasn't clean when we got there - they'd rushed to give us more moving time but hadn't let us know so we hadn't even got the van when they called to say it was ready. There are also no picture hooks, and only one curtain rail so it's really hard to personalise. However, we've now got it how we want it with the purchase of a new kitchen island, a wardrobe for the bedroom and a dresser for all my crockery. We personalised the dresser with my stripey green ceramic door knobs and it's all white and lovely. This is now my favourite room in the house.

Sorry there are no photos. Here is one of my mother-in-law and I waiting for the the last van load having cleaned ourselves out of the house:

lots of love


Monday, 13 August 2012

Fabric wishlist

We are currently packing our house up to move. This will hopefully be the last time we move to rent. We have loved this house but paying close attention to it whilst cleaning shows that, really, it's only the kitchen and location which are 'nice' and everything else is just a bit tired.

To distract myself from the fact that my house is full of boxes, I took comfort in my pinterest boards. Most of my 'dream house' items are pastel or delicately patterned ceramics, but the fabric items on there are vibrant and (sadly) not husband friendly:

(created using 
The ottoman was featured on house and home and now can't be found, the shower curtain and flower bedding are both urban outfitters, the quilt (bottom left) is from not the high street and the yellow peacock bedding is from Dwell Studio

Since we are moving away from our friends, this print is speaking to me at the moment
Home is wherever I'm with you
In the Bible, God says that He goes ahead, clearing the road and " I'll lead you to buried treasures, secret caches of valuables - Confirmations that it is, in fact, I, God, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name ". Taking this verse out of context a bit, I have been comforted that God will uncover treasures for us in a new place, a new way of serving and a new set of people as confirmation that he is a God who knows us and provides for us.



Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Review - The Field Kitchen

On Friday night as a birthday treat, Mike and I went with some friends to The Field Kitchen . It was so good that I want to recommend it to everyone!

The field kitchen is a pop-up restaurant, I shall leave further description to the website:

“Imagine a garden, barn or courtyard filled with low-lit lamps, round and rectangular tables, higgledy piggledy cutlery, glassware, table linen and plates. Complimentary jugs of wine and fresh elderflower and fruit concoctions. Steaming hot Italian coffee. Take a van with a kitchen in it, fill it full of fresh, local and interesting ingredients. Put an instinctive chef in it who is all about passion and giving the best he can. Welcome to The Field Kitchen Oxford.”
On Friday, with the sun beaming, it was held in Hogacre Common, found by walking down a track, crossing a (honestly sketchy looking) railway bridge and emerging into a sunkissed meadow with a pavillion. When we arrived, there were children playing rounders and happy adults enjoying coffee and looking smug after their own meals. 

the field kitchen, in a field, husband looks happy about his pork

We were seated under a granny lampshade next to speakers playing lovely folky music (later replaced by live music). I sent a photo to my mum who remarked 'oh you really did mean eating in a field'.  We received jugs of wine and water and settled down to wait for our first course (we didn't know what we were getting until we got there).On the table were lovely flowers and herbs, and a sprig of lavender on our napkins. The starter was a sourdough bruchetta with a pea and garlic puree and it was a great introduction to the type of food, which one could imagine was plucked straight from the community allotment next door (indeed, some is sourced from that very allotment). The food was served on mismatched crockery, but I managed to get the same set for main and pudding. 

Seabass and strawberry and custard tart.

The others had pork as their main (and see how happy my husband looks!), I had seabass having consulted with the chef the day before. Both were served with a scrumptious caponata - not as sweet as the version I make so that it complemented the fish more. I really didn't expect something as extravagant as seabass for my meal so it was a wonderful surprise. Pudding was an equally glorious strawberry custard tart. 
Snuggled up husband

We finished off with a pot of coffee fresh from the stove whilst listening to the acoustic performers and chatting. By then the sun had set and it had got chilly so on went the lamps and we were provided with blankets from a huge hamper. We had already paid online for the meal and so it was a very relaxed atmosphere with no pressure to leave. Others came and went but we basked in the atmosphere. 

In case of rain, there is a pavillion on the common where dinner can be served, but we were very glad that we got to experience the true 'Field Kitchen'. The meal cost us £30 each, including the wine and we would definitely love to go again (if we weren't leaving Oxford in 3 weeks). 

Lots of love


Monday, 30 July 2012

Birthday Party

It was my 26th birthday last Wednesday and I had a lovely week including afternoon tea,  dinner in a field (which I'll blog about another day) and culminating in a party on Saturday.

birthday morning
I received so many lovely presents: a microphone from my husband, a drinks dispenser from my mother-in-law and the cast iron pot from my parents. When I got to work, a girl in the lab and her boyfriend had made me a very yummy victoria sponge. Mike and I spent the evening eating sardines, chips and m&ms, drinking cider and watching How I Met Your Mother (we are on an epic race through a borrowed box-set before we leave Oxford).

