Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Best Of Suffolk?

 

 
We choose the company Best of Suffolk for our little break away in February. I'd used them last year, when I went to Aldeburgh with my friend. Our cottage last year had been wonderful, decorated to a very high standard.
By choosing a company like this, you would expect high standards, that's what their reputation is built on, and you pay a premium for it, which is absolutely fine, if that's what you get.
So with high expectations I booked Pebble Beach Cottage.
 
 
The cottage easily accommodated five people, there was a large kitchen with a great farmhouse table in its centre.....and the most amazing ercol chairs! It had top spec appliances, clean and tidy. Just what you would wish for. The owners had left wine, biscuits, tea and coffee, a great welcome. There was also cleaning materials, there's nothing worse than having to go out and buy washing up liquid!
We couldn't find any mugs or cups, only wine glasses, at first I thought this might be a sign from the universe....I must only drink wine this holiday, no tea allowed ;) Anyway, we searched everywhere, eventually I went out in the rain and purchased 4 of the cheapest mugs I could find....(and Aldeburgh isn't a cheap place to purchase anything!) It was only when I rang my friend later that she asked if I'd looked in the dishwasher......er, no.....you can tell we don't own a dishwasher can't you! There they were, along with the fourth bowl, (I had in my head been working out how we were all going to eat cereal together in the morning!)
 
 
 
We went off to explore the bedrooms....a lovely king size bed, a double and single bedroom. The beds were comfy, bedding clean and ample clothes storage, I'm not sure there would be enough coat hangers for a weeks stay though, why are there never enough coat hangers?!
The cottage is in a quiet part of the town....mind you I'm not sure any part is particularly noisy, it was dark, comfortable and quiet....just what's needed to for restful sleep!
The bathroom was ok, white suite, seaside theme. The taps needed a good scrub but the toilet was nice and clean. The shower head however leaved much to be desired, it really needed replacing. It didn't work particularly well, and it was grubby. Luckily there was a constant supply of lovely hot water.
When we arrived, the cottage was cold, the heating had been left on low but a lovely touch would have been for the caretaker to have turned up the heating prior to us arriving. It took a whole day for the cottage to properly heat up.
Some other lovely touches were the White Company toiletries and the super, soft fluffy towels.
 

 

 
But what was sooooo disappointing about the cottage, was the living room. In my head I had a cosy, comfortable living room.....where we would all snuggle up around the log burner.
I couldn't have been further from the truth.....the log burner was great, but there wasn't one comfortable chair in the house! The settee was hard, very stained, luckily I'd taken my crochet blankets with me so covered it over with them. The two chairs were like they'd been pulled off a skip....now I know many a lovely thing has been pulled off a skip, but these were so hard, they really should have stayed there!
This room was in such sharp contrast with the rest of the cottage, I felt like I was in different accomodation. Student accomodation! There wasn't a decent lamp in this room either so I couldn't even make it look cosy. There were lovely curtains and cushions, sadly lost in the shabbiness of the room.
So in summary, beautiful bedrooms, a lovely large farmhouse kitchen, plenty of hot water and a great log burner. Lots of lovely welcoming touches, wine, toiletries, good supply of toilet paper....these things count! They owner was flexible with my arrival date and departure time which I was very grateful for.
 
Would I stop here again? No, not unless the owners updated the shower and invested some money and love into the living room. It cries out to be made into a comfortable, cosy place to relax in. I really do need a comfy place to sit, and I'm sure I'm not on my own!
Would I use Best of Suffolk again, well the cottage I stayed in last year was perfect, and the house my friend booked was amazing so maybe, but I would be very interested to know what their inspection process is, and how they select their properties. Also even though I've left feedback they haven't contacted me, even to say they were sorry I was disappointed, so perhaps after stay care needs some improvement?!
 
I've booked several holidays this year and I will review each place we stay, it's good to have insider knowledge on accommodation, don't you think?
Hope that's been interesting for you to read, I think I've been fair in my review, noting the positives as well as the negatives. Right I'm off in the garden....but more of that soon...
 
 
Amanda :) xxx
 
This was not a sponsored post, and I'm not in collaboration with Best of Suffolk. Words and opinions my very own!
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

And That Was February.......

 
Well Hello Lovely Peeps,
 
My goodness February went in a flash didn't it! It went differently to how I had in mind....and I'm so glad it did! Some of the things I thought I might achieve I haven't, as yet anyway. Our bedroom remains the same, we've bought the paint so that's a start....my Liberty Quilt ideas remain just that, but what a good month it's been!
 
