After the Greatest Clouds, the Sun…

Last week i felt low, very low, weepy low, i hated feeling like this as i try to be positive as much as i possibly can, i try not to take life too seriously so when i feel low, i’m not great with it. I am ok, it’s nothing serious, something is happening with my work that i can not discuss until it is sorted out (no, i haven’t done anything wrong, if you’re wondering)! Also, feeling unwell for 4 weeks has not helped, but this week the clouds have parted and the sun is back shining in my world (thank goodness).

So with that out of my system, here is what my last 2 days have looked like…

As part of my ‘Better Life Project’ one of the things i wanted to focus on was my diet, i am trying to make some healthier changes, so instead of stodgy toast or worse nothing for breakfast, i have had a refreshing start to my day today and yesterday with grapefruit segments (with a little sweetener as they were very sour)… very nice!

Yesterday morning i took Rowan to rhythm and rhyme (the little man finds it more fun crawling all over the smaller babies so i have to keep on my toes now). After me and some of the other moms went to our usual coffee house the Boston Tea Party and decided that after lunch we would all meet up and go for a walk as the weather was quite nice.

I went home and had a slice of wholemeal toast, cucumbers, celery and houmous, this was actually quite filling!

 

We walked for a couple of miles around Honiton and really enjoyed taking in the fresh air, it was nice to have some energy also.

For dinner i wanted to use up the left over chicken and chorizo bake, so i shredded the chicken and made Quesadillas, i have not made them before as i normally make Fajitas. I sandwiched the shredded chicken between 2 tortilla wraps. I then placed the sandwich into a pan with a little bit of oil and then successfully unsuccessfully flipped it over, it wasn’t too much of a disaster some of the filling fell out but i managed to put it all back together!

Once browned on each side, i topped with salsa, light creme fraiche, guacamole and a sprinkle of cheese. I served it with a side salad… very filling and very nice!

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Today i started with grapefruits segments again and then packed Rowan up and headed out to Just Babies, this week was all about fabric, however Rowan was more interested in himself in the mirror… so vain LOL!

After we headed across the road from the children’s centre and had a play on the park, this boy loves the swings!!!

Rowan fell asleep on the way home, which meant i got to make and eat my lunch in peace… even had time for a cuppa too! Today i went for a wholemeal cheese toastie with side salad.

 

Then the man of the house (well during the day anyway) woke up and turned my living room into a his play room.

Rowan didn’t fancy his 2nd nap so i got him back in his buggy and we headed for the library, i fancied trying some new books as I’m really not enjoying the 50 shades books all that much!

I ended up with a book for Rowan, which daddy read him when he went to bed. And i got;

  • We Are All Made of Glue – Marina Lewycka
  • My Favourite Wife – Tony Parsons
  • The Folly of French Kissing – Carla McKay

I randomly picked them, so i’ll let you know how i get on with them.

For dinner, i opted for an easy option, Ollie and I had chicken kiev, baked potato and veg

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I have been baking tonight also as i felt inspired whilst watching the Great British Bake Off – i love that programme! I’ll post about it tomorrow as this will become a very long post otherwise!

Hope you have all had a great day x

Better Life Project…

Remember yesterday, i pledged to start taking photos of my eats so i could be accountable for everything that goes in my mouth… well it started like this…

Breakfast: granola, half banana, greek yogurt & peanut butter… not bad!

And then:

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Nothing… no more photos to share, why? because i had nothing else to eat? No… it was because I was too ashamed to share with you what i ate! But i will tell you because this denial has to stop!

  • A McDonalds double cheeseburger (that’s right, i ate the devils food!)
  • A homemade chicken and chorizo tray bake roast
  • Half a big bag of peanut M&M’s
  • glass of red wine

Does this seem healthy to you?? No me neither! I didn’t even enjoy any of the above but i keep eating crap, my body hates me for it and is telling me by giving me a 4 week cold. I’m lying in bed typing this feeling sick, maybe it’s because of the food i have eaten or maybe it’s because i am so annoyed that i am not in control of my healthy eating.

I really want to stop my destructive eating before it gets out of hand, so I have decided to turn myself into a project! I can’t afford to join Weight Watchers/Slimming World, so it is just me, myself and I that is going to get me through this. I need to make some changes in my life because my world is getting a little cloudy and needn’t be… i have to act now.

So let me introduce you to my ‘Me’ project… ‘The Better Life Project’ this is just for my benefit,

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i write this blog not to get lots of followers or comments but because i want to journal about this for me. I am fed up of writing posts of what i think people want to hear… this is me from now on, completely up front and transparent.