My party was on Saturday, we used the marquee which belongs to the residents association in the close and had tables for cakes, drinks, games and the TV. I also had a hamper of blankets in case people got cold.

party in a tent

We played lots of board-games, had a bbq (with s'mores at the end) and somebody even went swimming in the river that runs through our village! I spent my birthday money buying burgers, sausages, cake ingredients, drinks and accessories (note the stripey paper straws!) and it was definitely the best way to use that money;  to have lots of friends gathered and [hopefully] having fun - though luckily some people couldn't resist and brought extra cakes and drinks with them including a beautiful dessert wine which Mike and I enjoyed finishing last night and a treacle tart which got eaten up almost straight away. I also got more lovely presents from generous friends including flowers, a cheese-dome, a book and a very pretty sugar pot and milk jug. I am a lucky girl indeed.

In the evening, those of us left over snuggled up and watched the artist in the marquee. I was inspired by the Jubilee party in our close at which we watched kind hearts and coronets during a gale with driving wind and rain. Saturday's weather was much nicer! Mike managed to fall asleep for most of the film but he still had a pretty good idea of the plot by the end.

Special thanks must go to Rach and Andrzej who arrived early to set everything up, brought cake and stayed to help us pack down in the morning.

All in all, it was a lovely way to say goodbye to Oxford and our village and now our hearts are turned towards planning the move. 3 weeks to go.


Monday, 23 July 2012

Family Fun

Worcester College Lake
As well as attempting to house-hunt 60 miles away, we had my parents and aunt visiting, and then Mike's grandma's 80th to go to on Saturday. Aunty Judith had only been to Oxford for our wedding so I took her on a tour of Magdelen College (she liked the deer), the Radcliffe-Camera (we didn't climb st Mary's tower though due to height fear), Worcester College (my old college - the best one) and then to the ashmolean to look at the pre-raphaelite collection. I hadn't been to the Ashmolean since it was re-done, it's SO much better now. 

On Wednesday, Mike and I saw an amazing cottage in napton-upon-hill that I would happily have lived in forever (it had two staircases, fireplaces, and random hallways that turned into rooms). Unfortunately, it was just a bit too expensive and as we ummed and ahhd somebody else took it. They were late to the viewing so we had to race back to Oxford in time for dinner with my parents and aunt at Mamma Mia's. We really like it here: very informal, quick service and yummy huge pizzas. We were buying dinner for the parents for their birthdays but they didn't spend very much (we all shared puddings and no-one was drinking). 
Work Dresses- these are actually the same dress

On Thursday, Mum, Dad and Aunty J took me shopping to Bicester Village for clothes to wear to work next year. I bought two dresses in Jaeger but Mike doesn't like them very much, so I'm taking one back. I think it's hard for me to think about wearing a suit every day, so jersey dresses are a good transition from just wearing jeans to work. Dad did VERY well considering we were there for 5 hours - he was very sweet and full of comments about the dresses. We did the standard 'wow everything here is so expensive' when Aunty J picked up a £6000 handbag, but due to having bad eyes her and dad thought it said £600 (which is still too expensive). I didn't manage to find any shoes or a bag though, so onwards goes the search. 
birthday presents - same colour!

Mike and I had bought beef from the village farm for dinner, it went down very well and was followed by a Nigella Chocolate Guinness cake - my favourite chocolate cake recipe. I also got to open two of my birthday presents, aunty judith and mum hadn't consulted on colour but managed to get the same turqouise. I love the pot so so so so much. It will go with the cream cast iron casserole we have.

Blenheim Palace

Friday was left to go to Blenheim Palace with just the parents since Aunty J was going home (but she actually returned to Bicester Village for more shopping). Mum and Dad and I had a great morning walking the grounds. As ever, the tour of the palace itself is very disappointing (well, the untold story part of it) but the grounds, and the rose garden especially, were impressive. Mike met us in the afternoon for scones and pizza in the caravan before we said goodbye. He also managed to beat mum and I at scrabble - which is frankly ridiculous because I normally get double his score at least and mum is a scrabble ninja (grumble).
trying to get balloons into the carboot

Then on Saturday, we visited a few houses in Leamington Spa before heading off to Bourton-on-the-Water for Mike's grandma's 80th. I didn't enjoy the lunch very much but, most importantly, she did! She even went on the trampoline. I don't see Mike's extended family at all really (I'd only met the aunt and cousins once before, at our wedding) but it was nice to see his grandma so happy that everyone was together.

And that was a busy week, not much work achieved so I have to try hard this week to catch up. We've applied for a house so if that goes through then we don't have to keep driving around Warwickshire for viewings and I can get more done.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Holiday Greeting Cards

I promised that I would show you the card prints we bought on holiday once they were framed. Well, here they are.
Greeting Cards I bought on Holiday
From left to right:

1. Hooked on You - we bought this in Rick Stein's gift shop, it will go with the 'my cup of tea' and 'cake and kisses' cards we have in the kitchen and I just liked the simplicity of it.
2. Flowers by the sea - I bought this to give to someone but I smile every time I see it so it is staying in the office to remind me of holidays. Lovely bright colours.
3. Bicycle - this is very intricate up close, with multiple layers. I'm not sure yet how much I love it to keep but it will be a good one to give to somebody else.
4. Noah's Ark - this was bought to give away when someone has a baby so they can put it in a nursery, all the birds flying over the rainbow are very cute. However, it's possible we don't know anyone who actually would put it on there wall so it may get put away for the future.