 
I've continued to eat healthily this month, went a little awry on our holiday, eating fish and chips twice, TWICE! I've introduced a bit of bread into my diet too, I was missing it, but I will look for a healthier alternative to those wholemeal slices.
I'm sorry I didn't let you know each week how I'd been getting on....but this is an ongoing process, not just 28 days, so there will be future updates, as well as those book reviews I promised.
So how do I feel, well not hugely different, but I feel more empowered, I know I'm giving my body it's best chance at being healthy, and believe me, with a condition like MS, with no cure, HOPE is the best medicine!
 
 
This month has been great, FUN being a big part of it....our trip away was unplanned, and turned out fabulous, just what we needed.
 
 
I've spent some really lovely times with friends this month, I'm not sure what I would do without them!
 
 
I feel like it's a month where there's been a constant supply of flowers too....
 
 
So what about March? What will March bring I wonder? Yesterday I spent a little time in my garden. I really felt I needed to be in there, for healing. I've not really been in the garden for a long while, it shows too. I've decided I need to pour my love, my hopes and my dreams into her again. A little at a time. Very gently.
 
 
There's an article in this months Country Living, I hadn't noticed it until I was supping tea after my little gardening session yesterday, all about gardening and how it can heal the body and mind. Perhaps it was a sign?!
 
So March, well I'll be in the garden as the weather allows....and yes I will get the bedroom done.....I'll need somewhere calm to crash out in, wont I ;)
 
I must say, I'm really enjoying being back in this space again, and I'm really loving your comments, encouragement and support...thank you all so much!
 
Happy March Everyone!
 
Amanda :) xxx
 

 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Little Story About Southwold, A Family And A Woman With MS.....

 

 
The first time we went to Southwold, we fell in love....our perfect seaside town. We had just got both girls in school, I'd just landed myself a brilliant job, and we had money in our pockets for the first time since starting our family. We could eat at the lovely restaurants, I could shop in the lovely shops....no penny pinching, life felt good. Very good.
We discovered the cafe by the boathouse which served the most delicious cakes, and I just adored the battered, mismatched vintage decor. We sat on the beach, watching the girls in the sea, talking about paying off our mortgage early, then travelling the world we them. Yes, very good.
I knew my little family was complex, I knew we were a bit quirky. I could handle this, I felt I could take on the world......bring it on.
 
 
The next year, once again we found ourselves sat on the beach, watching the girls in the sea. This time however, things were very different. Someone had turned my life upside down, sprinkled its contents all over the floor, and I was scrabbling about, desperately trying to make sense of things.
The year had been difficult, my mums behaviour had changed dramatically, we had watched her disappear bit by bit. It had been hard, looking after her as well has holding down a full on stressful job, and caring for the girls.
I had become increasingly tired, unwell, one virus after the other, refusing to take any time off work, refusing to appear weak. Everything however changed in a second, suddenly I couldn't move my body. I felt the change. I knew it was serious. I was forced to take time off work.....my body was making sure of that!
Just a few days before our holiday, I'd been sat with my neurologist who told me I had Multiple Sclerosis. He offered me no hope. No plan. No treatment. I just needed to 'look after' myself. Not everyone who has MS ends up in a wheelchair, so just live your life, don't think about the future too much, try not to worry, the stress will have an adverse affect on the MS.
 
 
So that was the holiday where I wanted to walk. I had an overwhelming urge to walk, and walk, and walk. I not sure what I thought was going to happen. Perhaps I thought I would wake up one day and not be able to get out of bed, it can happen that way with MS, after all I had woken up one morning and I'd lost most of my sight. I was very scared.
I now know that things don't usually happen like that, many people have no real mobility issues, some very quickly need to use wheelchairs. Some, like me, progress slowly. I might not get any worse than I am now. But at the time I didn't know this. I wanted to walk, so I did.
My poor family, no sooner had we got back to the cottage I would be dragging them back out again...,let's just walk along the beach again, let's just have a stroll around the town....
 
 
Our next trip to Southwold was a couple of years later, we were camping in Norfolk and I decided a day trip to Southwold was in order......I hadn't figured on how long the traffic jams would be! We did however enjoy a lovely few hours, on the beach, on the pier. Sadly the boathouse cafe had been revamped and for me, lost its charm, the cakes I'm told are still delicious.
I was in a much happier place, I'd returned to work part time, and adopted lifestyle and diet changes that gave me hope in managing my MS. Mum was being cared for in a lovely Nursing Home. Things were different, but good.
 
