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Countryfile: Cooking, Kardashians & Creepy Villages

23 Nov

Having just returned from what seemed like the Village of Death, today I’m obsessing over what just happened!

Having rented a cottage for the week, Dan and I did our first ever weekly grocery shop (for those who don’t know, we still live with my Mum, who has a household system for things such as cooking and laundry…but she’s the only one involved in said system) and felt proud to only spend £8 (using a month’s worth of Tesco Clubcard coupons)!

My vision for this week: road trip, cosiness, cuddles, walkies (we took Princess along for the ride) and cooking.

Reality: We arrived in the dark, in the village of Thorndon (probably the world’s darkest village), in the rain and without a human welcoming.

The reality of our arrival sent the ladies on the trip into somewhat of a sulk; can you spot the unhappy Bichon Frise?

Obviously I didn’t take a photo of my own sulkiness because a) it wasn’t pretty and b) I was busy planning how to get the best out of this weird sitch.

I didn’t come up with much, which actually worked out for the best. Holidays with me usually include a basic plan of what I want to do (in my head it is a precisely timed schedule) but I decided to take a chill pill on this trip. Sort of…

The fact that the cottage we rented was in the front yard of the owner’s farmhouse wouldn’t have bothered me as much if they actually introduced themselves at some point during our stay. Not only did we not get a ‘hello’, we didn’t even get as much as a wave as they glared at us as they walked back and forth from work/school/dog walks, etc.

Sulk number 2 was averted with a tactical closing of the curtains. Out of sight, out of mind. Wonderful…

I learnt LOTS about myself this week, also…

1) I can cook and will (occasionally) cook! Not exactly the healthiest of meals but I managed sausages and steamed veggies (including boiled potatoes, thank you very much!), a killer Tikka Massala curry and a delish tuna and chicken pasta bake! Although entry level recipes, I’m still exceptionally proud of myself as I even managed to wash up afterwards.

2) I need pyjamas. Currently, my pyjama arrangements consist of mismatched velour tracksuits from Zax about 5 years ago, odd Primarni sets which are not warm or comfortable; or old underwear. All of which are not suitable for situations in which you are staying in someone else’s property.

I hear you asking why I suddenly care about a section of one’s wardrobe that makes up about 1% of one’s overall wardrobe space…

Enter Kourtney Kardashian:

She’s known for her cute, on-screen pyjama style and I want a piece of this matching, silky, cosy heaven. I have my heart set on 3 pyjama sets so far:

This adorbs doggy set from River Island (rather apt, too, I thought), £30:

Def pulling a Kourtney with these and opting for a huge pattern. I can’t think of anything better than multiple pink elephants! Also, for £19 at Very they are pretty much as beautiful as bargains come!

Luxury pyjamas seem to me a little bit pointless…unless they look like this. These Wildfox PJs are from ASOS and will cost £100… buuuttttt… they make you look and feel super trendy. WIN! Where’s my credit card??

Moving on…

3) I learnt that country villages are possibly some of the creepiest places to live in the world. Our humble abode was situated in the quaint little village of Thorndon, in the rolling countryside of Suffolk. Nearest towns are Eye and Debenham, both of which boast a nice church and a co-op. Not much else around unless you trek over 20 miles to Ipswich or Norwich.

No street lighting after dark (which means after about half past 3 in the afternoon at this time of the year) meant that taking the dog for her after dinner poop was unimaginably chilling and the fact that there are no pavements adds a touch of danger to the proceedings. Not that we needed to go far, nothing to do and nothing to see.

4) Lastly, I learnt that Helen Flanagan annoys the living crap out of me, Hugo Taylor is a legend and Ashley Roberts is not only delicious sans make-up, she should also WIN this year’s I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!

Quick-fire reasons for the above statement:

“I LOVE SNAKES! Oh, it’s coming towards me… oh…OH! I’M A CELEBRITY GET ME OUT OF HERE NOW!!” – Fake-ass Helen failing yet another trial.

“I’d like to produce films, get into television… and I’d actually like to own my own Formula 1 team *cheeky smug side smile*” – Hugo after taking career advice from Rosemary Shrager, of all people!

“We can work on that!” – Ashley after teaching Rosemary Shrager the Pussycat Dolls’ ‘Don’t Cha’ dance, forever creating one of the funniest moments of this year’s series so far

“Who used my CLEAN towel? Where’d my clean towel go??” – Ashley outing Helen as the selfish thief she really is…

Right after she earned 8 meals for camp in her bushtucker trial! Also, Ashley is extremely FIT 🙂

Soooo, in conclusion, this week I’ve learnt some stuff. Not exactly huge life lessons but I suppose learning to cook counts as a big one. Also, one does need pyjamas.

