Elevenses, shooting & a dungeon lunch – Jen’s 30th Birthday

21-Oct-2015 0 , , , ,

For my sister’s 30th birthday Gareth arranged a get-together consisting of a clay pigeon shoot in the morning followed by a pub lunch in a one of England’s oldest pubs.

To begin the celebrations, family and friends met up at Wick Farm in Bath to shoot some clays. The day started with sausage baps, a quick warning about the potential shoulder bruises and then people were split into groups to head over to the different shooting stalls.

Jen's 30th Birthday

I had ear ache so didn’t shoot (I didn’t think loud noises right next to my ear would help!) so I was the designated photographer. That means quite a bit of pressure when your sister studied the topic at university! Mike went first in his group and made it look easy getting 8 out of 10 clays!

Jen's 30th Birthday

Although looking back at the pictures, this could be him tampering with his score…

Jen's 30th Birthday

Everyone managed to hit some clays, which was quite impressive seeing as it was the first time for some.

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

There were three areas; two in wooden huts where you shoot the clays coming across the field and one where you shoot the clays as they come over your head – definitely the hardest one.

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

After shooting, we all headed back to the barn and huddled around the heater, enjoying a glass of prosecco for the girls and cider and beer for the boys, whilst we warmed up.

The scores were talleyed up and the winner of the day was Gareth (and he was the organiser – fix!!). The instructors didn’t reward him though as they thought the prize should go to Anneka for coming top out of the girls. Out came some trout they had caught themselves – little did they know that Anneka was a vegetarian! The prize then got passed to Jen for being the next top girl, and the poor man didn’t realise that fish is Jen’s worst nightmare (allergic apparently hmmm…!).

Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Whilst looking around the cabin I noticed the below picture on the wall, the games keeper came over to tell me the story behind it – a man shot a clay, hit it and also hit a duck flying behind! The day was renamed daffy duck day!

Jen's 30th Birthday

A few more of Jen’s friends arrived and we headed over to the pub, The George Inn, to warm up next to the huge log fires.

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Gareth had hired out the ‘Dungeon’ Room in the pub which sounds a little scary but was a great location for us all to have lunch.

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen's 30th Birthday

The food was delicious – I managed one shot of my salmon and sweet potato fish cake before becoming too preoccupied with eating and even that picture didn’t come out great. After dinner Jen opened some birthday presents.

Jen's 30th Birthday

After everyone had finished their main course, Mike and I went out to the car to get the birthday cake I had made for Jen. This was a chocoholics dream inspired by Georgina Haydens – favourite chocolate cake she made for Jool’s Oliver’s birthday.

Jen's 30th Birthday

Mike and I stood outside the dungeon door trying to light the candles and 30-shaped sparkler. Unfortunately the 30-shaped one was really difficult to light and by the time we managed it the others had gone out! Not that Jen noticed with everyone singing “Happy Birthday to yooooou” as we walked over to her table.

Jen's 30th Birthday

Jen’s birthday present from me was too big to fit in my Mum and Dad’s car (with Mike, Orla and I sat in the back) so I took a photo of it to send to her. As it wasn’t Jen’s actual birthday until the Monday, I delayed showing her until Monday evening when she got the following pictures texted to her.

Jen's 30th Birthday Jen's 30th Birthday

An almond blossom tree! My sister seems to already have everything (hence the unusual birthday present of glass blowing last year) so I was finding it difficult to buy something that was suitable for a 30th and something ‘keepable’ for many years to come. Then my Dad inspired me – he bought my Mum a cherry blossom tree when she was thirty and you can still see it in the garden of our old house in Weymouth.

I chose it as it had the prettiest flowers (on the label) out of all the trees in the garden centre and also bought a big pot so that Jen can save planting it until they are in a house of their own.

Happy 30th Birthday big (old) sister!

Jen's 30th Birthday

 

Alphabet dates: Dancing!

It was my turn in alphabet dates with the letter D. I took quite a while to think of something – darts, dominoes!?

In the end I found Gorgon City were playing at the O2 in Boscombe as part of their UK tour so I thought Mike and I could go watch them under the Dancing category! I bought tickets a while ago and then told Mike to keep that Friday night free.

Alphabet dates: Dancing!

I’m terrible at keeping surprises a surprise and kept asking Mike if he wanted me to tell him our plans. He resisted though!

