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 ♡

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 – 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 – 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

Autumn in Dorset

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run….

Ah Keats, you nailed it there. Autumn in the countryside is just perfect, my most favorite season.

As beautiful as summer is there is something about September and the start of Autumn that feels much more like a new year than “New Year”. There is a clear change to the season, new diaries, kids back at school and the all exciting feeling that Christmas is just around the corner.

We have a new year plan to discover more of Dorset and the Purbeck’s on foot. We love walking and having Plum gives us an added excuse to get out there and see more of our beautiful county.

Last week we decided to explore Mupe Bay – to the west of Lulworth Cove, with no real plan we just headed down to the beach to see what happened. We nipped in to the tourist information center (which is fab by the way, with a really cute little coffee kiosk and geological info) to pick up a map and discovered that access to Mupe Bay is across the Army ranges which are only open weekends and school holidays. Plans scuppered for another day we had a look at the other maps offering 6 routes around Lulworth. We chose route 1 which starts at Lulworth Castle and takes you on a 5k loop around the estate.

The walk starts at the front of the majestic Lulworth castle (parking £3 per day in car park). You then head through the deer park full of amazing trees, a little further on past the gate house and a farm, across a field or two and you arrive at the Lake. Who knew there was a lake on the Lulworth estate? Not us, what a find. It’s so pretty, there are swans drifting by and an amazing Fort built on one side. You can walk around it and the route then takes you back across parkland to the castle.

I am so pleased we found this walk, one to do with all the family one weekend, rounding off with a drink in front of the fire at the Weld Arms on the way home.

I’ll share more discoveries as we find them.

T x

‘The Vale of great Dairies’

Thomas Hardy described the fields and farms that make up the surrounding areas of Moreton as ‘the vale of great dairies’ which is pretty accurate, there are a lot of dairy farms, lush fields and plenty of cows!

There is so much more to Moreton though, I have loved this village since I was a small child and would visit from a neighboring village with my Mumma through the summer.

The main focal point for visitors is our beautiful Ford, which is the longest in the south of England, it is a beautiful place through the whole year and it has become a important place for us as a family. We walk across the Ford every day, in the winter when it’s frosty it looks so beautiful at sunrise and is still and peaceful, at other times when we have had heavy rainfall the water level comes up almost to the bridge you have to be really careful if the dogs want to swim (as my dear friend Abi found out when she had to jump in to the freezing water to rescue her exuberant pup Hunter!)

Once the weather starts to warm up a little, around late April we start to visit a bit more with the children, they would literally spend hours with their river shoes on having a paddle, playing on boogie boards and charging over to the little island that appears when the levels are lower. When the weather is super nice we wait till early evening when the crowds have gone home, take a picnic supper and (sometimes!) a glass of wine and spend the last hours of the sunshine there.

Supper picnic at the Ford

Supper picnic at the Ford

Boogie Boarding

Boogie Boarding

You will see tractors, ponies, horse & carriages, soldiers and all sorts of other things crossing the Ford at different times in the year, I met a dog walker there the other day who remembers when the cows would cross daily from the fields beyond the Ford to go down to the dairy to be milked. Yesterday there was a puppy obedience class taking place on the waters edge and through the warmer months you see a lot of Brides & Grooms from the church there after their wedding having photographs taken.

Nature wise I often see the kingfisher when I go for a run at dawn and more recently herons too. Swans, plenty of ducks and jumping fish (not entirely sure what they are).

Most importantly though, it is Plums MOST favorite place in the world. Especially when there is a ball or stick being thrown for her. She spent a great deal of last weekend slipping out of our gate, trotting of down the street to the Ford where she knew there would be plenty of kids playing and happy to throw sticks. This caused me many a panic attack until I realised where she was…..

The resident Pooch of the Ford!

Beyond the Ford up in to Moreton forest there are some brilliant walking / running cycling trails. You can get to Clouds Hill and to many other pretty areas of Dorset. There is the Jubilee trail goes across the stile up in to the Forest and on through Oakers wood. Currently there is a very pretty copse on this route full of Bluebells, if the rain holds off I am heading that way today!

T xx

Weekend escapades

Good morning, happy Monday! It is a grey day here in Moreton and I am needing some serious motivation to get myself up and running, literally running, in the woods with little Plum.
We have had an interesting few weeks with our little Plum, quite traumatic and to be honest I don’t think I am entirely recovered.

part of the family

part of the family

Harry & Plum

Harry & Plum

Last Saturday we took Plum for a brief walk at a local wood whilst the kids played football and she was there one minute, gone the next! We searched for hours and must have walked miles to find her.. it was absolutely awful. The forest we were in is huge and I was fearing the worst. Luckily a wonderful couple found her, popped a lead on her and took her to the vets to have her chip scanned. We got the call and were so relieved! keeping her very close for the time being, thank goodness for technology and the kindness of strangers!!

We have been getting in lots of lovely new produce at The Dovecote farm shop and most of it is grown on site. It’s lovely to be able to pop in and have a coffee, read the papers and pick up some yummy bits and bobs, we enjoyed some delicious Seville marmalade over the weekend as well as veggies and sausages. The menu in the cafe has had as revamp and I enjoyed some lovely lunches there last week, soup, cassoulet and fishcakes..

Yummy soup

Yummy soup

Seville Marmalade made at The Dovecote

Seville Marmalade made at The Dovecote

We had a lovely Friday evening with our great friends Sophia & Mike, and on Sunday enjoyed a muddy and windy walk along the hill at the top of Ringstead, down to St Catherine’s Chapel by the sea and back. The sea mist was blowing in and we all got VERY wet and muddy, but the fresh air blew away the cobwebs. The views at the top are amazing and you can see along the coast and across to Portland. A highly recommended walk for anyone visiting Dorset.

After the walk we got the car stuck in a very muddy patch in the car park and needed rescuing by our friend & neighbour Scott and his trusty Defender, it was not quite how I had planned our Sunday on going but we redeemed the day by paying Scott & his family back for his time with a delicious supper of Osso Bucco and some lovely red wine.

I will be able to reveal the new interior scheme for our bedroom at the manor this week and will hopefully get started on the decorating by Wednesday.

I know what colours I think I want to use but they are not officially released until this afternoon – I think I need to run the idea by a few trusted friends first!

T x

Hiking up the hill…..

With the children finally back in school after what seemed like a mammoth break it has been time to catch up on the vast amount of stuff that has fallen to the wayside over the last three weeks.. admin, accounts, wedding planning, laundry (literally mountains of the stuff) texts unanswered from weeks ago – the usual for Mamas and the self employed all across the land.

I have been supported through the last few days by mainlining all varieties of Pukka Tea (cinnamon and apple flavor I credit you with a lot) as I, like most people I seem to talk to are depriving myself from anything ‘nice’ – wine, chocolate, carbs, cheese mmmmmm as it is JANUARY, yey! The month of absolute self inflicted torture – punishment for having such a lovely time over Christmas and actually letting ones hair down and not giving a damn….

Anyway, the plus side to all this is the wonderful feeling of vitality, positivity and wellbeing. Getting outside and breathing in all that lovely fresh air that is there for us. Today I took the pup up a nice big hill near the sea. Ham Hill (Hambury Tout) at Lulworth.

Pom at the top….

Fully wrapped up in my own pom poms for the trek – Jumper Antipodium –

It was just what I needed and so very refreshing, back to work this afternoon preparing The Manor for the weekends party of guests and putting some new interior design plans in to action at the cottage and at The Manor. More to come on that front.

T x