Wednesday, 30 July 2014

As our campsite was based about an hour from the Suffolk coastline, one of the day trips that we planned was to visit Southwold. It's known rather cheekily as 'Hampstead on sea' as it's houses sell mostly to second home owners from London and it's town centre is full of quirky independents and designer clothing stores. There is a long promenade, the pier, hundreds of colourful beach huts and a lovely sandy beach for families to enjoy. Southwold has a cool vibe and it was super busy the day we went. The sky was a brilliant blue and it was about 30 degrees.

I had a couple of places I wanted to visit - Adnams Cellar and Kitchen to get some locally brewed beer and also to the amazing Two Magpies Bakery. We indulged in portuguese custard tarts and salted caramel brownies and  Harry and I could have stayed in there all day! It was so hard to choose from the amazing range of cake and pastries they make. We also bought some bread to take back to the campsite.

We then spent some time wandering the town centre, first visiting the bookshop and then the lighthouse. There were a couple of vintage stores which had some nice enamel pieces but sadly there wasn't anything I really wanted to buy. There are also some vintage sellers in the beach huts located near the boating lake selling lots of cool interior pieces and clothing. I did have my eye on a kilim, but I have nowhere to put it so sadly I left it behind.

The rest of the day was spent by the sea. We ate chips in the beach cafe and wandered along the pier. It's a beautiful construction and full of fantastic things to do including the whacky Under the Pier show. There are quite a few shops on the pier too, all selling pretty coastal home items and fashion accessories.
As is usual there are seaside stores selling buckets and spades and beach chairs but all of that is done tastefully - even the candy floss is from Hope and Greenwood. Southwold doesn't really do tat.

We wandered down to the beach and spent a happy time in the water and just chilling out on the picnic blanket. The beach was immaculate, the waves were crashing on to the shore. Kids were surfing and kites were flying. It was a happy place to be. x

In The Meadow


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Hello! We have just returned from an amazing holiday! The sun has shone, the sky stayed blue and nights were warm and clear for stargazing opportunities. We're a bit grubby and tired, but so very happy.

Back in February I was looking on the Cool Camping website trying to find something a bit off the beaten track, a little different from the usual family campsites. I'd planned on going to Norfolk for quite some time as I had a list of places I wanted to visit. I stumbled across the small site of Ling's Meadow, an eco campsite based on farmland and located near Thetford. Kath, the owner, lives in the farmhouse with her husband and three kids, and are extremely welcoming and excellent hosts. The farm has been in the family since 1930 and they grow wheat, barley and sugar beet. The farm ethos has always been to tread lightly on the land, and they are doing the same with the campsite. The pitches are set in amongst the four acre natural meadow. Each tent sits on a circle cut into the meadow and has it's own winding path to the communal camp kitchen, the (immaculately clean) composting toilets and the solar powered shower. There is no electricity on site, but at night everything is lit by solar powered fairy lights, providing a blissfully chilled out atmosphere. The meadow is alive in July, the grasses at their highest and we were surrounded by butterflies, dragonflies, swallows, bees and rabbits. Oh and there are the farmyard chickens providing campers with fresh eggs in the morning.

Although we have our own family tent, I decided to book one of the two bell tents that are lovingly furnished with vintage pieces from the farmhouse. Each has a double futon and two single futons to sleep on as well as a solid wooden floor. There are crochet throws on all the beds, solar fairy lights winding up the central pole and a hot water bottle each in case it gets a bit nippy at bedtime. I was so glad I booked the bell tent as we had a hellish journey, the majority of delays just trying to get out of Leeds! So it was perfect arriving at Ling's Meadow to find everything all ready for us. All we needed to do was open the bottle of wine and have our dinner sitting by the campfire. Perfection. There are two permanent bell tents erected at the campsite, ours 'Sloe' the other 'Damson'. Each sleeps up to five people. The campsite has a few pitches for others bringing their own tent and each has loads of space to claim as it's own. You can hardly see some of the tents too as the grass in the meadow is so high.  It's pretty quiet and very friendly as the site only holds twenty people! There is a communal camp kitchen with stove, pots and pans and crockery, although you can cook on your own pitch too. There is also a communal camp fire and we listened to one girl sing beautifully around it on Saturday night. Kath has filled each communal area with lovely touches, fresh flowers from her garden in vintage pots, books on wildflowers and birds in the cupboard and an A board that lists all the creatures spotted on the meadow.

We cooked each night on the little portable stove, simple one pot meals like pasta genovese (we brought our own homemade pesto) and a vegetable stir-fry. Veggie sausage sandwiches and a fresh cup of coffee made in the Aeropress were the best kind of breakfast. Local beer was enjoyed as was the amazing bottle of homemade sloe gin left by Kath in our bell tent. It  was seriously delicious and really warms the throat!

The only downside to camping at Ling's Meadow was having to leave. We did go exploring in Suffolk and North Norfolk and I'll share those adventures soon. But hand on heart if I'd just stayed in the campsite the entire time we were there I wouldn't have been disappointed.

Part of me wants to keep Ling's Meadow all to myself, the other wants to shout from the rooftops to tell you how amazing it is and I've chosen to shout! Do go visit them and check out the website. We'll definitely be rebooking for next year. x

This Week


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Okay, so I'm a bit early with my 'This Week' post. But I have a very good reason. We're going off on holiday in the morning! Whoop! I cannot wait as I've had this trip booked since February and I've been hoping that the weather would hold as we are camping.

So these are the highlights from my past week via my Instagram feed:

^^ There is always so much planning for a camping trip isn't there? I realised that we needed some new bits and pieces for the tent so Harry and I have been running all round Leeds to buy sleeping bags, melamine and an Aeropress coffee maker. I'm really trying not to use too many online sellers for items I know I can get in my own city. Independent stores need our business and all the ones that I've used over the last few days have offered service above and beyond what you would get online or in a chain. New Orla Kiely melamine came from the always lovely Harriet at Chirpy. I love how Harriet decorates the steps up to her store and this enamel jug full of flowers made me smile.

^^ Fabulous service, great food and coffee. And those lamps! This is the Cup and Saucer cafe in Chapel Allerton, Leeds. There are so many good cafes in Leeds but this is one of the best. It had such a chilled out vibe too.

^^ Hot weather days give me major wardrobe headaches. I have very few things that I can wear that keep me cool. But one of my standby outfits is the vintage Mexican dress I bought in Glasgow a few years ago. I love the bright blue colour with the intricate embroidery and I get asked a lot where I got it. They do turn up on Ebay and Etsy fairly regularly and they keep you cool in these soaring temperatures.

^^ Finally, I'm packing for my holiday. I'm taking lots of Falcon enamelware and melamine. I can't wait to fall asleep under the stars. We're staying in a wildflower meadow and the weather forecast is looking good. I can't wait to try some local food and drink in the sunshine!

Hope you all have had a great week too. And many thanks for all your fantastic comments and messages about my son's room tour over at The Owl and the Accordion. If you haven't seen it yet, then  you can go check it out here.

Back soon. x

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