Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Bank Holiday Weekend

There is an annual duck race in Croyde to raise money for nippers (see previous posting)and it takes place on this bank holiday each year. We decided to go down and help not only because Zac is a 'nipper' but also it is Nigel (of breakfast fame) who runs this event. So people pay £1 a duck and choose a number.
There are 400 plastic ducks that take part in each race and this year we raised enough interest to do 14 races! The winner of each race gets £100. Zac loves it because he gets into the stream and helps and Steve loves it because he gets to go round the pubs 'helping' to sell tickets!
I love Croyde at this time of year. It comes alive with people. There was a campervan gathering on Baggy point which was brilliant to watch when they drove past. Every colour and style imaginable was on display.
Today we met up with some friends from sussex. I've known Mandy since we were born and she is here in Devon on holiday with her family. They have a dog and as i am not great with dogs in general, it took a lot of thinking about where we could meet up.
Westwood ho! (the exclaimation mark is actually official, its on the sign and everything) was the solution and when the rain finally stopped, we had a lovely walk there along the miles of sand.
I am going to hand over to Richard and Tracey now for the next week or so but before i go i just have to leave you with this image that we came home to after being out for the night on saturday...my dad in pants,socks and slippers showing off his muscles...enough said. I have a feeling things may get a bit more high brow in the coming days.

Friday, 27 May 2011


I (Sus) am in bed recovering from being in hospital yesterday. Everything is fine and i should be back to normal very soon. As it is Friday i have felt pretty guilty watching the others tearing around doing all the jobs. We are expecting our house to be burgeoning by this evening with guests down for half term. Tracey has also completed 2 viewings back to back bless her so she will deserve an extra glass of wine tonight!
Our latest news is that we got Serenity finished in time for half term. We have changed the carpet as well as lots of exciting new things. Here are our first amateur pics:
This shows the bookcase/divider where parents can read at night without disturbing the children and vice versa.
We have built in a sleeping space especially for children. Hidden inside the cupboard doors is a wonderful cabin style, built in bed, and beneath that another bed that can be pulled out at night and tucked away inside the cupboard during the day. We have cut a couple of portholes in so if it is one child they can close the doors and peak out!
The other side from the beds there is a very spacious wardrobe and drawer space, great for putting holiday clothes/luggage/shoes and general beach paraphanalia.
While we were in there we made the decision to re-paint the lounge too! Following the advice of Sarita and Jude (Interior stylist and friends) we went for our trademark blue on a couple of walls and we love it!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Steve turns 40

Our lovely friends who own a beautiful b&b in Croyde cooked all the Bakers an AMAZING breakfast this morning before school as a birthday present for Steve. We took the kids in their pyjamas and had a fantastic hour together.
Deb is an interior designer and Nigel is a great cook so from the surroundings to the food we felt very content by the time we rolled into school.
I have to mention the banana muffins which were delicious and Nigel had got up VERY early to make fresh. We love you for that Nige.

When we came home Rich made us coffee and we all ate more pastry! What a great day. Think Steve is off for a surf later then planning on watching some basketball...a perfect birthday.

Molly, our 7 year old Pickwellian, has lost a tooth, (her third)pulled out by Rich. She is pleased with her loss and keen to share it with her nanny, papa, granny and grandad. So this one is for you!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A sunny day in Devon

The boys are now painting round the other side of the house. What a difference it is making, i can't believe it.

I had to go to the beauty salon today as i have a small op on thursday and, having been a nurse for many years, (life before Pickwell, although Tracey still does it)i know the importance of keeping everything looking in shape when you're under anaesthetic! I had to stop the car to take this picture, so i can share the view with you.

I love the devon lanes and particularly this plant which comes out everywhere at this time of year. Aparently it is actually a weed, but it is so pretty and to me speaks of Devon and holidays and sun.
We actually got to have lunch together today on the Terrace which was lovely, a rare treat for a tuesday. We are all very excited as we are soon to be the owners of a campervan which we are going to share, taking it in turns to go through France, for our summer holiday.

Sunday, 22 May 2011


We saw the lovely Gemma and spent way too much money on some amazing things! My best buy was a book which was only launched a couple of months ago called 'Supper Club' by Kerstin Rodgers. Before moving to Devon, we had a similar thing once a month at home. we had 12 friends come over once a month for some good food and good discussion. The topics to discuss were pre-agreed and the friends were always the same. Between us we had 16 kids sleeping all over the upstairs, while much wine and lively conversation flowed downstairs.
I have spent all evening reading my new purchase and it has inspired us about hosting more of a commercial enterprise at Pickwell...hmmmm...food for thought! One for the next house meeting.

