Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Happy Campers

We have our campervan!!!! Now... when i said in an earlier blog post that we were getting a camper..i think i may have led you accidently down a road of picturing this...
When in reality we have actually got this....................................
Ha ha! Our cool cover is blown. But we don't care, we love our beige swirley seat covered 'motor home' complete with awning and bike rack. We bumped into a friend on our way back with it who commented that he thought he'd just celebrated Steve's 40th, not his 60th
The kids love it and have been playing shops out of the window since they got back from school. The leg sticking out is Zac's who did not want his face to appear in the picture, but is happy about the leg.
France... here we come...(well in about 6 weeks)

The Aonb marathon

So Steve ran the 26 miles in very hot conditions and did amazingly.I took the kids to Lee Bay which is a gorgeous little coastal village. It is called the 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' marathon for a reason!
It was at this point that Steve said he was going to need the most encouragement as it is 18 miles in and is the worst point, with still 8 miles to go. Just after we arrived we saw an ambulance pull up telling us that a man had collapsed at the top of the hill. It was an anxious 5 minutes before we found out that the guy was American (and therefore not Steve)and then... there he was, coming down the hill! (You can hardly make him out here but he is a white dot to the left of the people!)
He had been suffering with cramps in his legs and groin for much of the way round, but a bit of lying down and resting had enabled him to carry on. He said this one made the london marathon feel like a walk in the park, due to the steep hills and valleys that made up most of the terrain. I couldn't believe he was laughing and joking after 18 miles as he sat with us in the shade for a couple of minutes.
At each refreshment station they had groups of people cheering them on with drinks, bananas, jelly babies and buckets of water and sponges to take with you and squeeze over your head.
There were 750 runners in all and the whole thing was really well organised.
The kids were great so i bought them an ice cream to get us to the next leg.
The finishing line was at Woolacombe. I thought i'd show the beach as an indication of just how hot it was that day.
Steve did this run, yes for his fitness and a good personal challenge, but also to raise money for our friend's charity working with street kids in South Africa www.umthombo.org Tom is an inspiration to us with the work he does there. Pickwell are supporters of Umthombo and so this wont be the last you hear about it!
Well done Steve! You did it! Apparently, he is now taking up sea swimming...

Monday, 27 June 2011

Sam and Ted's wedding

So this weekend was utter madness. Sam and Ted got married here on saturday in coastal fog and Steve ran a full marathan on sunday in 26' heat. Why oh why couldn't it have been the other way around?! Just as well Sam and Ted had a wonderful time and Steve didn't die and made it round in 5hrs and 10 minutes, despite getting cramp. A lot.

So, we got to know Sam and Ted because just after we moved we had a garage sale here and they came along. They live monday-thursday in London and the rest of the time in north devon. They commute every week! They always show up with lots of energy and always on the phone..they work hard but play hard too. They are creative, work as a team and are very much in love.
This is our Snug with the tables laid up and ready for brunch, cooked by our caterers, for everyone fresh off the beach. The driftwood flower sculpture in the background was made by Ted.
This is Kelly one of our two recommended florists. She is brilliant. She came on friday and worked all day putting together the flowers. She always listens to what people want and the results are amazing.
The 'mum's' put together the fireplace decs. Lots of moss and candles and sparkly fairy lights and hydrangeas (sp?!)
Together with the trees (made of sparkly white sticks and giant white feathers with a muslin base)they made a magical ballroom come alive. It felt very 'narnia' and i loved it.
Sam and Ted really wanted a relaxed 'fete' type feel to their weekend. They opted for a delicious bbq and we were hoping to have the whole day outside - from the ceremony to the evening, including dining on the Terrace.
When the fog refused to clear, we decided to bring everything in, but because the house looked and felt so inviting and magical, the fog only seemed to add to that feeling. We gave the tables an informal feel as there was no table plan or set seating.
This is Ted's dad. I think i might love him.
Sam's sister Rachel came down the aisle first with her gorgeous son and Georgina Ted's neice. I adore Rachel's hat. Sam wore a Jenny Packham dress with a low slung back and looked stunning.
There were 18 children invited to the wedding and they were sent an invitation of their own which gave details of face painting, DVD's and bouncy castle and special packed lunches all just for them. Yes, there is always one...this is one of the Dad's! Our friend Matilda stepped up to do this as she is a fab face painter and is always sat in a tent somewhere doing it for the school!
Once again i missed the main bbq course..but did get the meringue and fruit pudding.. all home made of course and all completely delicious.
Many of our wedding breakfast's here are followed by coffee and Lee makes the most amazing devon fudge. Always goes down a treat.
Sam was going to make the wedding cake but ran out of time...a lovely friend had caught wind of this and surprised Sam with this cake as a gift...sweet.
Sam and Ted learnt the dirty dancing dance as their first dance. However, they didn't really have time to practice much so it worked even better than i had expected because half of it was spot on and half of it was hilariously improvised. The atmosphere the whole day was warm, light-hearted and fun and this first dance seemed to demonstrate just that.
A happy couple having a moment to themselves...that is until i came along..CONGRATULATIONS Mr and Mrs H-S!