I decided to add another feature to our dates in that we have to get as many letter items in as possible (always competitive!). So we headed back to the Treehouse after work on Friday night and had some homemade strawberry daiquiris with doritos to start, followed by a dinner of crispy duck.

Alphabet dates: Dancing! Alphabet dates: Dancing!

Slight deviation from the date but worth a note for the on-line ‘diary’… just as we were leaving Mike spotted a fly and insisted he ambush it before we left. Every possible fly swatting utensil was used much to my amusement! Here is just a taster of shots…

Alphabet dates: Dancing!

As we walked up to the O2 in Boscombe the queue looked slightly concerning from the outside, in that we were joining an under 18’s disco, but the age averaged out whilst we were inside (probably by us bringing the average down!). I ordered some drinks at the bar but my shouting over the music must have been misheard and we somehow ended up with a double vodka and monster… so romantic for our date!

Alphabet dates: Dancing!

The music was really good and Gorgon City played all my favourite songs, in case you want to listen:

The best song being ‘Ready For Your Love’ (dum dum dum dummm) which they saved until last.

Alphabet dates: Dancing!

Alphabet dates: Dancing!

There were a few DJ’s on after Gorgon City but Mike and I jumped in a taxi and headed back to the Treehouse for ‘D’runk food which consisted of a packet of quavers!

Over to Mike to think of something ‘E’xciting next!

Sunday Skate

Earlier in the spring (I am playing blogging catch up!) after a long drive back from Essex visiting Mike’s family for the weekend, we got back to the Treehouse and decided to make the most of the last bit of sunshine and head down to the beach. We took my penny skateboard and a mini picnic to enjoy ‘beside the sea’.

Sunday Skate Sunday Skate

I had the first go – Alum Chine has a long stretch of smooth tarmac through the trees so it is perfect for skateboarding on. I went down a (mini) hill and set top speed – about 10mph, so fast!

Sunday Skate

I then passed the board over to Mike, he unfortunately hit a large twig and had a bit of a tumble – whooops!

Sunday Skate Sunday Skate

Sunday Skate

After surviving the rest of the Chine, we arrived at the beach just as the sun was setting.

Sunday Skate Sunday Skate

Sunday Skate

Admiring the beach huts that have a never ending waiting list.

Sunday Skate

We walked along a groyne to avoid getting sandy shoes and sat near the water’s edge to watch the sunset and enjoy the last glimpse of the sunshine.

Sunday Skate Sunday Skate Sunday Skate

Sunday Skate

Our beach picnic contained a flask of hot coffee and a couple of cream cakes – they were eaten very quickly. The skateboard made for a great table!

Sunday Skate

Sunday Skate Sunday Skate

We stayed there until it started to get dark and then headed back home to make some fajitas for dinner.

Sunday Skate

Sunday Skate Sunday Skate

Great SNC (Sunday Night Club)!

Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset.

On a Saturday afternoon back in November we took Orla over to Ringstead Bay to reward her for patiently waiting for us in the house whilst we were glass blowing.

Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset.

 

It was a lovely sunny day but quite blustery so we wrapped up warm and drove out through Osmington. We forgot until we got to the only carpark near the beach that the parking was £5 per car! So if you make a visit I would recommend parking in Osmington Mills and walking along the coast path to get down to the bay.

Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset. Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset.

I haven’t been to Ringstead before but it’s a spot Orla has frequented many times with other members of the family. She headed straight to the sea, but only dipped her paws in…!

Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset. Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset. Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset.

There are great views across to Weymouth and Portland. The wind made for big waves and there were a few paddle boarders and windsurfers making the most of the conditions.

Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset. Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset. Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset.

We walked along the beach, stomping on seaweed and throwing pebbles in the sea.

Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset. Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset.

Dad getting some material for his instagram feed…. hashtag blacklab!

Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset.

Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset. Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset.

Jen got a new photo frame in our Home Sense shopping spree the day before and wanted a family portrait to put into it. So we had a impromptu Turnbull photo shoot, poor Gareth’s back!

Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset. Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset. Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset. Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset.

I think I know which one she’ll pick!

Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset.

We walked back to the car and headed home via The Springhead – the village pub in Sutton Poyntz, complete with pond, weeping willow trees and lots of ducks, for some ciders, ales, bacon crisps and dog treats for Orla. Although she was probably more interested in the ducks.

All that walking certainly tired someone out…

Orla Walks: Ringstead Beach, Dorset.

A perfect winters Saturday afternoon.

