Happiness planning

Keeping top of New Years resolutions, or resolutions at any time of the year is a toughie! I promised myself after the Christmas break to finish the interior decoration at our home and make a few tweaks at The Manor House too. I really wanted to hone my weekly organisation and time we spend together as a family.

At the Manor we are now preparing the garden for summer and touching up bit and bobs in the house. Harry and I have plenty scheduled at The Manor and work starts this week, more of this over here for updates https://www.instagram.com/manorhousemoreton/

But other than work based bits I really want to finish the rooms at home, do more varied exercise, complete some units of my interior design diploma, and also eat supper with the children on a more regular basis and have family home evenings where neither myself or Harry are distracted by work emails!

Being self employed means I have to really try and schedule my days clearly else I can get super distracted and end up completing only half my to do list. So any methods to aid daily organisation are always welcome to see if they stick and work with us as a family.

I find that eating our evening meal together aids free and easy conversation with the children and they open up a lot more than when I am rushing in and out not paying full attention. I tend to do a meal plan on Monday morning, using up what I have from the weekend and grocery shopping for the rest of the week from there, it’s not a ridged plan and sometimes we see family or mix things up.

The benefits are great, I am spending less on shopping and have far less veggie waste than before, both the children are helping me prepare the meal, laying the table and eating more varied meals – no more beige freezer rubbish and more colourful vegetables. A friend has recommended a Riverford Organic box that she gets delivered, I really like the idea of this and am going to be doing some investigation on that front. I think would prefer to get one from a local supplier if possible?

On the ‘planning’ theme I also received a really sweet Happiness Planner from Harry for Christmas, this is so cute and came in pretty hues of pale blue and light pink. I have never been a dedicated diarist and tend to do all my work & personal organisation on my iPhone calendar and to do lists on the note’s feature. The Happiness planner has a positivity based premise and has daily sections for schedule (helpful as a diary) to do lists and areas to focus on gratitude, positive elements of the day and things that make you happy. It does make me focus on the little things that get overlooked and to be more positive about them, I am (almost!) writing it every morning and it gets you off to a smiley start. ♡

Dorset half term holiday roundup ♡

We decided on more of a ‘staycation’ vibe for our half term holidays this February – living and working in Dorset is obviously great and we as a family really appreciate what is has to offer but all too often we get stuck in a rut and go on the same walks to the same places or don’t leave the village at all for days out and just walk through the forest (which is beautiful too!)

So for the last week or so we have been reacquainting ourselves with our beautiful county. It helps that the weather has been kind to us and inspires you to get out and go exploring.

Just before half term we took an after school trip to Ringstead Bay, it has to be one of our favourite local beaches. It is only a 10 min car ride from Moreton and is very beautiful and a good safe beach for the kids. On this afternoon the sun was shining and there were rainbows to welcome us. The waves were actually quite big for Ringstead and we were lucky enough to have some surfers too watch whilst the sun went down. The girl one collected sea glass (her new obsession when on the beach) and the rest of us enjoyed the views!

For valentines we made cute tassle bunting and homemade cards. We had our favourite breakfast of Rye, scrambled eggs, goats cheese & capers (sounds weird, tastes divine) which is a recipe from the fantastic Rosie Londoner blog ♡ http://www.thelondoner.me/2016/02/goats-cheese-caper-scramble.html

We then headed over to Freshwater Holiday Park – which is in Burton Bradstock. We had been told about the Jurassic Fun Centre which is a small water park with slides and flumes, initially not my idea of a romantic valentines but it was fantastic for the kids, great value and clean. They played for hours and we were rewarded with a trip to The Anchor Inn at Seatown – which is my favourite local pub at the moment, and that was romantic! Check it out – http://www.theanchorinnseatown.co.uk. It is right on the beach with fabulous views and has a delicious menu, cocktail list and open fires.

I am a huge fan of The National Trust and am on a mission to use our family subscription over the year as much as possible without the trips becoming repetitive for the kids, personally I could visit most of our local NT places all the time and never get bored.

We managed not one but two NT visits over half term. I spent a lovely day with two friends and our 9 children at Corfe Castle, it never disappoints and there are always really good activities for the children to enjoy. We managed a picnic in the gaps between rain and warmed up with hot chocolates in front of the wood burner in the visitor centre afterwards.