I will write about Steve's run tomorrow x

Friday, 24 June 2011

Strange animal happenings

On Sunday we had some friends round for lunch. We were just tucking into our sunday roast when we heard a pager go off. Fiona is a coastguard and this year her pager has only gone off three times. We happen to have been with her for the last two! We started to wonder about this 'coincidence' as she ran out the door shouting she'd try to be back later for pudding..

Well, the story goes that a cow had got scared by some music, at a local festival here, and ran through our friends garden and straight off the cliff into the sea. It dropped 15ft and started paddling madly out to sea. Aparently it went as far as half a mile, passing surfers along the way. It took a while for Fiona and her team to coax out the fightened thing and unbelievably it survived with not even a broken leg. The story even made the daily mail (which obviously someone else informed me of) You can read it here: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2007360/Surfs-buttercup-Cow-paddles-alongside-bemused-swimmers-plunging-Atlantic. I was just telling Steve's 73 year old mum this story, and when i got to the end, she looked devasted. All she could say was 'poor cow' and for some silly and childish reason i have been giggling ever since.

So that was sunday. Today, Tracey races into my house and asks me to follow her as she has something to show me. Our two girl rabbits have miraculously given birth to a bunch of gorgeous little baby rabbits, and we just thought they were having a hug.
This is the mum and er..dad.
Heidi had pulled out lots of her fur over the last week and we were thinking she might be a bit stressed when no! Lo and behold, she was about to give birth! She was preparing the nest with her fur. We have been told not to touch them or she will eat them (surely, surely not) so we have been careful to just peer in occasionally. It does explain why she has been growling at us everytime we went near. She is suddenly much more chilled.
This is a pic of our babies three days after the first picture i took, you can actually see them here! Anyone want one? or 6? Help!

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Today we went to meet a friend of Steve's Mums who is staying at the Watersmeet Hotel in Woolacombe. He very kindly bought us lunch and we had a lovely rare opportunity to get Steve out of the office!
The food itself was ok, the service was ok, but really its the view that i loved. I know studies have shown that looking at the sea can instantly relieve stress levels and,looking at the sea that close, i can say i did feel a bit refreshed!

Now this weekend is my last wedding before the summer. Sam and Ted live half the week in London and half the week in devon. Sam works for Mary McCartney and has been so busy getting a massive exhibition ready (showcasing Linda McCarney's photography http://www.itv.com/london/lindas-lasting-legacy37529/)that she has barely had time to realise that she is getting married in 2 days. Bless her.
So they landed today and have already started transforming the ballroom into a magical white space of muslin and fairy lights and trees. I am so excited by their creativity and will show some more pics after the event, but here are a few to give you a glimpse of what is to come.
Ted is a brilliant photographer so has all sorts of props and ideas for decorating the space. He was in covent garden at 6am choosing the flowers and the sparkly sticks and he was in Devon up a ladder making 'trees' by 7pm!
Much of the family pitched in too and with the help of some dance music we were jigging around and getting a bit excited about saturday. Note to self *dont peak too soon* (i need all my energy).

