Tearooms, Picnics and Castles
Our week-end is almost finished - booooo! Aren't June weekends marvellous? Perfect picnic weather! But before we get to our lazy picnic above we had a regular Daddy free Saturday - which started in one of our favourite tea rooms. BTW - typo disclaimer - I am watching Poldark as I type this up!
I loved our one on one time but also figured it would give the little man a boost so he would be a better helper with the shopping haha! The weather wasn't super warm so we opted for some quite autumnal fare!
This boy knows his way around a menu. He loves his tea cakes with lashings of real butter and jam. I love it when the butter is literally dripping off down my face.
It was even hot chocolate weather for Cappy - he has dairy but doesn't drink cow's milk, so this was a delicious dairy free one (I am sure you can't taste the difference). Mine was a flat white with soya.
I love the look of concentration on his face as his butters his tea cake:
One of my favourite things in this tea room is the cake display case. I love it when you come in of a morning and it has steamed up with the just baked scones:
Following our elevenses we split so C can buy a book and then we do the rest of the grocery shopping together, both with rucksacks as the veg, cans, bottles etc can get so heavy - he is becoming quite the effective little Sherpa:
We didn't buy anything exciting today but I always take pleasure in having for lunch the freshly baked sourdough (levain natural - no yeast) that we pick up from the Tea Room:
After lunch I took Humphrey to the beach and he got really wet and sandy - I aimed to brush the sand out on the front step but Humph took the initiative to jump on the outside window sill, which made it a lot easier. No waggy tail though and a jealous Timothy on the other side of the glass.
A couple of friends (I only have a handful, ha!) and my Mum were busy today (my Mum is always busy with some sort of charity event), so I cleaned most of the afternoon. It was much needed. Can you believe that all of this sand and hair is from less than 24 hours, in ONE ROOM - yes this is my life - constantly cleaning up after the pets. When we decorated and moved the furniture sand tipped out from the base of the sofas. Yes, gross and not a nice photo but I figured you should be able to truly empathise with my plight now haha!
Caspar and I briefly stepped out to this event at the village hall:
I haven't rushed out to buy new homewares but rather like to 'clear the decks' of old items and move things around the house first to see if I can make use of what I already have, like some pink hydrangeas from the garden and this vintage coffee pot ( I love the colour of the pot):
I also moved some furniture around:
And tried out moving some of the old yellows and blues from the front room into the conservatory:
A random issue from this week-end has been problems with Humphrey. He has been a bit of a bugger recently (excuse my French). If any of you reading have tips on how to overcome his behaviour please let me know. Since he was a very little puppy he has been very 'mouthy', which I am aware can be a feature of a gundog, and he ripped clothing, nearly my knee caps off and so on. As he's got older he doesn't hang off your clothing and body parts with little razor teeth, but growls, mouths and faintly bites all over you when he gets too excited. The problem is anything makes him excited - he wants to play or go out for a walk, or a visitor arrives. He is getting worse and more growly. He is the same when trying to get him off the sofa at night for bed but I can usually incentivise him with some ham. Unfortunately it means we can't play with a ball with him in the garden as he incessantly and loudly barks and then 'mouths' every time you go into the garden. Tips anyone? It is really trying out patience! He is only eighteen months and a puppy but we really need to nip this in the bud! Here he is, complete with evil eyes ha!
When we got the room painted this week it really didn't look right with all the 'dog throws' on the sofas so we took them off. This was a mistake - within hours they had black paw prints on them. This is the reality of having an 'outdoorsy' dog. We love him to bits of course, but I have to be real here - the pets sometimes drive me nuts. It is a never ending cycle of walking, feeding, cleaning, stopping the cats scratching, emptying trays, brushing them all, wiping the cats' eyes (otherwise their eye goo gets up the walls and everywhere), entertaining the dog when he's going mental, washing throws and vacuuming. It got to the point on Saturday afternoon where all I wanted was to sit in a peaceful and clean house, not be picking up pet hair or telling one of them off. It started to make me wonder if I was cut out for a second child, or had the time and headspace for it, when all I crave a lot of the time is thinking time and peace! That probably sounds really grumpy. Anyway, I cleaned until about 9pm and then felt better. I am definitely the type of person who can't fully relax and feel at peace when the house is a mess. While cleaning I watched bits of the football and messaged back and forth with Britt, who was supporting Germany. I've had great German (some best friends) and Swedish friends (Caspar's Godmother is half Swedish, half Danish), a Swedish boyfriend at one point and worked for Swedish Enterprise in Brussels - so really I was routing for Sweden. Of course I love Germany but you will never find an English person supporting Germany in the world cup haha! I also started packing up the main food hamper plus the little one just for the glassware:
I just can't drink out of plastic or polystyrene. Although I didn't go so far as to pack the crystal - will leave that for a special occasion! This may sound silly but almost everything I own has a backstory - even this gingham embroidered tea towel - the abovementioned Swedish friend Margareta brought it here last time she visited.
