Summer Holidays in Pembrokeshire

One of the best things about living away from your family is that you always have somewhere to go for a free holiday. Last week, Poppy and I headed off on a girls-only adventure down to Pembrokeshire. It was very much needed, after a hectic end to the school term and in advance of lots of necessary prep work for the new term ahead.

Freshwater West beach Poppydog rock climbingWe headed down to Pembrokeshire last Tuesday, leaving behind a sunny Oxfordshire, heading into cloudy Wales and making our way straight to my favourite beach, Freshwater West. The tide was out, which meant for lots of exploring the rock pools, which is one of Poppy’s favourite things. She’s not that keen on swimming or paddling in the sea but loves to explore the rocks. Freshwater West has always been my favourite beach. As kids, it was always one we would go to, as it’s really long and wasn’t as popular with tourists as lots of other beaches so was nice and quiet during the summer holidays. Perfect!

Crabs on freshwater west Freshwater west Poppydog climbing on rocksI had planned on doing a spot of geocaching while we were, but sadly, a lack of signal put paid to that. So Poppy and I had a long walk along the beach, with spot of rock climbing and rock pooling fun thrown in to the mix. There was only a little bit of drizzle, which didn’t deter us, or the hoards of surfers, enjoying the waves.

sand art at freshwater west Poppydog on the beachI’m not sure who enjoys walking on the beach more, Poppy or me. I love being by the coast, it is my most favourite place. There’s something about being covered in salt that does wonders for my relaxation. This was the start of lots of walks, lots of coast exploration and lots of bad hair caused by the coastal breeze!

The Wildlife Trusts #30dayswild Days 25 – 30

While we speed headlong throughout July and careering into the summer holidays (yay!), it’s time for the final installment of my attempt at #30dayswild. While my attempt might have been a little lackluster, I have really enjoyed seeing the different experiences of others on social media. The pictures people took brightened my day and helped to inspire my own attempts at getting into nature. Some people seemed to be able to find aspects of nature so easily and take immense pictures! These are my final few shots from June, plus a few from the first few days of July, including some great ones from a lovely walk we had at Chimney Meadows.

Bournemouth Beach Saving a baby starling Tree fungusBee getting pollen Butterfly Diving goose Meadow Poppydog swimming Stag Beetle Starlings in the garden Sunshine and blue skyTaking part in #30dayswild was a good reminder for me to make sure that I make time for nature. I feel so much better when I’m in a field or by the coast, away from everything, spotting anything from devil coach horse beetles to common blue butterflies to deers jumping across the field. It’s so important to make time for nature and get out there in the fresh air, even if it’s just to see Poppydog paddling in a stream!

TV Recommendations – July 2016

There have been TV highs and lows at Crafty Chai towers this month. We tried three new shows (Versailles, New Blood and Outlander) in a short space of time and all three left me despairing for the state of TV. With GoT promising only two more series and The Good Wife waving a very sad and less than stellar goodbye (seriously, what went wrong there?!), it makes me worry for the state of TV to come. All the good shows are coming to an end or having a limited shelf life (I’m pretty sure I’m going to need therapy when they announce that TWD will be coming to an end), there’s not a lot coming up that’s really grabbing my interest. Hence the appearance of The Gilmore Girls below.

TV Recommendations_July

[Outcast – Fox via NowTV || Billions – Sky Atlantic
Gilmore Girls – Netflix || Orange is the New Black – Netflix]

Outcast is made by the same guy who makes The Walking Dead. When I found this out, I perked right up. Creepiness, gore and tortured characters ahoy. Sadly no walkers, but plenty of good ol’ fashioned demonic possession and what’s not to love about that? So far, it hasn’t disappointed. There’s plenty of tension, a few creepy characters and a tortured main character who just wants to protect his family. Not really ideal for the faint hearted, so if you’re a bit squeamish, then maybe avoid this one, but if, like me, you enjoy a dabble in the darker, weirder aspects of life, then take a chance on Outcast.

We stumbled across Billions (or Billionaires as I insist on calling it!) one night on Now TV and thought we’d give it a go, mainly because of the cast lineup. After every scene change, we’re like ‘Isn’t that such and such from what’s it called?’ or ‘What were they in?’. This is because Billions is where actors from other TV shows all come together. It stars Damien Lewis as a billionaire who runs a hedge fund management company (I think, this area of the financial world is a complete mystery to me!) and Paul Giamatti plays the US attorney who is out to get him. There’s tension, a lot of swearing and a lot of financial talk which is lost on me, but it’s good enough to keep me entertained for now.

I know Gilmore Girls isn’t new, but all seven series are now on Netflix in preparation for their return for a one off series (though I’m sure many GG fans have everything crossed that it’ll be so hugely successful that they’ll have to make more). Despite having them all on dvd, this means I can watch them all in any room in the house on my iPad, which I’ve already started doing. I plan to watch all seven series over the summer. We all need goals!

I have to admit that the last series of OITNB didn’t enthrall me as much as other series have. However, this series was not like that and a delightful return to form, albeit with a dark twist. Okay, a few dark twists. This series had me guessing  at every turn and there were tears when something horrific happens to one of the main characters. No spoilers here! I don’t know how much longer it can go on, but if the next few series are of this standard, then I for one will be looking forward to their return.

Vegan Afternoon Tea at Compton Acres, Poole

While we were in Poole for my Lush spa treatment, we also booked in an afternoon tea at Compton Acres. Phil had done a quick Google and found that they were one of few places that offered a vegan afternoon tea. As this is one of my favourite meals ever, we decided to go there. I hadn’t heard of it before, but there’s a lovely garden, with breathtaking views of the coast, a shop and a small garden centre. We arrived there with enough time to have a whistle stop tour of the garden.

Compton Acres Buddha Statue at Compton Acres Koi fish at Compton Acres As we didn’t have a huge amount of time, I didn’t take many photographs. I’m pretty sure we’ll go back there, especially as dogs are allowed, plus they do vegan cake and I’ll go far for that! The gardens are gorgeous, with lots of lovely areas and water playing a big part of the gardens. There are lots of areas to sit and enjoy the gardens, which lots of people were doing. We headed back to the cafe and awaited our afternoon tea. It didn’t disappoint.

Vegan afternoon tea at Compton Acres Vegan cheese and pineapple on sticks Vegan sandwiches at Compton AcresThree tiers of delicious vegan food. Three whole tiers. I really struggle to know what to put in sandwiches, save for Tofurkey and salad, so this was a real eye opener. When I saw that there was cheese and pineapple on sticks, I was over the moon! My favourite things from my 80’s childhood! Why don’t we see more of this?! It was delicious. Then came the cake. The chocolate cupcake was epic! I couldn’t finish it all. It was so chocolatey and rich plus I wanted to save room for the scones. They were accompanied by coconut cream and strawberry jam. The cream was quite runny, but that didn’t spoil it for me. The fact that I can still enjoy cream and jam on scones without animals being harmed is brilliant. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to Compton Acres, whether it was for a cream tea or just to the gardens. Vegan friendly and dog friendly makes it a winning place for me!