Glassblowing

My sister, Jen’s birthday was back in February. As she is the girl that has everything I wasn’t sure what to buy her. As if she knew I was stuck, my friend at work sent me a link advertising glass blowing lessons in Weymouth, which is where my family are from. Perfect present!

All of my family also wanted to get involved in the lesson, so it took a long time to find a free Saturday for us all. Roll on to the 1st November and we all headed down to Stuart Wiltshire’s studio on Saint Nicholas Street in Weymouth. Stuart’ studio has been there since 2011, he is originally from Devon and started work in the Dartington Crystal factory, who’s vases are a favourite of mine and feature in the Treehouse!

We had a look around the workshop before Stuart showed us the different objects we could make in the lesson, either two whiskey tumblers, two baubles, a small bowl or a bud vase. Mike went for the tumblers, Gareth and Dad went for vases and my Mum, sister and I went for baubles.
Stuart walked us through what we would be doing and talked about the different machines and his furnace which was at least 1,100 degrees C – hotter than molten lava! Now you could understand why everyone working in the studio wore shorts and tee shirt despite it being November.
Mike went first with his clear tumblers to show us all how to do it.

Glassblowing
 Glassblowing Glassblowing
Gareth was up next. Making his blue vase after the wife had ‘advised’ him not to choose yellow for his colour…
Glassblowing Glassblowing Glassblowing
  Glassblowing
Dad was the last of the boys to have a go with his blue vase. Rocking the safety ‘men in black’ shades…Glassblowing
Glassblowing Glassblowing
Then it was Mum’s go with the baubles.
Glassblowing Glassblowing Glassblowing
She managed to blow a hole through her first one so got another go that one ended up dropping on the floor! It was undamaged as the glass was still so hot it just bounced and didn’t smash.
Glassblowing Glassblowing
Then it was my go with red and white glittery baubles.
GlassblowingGlassblowing Glassblowing
Glassblowing
Saving the birthday girl for last, Jen made her white and glitter baubles.
 Glassblowing Glassblowing Glassblowing Glassblowing
Dad went to pick them up the following Monday, here are the finished products. I am excited to put the baubles on my Christmas tree!
Glassblowing
A great day out and I would highly recommend it. Stuart was an excellent teacher!Happy Birthday Jen :)

Garnett girls day out

My Mum and Sister are both teachers so were off work last Friday due to the autumn half term. As I still had some holiday left before the end of the year, Mum suggested taking a day off work and all of us having a girls day. They decided to come up to Bournemouth so we could go shopping and have afternoon tea together. Dad must have overheard the conversation as I got a text later in the evening saying “are you going to be doing a trolley dash in John Lewis? Do I need to check the credit limit on Mum’s card hahaha” #dadlols!

It is a rare choice for Mum to go shopping, so my sister and I made the most of it! The last time my sister visited our flat everything she commented on was bought in HomeSense, so she was really keen to pay a visit. Being the shopaholic that she is, she loved it!

My bedroom at home at my parents’ house has just been decorated, so we picked out some new bedding and bits and pieces for it. For those that know my old room, the candy striped wall is no more! :(

"ohh but I really need another one Mum...!"

“ohh but I really need another one Mum…!”

After shopping we headed over to Harbour Heights Hotel for afternoon tea. This is my go to place for any visitors to Bournemouth, as the views across Poole Harbour to Brownsea Island are beeeeeautiful! Despite it being the last day of October the weather was lovely, clear blue skies and lots of sunshine. We sat on the terrace enjoying the view without needing to wear coats or scarves. Probably the last time we will be able to do that this year.

 

Our tea, sandwiches and cakes arrived not long after we ordered and it was all very yummy.

Garnett girls day out

Garnett girls day out

Garnett girls day out

Garnett girls day out

I need to learn how to use the camera Mike bought me for my birthday properly, the view was stunning, but I haven’t captured it very well!

Garnett girls day out Garnett girls day out

Back to the food! We had a mixture of classic English sandwiches – egg & cress, cheese & pickle, ham & mustard and cream cheese & cucumber. The cake selections consisted of macaroons, coffee & chocolate sponges and of course scones with jam and cream.

Garnett girls day out

Garnett girls day out

Jam or cream first?

Jam or cream first…!?

Garnett girls day out

Garnett girls day out

As I insisted we order an afternoon tea each, there was quite a bit left over at the end. The Garnett family are not ones to waste food so we asked to take the remaining cakes and scones home with us. It’s the first time I have had to sign a disclaimer from a restaurant to do so!

