Sunday, 22 September 2013

Twenty Counties of August... Week 2

Hello Ladies and Gents,

With Week 1 of our vacation being a truly wonderful week (see link here for the
View from Twinwood
blog: Twenty Counties of August... Week 1), Week 2 began in earnest however we weren't so fortunate with the weather. It was the bank holiday weekend and as usual the rains were back. However, we had planned to go to Lindy Lou's in Rayleigh and we weren't going to let the weather change this. With umbrellas packed we drove to Rayleigh passing through Hertfordshire and Essex to get there. The weather hadn't eased up so to cheer ourselves up we went to Coles Vintage Tea Room for tea and cakes. Now, I've previously written a blog on this delightful place (Link: 'Coles Vintage Tea Room') but I'm going to re-iterate how wonderful this place is. It's a small little cafe with friendly staff and delicious food. The scones are the best we have ever had - even after being in Devon!
Husbandy at Twinwood
Jacket: Lindy Lou's
After indulging in a hearty feast, we braved the storm that was blowing across Essex and went to Lindy Lou's. Again, I've mentioned this hidden gem before (Link: 'Lindy Lou's') but we had to collect a jacket they had specially made for Husbandy. We arrived and after speaking to the owners (who are friendly and nothing is too much trouble), Husbandy tried on some trousers and the jacket - the jacket was a perfect fit! Having a garment made to measure at Lindy Lou's does not cost any different to those straight off the peg and with this fitting perfectly it was well worth it! We were in Lindy Lou's for  a good couple of hours and we walked away with a jacket, shirt and trousers and I've ordered a gorgeous 1940s cardi - I can't wait to get it! 

Sunday had arrived and it was Twinwood day! Twinwood is a vintage event
Twinwood: Kai's Cats
with over 60 bands, all manner of vintage stalls, dance lessons, burlesque, dancing, tearoom, vintage beauty salon - a truly vintage experience that lasts three days. Husbandy and I only went on the Sunday so we got ready (I would like to note the hair and make up worked well), bought a spare umbrella and traveled to Bedford (this adding the county of Bedfordshire to the list). The place was really easy to find and well signed posted. We pulled up, parked, collected our wrist bands and went and found our friends who were staying there for the whole event. After a quick
Dancing at Twinwood
cuppa, we went down to the main arena. There was a big stage with a dance floor and areas to set up chairs. Stalls were all around the edge of the arena with repro and original vintage clothes. Husbandy bought a great suit from 'Some like it Holy' and I tried on some 'Freddies of Pinewood' and 'Terry Smith Saddle Shoes' (which I'm pleased to let you know I now own). A note to anyone who goes... take lots of cash if you can as there is plenty of treasures to be bought! We watched a couple of bands (one of my favourites being Kai Cats) and after some tea and cake and BBQ we went back to the Hanger for some dancing. We lindy-hopped for a good hour or so but sadly as we were not staying we ventured back to the car and drove home. Twinwood was fantastic and I'd definitely go again...lets just hope we are as blessed with the weather!

Moi at Twinwood
The next few days we stayed in London (we ventured to Richmond so Surrey was now on the list as well as the City of London) just enjoying the sunshine and relaxing. On the Wednesday we went to Islington to see a burlesque show in aid of Dixie Evans week. I had always wanted to see Banbury Cross and I wasn't disappointed - her act as Marilyn Monroe was glamorous and had oozed sex appeal plus she does have the best bum ;). The Host was hilarious with his jokes and mannerisms and all the burlesque acts were captivating and filled the air with exotica and imagination :). It was a last minute call to go and a good one!

Clifton Suspension Bridge
Our last big adventure was to Bristol (and I forgot to add Buckinghamshire from last time). If you've never been to Bristol I would highly recommend it. As this is where we are from (and where we met) we know the City like the back of our hands. After visiting a few old haunts we went and sat up by Clifton Suspension Bridge. The sun shone and it made the bridge, estuary and Bristol look spectacular. After wondering around we then went into the town for a mooch and then decided to make a move home.

Moi and Gromit in Bristol
So there you have it... 20 counties in 2 weeks (we also went to Warwickshire but this was a swift visit)... a lot of happy memories created and a time when I truly relaxed and forgot all about all seems like a long time ago now... but writing this has reminded me of the great time Husbandy and I shared together and how lucky we are. With Autumn now looming its time to get the sewing machine out and make some pyjama bottoms! 

Links to places/ good websites:
List of Counties:
  1. Middlesex
  2. Buckinghamshire
  3. Wiltshire
  4. Somerset
  5. South Gloucestershire
  6. Gloucestershire
  7. City and County of Bristol
  8. Bath and North East Somerset
  9. Devon
  10. Monmouthshire
  11. Shropshire
  12. Herefordshire
  13. Worcestershire
  14. Surrey
  15. City of London
  16. Bedfordshire
  17. Warwickshire
  18. Essex
  19. Hertfordshire
  20. Berkshire
Happy Holidaying x

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Twenty Counties of August... Week 1

Hello Ladies and Gents,

Yet another gorgeous September day...with this sunny weather it reminds
me of my glorious vacation I had during the last two weeks in August. I went back to work last week and a few people commented on my tan and said 'Where did I go on holiday?' I said 'England...and I either visited or drove through twenty counties of it!' Yes, you read right, I went to twenty counties in two weeks and had a blast! Let me tell you about some of my adventures....