I want to tell you about my work situation (or my return to work after maternity situation) but can’t just yet, but this is a reason i am so run down at the moment & feel the way i do. I know i can turn this around with a bit of planning, so lets get this project underway! Below are the things that are stressing me out and next to them is my POA (plan of Action or advice to myself) on how i can make my life better;

  1. My diet is appalling – try to eat clean, healthy foods, try and blog about what i am eating, to make myself accountable (even if it is a photo of a stinking great big greasy burger!)
  2. My fitness is down the toilet – Then do something about it, put P90X in the DVD player and press play! If you still feel ill whilst doing the DVD, just do what you can and build up, something is better than nothing.
  3. My house is a mess – create a ‘homemaker journal’ (oh how American) and get a cleaning schedule in place, a little housework each day is better than nothing – get rid of the crap – sell it at a car boot and make yourself smile.
  4. I’m tired a lot of the time – remember you are running after an 11 month old but also, bad diet and lack of exercise is contributing to feeling sluggish rather than tired… get more sleep Amy, you know that will make a difference, aim for at least 7 hours a night.
  5.  My craft business, what if it fails?? – only time will tell and if you put the graft in then it will have more chance of succeeding.
  6. I’ve got the mommy look – tired, hair a mess, no make up on! – take some pride in yourself… once a week straighten your hair, have a face treatment or a soak in the bath!

I feel better already putting this down in a post. I plan to start tomorrow and reflect on these points above next week… if i am still at the same point next week, then please someone shoot me! I will need to be put out of my misery!

Now please raise your glasses, i would like to make a toast…

‘Here’s to the new you Amy! Only you can help yourself, try and prove yourself right for a change!… Cheers!’

Sick of Feeling ill – let me moan purlessee!!!!

I have been sick now exactly 4 weeks… that’s four weeks of coughing, sneezing, sniffling and feeling rather rubbish.

It got to a point today that i felt very low, in fact i have been getting more and more run down every day for the last 4 weeks and today i cried… tears came spilling out of my eyes and i could not even pin point why i was crying (not hormonal or pregnant btw!)

I think my body is just tired and more importantly frustrated that i can’t work out (so desperate to complete P90X) or go a night without waking up coughing. I saw the doctor on Thursday and was told i need to just let this virus pass but even he admitted that a cough lasting this long wasn’t good.

I have to be honest and admit my diet has been embarrasing recently, with little to know energy i have been snacking lots in the day on biscuits, toast, chocolate biscuits, more toast etc… I know this is not helping so tomorrow i plan to take my eating in hand and get my health back… my poor body is tired and is not healthy enough to shift this virus…

To help me on my way i bought some Metatone today, my mom used to give me this when i was run down after being ill or having exam stress.

 

Here is the official blurb and i think you will agree this is the tonic for me (and not a shot of gin in sight!)

Metatone Original Flavour tonic. For use after illness such as colds and flu, and when you are feeling tired and run down. Helps restore health and vitality.

Metatone provides a combination of vitamin B1 and four essential minerals in a liquid formula, which help provide a gentle boost during and after illness.

I’m not being sponsored by this product by the way, i just thought i would let you know what i am on about!

I think i am going to document all my eats for the next few days too as this always puts me on the right track… i want to show you all the fresh fruit and vegetables i am hopefully eating.

Think i am going to make myself a hot honey and fresh lemon to take to bed. Please let me know if you have any other ideas to get rid of this blasted virus… old wives tales are gladly considered also!!

Sorry there are no actual photos today, but tomorrow i’m going to start meal blogging which i love so good night for now and i will see you tomorrow x

Future X Factor Winning Boy Band

Yesterday, i had my weekly meet up with my friends from work who also had their babies last October, in fact the four of us gave birth within 3 weeks of each other. It has been lovely having such a great support network and being able to bounce off each other when things were tough. I have made 3 great friends for life;

PLOF

This was my last day at work (9th September 2011), we were all a month away from popping! Only Jenny in the green knew she was having a boy, the rest of us did not find out… who knew we had a future boy band in our midst?!

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The boys at 6/7 weeks old.

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The boys now 10.5/11 months (the 2 boys to the right are in the wrong order but we had to work quick to get this photo!) What do you reckon? future X Factor boy band?!!

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Dominoes…

Now the boys are bigger, they are in to everything! We take it in turns to trash each others houses each week!

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This used to be my living room!!