Garnett girls day out

Eat your cakes immediately or please sign here.

Eat your cakes immediately or please sign here.

As the sun was setting we left the hotel with full tummies and may or may not have gone back to the shops for a little more retail therapy!

<3

<3

A bloody good brunch

After Zurich I stayed in London for the weekend. On Saturday Mike and I headed over to Shoreditch to meet up with friends at Penkul and Banks for brunch that included unlimited processco and bloody marys – best brunch idea ever!

I lost count of how many prossecos and bloody mary's we had.

 

A bloody good brunch A bloody good brunch  A bloody good brunch

A bloody good brunch

It was the first time I had seen everyone since getting my camera for my birthday, Laura decided to test it out for me…

A bloody good brunch

We had some good conversations about beards whilst having lots of bubbly top ups.

Beards.

I lost count of how many prossecos and bloody mary’s we had!

I am still getting used to being a ‘blogger’ and totally forgot to take a picture of any of the food, so you will just have to take my word for it that it was good! As were the bottomless drinks – which left a certain someone slightly tipsy, mentioning no names… Laura!!

Rawlins took a little fancy to the lady serving us and decided to write a note leaving his number and left it with our bill. We didn’t realise her friends were sat on the table next to us and when they heard about it they read the note and decided Rawlo needed to rewrite it and insisted a smiley face was added!

Champagne cycles.

Lots of input for the note!

Lots of input for the note!

Rawlo and his note!

:)

:)

A bloody good brunch

After the bar closed at Penkul we moved on to a few pubs, the boys wanted to watch the football so Laura and I headed elsewhere to escape and have a coffee.

A bloody good brunch

Rat and I have birthdays that are close so we always do something joint to celebrate (the more celebrations the better!) and this year decided to go to Clutch for dinner. We met up with some more friends on the way and headed over to Hackney. Clutch is located in what looks like the middle of a housing estate, so feels quite strange sat outside a yellow building on fake grass drinking cocktails. Apparently Mary J Blige had been in earlier for lunch and the guys that had been before raved about it so I was excited to try the food. Of course more cocktails and bloody marys were needed first!

A bloody good brunch A bloody good brunch A bloody good brunch

A bloody good brunch A bloody good brunch A bloody good brunch A bloody good brunch

A bloody good brunch

A bloody good brunch A bloody good brunch

It didn’t disappoint, so much so I took two food photos then gave up to prioritise eating!

Lemon and parmesan chicken goujons.

Lemon and parmesan chicken goujons.

A bloody good brunch

Brunch in Westbourne

Brunch in Westbourne.

After a long lazy lie-in, Mike and I got up and walked into Westbourne for breakfast. We decided to walk through the Chine so I could practise taking pictures for this blog malarkey.

'Casual' stroll mode.

‘Casual’ stroll mode.

Brunch in Westbourne.

Throwing a few maple tree seed helicopters was essential pre brunch activities…

Finding suitable helicopters.

Finding suitable helicopters.

Launch pad.

Launch pad.

We are very lucky where we live (in the ‘Treehouse’!) and Alum Chine is right on our doorstep. When you walk down into the Chine you are below road level and all you can hear are birds and all you can see are trees, it really is beautiful! Despite moving in to the flat in March we hadn’t walked this way through the Chine yet, only going the other way towards the beach. We learnt that Robert Louis Stevenson used to live overlooking the chine…. In good company!

Brunch in Westbourne. Brunch in Westbourne.

Alum Chine bridge,

Alum Chine bridge,

After walking the wrong way and delighting in the fact that if we walk through the Chine we are only a stones throw away from the Living Room (amazing breakfasts) we headed to Le Petit Prince – a family-run patisserie bakery and cafe on Seamoor Road in Westbourne.

Le Petit Prince.

Le Petit Prince.

Brunch in Westbourne. Brunch in Westbourne. Brunch in Westbourne.

You can tell what has been popular!

You can tell what has been popular!

It’s quite small inside and is always full but luckily some people left just as we arrived so we pounced in the empty table.

Mike and I couldn’t decide from the menu so got two different orders and shared half each. We went for ‘The Hungry Fox’ (Westbourne glory sausage, shropshire blue cheese, lime pickled onions and romaine lettuce) and ‘The Prince’s Tale Continued…’ (sweet chilli, sesame and lime crayfish tails with lime and avacado, thai mayo and lettuce leaves). They were both delicious! I can’t recommend the place strongly enough, the drinks were very tasty as well. I had lime and lemonade that disappeared quickly and Mike enjoyed his coffee so much so that we bought a bag of whole coffee beans to take home. A good excuse to test the coffee grinder my Mum & Dad got me for my birthday!