Southern Valley Railway
During July when the weather was so fabulous, Husbandy and I booked to go to the day had come so we packed up the Mini and set off...! The sun was shining and the skies were blue - even an overturned lorry on the M5 was not going to dampen my mood...we were off to Devon to start our holiday - first stop, the Southern Valley Railway. We soon ate the miles and passed through Middlesex, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and arrived in the beautiful county of Devon in time for the 3pm train from Buckfastleigh to Totnes. This beautiful restored railway is seven miles long and passes through some quintessentially British countryside following the River Dart and rolling hills. Husbandy and I were lucky enough to get a carriage all to ourselves so we
On the ferry to Kingswear
relaxed and enjoyed the ride in 193
0s style. Soon the rail ride was over and after eating some scrummy clotted cream ice cream we traveled on to our B&B in the picturesque town of Dartmouth. The B&B was called 'The Captain's House' and it was such a quaint B&B. The room was large with a double bed and en-suite shower room. After a fish and chip supper from the Frying Pan (best chip shop in Dartmouth) we went back to the B&B to dream of Devonshire cream teas and sunshine! 

Goodrington Sands
Morning came and after a hearty breakfast we went down to catch the ferry from Dartmouth to Kingswear to go on another train... this time the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway. This line follows the cost from Kingswear to Paignton and again goes through some majestic countryside. It passes the lovely sea side town of Goodrington Sands which was so colourful with all its beach huts. It also stops at Greenway Halt which is where Poirot was filmed as Agatha Christie did live and write some of her books in Devon! Again we were fortunate to get a carriage all to ourselves and loved the style of
Husbandy at Blackpool Sands
the 1950s decor. On arrival back to Kingswear we got the ferry back across and made our way to Blackpool sands for an afternoon of relaxing and sunbathing.

After another night and breakfast in The Captain's House we had to say goodbye to the lovely little place...we packed up the Mini but before we moved on we had a morning in Dartmouth. There was a band playing in the bandstand and a lovely little market where we indulged in some yummy scotch eggs and hot dogs. After having a mooch
Dartmouth looking over to Kingswear
around we decided to move on to Totnes. Totnes is a little town on the River Dart - a paradise for charity shop hunters, tearooms lovers and sewing bees. Husbandy and I had a yummy Devonshire Cream Tea at the Anne of Cleves, it was tasty. I also purchased a lovely bedspread from a charity shop. With full bellies we left Totnes to travel to Dartmoor to our next place to stay. 

It was now Thursday and the sun was still shining and reaching temperatures of
Dartmoor Ponies
25 degrees. Husbandy and I decided to have a day on Dartmoor so traveled to Princetown. Princetown is a town right in the centre of the Moor with a prison dating back to the seventeen hundreds. The town itself has a few little shops (a great jewellery shop) and a couple of museums with the prison museum being a must visit. After a short while we drove up further into the Moor parked the car and walked onto the Moor for a relaxing afternoon - seeing no-one but sheep for hours - it was magical! Sadly time
On the Moor
rushed by and we went back to the car to travel all the way to Ludlow to stay with my in-laws and see our little guinea pig who had been there for his holidays. Now to get to Ludlow we travelled through B&NES, South Gloucestershire, City and County of Bristol, Monmouthshire, Herefordshire and Shropshire... making a total of eleven counties so far... wow.

On the Friday we went to Ludlow to visit Pepper Lane Vintage which is a great vintage shop (I've mentioned on a previous blog). I tried on some beautiful items but they were either to big or a little snug so left empty handed this time...but I know I will back again soon. We both started to feel a little peckish so we went to De Greys Tea Room for a spot of lunch. The food in their was scrumptious and the best flapjack I had ever tasted! On leaving Ludlow we went to Malvern (Worcestershire). If you've not been to Malvern there is so much to
Hairdressers in Malvern 
see and do...we wanted to walk to the top but sadly the sun had hidden itself for the day (our only grey day) so we headed for Brays instead. Brays is a shop that has not changed inside since it was opened so is a magnificent store to go to. It has some lovely bits as well as some unusual items of clothing...I picked up a handmade Japanese Kimono...its fabulous and so comfy.

Burgh Island 2008
With the weather not improving we decided to head back from Ludlow to London late on the Friday night so managed to sneak in another county (Gloucestershire) before reaching London in the small hours of Saturday morning. With one week done and with plenty of sunshine we felt we had been truly blessed....Devon is a special place for reason being as its where my gorgeous Husbandy and I went to Burgh Island for our honeymoon in 2008. I hate to say the old cliche but there is nothing like holidaying in England when you have the weather.... I shall leave this blog here and share with you the other counties and delights in a second installment of the Twenty Counties of August...Week 2.

Links to places we visited:

Happy Summertime xx