On Saturday night we booked a babysitter and went out to the cinema to see the new Steve Coogan film, Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa. My husband chose the film and while it was quite entertaining, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. But the cinema itself more than made up for it. Just 15 minutes down the road from us, it is part of a small independent chain and is a far cry from the massive Odeon theatres with their overpriced pick and mix and jumbo tubs of popcorn. The theatre itself is quite small with two or three seat sofas and tables to put your drinks and munchies on, and attached to it is a cosy bar where you can buy wine, beer, soft drinks and a large selection of snacks from pizzas and olives to chocolate buttons and retro sweets.
I love England in late August/early September. It is usually sunny, although the evenings are getting darker and nature’s palette is slowly transforming into beautiful red, deep orange and bright yellow. Today we decided to make the most of the long Bank Holiday weekend by heading to Hatchlands Park, a National Trust property and parkland, near Guildford in Surrey where we went for a walk across cows meadows and the children played in the woods.
All that fresh air and exercise left us all feeling famished but luckily we were going to the in-laws for lunch. My mother-in-law is a fantastic cook and had made a lovely roast chicken followed by the most gorgeous (gluten free) apple and blackberry crumble.
A game of croquet in the garden (complete with the requisite squabbles over who was winning and who was cheating).
And finally, today’s all black outfit was one of the £7 H&M dresses I bought at the start of the summer teamed with leggings and patent wedges from Topshop. Hope you all had a great weekend. X
We rounded off our holiday with a trip to the original Legoland theme park in Billund, Denmark. We had booked a two-night package staying at the Legoland Hotel, which I was slightly nervous about, having read mixed reviews about it. But I needn’t have worried – the hotel was great, with big spacious rooms, friendly service, decent food and of course Lego everywhere, including Lego gifts for the children and two big tubs of bricks in our room.
All three children in one picture, looking at the camera and smiling. Hardly EVER happens!
Because the ferry back to England doesn’t leave until 7 in the evening, we had two full days at the park meaning that, between us, we went on every single ride. The boys and their dad were keen to go on the bigger roller coasters while Clemmie and I stuck to the trains, boats and gentle carousels although we did meet up at regular intervals so we could all do some activities together. My parents were also with us and the kids even managed to convince them to come on some of the rides, including the pirate ship one where the objective was to shoot everyone with water canons. Needless to say, we all got soaked but luckily it was a sunny day so we dried off pretty quickly.
A great end to a great holiday!
Clemmie’s favourite ride, the horse carousel.
Casper took a break from the white knuckle rides to sift for gold in the ‘Western’ area of the park
Smiling on the Legoland train
Holidaying in Sweden in August is always slightly risky weather-wise. It was with some trepidation that we decided to return to the same place in Southern Sweden where we spent our summer vacation two years ago. While the scenery is stunning and the house is a stone’s throw from the beach, the summer of 2011 was truly awful and (I kid you not) we had only one day of sunshine. The rest of the time howling winds, rain and temperatures of 15c meant that we were forced to make excursions to museums, indoor play centres and the cinema which, although enjoyable, is not exactly what you want to be doing in the middle of August.
Last year we were desperate for sunshine so we booked a holiday to Mallorca where we would be guaranteed some decent weather. But I do love the Swedish summer (when it doesn’t rain) and it’s important to us that our children feel at home in the country that is a big part of their heritage so we decided to bite the bullet and give it another go this year.
So far we’ve been lucky, with sunny mornings enabling us to swim in the sea and play on the beach until lunchtime. The afternoons have been more mixed but at least we have been able to do outdoor activities like mini golf and I’ve also ticked off a few of the shopping trips on my list. Updating the autumn wardrobe will have to wait until we’re back in the UK, but the interior shops here are amazing and any spare room in the car is filling up fast. At the moment all new purchases are wrapped securely to withstand the return journey so pictures will follow when I’m back home.
Hope you’re all having a great summer! X
The bags are packed, the house is clean, the fridge is empty and the milk has been cancelled. All that remains is to load everything and everyone into the car and we’ll be on our way tomorrow morning. Catching the ferry to Denmark and then driving over to Sweden to stay in a cottage by the beach. I can’t wait!
I will try to update the blog while I’m away but you can also follow me on Instagram where I’m called aspoonfulofstyle (link)
Celebrating the arrival of the weekend with a glass of wine and a bowl of black cherries last night
The last weekend before we go on holiday and it’s been busy, busy so far. I haven’t even started doing any packing, just loads of washing and organising all the travel documents and maps that we need for the journey. If anyone has any tips on how to pack for a family of five going on a two week holiday (with quite a lot of travelling around by car) to a country where sunny weather cannot be guaranteed, they would be much appreciated!