Once all the ladies and boys left, Rowan and I went up for nap. I love our afternoon snuggles…

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I put a flannel with Baby Olbas Oil on Rowan whilst he slept to help unblock his nose, we have both had a cough/cold for 4 weeks now, we went to the doctor but we just have to wait for it to pass :(

After our nap, we went downstairs for a play & for rowan to have his dinner. Ollie got home from work and suggested we go for a walk to get some fresh air in to Rowan before getting him ready for bed. I love the town we live in, we are a 5 minute walk to the countryside (a big thing for a girl who was born and raised in Birmingham!), we always head down to the river, it’s beautiful there.

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It was a beautiful evening!

We headed home and put rowan to bed, then we tucked into our dinner that i had been cooking in the slow cooker all day…

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Beef in red wine! I used some left over beef that i found in the freezer, a glug of red wine that the in’-laws had bought us back from France, added shallots, carrots & beef stock, then left the slow cooker on low all day… i served it with baked potato and green beans…

 

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It was delicious and felt like proper autumn comfort food.

I watched My Sisters Keeper last night.

My Sister's Keeper Poster

Why did you guys not warn me i was going to be a blubbering wreck if i watched it??!!

My shopping this week

I love Lidl, so was so happy when one opened in the little Devonshire town that i live in. As you know i have been using up as much as i can in the house but got to a point where i needed to go shopping, so this is what i bought;

  • Chestnut mushrooms
  • Fresh Cauliflower/Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Red Apple
  • Lemons
  • Potatoes
  • Clementines
  • Bananas
  • 100% fillet fish fingers *to make a quick dinner when time is short!
  • Greek Style Yogurt
  • Fromage Frais *for little rowan to get some calcium
  • Quiche Lorraine *bought to share with my mommy friends!
  • Skimmed Milk
  • Lean Ham
  • Pork Pies *for my husbands lunch
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Houmous
  • Golden Syrup *to make flapjacks for husbands lunch
  • Red Lentils
  • Chicken Stock Cubes
  • Free Range Eggs
  • Asparagus and Leek Risotto
  • Milk Powder *to make bread with in the bread maker
  • Earl Grey Tea *my new favourite drink, bargain at 69p for 25 bags!
  • Salsa
  • Apple Juice
  • Orange squash
  • Orange Juice
  • Nut mix with raisins *to make trail mix for husbands lunchbox
  • chocolate covered peanuts *to make trail mix for husbands lunchbox
  • plain tortilla wraps
  • crisps *for husbands lunch box
  • wholemeal loaf
  • chicken Legs
  • chicken kievs *another quick easy freezer meal!

This came to £41.93, much better than the £60+ we have been spending per week on groceries!!! I also noticed that all the unhealthy things are for my husbands lunch box, he is a painter and decorator so needs plenty of food to keep him going but i am going to try and make his lunches healthier but still full of energy – any suggestions?

You will be seeing a lot of the above items in the meals i make this week, i am planning to not let anything go to waste!

Some of the things i plan to make include;

  • Chicken and Chirizo tray bake
  • Lentil and vegetable curry with flat bread
  • chicken quesadilla
  • chicken chasseur
  • vegetarian chilli and corn bread

Right, I need to write up my post from yesterday and then start cooking!

The Good & Bad of being Thrifty!

 

Before i get into the good and bad, let me briefly share my morning with you… Rowan and I headed to our new term of Rhythm & Rhyme, not sure who was more excited! The last time we were there was in July and Rowan had only just started sitting up then, he can now crawl (at high speed) so i knew that i would most likely be chasing him around the place!

It was so nice to see all the moms and babies after the summer, the moms all looked the same but the babies had changed so much! Rowan was actually a little apprehensive and didn’t stray far from the mat before coming back to momma… he also got a little overwhelmed i think by all the noise and there were a few tears, but a reassuring hug and a round of ‘row row row your boat’ got him smiling again! After R&R i headed to the Boston Tea Party on the high street, i skipped coffee and went for earl grey, which was loose leaf and so fresh! I have a thing for earl grey at the moment, i used to hate it years ago and thought it tasted like a cup of normal tea that someone had also used as an ashtray!

Rowan loves people watching and flirting with the ladies in Boston Tea Party!

 

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After BTP, we said our goodbyes and headed for the library, i am trying to educate Rowan on a spectrum of topics! (start them young i say! – joke) and today it was all about finding a book about dinosaurs RROOOAAARRRRR! (did dinosaurs roar?!!)