 
Last year I visited Southwold with my friend, we were having a girly weekend away. I didn't walk far this time.....but we did enjoy the sun, the sea and a couple of glasses of wine.
This was a sitting and putting the world to right break, not much walking required! It felt strange being there without my family. Wrong somehow...
 
 
And this time, well that was perfect. I strolled around, camera in hand, snapping away. There was a little warmth in the sun, the girls really wanted to get in the sea, we had a great time on the pier, and a lovely dinner.
We stayed on the beach until the sun was setting and it got too cold to endure. And I walked, yes much slower, but there were plenty of benches to rest on when needed. We updated our mandatory picture of the girls sat on the cannons. We didn't eat ice cream.
I really need to live by the sea, it does me good........
 
Amanda :) xxx
 
 
 
Next post I shall review the cottage we stayed in.....if that's ok! ;) xxx

 

 

 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Aldeburgh......

 

 
Quintessentially English.
Pastels houses.
Sunny skies.
Fish and chips.
Shingle beach.
Bracing winds.
Seagulls swooping.
Salty lips.
Fishing boats.
Lapping waves.
Meeting friends.
Laughing children.
Warming cafes.
Happy parents.
 
We don't do last minute things here, our lives tied to routine, to keeping the equilibrium. Sometimes I feel stifled by this, I often feel stifled by this. Living with Extra Special people can often mean keeping things the same, change can cause stress. Holidays can cause stress. Holidays ALWAYS cause stress. The change of environment is difficult.
 
But this time we did, this time we were spontaneous. I need spontaneous. I dream of being more spontaneous. This time we booked last minute, we didn't prepare, we didn't plan.....and it was ok. Yes it was stressful for some, but we survived.
 
I loved it, I loved sitting by the sea, watching the waves, smelling the salty air. The fish and chips were delicious. Yes it was ffffreezing, and no paddling in the sea, but I LOVED it. And you know something, I'm going to be spontaneous more often. My Extra Special peeps might not like it, but I need it, and I think I've earned it, so every now and again we are going to do things my way.....
 
Next post, all about our lovely day in Southwold.....
 
 
Amanda :) xxx
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Monday, 23 February 2015

February Mantle.....

 

 
 
February Mantle.......all about love and Spring! If I'm honest we aren't that much into Valentine's Day, but this year we pushed out the boat and cards were exchanged, and a few spring flowers purchased, nothing grand but appreciated none the less!
 
We've just returned from a rather lovely few days on the coast.....I will upload my photos and share soon. Hope you all had a great half term, I will catch up with you all this week.....
 
Amanda :) xxx
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Hello!

 

 
 
Hello Everyone, sorry I've not been around much.....it's half term here and things have gotten a little busy!
 
On the Fab, Fit, Feb front, things are going well. I've not tried any new recipes this week but still enjoying my extra healthy diet.....the exhaustion is still ever present, but I'm hopeful that at some point the tide will turn!
 
 
 
 
My friend Penny made me this lovely cushion cover from an old needlepoint she had squirrelled away, she also introduced me to a new antiques centre that's opened up locally......I will visit there again soon and share some photos with you, I think this might be a new stomping ground for me!
 
 
 
 
Some very exciting news is that we've booked our family holiday.....well actually, I've been very busy booking a few! I said this was a year I would be having a bit more fun didn't I, well this is also the year I turn 50! Fun at Fifty! It's no good me having a big party, as my birthday is so close to Christmas everyone is always so busy, so I thought I might as well spread the celebrations over the year! Well that's my excuse.
 
We are spending a few days in Florence in April, and now I'm frantically trying to get the girls some passports......I know, very silly booking flights without a passport, especially in the UK where the passport system hasn't been working very efficiently! Fingers are crossed.
 
 
 
 
 
It's proving to be a very social half-term, not quite the quiet week I had in mind.....I will stop by here next week and fill you in, hopefully with lots to tell, until then, hope you all have a great week!
 
 
Amanda :) xxx
 
 
 
 
I really must sew the ends in on this blanket......;) xxx
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Colour On A Grey Day.......

 
 
It's a grey day today, I'm needing a bit of colour, so I thought I'd share! Colour has always been important too me, I'm not sure if it's because I grew up in the 70s, lots of psychedelic colours there.......colour does something to my soul.
Quiet day today for me, I'm going to potter quietly at home, I have a child asleep, poorly with cold, so I don't want to disturb her. It even feels like a quiet, calm sort of day, the fog dulling any sounds. A grey day, which makes you appreciate the colours even more.
Back soon,
 
Amanda :) xxx