Reflecting on my week #71

Last week was one of those doubly manic weeks. You know the sort, you’re busy anyway and are looking forward to a much needed break, but that much needed break brings with it the compulsion to get things done that you’d normally do if you weren’t having that much needed break. So it short, it’s a week where things have come to a head (simmering, not explosive) and one that almost broke me (but didn’t).

And because i refuse to let it break me - I can be stubborn like that - I needed to find another way to deal with it, and that’s been compromise, prioritising and useful. And what needed to be done, got done and so we escaped to Norfolk, for that much needed break.

Phew.

successful local cheese shopping

I’m sure that you have your Valentines traditions and recently ours has also included cheese, and most often from the cheese shop in Greenwich. However this year my cheese exploits were thwarted as I discovered the shop shuts at 1pm on Thursdays. Knowing that we were heading to Norfolk, I wasn’t too worried as the deli in Hunstanton also has a good cheese selection.

However as I was standing outside it I discovered that too shut at 1pm on the day I visited. I was beginning to think there was a cheese shop conspiracy, but one I knew we’d overcome, even if it was a little later than usual. And so after a visit to the farm shop and Norfolk Lavender and later at Creake Abbey, we had our cheese.

Not any old cheese either, both are local. The Binham Blue is made just up the road in Wighton from where we bought it, and the Baron Bigod has had a slightly longer journey over the border in Suffolk. In fact we’ve had a truffled version of this before at our most recent trip to the Gravetye Manor, and it’s been on our radar ever since, so it was nice to spot it relatively close to its home.

And it was great to try them both along with some Gurney Gold and some goats cheese we’d brought from our local farmers’ market too, even if it was a few days afterwards. Actually this year I think we probably had the least romantic Valentine’s Day ever. If it’s a weeknight we’ll usually open a bottle of red, but not this year. This year we ate out, at McDonalds! We tried KFC first, at the Ely retail park on the way to Norfolk, but they were only doing takeaways, and I didn’t want the car smelling for the last hour or so of our journey. Romantic hey?!

So I’ve had a chilled few days in Norfolk, with some time for pottering, some for craft and still not enough to catch up with everything I want to. We’ve found cheese (yay!) and eaten local venison, which we roasted with locally grown potatoes and vegetables. We’ve been out for cake, wandered around villages and towns and shops and the week has ended in a much less frantic state than it started.

i even forgot my phone, and was without it for the whole day. It was quite liberating, but then often there’s not much signal up here anyway, but also a little restrictive as there were many photos I wanted to take. MOH had managed to bring his phone along and so that was commandeered at times for a photo or two, and completely relinquished by the time we got to the shops at Creake Abbey!

I’d been following the progress of the new arts centre at Wells Maltings and I was keen to see it for myself - it’s billing itself as “North Norfolk’s Cultural Landmark” and certainly had much on its programme. It’s here that we wandered around the local art exhibition, re-learning that we have different tastes in art. It looks a great place, there’s a cafe, activities and classes as well as a heritage centre (which we didn’t go into, as it was only a flying visit and £3.50 while not extortionate, seemed a little steep for the time we had available), exhibitions, cinema screenings and shows and it’s something I’m going to continue keeping an eye out for.

The photo below is of the cafe with its Wells Community Tapestry, which tells the story of the town’s heritage in textile reflecting the “vibrancy of the community groups that are active within it” and has seventy-five panels created by thirty seven community groups which highlight everything from the granary building on the quay to knitted shells and starfish.

The new arts centre at Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk

Isn’t it great?

Questions to ask yourself when choosing a Mother's Day gift

It seems that no sooner has Valentine’s Day been and gone that the shops are putting up their displays of cards and gifts for Mother’s Day,  the next celebratory day in the calendar.  And one that many of us will be on the lookout for the perfect gift for. 

If you’ve not registered the date yet, it’s the 31st March, and it’s one that we don’t want to miss isn’t it?

Getting our cards and gift choices right for our mum is important, as while we recognise what mums do throughout the year, often we don’t always take the chance to show it.  It’s the one day of the year that getting it right is important, we know that the others are too, but on Mother’s Day and all that it stands for it’s especially important and that’s something the Card Factory can help us with, and not just with the perfect card - and there’s plenty of them to choose from too!

YOUR CHOICE: MOTHER, MUM OR MUMMY…

YOUR CHOICE: MOTHER, MUM OR MUMMY…

FLOWERY, CUTE, CHIC OR FUNNY…

FLOWERY, CUTE, CHIC OR FUNNY…

The photos above are just a few of the Mother’s Day cards on display in the relatively new Card Factory shop in Hunstanton, these are just a few - I told you there was plenty of choice…  It’s the first time I’ve been in there, but it might have been there longer than I think as with everything else going on last year, we didn’t get up to Norfolk as much as we’d have liked, or as much as normal.

But it got me thinking, what are the questions we should ask ourselves so that whatever we choose for our mums matches their personality and style.  Your mum might be highly creative, pay attention to detail, feel energised when she’s around other people and regularly helps others in need, dealing with stress well, or more likely displays some of these personality traits on a daily basis, often without a second thought

  1. What does your mum want? 

    If you ask her, no doubt, she’ll probably say nothing, unless there’s something she really does want.  In which case, my advice would be, get that.  But even if she says nothing, all is not lost.  Consider her hobbies, is there something that she’s mentioned in conversation lately, could that have been a hint, think back (but not too far).

  2. What does your mum deserve?

    Gestures don’t always need to be grand, or expensive.  Thoughtful is always better than lavish. Perhaps it’s the thing that mum mentioned, perhaps it’s something that you’ve made yourself, perhaps it’s something that will make her smile or perhaps it’s something sentimental that reminds her of you.

  3. Does it feel right for your mum?

    You know your mum, you know her likes and dislikes, her humour, her hobbies and even her favourite colour, so you’ll know if it feels right for your mum.  Sometimes you’ll find the perfect gift straight away, and other times it takes a little more time, but you know when it’s right, it’s right, and your mum will too.

What other questions or advice/tips would you add to the list?

* This is a collaborative post but as usual, all words, thoughts and images are my own. 

Lettres a picots

We’ve been in Norfolk for a few days and have spent some time exploring some of North Norfolk’s villages, trying to get a feel for them in the name of research. We spent some time in Wells, and visited their new arts centre, looking at a painting exhibition and voting for our favourites which of course, couldn’t have been more different. I didn’t like the one MOH chose at all, and I’m sure he wasn’t that taken with the one I chose either, so that was quite a reminder of how difficult we find to agree on artwork, which is why it took us so long to decide on one for our living room.

Thankfully though, this was just for a competition so agreement wasn’t necessary, which is good because I don’t think we’d have agreed on either. But it was thirsty - or rather hungry work - so our next stop was the shops at Creake Abbey, a long time favourite. Coffee and walnut cake for him and chocolate cake with peanut butter for me, it was better than it sounds and more adventurous than a Victoria Sponge.

Coffeed and caked, next up was a stroll around the shops. Home by Annie Lambert has the best selection of tin pots, tubs, receptacles I know of - and I’ve photos to share, but not today.

Today it’s all about the box.

It wasn’t what caught my magpie eye either, that was the shells and coral next to it. But as I looked my eyes wandered right.

shells, coral and a box that just needed to be opened

Lettres Kis-Pic A Picots?

Huh?

Well of course I opened the box. Look what was inside:

Inside were letters and numbers

These vintage letters for a noticeboard along with a black velvet board. I was quite tempted, but there was still so much else to see in the shop. And there does seem to be an extraordinary amount of Es!

Now I wish I’d bought them. I have no use for them, but aren’t they lovely?

…Maybe a trip back there is needed…