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Summer solstice

Last night Zac, Liza and I and Steve's mum (Steve was still in London) went to visit some dear friends, Matt and Lou. This is their home. They are a source of great inspiration for us at Pickwell, just by their philosophy of life. I think we can learn so much through the simplicity of their lifestyle. They live in the Yurt all year round and bath outdoors in water from a stream which is heated by a fire underneath. They eat and drink mostly from things they have found in the hedgerow or grow themselves. Everytime i see them i come back feeling slighter lighter...
When we arrived we found Lou in the garden picking raspberry's. The kids ran in to help and we found all sorts of brilliant things growing.
Gooseberries, blackcurrants, squash, beans, peas, garlic, onions even goji berries. Lou had us eating chick weed. She even had Zac eating all this stuff that if you put on a plate he would never eat in a million years!
We ventured up to the Yurt, laden with fruit, and found a sign in the ground as we approached..
It was a welcome and an explaination of what happens at summer solstice.
The kids had a great time playing on the swings
and we had a great time drinking wine out of jam jars..yes i know what it looks like...
We all wittled sticks so we could toast marshmallows and Lou had us playing some great games..
When we came back down to the car Lou had left me a gift of a garlic bulb on the windscreen!
For most of the journey home we followed a hare who was running for its life! You can just about see it in this pic..
Thank you Matt and Lou, we had a lovely time x

Sunday, 19 June 2011

So so glad that the rain stopped

Sarah and Phil's wedding this weekend has been truely wonderful, what a completely lovely couple and their friends and family too. I felt very privelidged to be a part of it.

Living locally they had been inspired by our amazing Devon beaches and had an ingenious idea for their table plan (above).

Many reclined during the day on the his and hers deckchairs.

The use of vibrant blue and wonderful bright colours gave a real feel of sunshine and fun. Sarah had her heart set on getting married outside and after a very rainy start to the day and a very nerve racking morning with the weather, we all made a last minute brave decision to go for having the ceremony outside (thanks to the emost wonderful registra) and it was fantastic, just what they had hoped for and the sun even made an appearance or two.

The boys then embarked upon an extreemly competative game of croquet during the drinks reception, I hope the mojito's didn't fuel the competativeness too much.

We were nervous that the forecast rain would render the BBQ rather damp, so Lee and James (our fantastic Chef and his trusty right hand man) errected 3 gazebos in the courtyard and the feast of wonderful BBQing aromas began, Lee turns into a proper showman when BBQ tongs are in his hand.... On the BBQ menu was Salmon, haloumi kebabs, marinated chicken and home made beef burgers, delicious.

A very talented local girl, Lucy Cheetham of 'Juicy Lucy Cupcakes' made this cupcake bonanza. Everyone comented on how delicious they were and they were a perfect second course to the evening Devon delicasy of fish and chips, brought round to guests in little cardboard cartons with Lee's home made tartar sauce on the side (I don't think I am doing them justice with the description, I must remember to take a photo next time).

I don't think the tennis court has seen so much action at a wedding... The boys post croquet embarked upon a 5 aside tennis match. Then after dinner some girls got involved and basketball began, this was followed by an egg throwing competition which apparently was a university tradition, brilliant!!

Then into the evening the disco was fantastic, Sarah and Phil had put together their own playlist and here is Sarah kicking off the tunes.

Rich and I are both exhausted and elated after such a wonderful weekend. Rich picked up the girls from granny and grandad's where they had had a brilliant weekend and we headed to Woolacombe beach in blissful sunshine for a fathers day picnic of Daddy's choice.... Take away pizza.