That was my week!

Until next time… PEACE!


xxx As always I require feedback to suppress my need for acceptance! 😉 So, as always follow me on Twitter @sheldan2207 or leave a little comment under here! I love to hear from you! xxx–slippers/pyjamas/Pink-dog-print-pyjama-top-626751

Holidays At Home: Pretending I’m Rich In Dorset

27 Oct

After a week in Christchurch, I always get home, semi-unpack and wonder where the hell the time went. Since my grandparents moved there over ten years ago, my family and I have always had one guaranteed ‘holiday at home’ each year.

Taking notes earlier with my other half, Dan (also my travelling partner, as usual), remembering what we did on which day was all too much of a blur. Thankfully, my Twitter account is like the word acquivalent of a memory album.

I’ll begin with my ‘Holiday Highlight’. And you mustn’t laugh, judge or skip this bit because the venue has the world’s dullest name. The best bit of the week, by far, was the Tank Museum.

I told you not to laugh!

Thursday morning, Dan and I got up at stupid o’clock in the morning to make the 60 mile round-trip to the British Army base at Bovington Camp. Naturally, the sat-nav promised a 60 minute journey each way and took us on the most congested route imaginable, so it’s probably worth judging your own route in advance (especially if you have young kids or a short-tempered woman in the passenger seat).

If you’re a huge dork, like me, the fun will start as soon as you are in within about 3/4 miles of the camp. Due to the fact that the camp is a serving British Army base and MOD training ground, we had to trail behind a huge, great tank with an L plate stuck on the back, to get to the car park.

And ended, poignantly, with an insight into the modern war conditions with a walk-through exhibition called ‘Battle Group Afghanistan’;

The majority of our remaining time in Christchurch revolved around spending money. The only thing to put one off such an affluent, upmarket area such as Christchurch is the cost.

Having woken up very late Friday morning, Dan and I found ourselves too late for breakfast and too early for lunch so headed to Kelly’s Kitchen on Christchurch high street for brunch. Warm and bustling it looked ideal for a quick bite to eat (as do most of the quaint little eateries in seaside towns)but, almost choking on my rather tasteless £5.30 panini and £1.95 cup of tea, I really wished I had looked at the menu first. Jacket potatoes averaged at £7 each and a standard English breakfast will set you back almost £5. My recommendation? Get used to these prices or practise making packed lunches to avoid cost quibbles.

Dinner can be done slightly cheaper with a river-side Harvester, local Toby Carvery and newly opened Pizza Express, which, I have been assured by locals, are always good and busy.

If a local man tells you a place is worth a go, it’s worth a go. If he says not to go, you do not go. Quick Dorset lesson for you.

Friday night would’ve been one to remember had I not drunk so much alcohol. ‘The Kings Arms’ on Castle Street is where we dined (my original choice of restaurant was booed by the locals so given a miss) in a dark and smoulderingly-lit dining room. The atmosphere had a whiff of affluence and I was the youngest there by at least 20 years. Prices from about £40 a head got us numerous beverages, a starter each, an exquisite main and dessert (although I went for the Tequila/Disaronno drenched Birds of Paradise dessert cocktail instead of the more traditional Lemon Posset). If this seems expenive to you, don’t worry I nearly had a fit until I realised the waitress serving our table was not only helpful but genuinely cared for our best interests. I wish I had gotten her name because she was the sort of waitress that knew what you wanted even if you didn’t know yourelf yet. The sort of waitress your Nan can’t get enough of, basically. Also, the food was by far some of the finest around and furthermore, it is all locally produced to within a 15 mile radius and the menu designed by top chef, Alex Aitken.

The night was rounded off with a set of live music at Christchurch bar, The Thomas Tripp. I’m not really into live cover bands so this was something new for me but I have to admit East Cliff Overdrive did a fine job and even managed to cover Adele without butchering it (Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse could probably be left off the set list in future though).

I always learn something about myself when I stay at my grandparents’ house for an annual Holiday at Home and this year was no exception. In fact I learnt a number of things this year:

1) Being drunk under the table by my Nan taught me I don’t drink enough at home

2) Mixing with people far better off than myself makes me believe I am richer than I am (resulting in a heartbreaking bank balance upon return)

3) I am already an old woman who enjoys luxury pedicures, dandy customer service and a decent, hilly hike

and 4) I missed Princess (my little Bichon Frise dog) far too much to be classed as ‘normal’

Always a pleasure!

xx Peace xx

All photos are my own.

Have you ever been to Christchurch/Burley/Bournemouth/Bovington Camp???

Where else can I go for a Holiday at Home???

Follow Me @sheldan2207 on Twitter or comment below


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