POD used to enjoy riding her bike but when the stabilisers came off she refused to get back on it. While the bike has made it into the great outdoors several times, its largely remained in the boot of the car. Scooting has been POD’s preference over the past year and having perfected her skills to and from school over recent months, cycling just hasn’t appealed to her.
Much as we love exploring the countryside, there’s something to be said about an impromptu trip to the coast. West Wittering is always a firm favourite but there are plenty of beaches in West Sussex to discover. Like Littlehampton which has two beaches and an extraordinarily long bench.
The picturesque landscape at Winkworth Arboretum near Hascombe in Surrey is a draw any time of year but especially in autumn. Maintained by the National Trust for 60 years, this hillside arboretum has a significant collection of shrubs and trees making it an ideal place to admire those magnificent autumnal hues. So much so we like to sneak in a couple of visits if we can. As luck would have it, POD and I ventured there just over a week ago when she had a rather well-timed inset day.
We upped sticks from London and moved to Surrey seven years ago now so there aren’t many places we haven’t visited. Or at least have on our (ever expanding!) list. Somewhere that has completely passed us by however is The Sculpture Park which we only discovered this summer.
We had the most wonderful family day out at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo yesterday. Not only was it Hullabazoo’s 5th anniversary, POD got to meet her PJ Masks hero and join in with activities which are part of the #BooAtTheZoo Halloween event. We even saw a tiger take meat from someone while standing on its hind legs which was just remarkable.
Situated between Newport and Ventnor on the Isle of Wight, the picturesque village of Godsill is lined with traditional tearooms, thatched cottages and shops with local produce and gifts on offer. This quintessentially British village boasts some of the oldest architecture on the island too including a medieval church located a stones throw from the high street. Godsill is also home to the first ever Isle of Wight Festival which took place at Ford Farm back in 1968.
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.
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.
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!