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We also visited Kingston Lacey with a crew of friends and kids and it was delightful. The sun was shining and the snowdrop garden was in full bloom, the kids ran about the gardens and explored whilst the adults ambled along behind them. We headed up to the kitchen garden where there is a small play area for the kids, it is quite basic with a couple of Wendy houses and mini tractors but they all absolutely loved it and played for ages until the sound started going down, the coffee hut closed and the adults lost enthusiasm!

The next day we continued our tour of Dorset to Kimmerage. I went with a neighbour and five of our children. It was a really lovely little trip and we were happy to discover that the new Etches Collection museum was now open – http://www.theetchescollection.org/home a beautifully designed museum and it contained a great exhibition, the children all loved it. We then had our own fossil hunting expedition on the beach.

We ended the week spending time with visiting friends and on Saturday decided to make the most of the glorious weather and head to Lulworth cove for a walk over Stair Hole in to the cove.

Sea paddling on a sunny Saturday ⛵️🍭

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We stopped for lunch, OUTSIDE! before heading back to Moreton. The children had not expelled all their energy and decide to go to the Ford where we played in the Kayak and watched the sun go down. On the return home everyone had warm baths before cosying down for the evening. It was the perfect end to a lovely week in Dorset.

T x

Hello February

February feels like such a relief. We are all a little too tough on ourselves in January, something I really would like to change!

When we get around the corner to February it feels like we suddenly have all sorts of things to look forward to, pancakes, valentines, half term and spring blooms to name but a few.

We just had a really lovely weekend, which definitely felt like we were over the January hump. It started with a birthday lunch for my sister in law Charlotte at Rick Steins new restaurant in Sandbanks.

We had a really wonderful time, the restaurant has changed a great deal over the years, my first visit was on my 18th birthday! The decoration is spot on and the staff delightful. We were given a great table with a view over the harbour and all enjoyed the delicious food. I decided on the crab and wasabi starter and then had the lamb cutlets with sides of greens & pumpkin. Completely delicious. Highly recommended!

The rest of the weekend included walks, rugby, delicious supper in the village with friends and a great day in West Dorset exploring the country lanes ending up at Mapperton House to have a walk through the garden.

Mapperton House

Mapperton House

Formal garden at Mapperton

Formal garden at Mapperton

Although it was a really grey day we were all so impressed by the beautiful gardens, there were lots of nooks & grottos for the children to explore and secret ponds full of frog spawn. We followed the map given to us to spot all the crocuses, snow drops and daffodils. I can only imagine how stunning it looks in spring and summer and I can’t wait to go back and do more exploring and have a look at the house, which opens from the end of March.

We are really lucky that both the children are happy to accompany us on these days out and don’t whinge too much! It is so important for us that they appreciate our county and all it has to offer, and that they are able to take pleasure in nature, walking the dog and spending time as a family. We are not yet at the gaming / computer / mobile phone stage and I really hope we can fend it off for quite a lot longer! They were bribed along this walk with the reward of tea & cake in the pretty Sawmills Cafe at the end which they both enjoyed very much, as did I, amazing courgette and pistachio cake!

We then went along to Corscombe to visit the children’s godfather, and had a quick drink in the quaint village pub. Massive log fires and traditional ales..

The children are always asking to go to a pub (we do not have one in the village so do not often frequent one) and this one was exactly what I think they thought it would be. I do love the idea of a village pub and the sense of community having one would bring, but in some ways it is probably a blessing not having one!

We are now planning our pancake recipes for tomorrow, so far the requests are ranging from traditional style with lemon & sugar to american style with bacon! for me it’s traditional style all the way, it can’t be beaten.

Hearts & flowers for Valentine's

Hearts & flowers for Valentine’s

Roses for Valentine's

Roses for Valentine’s

With Valentines falling on a Sunday the children are wanting to get fully involved and are making heart wreaths and planning the day. I am getting them all cards from papier.com which have brilliant designs. We already have spring flowers in the garden so the kids will be picking posies and making cookies. I think Harry and I will save our time for supper in the evening!

T xx