Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire

A couple of weeks ago I went to Bedford with my dad to see my brother, sister-in-law, and niece. Because they live a fair way away, and I don’t drive, I don’t get to see them all that often, and I hadn’t seen them since before Christmas this time! But it just makes the times that I do see them all that more exciting!

My niece Molly is three, and a entertaining bundle of fun. It’s never fun to listen to someone go on and on about any small relative of theirs, so I won’t, but I do love spending time with her!

I took lots of photos and so I thought I would share a few of them here.

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Me and the little monkey herself. A little bit snotty, but a whole lot lovely.

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I’m currently experiencing a minor obsession with trees. I can’t stop taking photos of them, for some reason. I would say that I particularly like bare trees, but I know that as soon as they start blossoming, I’ll be equally obsessed.

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Lunch at the lake in the park.

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Some topiaries we saw on the way to the park – the top one is clearly a teddy bear and a unicorn, and the bottom one is a man’s face, but I don’t think you can see it too well in the photograph!

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Molly has the best slippers ever.

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One of my favourite things about seeing Molly is just sitting and chilling out with her, especially when she puts her hand on my arm or leg while she’s watching television. I don’t know why I love it so much, I just do!

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Talking of chilling out, I spent a bit of time doing this over the weekend; drinking tea and reading. Although I struggle to drink too much of my brother’s tea because he makes it far too strong for me!

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Monkey.

Friday Letters

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Dear Matthew, Kelly and Molly, see you soon!

Dear Paul Hollywood, it’s imperative that I know which Let’s Dance for Comic Relief show you are going to be on. Actually imperative.

Dear V, thanks for the Converse. They are marginally too small but I love them too much to care.

Dear Jeff Winger, I’m rekindling my love for you. And love you, I do.

Dear Spurs, good job.

Dear nephews that live in the same village as me, why haven’t I seen you in over a month?

Dear Fassbender, sorry I forgot to give you an honourable mention in my Tuesday Treat.

Friday Letters

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Dear little brother, I can’t believe you’re going to be a dad! Another niece or nephew to add to my ever-growing horde.

Dear Essex Bloggers, I’m so excited to meet you all tomorrow!

Dear Ticketmaster, please be kind to me today. I’m stressing out far too much over this whole tickets situation!

Dear Bon Jovi, thank you for playing Hyde Park again this year.

Dear Nick Miller, I love you. I want to be Jess Day, and not just because she looks like Zooey Deschanel.

Dear Victoria, thanks for picking me as a winner of your giveaway. I can’t wait to get my prizes!

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Childhood Summer Vacations

A couple of weeks ago I took part in the 20SB Blog Swap. I did it last year, and unfortunately, the blog I swapped with has become private, so I have no way of linking to the post I wrote back then. This year, I can no longer find my post on my partner’s blog. Since I really enjoyed writing it, and I wanted people (especially my family) to be able to see it, I decided to repost it here. 

The brief for this blog post is to pick a favourite summer vacation (or holiday,as we Brits prefer to call them). I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and for me, it’s fairly difficult to pick one. When I was younger, my family didn’t go on foreign holidays. It just wasn’t something we did. We didn’t even travel that extensively in the UK; we found an area of the country that we liked, and we tended to stick to it. If this sounds like I am unhappy that this was the case, I’m not. We had one foreign holiday; when I was eleven I went to Germany with my parents and two of my brothers, to visit family who live there. It was a lot of fun, and I was glad we went, but I enjoyed our caravan holidays into East Anglia as much, if not more.

However, when it comes to picking a favourite childhood holiday, it’s hard. Not least because, in my old age, the memories have become somewhat merged into one big lump, and it’s hard to pick out what happened when. But it is also because (and again, this is not a complaint), we did similar things on each of these holidays. To illustrate my point, I decided to share some photographs with you. They come from three holidays specifically, one in Felixstowe in (I think) 1990, when I was eight, another from Hunstanton in 1991, and another from Hunstanton, I assume from 1992.

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We always stayed in a static caravan. My love for a caravan holiday is now deeply embedded, and I want to own one eventually.