Camden market...aaahhhhh i just love it! Whenever i come to london now i find it hard to talk to people because my senses are so bombarded by wonderful sights and sounds and smells. I just soak it all in. Its only when i go back to the quiet of Devon that i realise how tired i am. Is this why i permanently felt tired in my 10 years in London?
We went to this great cafe where you smell all the different teas and choose which one you like. There were some amazing varieties that we'd never heard of.

The wierdest thing happened in the market. We bumped into my Mum and Dad! They live in Sussex and are staying with my aunt and Uncle in Highgate. We knew they were in London but had no idea they were coming to the market. We had decided not to try to meet up as the market is SO big we'd never find each other. So there you go. Small world.
Zac has just recently become obssessed by skating and scooting on his JD Bug so we took him to the skate park here in Camden. Oh my goodness he loved it and got to see some amazing skaters and bmx riders.

Back to Devon today via a visit to Regents Park to see Mum, Dad, and my auntie and uncle. I haven't heard from Tracey how the wedding went at home but we are thinking of them!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Friday Wedding Jobs

Its Friday, which means all the adult Pickwellers down tools from our week jobs and work together on a project. During the wedding season this takes the form of wedding prep- setting up the bar, setting up the ceremony, mowing/strimming the lawns, putting flowers in the rooms, putting out signs, welcoming guests, helping to decorate, putting candles in lanterns...and heaps more. We have lunch together too to go through the day and the coming business things. Friday nights out of wedding times are very special because we all eat together, but as the Bakers are away and the Elliotts are working hard, i will talk more about this next week.

Its a beautiful day here today, the sea and sky are blue and i think its going to be gorgeous for the big day tomorrow...

My friend (and Zac's Godmum) Gemma is having a thrift sale in islington tomorrow which is the real reason we are going to London. Gemma works in PR and has managed to procure a number of very lovely fashion/homeware items to sell. It is all to raise money for her husband's project 'Urban Hope' which is a community project for the youth of Islington. Ben has been doing some amazing stuff over the last 10 years or so and we want to support him and Gemma as much as we can.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


Its that time of year again when Nippers go back into the sea and its the usual wetsuit struggle. Nippers is a surf life saving club for kids and Zac (our 8 year old Pickweller)absolutely loves it. In the Winter they go to a swimming pool and in the spring/summer they are based on Croyde beach.Its brilliant to know that when he is a teenager he can go freely to surf, aware of the dangers and with the body strength to cope with the waves.

Liza is now the proud owner of a new bike. She turned 6 last week and has spent all her birthday money on this beauty. The reason she loves it so much? It has a drinks holder. So like her Mum. I knew our last car purchase was the right one because it had a coffee cup slot!

Emily and James are here laying up for our wedding at the weekend. Its meant to be sunny so the ceremony will be outside under our Rose Arbour and the wedding breakfast in the Ballroom. I think it will be a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Easter at an end :(

I was just reading my friend Deb's blog about her Easter holiday news homehouseinteriors.wordpress.com when it dawned on me that i still haven't taken down my Easter decorations...when is the official end of Easter?! I feel like they've only just gone up, i'm not ready to take them down yet

Other Pickwell news is that its changeover day so we have 5 lovely girls here getting the house ready for the wedding this weekend. Tracey is running this one so the Baker's are off to London on friday after school. Camden market..here we come!

John and Barbara, a gorgeous retired Sussex farmer and his wife who know me from my childhood came to see Pickwell today. As they left they said it was 'mind-boggling' how much work we had done in just 3 years. It is so good to hear that, as we tend to spend time thinking about what we still have to do rather than reflecting on what we have achieved.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Uh oh!

Millie-Grace, our youngest Pickweller, fell off the school Motivator yesterday and has fractured her arm...
Poor Millie!

On a brighter note..we have a fantastic new cupboard/wardrobe going in to our apartment 'Serenity' complete with a hide-away bed for a child. I am so excited by this as the room has needed it for a long time, its going to look amazing!

Adam is also here painting the outside of the house...the transformation is brilliant. you can see the difference here..

Monday, 16 May 2011

Birthday Cake

It was Liza's 6th Birthday party yesterday. She asked me last week if i could ask someone to make a cake for her as she knew i couldn't make cakes. As the feeling of inadequacy seeped into my gut, before i knew what i was doing i had announced that I was going to make her a cake, whatever cake she would like, I would make.

She asked for a bouncy castle cake with her name and the number 6 on it.

Here is the result...

Our first Blog Post

Welcome to Pickwell Manor's first ever blog, well the first one that has worked....i never have been great at technology.

So we are 2 families, long standing friends who have chosen to live and work together in a bit of a big house on the beautiful north devon coast. We host a few weddings a year and also have 8, soon to be 9, wonderful self catering apartments for luxury holidays.

We will all be contributing to this blog in our own unique styles. I hope it will, in some small way, help you all to understand where we disappear to sometimes!