I do have a bit of a greeting card obsession, and a growing reputation for giving good cards which increases the pressure! I used to buy notebooks relentlessly and then never use them so at least greeting cards are pretty interchangable in frames for the wall.


Monday, 16 July 2012


So after posting every day about the holidays I had an inspiration rut due to a very monotonous week. We are currently house-hunting in Warwickshire due to me starting a job there in October. Our lease is up in the middle of August and we are looking for a house big enough to contain our furniture with a garage or shed for our bikes, but cheap enough that we can carry on saving to actually buy a house next year. One thing that we have come to also demand is space for our dishwasher (since it's been such a blessing to our marriage time this year). Well, we've seen some absolute horrors! I thought i'd seen bad houses in Oxford but the market is saturated so there is always another option. In Warwickshire, however, there are 500 new Jaguar employees, and nowhere near enough houses. One house we went to see didn't even have a proper kitchen (oh and had a bath full of water in it)! Another had housed dogs who had ripped up the carpets and wee'd on the walls. Unlike in Oxford, it doesn't seem that Landlords have to redecorate or even clean properties either. We have seen 2 ok houses but one had no space upstairs (so you couldn't have even one bedside table) and the other had no space downstairs (not enough for our 3-seater sofa, and nowhere to keep a hoover).

I've checked this website everyday for a month

So on we search. This week we are upping the budget and the search radius (we had both hoped to cycle, but I may have to drive in order to actually find somewhere we can live) to try to find somewhere soon, but my parents and aunt are here which is going to make it difficult.


Saturday, 7 July 2012

Cornwall Day 5: Walk and ferry trip & Day 6: Zipline

For the last full day before returning home we didn't fancy using the car so we did an approximation of the Hall Walk, a good 5 miles with 2 ferries and lots of exploring in Fowey.

The views on the first part of the walk were pretty good, up above harbours of Boddinick and Fowey. I was also delighted by this blue house, and being on a boat but the greatest surprise was that Fowey harbour had been yarnbombed! The whole harbour looked lovely as we sat and ate our sandwhiches amongst the tourists.

Fowey contains lots of art and interior shops, there was an especially cute shop which sold handmade ceramics and crochet/knitting. I also bought lots of greeting cards from some of the galleries (since we can't afford the real art). We debated getting a large serving bowl the same as in the cottage, and I fell in love with a quilt. We ended up buying neither, dissuaded by being less than half way around the walk.

We spied a castle in the distance and walked there via the beach. We didn't have the teapot with us because we were planning on going for afternoon tea, but there were a family on the beach making smores and gosh that was inspiring for the future. It was a lovely looking little beach for swimming (and even had this swimming platform), but the weather was a bit too rough for that day (not the waves and the faces above). The castle itself was mostly ruined but I loved the view back to the town through the window.

After freezing (poor husband in shorts) and been blown about, we deserved our afternoon tea at The Dwelling House. The 'gourmet' earl grey was actually not very good (they were loose leaf but ground, not anything like the amazing Adagio Teas Earl Grey). The scones were delicious though! My visit to this tearoom, however, was spoiled by the toilet. I have a recurring nightmare about having to urinate infront of people in a wide open bathroom. Well, the toilet was just in a bedroom, with windows and stuff. I would happily go in that bath if it were, say, on a beach in the middle of nowhere. But that was the toilet to use for all the customers, and I felt really uncomfortable about using it.

Anyway, after a hasty retreat Mike and I bought some bread and some John Dorey from the fishmongers for dinner, and set off on the walk back. This involved getting the passenger ferry to Polruan (yes, this is really the ferry and not an imposter touting for tourist money as my dad assumed). The walk back along the creek was very muggy, and we got lost twice but it was entertaining to end up in the grounds of an abandoned mansion where the ex-owner happened to appear because he was reminiscing about living there and moaning about foreigners buying holiday homes.

Dinner was very yummy, we were inspired to buy a book of seafood techniques.


taken from their website

On the last day, we went home via Adrenalin Quarry - The UK's longest zipline. I consider myself very brave to have done it after the eden project viewing platform, photos on a ledge, and afforementioned toilet fear fiascos - but it was really great! Not too fast but instead serene. Not quite worth all the money they charge but definitely worth a visit.

Coming home on a Saturday meant that by Sunday evening we were relaxed again, and had finished all the laundry and unpacking. At least, we would have been relaxed if I hadn't somehow hurt my back whilst driving over a speedbump which has taken until Friday to heal!

Let me know if you use any of our holiday ideas when you visit Cornwall, or if you too have an irrational fear of toilets or a perfectly valid fear of high places.