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The beach was a big fixture in our holidays, lots of free fun to be had and we always loved digging a big hole and then filling it with water. It was always a disappointment when the tide was out. One anomaly in these photos – the little boy in the middle of the bottom photo is a stranger we met there. We didn’t often play with other children on holiday – maybe it was unsociable, but often there were four of us and my mum and dad. We didn’t need anyone else!

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As well as the beach, we also explored the local attractions – one year my dad took us to a fort that we all hated and it has passed into family folklore as the most boring trip ever. A zoo or farm was a lot more likely – although the bird that my brother stood in front of in the top photo scared me so I couldn’t have a photo with it! To be honest, I’m clearly not that much keener on the horse!

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A photograph in front of the caravan is a recurring theme. My little brother Michael was usually messing around, as you can see by the look on his face in both photos.

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Talking of Michael, he always managed to hurt himself on our walks along the beach in the evening. We took our shoes off so we could walk in the sand, but didn’t necessarily put them back on when back on the path, and Michael always stubbed his toe and cried!

So as you can see, it’s hard for me to pick just one holiday, because they were all such fun. I’m so lucky that I grew up with lots of brothers and sisters (there two more in addition to the four of us you see in these photos), and that my parents were able to take us away for a week each year. The holidays might not have been in exotic locations, but I loved them!

Blog Swap – Childhood Summer Vacation

This year I signed up to take part in the 20SB Blog Swap again, as I did last year. I was paired with Jenna from Unencumbered Words, a lovely blog that has now found its way into my Google Reader subscriptions! Have a read of her post here, and then check out her blog! If you would like to read my post, you can find it here.


We’ve been given the assignment of writing about our favorite childhood vacation in this post. I honestly can’t pick a favorite, though. See, every summer when I was a child my family would pile into our minivan and drive. That’s really most of what I remember of my childhood vacations. Driving. My dad always at the wheel; my mom in the passenger seat, looking at a large roadmap, trying to guide my dad to our destination. And six kids in the back, causing chaos as six kids inevitably do.

The destination was different every summer: the Oregon Coast, Yellowstone National Park, Disneyland, Mount Rushmore, Zions Canyon. Each place meant hours and hours of driving. This meant us kids had to find new and creative ways to entertain ourselves. My mom tried to provide us with solitary, quiet activities: reading, coloring, road sign bingo, crocheting yarn into nothing. But sooner or later, we always tired of these activities and came up with our own entertainment.

On the way to Yellowstone, my two older brothers taught my younger brother to fear the professional wrestler/governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, and convinced him that Ventura was in the car behind us at all times. This prompted my two-year-old brother to yell at my dad every so often to “Drive faster! Jesse Ventura is after us!” In Seattle, Washington, my oldest brother pulled the lever on the side of my seat, causing the seat to lurch forward, effectively sending me flying into the back of my mother’s seat. This has since been known as the time my brother “launched” me. One road trip my little brother decided it was the funniest thing in the world to lick his hands, wipe them on whomever was sitting next to him, and say “lotion!” We all just enjoyed annoying one another, really. But that’s what siblings are for.

Luckily there were always the random disasters on the road to distract us from trying to make one another scream. In Oceanside, California, the airline that we had flown out on went out of business in the week we were on vacation and we had to drive our rental car back to Utah. In Mesquite, Nevada, the car started leaking antifreeze, delaying us an entire day in sweltering desert heat. In Southern Utah we stayed in a hotel straight out of the Twilight Zone. They’d filled up a room in the basement to make a pool. Literally.

It’s kind of funny to me now that these are the things I remember. I’m sure my parents forked out a lot of money for us to experience all the must-see tourist sites. I’m glad they did, though. It taught me to enjoy the journey… and to love spending long hours sitting in a car. My husband and I are always going out on drives now. I just love looking out the window, discovering new things about the world around me. And random, unexpected adventures (like when Josh decides it’s a good idea to back off the side of a mountain) are always a welcome thrill. I look forward to the years when Josh and I will be able to pile our own kids into the backseat and head out on family vacations. Maybe our children will grow to love the road as much as I do.