The menu at Le Petit Prince & some cheese straws whilst deciding what to have.

The menu at Le Petit Prince & some cheese straws whilst deciding what to have.

Brunch in Westbourne. Brunch in Westbourne.

Mike mid coffee.

Mike mid coffee.

Enjoying the fresh lime and lemonade.

Enjoying the fresh lime and lemonade.

Brunch in Westbourne.

It’s always good to go nearer the end of lunchtime, the last couple of times we have gone at this time, we have been given fresh cakes and bread to take home.

Freebies.

Freebies.

Important Saturday scores check.

Important Saturday scores check.

Westbourne Arcade.

Westbourne Arcade.

We meandered through Westbourne back towards home and then headed to John Lewis to buy a light for our Living Room. Both our families were kind enough to give us money towards a light for a moving-in present. Now it will probably sit in its box waiting to be out up for three months like the kitchen light!

Alphabet Dates: Crabbing

Mike and I are alphabet dating…. ‘as it says on the tin’ – a date based on each letter of the alphabet. I only remembered to take pictures from date C onwards, so A (art) and B (bike ride to Boscombe) are missing!

It was Mike’s turn to think of something. As I haven’t ever been crabbing before (despite being a born and raised seaside girl) he decided we would go down to Mudeford Quay and give it a go.

September sunshine.

September sunshine.

Swans - pretty, but so aggressive!

Swans – pretty, but so aggressive!

We bought some bait (mackerel, although crabs seem to be very partial to a bit of raw bacon), a bucket and a line and got started. It took a while to catch our first crab, but it was worth the wait, it was a whopper!

Mike showing me how it's done.

Mike showing me how it’s done.

Crabbing, Mudeford Quay

Crabbing, Mudeford Quay

 

It’s quite a popular spot, there were people lined all along the quay wall.

Popular spot!

Some people were taking the easy route and using nets, one family we saw caught over 100!

I think they counted to over 100!

Big un' and little un'.

Big un’ and little un’.

Releasing back to the sea.

Releasing crabs back to the sea.

Now to think of an activity beginning with D…

Bournemouth Airshow 2014

Every year Bournemouth holds an air show at the end of August – this year it was from Thursday 28th – 31st August 2014.

Mike and I went down to the beach on Saturday afternoon to watch some of the planes. You could hear them roaring over the flat in the morning. It was quite cold but the beach was packed!

The Red Arrows without a doubt being my highlight Even though they do the same routine and I have watched them every year since I can remember at the Weymouth Carnival when I was younger, they are still great to watch!

Not ideal August beach wear!

Not ideal August beach wear!

Bournemouth Airshow 2014.

Miss Demeanour

Miss Demeanour

The Vulcan

The Vulcan

Red Arrows.

Red Arrows.

The famous Red Arrows heart.

The famous Red Arrows heart.

Red Arrows.

Red Arrows.

Red Arrows.

Red Arrows.

Red Arrows.

Red Arrows.

Apparently they can fly 6 feet apart – pretty impressive!

Red Arrows.

Red Arrows.

We went back down to the beach on the Sunday. It was much warmer so didn’t need the jumpers and jeans from the day before and brought out the summer wear!

Bournemouth Airshow 2014.

Flotilla.

Flotilla.

Paddleboarders.

Paddleboarders.

Beach huts at Alum Chine.

Beach huts at Alum Chine.

Alum Chine beach looking towards Bournemouth Pier.

Alum Chine beach looking towards Bournemouth Pier.

Busy Alum Chine beach.

Busy Alum Chine beach.

Jade and Rat were visiting from London so they came down and joined us. Jade and I tested the selfie mode on the camera.

Jade and I

Jade and I

Mike and I enjoyed a jug of pimms in the sunshine and went swimming in the sea. Turned out to be the last dip of the year.

Pimms!

Pimms!

Some more shots of the planes that went over Bournemouth Bay (mostly taken by Mike!).

B-17 Sally-B Flying Fortress.

B-17 Sally-B Flying Fortress.

Lancaster Bomber and Rolls Royce Spitfire.

Lancaster Bomber and Rolls Royce Spitfire.

Miss Demeanour.

Miss Demeanour.