 

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Now on to the good and bad of being thrifty…

Yesterday marked my one year anniversary of going on to maternity leave… that’s right, so far i have had 12 wonderful months off from work and still have another 2 to go as i have a lot of annual leave accrued – yippee! What isn’t great is my maternity pay ran out way back in July!!! The husband and I have always been good at budgeting and saving so it hasn’t been too bad, however i am being very conscious of what i spend, therefore am trying to become a thrifty goddess!

One of things at the top of my thrifty goddess list is ‘USE IT, DON’T LOSE IT’ or rather don’t throw it away, this is in regard to food. Most of our out goings after bills/mortgage etc at the moment is on groceries… i hate to say it but every week, i chuck a load of food away to replace it with new produce when really i should try and use it first before replacing.

So today was the day i was going to start, i woke up thinking ‘i need to go food shopping’ but decided to make something with what we have got.

My first mission was to make bread, we have all the ingredients plus a perfectly good bread maker so there was no reason i shouldn’t… until i couldn’t find the recipe book that came with the bread maker! I did find a photocopy of a recipe though, so thought i must have made a copy in case the book ever went missing – genius! I put all the ingredients in the machine, programmed the correct settings for a wholemeal loaf and pressed start…

 

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I left the machine to it and went on to my second mission… make something for dinner. I mooched in the freezer and found a chicken casserole that i froze a month or so back, i decided i would make a pie with it. Out came my loyal vintage Kenwood mixer and i made simple short crust pastry (225g plain flour, 100g butter, pinch of salt and 2-3 tbsp water).

 

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Rowan was napping whilst this was going on so i settled down for a quiet Earl Grey tea break.

 

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After an hour i checked on the loaf, the smell was delicious but i was surprised to see it look like this…

 

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I started to tweet that my bread was starting to look like an epic fail, but an hour later it did start to rise!!!

But not very much and after 3 hours of dreaming of fluffy, warm whole meal bread, i ended up with this…

 

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What i can only describe as a large whole meal bap instead of a loaf, that if eaten before going swimming could quite possibly drown the poor consumer!

#EPIC BREAD FAIL Mission Failed!

 

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I couldn’t understand what went wrong so went back to the copy of the recipe instructions, to discover they were for a totally different bread making machine, i have no clue where these instructions came from but now realise that my bread machine was on the completely wrong setting! So the bad part of being thrifty here is, if it all goes wrong, you end up paying double for your trouble!! However, i plan not to waste the heaviest bread bap in the UK and will grind it up into bread crumbs in a couple of days… i daren’t feed it to the birds as they will never be able to fly with this concrete in their tummies!

One thing that did go right however was my leftover pie from scratch…

 

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Yes, it does say A loves O – how sad romantic! I served our pie up with some roasted potatoes and shallots, which i would normally have thrown away because they were just hanging around in the cupboard and frozen peas/sweetcorn. So the good of this meal is nothing went to waste, i know exactly what was in our meal (hardly any salt) and i can sleep soundly in the knowledge that this meal was made from scratch, i did not need to spend out buying more food and i have saved us some money! Mission accomplished!

 

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But at the end of the day, if the pie had turned out to be a complete flop like the bread, i was going to fall back on these treats that my in laws bought me back from France recently… cheese and wine anybody?!!

 

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Whilst writing this post i have just consumed a lovely Limited Edition Blossom Earl Grey from Twinings, i have had this in my cupboard ages (trying to use up what i have before buying more) so don’t think i will find it in the supermarkets, it was so delicious! It’s time for me to get some shut eye, all this thriftyness has wiped me out ;-)

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What do you do to help save the pennies? Any thrifty ideas to help this goddess on her way?

Fishstock!

This weekend we headed down to the English Riviera to attend Fishstock! Fortunately my husbands parents live in Brixham where Fishstock takes place, so we paid them a visit too.

Rowan likes visiting gran and grandads as they always borrow cool toys and gadgets off friends for him, this visit he had a walker to cruise around in!

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See how thrilled he is!!!

 

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Fishstock is held in the small fishing town of Brixham in the fish market. It consists of lots of food and drink vendors (not all fish!), arts and craft stalls and music. It’s basically a mini festival on the sea!

 

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The Thai stall smelt delicious and sent the memories of my travels flooding back!

 

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Beautiful Brixham Harbour…

 

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The RNLI were giving tours on their lifeboat, i was very excited about this!! The RNLI do such an amazing job, volunteers from all over Brixham race to the harbour when there is a call and go out in the roughest seas to save many lives, they’re awesome!

