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