Luckily, we have borrowed a large roof box from my parents as I need to leave room in the car for all the things I want to buy and transport back home. There are some really lovely quirky interior and fashion shops both in Denmark and southern Sweden that are on my list of places to visit, in between the beach (weather permitting), Legoland and other children’s attractions. Many of them don’t ship outside Scandinavia and some of the items I have my eye on (like a bookshelf – I only mentioned that to the husband last night but he seems to think we can fit it in, even if one of the children has to travel in the roof box on the way back (only joking!!) are too big to send by post.
But for now we’re enjoying another sunny weekend and having spent much of the week at home overseeing the enforced bathroom renovations, I felt the need to escape for a couple of hours this morning. A brisk walk along the river followed by a latte in Costa Coffee and a leisurely stroll around the shops did the trick. I even managed to have my first sniff of Marc Jacob’s new perfume, Honey and, as I had expected, it smelled divine. Quite unlike me, I didn’t buy it right then and there as hopefully they will sell it in the duty free shop on the ferry.
Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!
Wearing our wellies to take the boys to tennis camp on Tuesday
to this in just a couple of days:
Cooling down with some water play
Seeking shade in the playhouse at the bottom of the garden
Today saw the return of the heatwave after a few days of rain and thank goodness for that! At least Clemmie and I can spend time in the garden as our house is taken over by builders and covered in dust and debris. And there won’t even be a lovely shiny new kitchen or extension at the end of it, as they’re here to fix a leaking pipe buried deep in the wall of our downstairs cloakroom.
We need to get it fixed before we go on holiday as the consequences if it ruptured even more while we were away do not bear thinking about. Once the leak has been repaired all the walls and the ceiling have to dry out which will necessitate moving our fridge freezer and two large kitchen cupboards into the dining area (as that wall backs onto the cloakroom) which is not ideal when you have three kids and an already cramped kitchen…
But every cloud, as they say, has a silver lining. At least the downstairs loo was on the list of rooms we hadn’t decorated since moving here six years ago, so I’m trying very hard to see this as an opportunity to replace the wood-effect laminate floor and pink walls with something more tasteful.
to something like this in a couple of months if we’re lucky
Cameron made me a lovely bracelet at school and I was very touched by his thoughtfulness.
Some summer reading to bring with me when we go on holiday in ten days’ time. I saw The Great Gatsby at the cinema a few weeks ago but have never actually read the book while the other two are easy chick-lit books that you can dip in and out of.
On Wednesday the boys’ schools finished for the summer and they are definitely ready for some time off. It’s been hard for them going to school in the very hot weather but, of course, now that the summer holiday has started the temperatures have dropped.
I was a very brave mummy and went out for lunch with all three children who actually surprised me by behaving remarkably well.
A trip to the cinema to see Monsters University.
This weekend we headed off to Bristol to visit one of my best friends and her family. We stayed up until almost 2am (not great when you have small kids who like to get up by 6.30…), drinking wine and chatting for hours as you do when you’re with friends who you love dearly but don’t see enough of. Large mugs of strong coffee and fry ups all around this morning, and we were ready to spend a few hours at Bristol Zoo.
Exhausted after too little sleep and the long drive home, we ordered an Indian takeaway and flopped on the sofa. Home sweet home!
The boys finished school today and we had a great afternoon in the park together with friends from both their classes. We have two weeks left until we go on holiday and I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that this sunny weather continues until then.
I’m looking forward to six weeks of no school run, homework or after school activities!
Despite often seeing its trend-led pieces on the fashion pages of various magazines, River Island is not a store that I normally frequent. When I shop on the high street (which I have to admit is not that often, I much prefer the ‘click to buy’ approach from the comfort of my sofa) I tend to stick to department stores where all the brands are in close proximity to each other. But on a trip into town today I ventured all the way down to Primark and on the way back I decided on a whim to pop into River Island.
Like most other stores it was at the tail-end of the summer Sale and not necessarily looking its best, but at the back of the shop I managed to locate some real gems including these jackets. While it may be too hot to wear them at the moment, I think any of them would look great teamed with a simple T-shirt and skinny jeans on the cooler days that are no doubt coming our way soon.
Clockwise from top left: Pink and orange tweed jacket, £60; Cream marl contrast trim biker jacket, £45; Orange embossed peplum jacket, £35; Beige structured cropped jacket, £50.
The one major downside to this lovely summer weather we’re experiencing at the moment is that the children are finding it really hard to get to sleep. Even when we open all the windows upstairs the heat is stifling as there is virtually no wind. Last night was particularly bad and I can count the number of hours I slept on one hand. I think we really need to invest in some fans although I’ve heard that they’ve sold out nearly everywhere. Looks like we’re not the only ones suffering…
I impressed myself by making it to my gym class this morning and then kept myself going by putting my new Stelton coffee press to good use. After all that caffeine I feel wide awake now, when really I should be trying to get an early night…
Designed by Erik Magnussen for Stelton in 1977, the classic vacuum jug now comes as a press coffee maker in four different finishes. Available from John Lewis for £44.95