Did you know I’m a gin convert? Having mistakenly sampled a G&T as a child (I thought it was lemonade!), I didn’t try gin properly until two years ago. And you know what, the gin cocktail I had then was absolutely delicious. There are so many gin varieties available these days too, many of which paired with a complementary garnish and mixer. What’s more if you’re new to gin, or indeed a lifelong gin enthusiast, the Gin Festival is the ideal place to experiment.
It feels like September disappeared in the blink of an eye although settling back into the school routine after the summer break does that doesn’t it? I have to say I love this time of year when there’s still some sunshine but those glorious autumnal hues are beginning to appear. We’ve even spotted some conkers over the past couple of weeks too. We’ve really enjoyed seeing the photos you’ve shared on the #UKexplore hashtag in September.
One of the places we absolutely had to visit on our recent trip to the Isle of Wight with Red Funnel was Shanklin Chine – the oldest attraction on the island. Situated in Old Shanklin, a stones throw from the Crabb Inn where we had lunch, this remarkable gorge really is a must see. Carved by Mother Nature over thousands of years, Shanklin Chine was open to the public in 1817 although Jane Austin wrote about visiting it four years earlier. She wasn’t the only one, Keats found inspiration for some of his greatest poetry while in Shanklin, referencing “the wondrous Chine here is a very great lion”. The likes of George Eliot, Macaulay and Dickens were also admirers of the Chine.
Six year old POD loves the element of surprise and the new L.O.L Surprise! dolls provide exactly that. Not dissimilar to the excitement children have when playing Pass the Parcel, this collectable Series 2 range has five layers to unwrap.
We were ridiculously excited when we heard Zippos Circus was coming to Guildford. Six year old POD has never been to the circus before and I’ve not been for many years. The 2017 production from Zippos Circus, which has been touring the UK since May, is entitled ‘Jigit!’. It refers to Jigitovka – a specific type of trick riding which is popular with Cossack riders and acrobats. We were intrigued to see what it would be like but hoped the show would provide edge of our seat excitement. Minus any scary clowns of course.
You can imagine how the conversation went when my husband aka ‘The POD Father’ said he’d signed up for a half marathon. It was a few months back now but I remember wondering why he’d decided to run 13.1 miles when it had never taken his fancy before. Aside from which, the friends running in the half marathon with him did them all the time – one completed the London Marathon two years ago in under 3 hours!
It’s been a little while since we’ve written about school. But applying for POD’s junior school place is already filling me with dread and that’s without the months of waiting. You may remember POD didn’t get offered a place at the local school when she was four (in 2015). She ended up starting reception at another school, which was a faff to get to, and she didn’t know anyone. That said, after a bumpy start, POD ended up making lots of friends and finished her reception year with a glowing report. We decided to stay on the waiting list for the local school “just in case” although we did question whether we’d move her if she was offered a place.
Loseley Park is one of those places that just makes you take a deep intake of breath. The house has been a family home for some five hundred years and four generations of the More-Molyneux family live there today. Built in the reign of Elizabeth I, Loseley Park is situated in the North Downs in Surrey and surrounded by ancient parkland.
We absolutely loved our first time on the Isle of Wight and we’ve been itching to return ever since. It’s taken a little longer than we anticipated but we ventured back recently. We were kicking ourselves when we did as the Isle of Wight is SO easy to get to on the Red Funnel ferry from Southampton. It literally took an hour and we had seating on the ferry despite it being peak season. Our trip, albeit unintentionally, coincided with Cowes so it was awesome to see an abundance of boats as we approached East Cowes.
We always have a great time at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo which is located near Dunstable in Buckinghamshire. Little did we know what an amazing experience we’d have when we made an impromptu visit earlier this week. POD had two inset days before the autumn term began and while we did consider going further afield, we’d only returned home from Asturias a couple of days earlier.