 

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‘Oy Oy Captain!’

 

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We also got a chance to walk round one of the tall ships, this beauty is called ‘Stavros’…

 

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The final boat we looked around was a local fishing boat… it was great to go and look around the living quarters – quite nice but i imagine the space feels quite small when you are out at sea for 10+ days! The other downside to the boat was the smell of fish (why was i not surprised)?! Stinky!

 

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We also ventured round the local craft market, i love talking to other crafters and i hope one day to have my own craft stall when i am more established.

 

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My in laws booked somewhere in town for lunch, they did not know there was going to be so much food choice at Fishstock but it worked out well as we could go and sit down and feed little man at the same time. We went to The Brixham Deli it sells local, organic food and drink, i opted for the rare roast beef and horseradish baguette…

 

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It was served with a lovely fresh salad and new potatoes, the food was lovely and fresh the only downside was the wait, it took a long time for the food to come out considering we didn’t order anything that needed cooking!

We headed back in to fishstock and decided it was late enough in the day to have a tipple!

I decided to skip on the real ale when i saw that they had Pimms being served on a cider stall… what i didn’t realise was it was Cider-Pimms (both drinks mixed together!) It was strangely delicious but i wouldn’t want to drink more than one! Very strong!

 

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We headed back through the fish market and sat by the harbour, the sun was out and it was turning out to be a lovely afternoon. Ollie enjoyed spending some quality time with Rowan… Rowan enjoyed his new thing of nibbling on daddy’s nose!

 

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We didn’t stay at fishstock too late as we needed to get Rowan home to bed, once he was settled we headed in to the garden back at the in laws for some nibbles (tortillas, houmous and olives) and a glass of Mojito.

 

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We sat in the last of the evening sun and felt very relaxed. We were going to have a BBQ but opted for a take out curry instead! It was a nice end to a lovely day.

 

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The bonus of staying at the in laws is Ollie and I get a lie in as Granny Annie is more than happy to entertain Rowan when he gets up at 6:30am. I feel so rested and refreshed now.

Before we left Brixham this morning we went and had a walk along the break water, we didn’t get the sunshine that was promised us but we still enjoyed an ice cream whilst we walked…

 

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At the end of the windy break water…

 

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I really enjoyed Fishstock and will go again next year, there were lots of activities for little ones but Rowan is still a bit too young but will be able to join in next year.

Right, I’m just finishing watching the Closing Ceremony of the Paralympics and then I’m off to bed… busy day tomorrow for this momma, Rhythm and Rhyme is starting its new term so i need to get my singing voice on LOL! x

family day out

Firstly, thank you for stopping by my new blog! I’m hopefully going to stay here for a little while but i can’t promise anything! ;o)

Thought i would write a little post about my lovely family day out today with my husband and son…

As we live 10 minutes from the coast we thought we would head there, we have all had coughs & colds recently so we thought the sea air would blow the cob webs away. It was raining lightly but we decided to go anyway, we packed little man into the car and went on our way.

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I love going to Sidmouth, whether it is a hot day or the winds blowing and the waves are crashing in… i just love it. The rain held off long enough for us to walk the entire seafront,

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The tide was out and people were rock pooling, it will be great when Rowan is old enough to partake, he doesn’t realise that his parents are still kids at heart and want to join in too!

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It certainly feels like summer was just a distant memory today, the autumn is definitely here…

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The light rain came back… you know the sort ‘that soaks you through’… so we headed into the coffee shop on the seafront… It’s called Mocha and it’s just ok…

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I went for a hot chocolate, but it was tiny and wasn’t very chocolatey, just very very sweet – it was hot though!

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I just love my boys!

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After our walk we headed to Dunkeswell. There is a little airfield there, which has a restaurant which over looks the runway. We had been told by a few friends that you can get a good carvary there on a Sunday and can watch the planes take off/land whilst eating dinner. We have been meaning to do for a while and decided today would be the day. The restaurant was called the ‘Aviator’ – how apt?!

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I liked the plane decor, although there will be no jumbos landing at Dunkeswell! The planes i did see were smaller than our car!

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The carvary was excellent, all the meats were local, the beef was rare (just how i like it) and i also had ham. I didn’t go too crazy as hate the bursting at the belly feeling!

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We headed outside after our meal just as a tiny 2 seater came into land, Rowan saw his first plane land… he wasn’t sure what to think about the engine noise but we’ll make a plane spotter of him yet!

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A perfect family day with my perfect little family x

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