We set off this morning to Muncaster Castle with our picnic and the sky was spectacularly blue:
Caspar played his part when we got there carrying not a picnic blanket but an actual rug, which worked rather well!
We picked a spot in the grounds called 'the terrace', created in the 1700s and planted with elm trees and box topiary, which creates a micro-climate for Mediterranean flowers. The view was glorious:
We picked the perfect shady tree to sit underneath:
First job was to pop this delicious, chilled Raspberry and Lemon French Soda from Marks and Spencer. I don't usually soft drinks other than juice and water but this was lovely:
There wasn't anything grand about this picnic - just some simple bits and bobs - rare beef and roast ham sandwiches, a pork pie and scotch eggs for the boys, crisps and a tart. I had to bring real cutlery and napkins of course!
The silver came, and a wedgewood cake slice - vital for this Bakewell Tart (sweet pastry, Morello cherry jam, almond frangipane and topped with flaked almonds, yummo!):
Sustenance needs met, the boys took the picnic baskets back to the car and we strolled around the castle grounds and inside (no photos allowed). The same family have lived here since just after the Norman invasion in the 1000s.
I just love a big door! The family certainly choose a great position for the castle - the view is spectacular. Apparently prior to this there was a Roman Fort on the same site, which makes sense when you see the outlook:
When I say the house is packed with incredible furniture, tapestries, books and art from the Elizabethan period onwards I am not exaggerating. There was the most incredible Elizabethan fireplace. I could have sat in the library all day.
The grounds were magnificent and immense. Although I admired it all, coming from a family with a period property (hotel) and my parent's home (although both Victorian), I see places like this and just see a money pit, staffing costs and antiques requiring constant polishing and maintenance. I looked at the silver cabinet and it reminded me of Sunday evenings at home with my parents with the 'Slivero'. Caspar looked and said 'this is like Grannie's stuff that I am selling on e-bay.' I love period properties and antiques but I am also very realistic and unsentimental about it all. Saying that it was wonderful to experience this place and be able to walk away thinking 'I am glad it's not my responsibility' ha!
Copper kettles (we know and love them!)- this is as far as I got before being banned from my phone.
What a building!
Andy and I enjoyed a loved up moment:
Then we checked out some baby owls. I just wanted to tuck it under my wing:
We got ice-creams - my new favourite flavour was born - Café Mocha plus Rum and Raisin. Caspar did some obstacle-coursing:
And then passed out on the way home (so did I):
Which became this:
We came home and the dog was a terror (even though we'd walked him for an hour in the morning and he'd only been left 4 and half hours), so we did another huge walk on the sands and threw his ball for him. Found more free stuff:
Humph has lost a ton of tennis balls so it is always nice when we find one. And another golf ball. I literally cannot go to the beach without finding one, they are now all over the house but I can't not pick them up. This one was a lady's one:
We got home and George had found a new home. We are leaving the picnic hamper permanently out now so we use it as much as possible:
Finally, after a day of little treats I made this salad (quinoa, spring onion, avocado, tiny tiny bit of feta, houmous, beetroot, rocket, hemp oil, garlic, parsley and tuna). The plate weighed a ton but I ate it all. I really should start some portion control haha!
If you are still here thanks for putting up with this very long blog post! Looking forward to catching up on what everyone did this week-end! Joanne xx
Linking with Biana and
Linking with Lindsay: