Seal trip on the Sarah Jane

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Of all the days that we could have chosen during this ( mainly), glorious summer here in North Norfolk, to go on a Seal Trip-we had to choose today. Long planned and booked well in advance; due to tide times, busy diaries and suitable days for friend`s grand daughter to join us, we chose today, safe in the knowledge that the sun would be shining. But,we woke up ,despite the weather forecast to the contrary , to at least fifty shades of grey. And drizzle, and lots of it.( Oh but with promises of sunshine later-a fat lot of good that was at 10am ). A truly rubbish day and a rubbish hair day. As another friend put it so well-‘boat hair`. I wouldn`t have minded the rubbish hair if we were just doing the boat trip, but we were meeting my friend’s daughter and another friends for lunch afterwards at our favourite Wiveton Hall Cafe for lunch so I had to look half decent -in a casual seasidey manner anyway-at least. I decided the only answer was to take my hairdryer and styling brush,( the rain gives me wings-and not ones that are of any use!), and after the seals , head for a swift coffee at the Blakeney Hotel and tart up…

I love a Seal Trip and we love Bean`s Boats. I love the day-glo orange kit they wear, and I love the notion of a `Mr Bean` at the helm. I was even more thrilled to see that the `boat du jour` was the `Sarah Jane`.My namesake , so it had to be my very own boat!

We piled in with soggy families, bemused children, and two gorgeous greyhounds who didn`t look that happy at the prospect of life on the ocean wave.

Gorgeous George the skipper, went through the old routine of safety and Seal information. I say `old` and it is obviously very important ,but I am a bit of an old hand at a Seal Trip; heading to Blakeney Point at the drop of a hat. Perhaps now that I have a boat named after me, ha ha, I should lose my first-time-out Quba Sails jacket, and don an orange one.

As grey as it was , and as drizzly and grim as it was, the trip was great fun as always, and friend`s grand daughter loved to see the seals `waving` just at her… there were more seals basking and beached than I have seen for a long time. They were also dozens of grey seals frolicking and splashing around in the water, and when we went out to the spit of sand alongside the point, the seals there all rushed into the sea at once looking rather like a Christmas Day charity dash by hardy( aka mad) swimmers, on a freezing cold English beach.

Chugging along the creek we spied oyster catchers, the fabulous Juno sailing barge , built by Charlie Ward and available for half  day and full day charters, samphire and mud-lots of it.

So, back to the Blakeney Hotel for coffee. But first the hair, which looked rather good I thought-wet, bedraggled, and the aforementioned `wings` .I also had a great smudge mascara down my cheek, thrown in for good measure. After discovering there were plugs in the ladies loo, (all powder rooms really should have a built-in hairdryer I think ), I asked a waitress who suggested I use a plug in the small sitting room, but as family were ensconced in ther,e all nicely relaxed, I didn`t think that they would appreciate the blast of hot air from my hair dryer disturbing their morning. So while my friend struggled at the mirror, I ( on a mission) found a discreetly tucked away near the Billiard Room, plug, with the added bonus of a shiny brass door plate to use as a mirror, and very happily blow dried my hair back from the brink.

The Blakeney hotel has a jolly nice sitting room , all cool blues, greys and mauve linen, with oversized basket lamp bases and a rather stunning yacht on display. It also has a rather stunning view of the harbour, so warmed up and plied with coffee , it would have been easy to stay awhile.

But lunch beckoned, and to Wiveton Hall Cafe we went. As busy and colourful as always, and a bottle of Pinot Grigio on the table, soon pushed all thoughts of wet feet and wet hair away. A delicious lunch as always, fresh crab sandwiches, a humungous Wiveton Salad-with herb infused coleslaw, pearl barley, feta, beetroot, and potato salad being just a few of the components that make up this feast on a plate.

I had the baked Camembert with Courgette pickle( yum), red onion marmalade, rocket salad and toasted focaccia. It`s ages since I have made this at home as husband isn`t a huge cheese fan-and I had forgotten how lovely it is.( The camembert is rubbed with garlic, and spiked with rosemary, and baked whole in its box until it is unctious, even more creamy and very dippable.)

A jolly, very North Norfolky kind of a day, and as we snaked our way along the coast road heading home, the clouds broke and the sun shone through.

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Beautiful Blakeney

Blakeney by Andrew Ruffhead  www.fish-and-ships.com

Blakeney by Andrew Ruffhead
http://www.fish-and-ships.com

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Andrew Ruffhead design for the Anchor Gift Shop, Blakeney

Andrew Ruffhead design for the Anchor Gift Shop, Blakeney

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The Moorings

The Moorings

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And so to Blakeney. We love the drive along the coast road, despite the numerous hiccups when one meets large oncoming 4x 4s, and it becomes a battle of wills as to who will give way first , oh and who thanks who , if at all. Such is Summer driving in North Norfolk. Grrrr.

We were off to see our friends Fren and Ed Ewing who live in Blakeney ,and run several businesses there; Groovy Campers, Blakeney Boltholes  and also the Anchor Gift Shop.

Artist husband Andrew has been busy working on various designs for the shop, which are being used for prints, tea towels and mugs-the latter having just arrived. They are great fun, and come in four suitably seasidey colours, three shades of blue, and one, not fifty shades of grey!

Blakeney was looking just fab with its muddy creeks, marshes, boats tinkling in the harbour, (the tide was racing in), and a burgeoning, burning, hot pink sunset to boot.

Supper was to be at The Moorings , a few yards from the Quay. Fun, busy, buzzy atmosphere, where we felt very much part of the `we`re on holiday ` crowd.

The Moorings offers unpretentious modern British cuisine in a relaxed setting.

They serve fresh, honest food – fantastic local fish, shellfish, game in season, delicious meat and vegetarian dishes, dreamy puddings, and a well chosen wine list-which includes an excellent Gavi which we love.

We had a great evening, and I have to say the most delicious food, simply presented (always the best way).Yummy scallops-with the coral still on-hooray… Letzer`s smoked fish platter -perfect and served with rye bread and sweet dill mustard dressing ( haven`t seen a smoked sprat for a while!), and our other choices of fish soup with rouille, cheese and croutons, and grilled king prawns with avocado, tomato and chilli salsa, hit the spot.

I love sea trout-much better than salmon I think-so I tucked into  that with Morston samphire and potted shrimp butter, Fren had baked fig, goats cheese and red onion tart, with honey and caraway dressing-pronouncing it delicious, and the men chose the rack of English lamb with rosemary and thyme crust, wilted spinach and caramalised garlic jus. perfectly pink and sublime-I pinched a bit. We were all too full for one of Angela`s puds so had more wine instead!  All fab. Lovely to venture to eat at that end of the coast too, and I highly recommend The Moorings.

I am back tootalling along the coast tomorrow as I am off on a Seal Trip, so watch this space for tales from Blakeney Point!

http://www.blakeney-moorings.co.uk  01263 740 054

The Anchor Gift Shop, 35, High Street, Blakeney. 01263 741555

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Va Va Vintage

 

My fabulous floral tray!

My fabulous floral tray!

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 523797_435555316475709_444506095_nI have just bought a fab uber-floral pink, red and white vintage tray-which I will be taking out to our house in Spain on our next trip.

Yay Retro! is a fun online vintage store, selling the very best in vintage 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s & 70’s china, glass, home and tableware. They also have fun `70s bedding with fab, floral designs which remind me of when I was a little girl-I had a very  loud , very pink, flowery patterned `Vymura` wallpaper in my bedroom.

Yay retro! are also clever at display too, always using a backdrop of vintage fabrics and papers which show off their wares extremely well. They acquire genuine retro pieces that can be used every day in your kitchen, sitting room and dining room at home, or in your vintage camper or caravan. Love the coloured glass `sundae` dishes too…..

http://www.yayretro.co.uk

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Play on

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If music be… and all that jazz , if you pardon the pun. It`s not that I don`t value silence, but I don`t ever crave it. My favourite sounds of all times are my husband and son laughing. And I mean really laughing, and they do. We all do in our house. It`s a joy.

I also love ( and crave), the sound of the sea, which is never far away from me. But, I have music playing all day, every day, always have done so, and always will . Different music for different times and different places, but I love it. It becomes a memory. Consequently my `desert island discs` list of ten would run into tens of……

I also love finding new music to love, and search online, make note of something I have read about, and what friends recommend. I am now of course playing it all via my IPad ,so I am downloading it all via ITunes, which means that I can buy an album ,or simply one track.

Over the last few weeks I have discovered the CDs featured above. I love the singer/songwriter genre,thought-provoking lyrics and gritty vocals; the likes of Damien Rice et al. So if you do too, I am sure you will love them as well.

So here we have music by Jon Allen, Matt White, Paul Carrack and Lewis Watson,  I have also thrown in a couple of single tracks, `Song of me and you` by Adam Cohen (son of Leonard Cohen), and `Fare thee well` by the fabulous Oscar Isaac, which features in the great film ( recently watched) `Inside Llewyn Davis.`

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APPsolutely fabulous

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Fish and Ships Coastal Art

Fish and Ships Coastal Art

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Since I wrote my first post about my then brand new IPad  just before Christmas, I have come a long way. I no longer have long tortured conversations with clever techie boys at Apple,( who sound about twelve years old), and know everything there is to know about an IPad Air and more.I am now an expert ha ha! Well, learning. I  have now over 140 albums uploaded onto it, and many, many more individual tracks  ,( the joy of buying from ITunes), and I have created playlists for every occasion; cue `Summer on the decking` ,`dinner party 1`, and so on. So I am very pleased with myself. My latest discovery, having become hooked on Instagram, is an App called `Framatic`, which enables you to group photographs together in a grid and various other permutations. Very useful for adding to Facebook, Twitter and said Instagram., particularly for a visual business such as ours. So above are a few examples of what I have been up to during this amazing North Norfolk Summer so far, with pictures of Wells-next-the-Sea beach ,and its fabulous hot pink sunsets , yummy summery food I have cooked for friends ,and happy times at our table( outside yippee), our shell-filled coastally house, and some jolly images from my artist husbands gallery Fish and Ships Coastal Art.

More fun to have a quick hit of the visual than too much blogging rambling.

Oh and I have just found another  App to get excited about that tracks flights, so I have been spying on my son. During the last  fortnight  he has flown to Edinburgh and back twice, Bahrain and Oman and back, and he has just landed in Pisa. Comforting to know though.

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Wow!

Me and my amazing scarf!

Me and my amazing scarf!

Shilo Engelbrecht

Shilo Engelbrecht Photo:Sharin Cairns for Vogue Living

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The lift at Ham Yard Hotel

The lift at Ham Yard Hotel

Kit Kemp at Ham Yard Hotel

Kit Kemp at Ham Yard Hotel

I first spied Textile artist Shilo Engelbrecht`s amazing work at the newly-opened ( and fabulous-as is everything that comes from the Firmdale Group of Hotels-led by Kit Kemp) Ham Yard Hotel in London`s Soho. Kit Kemp has very cleverly framed Shilo`s textiles and also bizarrely-but it works magnificently upholstered the walls of the lift in the hotel with it as well. Being a scarf fan-well slight understatement as I have so so many, I immediately googled Shilo, and also followed her on instagram, to see what else she does. oh wow! I got in touch with her and she has made me the most stunning scarf-so vibrant with huge bursts of colour , painterly and a work of art in itself. I love, love, love it!

Shilo also sell homewares such as table linen and cushions, so do take a peek at her website http://www.shilo.net.au

Shilo Engelbrecht was born in Capetown, and migrated with her family to Australia where she undertook a Fine Arts Degree in Fashion/Textiles. She was awarded the “Mercedes Benz Start Up” prize for her graduate collection and the “Emerging Designer of the Year” by the Design Institute of Australia.   Shilo has shown her work at the Powerhouse Museum, G’Day L.A, Craft Victoria and held textile workshops for children’s festivals and The Cerebral Palsy League of Australia. Shilo lives with her Swedish partner in Cambridge where she has a studio.
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The Magnificent Hound

Harry the Lurcher

Harry the Lurcher

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If like me , you love all (well most) things doggie , oh and also love the style and products of the famed Pedlars company, founded by Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, you will love their newest venture- which will be launching in September. Called simply The Magnificent Hound , their newest online store will be peddling fabulous stuff for dogs ( and people too).

Our very own hound; Harry the Lurcher, sports a lovely , and much-admired beaded collar bought some years ago from Pedlars, so I for one cant wait to see what else I can indulge him with. Loving the look of the stripey blankets and the brightly coloured dog leads. I also love the logo too-being a fan of whippets/greyhounds and lurchers, ( such gentle characters).  In the meantime do follow them on instagram .

Bring it on!

http://www.themagnificenthound.co.uk

http://www.pedlars.co.uk

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