last week i posted about my favourite streets and how i discovered the synchronicity between their history and what became my future, this got me reminiscing more about the time when i first came to live in the uk and spent my days exploring the east end of london with my nanny minnie.
today i take you to victoria park. this park is part of the bank of my first memories of living in the uk, living in london. nanny minnie grew up round here this was her “manor” as such. when we first moved to the uk, both my parents worked full-time, saving hard to get a deposit to buy our first home. nanny minnie gave up her job so that she could care for me whilst they were at work. she would take me everywhere with her, the east end of london became my playground.
a little while back i showed you the doors of the houses on some of my favourite streets of london town. if you missed that post you can see it just here. you see i know the streets of east end of london very well, as my father grew up in the neighbour hood and all of his side of the family all lived in the area too. when we first moved to england we too lived in the east end and a lot of my fist memories of england are from adventures around that part of town.
half term and what to do? well luckily for us we are very close to london town, just a hop skip and a jump. yes i know we live in london, i know, but for some reason it doesn’t really feel too much like “living in london” where we are, so we get the best of both worlds and therefore going into london always feels just like that, going into london!
i was having one of those mornings, ones that you wish would disappear as quickly as they appeared. it was then that i found that i had wondered into one of my favourite streets in london, and next to that two of my other favourite streets. after seeing them today, i will probably write about why these are so special, but for today i will share with you why these streets make me smile.
friday night we had a guest come to stay. someone who has never been to our house before. a weekend sleepover. barry bear. the school bear.
ronnie was awarded the head teacher award on friday for his progress in phonics. he was given a certificate to bring home and show mummy and daddy how well he is doing. however together with that certificate comes the responsibility of looking after barry for the weekend.
i’ve popped back and forth to essex a couple of times over the last few weeks. it’s strange seeing the place you grew up, once you’ve grown up is it. everything looks the same but smaller.
on my way home on one of these occasions i cut through the back roads through the woods, for old times sake, when i noticed a sign. it said the gruffalo trail. yes i remember being told about this by a friend and also a blogger, but had swiftly forgotten until that very moment. i came home i googled and prayed for sunshine or at the very least no rain at the weekend so that we could explore the woods of thorndon country park.
hope you all had a fun-filled evening. ours was pretty quite to be fair. we are currently at coombe mill, which i’m sure you know already! fiona and nick set up a little gathering by the bbq shed, a shed with a bbq grill inside so you can bbq all year round, how epic is that?! i really really want one however it is the size of our whole garden so maybe not. there were snacks and some bottles of boozy plonk to swig at and just before 8 o’clock nick lit and set off a lantern for matilda mae. once tildas lantern was safely on its way nick launched a display of fireworks for us all to welcome the new year.
the title of this post might be a bit misleading and somewhat of an exaggeration. as you can imagine coastal walking with a five-year old is over pretty quickly after it has started, especially when it’s hugely windy, and that wind is cold, so very very cold. but today we gave it a good go though.
today was somewhat wetter than yesterday, so we had a lazy lay in, and got cosy by the fire. once our bellies were full of breakfast we were ready to embrace the coldness outside. well as long as it took to get from the front door to the car, parked right outside the front door that is.
inside adventures were on today’s plan as it was a constant stream of drizzle. you know the kind that doesn’t look that wet, but you are wet to the bone before you know it? yes, not so great. so we decided that we would go and explore the local jail that has a few tales to tell.
we woke to a beautiful morning. slight frost on the ground, a nip in the air, mist hanging in the sky and the sun was absolutely beaming. what a gorgeous morning to wake up and remember you are on a farm.
for the last few years, we have been enjoying a christmas winter break. now i love the sun, i really do, but a winter break in the english countryside is very nearly high up there on my favourite holidays. school is out. childcare is scarce, so holiday time it is. we’ve been to cornwall, we’ve been to yorkshire and then fell in love with the north norfolk coast and went for couple of years back to back. this year we thought we would start back at the beginning. cornwall. so here we are on the home turf of the country kids, coombe mill!
with just 3 sleeps to go, the excitement levels in the HPMcQ household were starting to reach a high. we had been having a really lazy sunday. it was gloomy and cold outside, and gloomy and cold and i don’t get on much. so we stayed cosied up in our jim jams watching movies until gone mid-day! absolute heaven.
living in a big city, doesn’t give you the biggest opportunity to get out into country as much as perhaps you would like to. however saying that, a lot of the country seems to be sneaking its way into town more and more. which is a good thing, a very good thing. traditions like the weekend farmers market seem to be popping up in all the boroughs of ye olde london town. the del trotter type of market of only fools and horses fame, seem to be slowing fading away and making room for markets which have a far stronger focus of good quality locally grown fruit, veg and other foodie delights. all of this sitting along side small creative design businesses, vintage furniture, and bric-a-brac for thrifty and restorative types.
as a girl, everything my parents did i pretty much did with them. where they went, i went. we were a very strong unit, me, my mum and my dad. just the three of us. it was pretty damn perfect. they both worked full-time and worked hard too. weekends and holiday times were precious to us and we took full advantage of every moment. this is something that as a family of three ourselves, where we too both work full-time and very hard, we strongly embrace this too. having the opportunity to get away, revives our souls, charge our batteries. it’s a time for us to kick back, relax and take it easy. for us to spend those precious moments together. the three of us. me, mr HPMcQ and ronnie rockstar.
for quite some time we have been meaning to “head” (sorry) over to the tower of london, her majesty’s royal palace and fortress. actually if the truth be known only a very few, (the a-list celebrities of their time i guess) have been executed actually on the green inside the tower of london. only seven in total were recorded, three of them queens, anne boleyn, catherine howard and jane grey.
outside on tower hill, is where the main executions happened. 125 “unfortunates” were beheaded here, until the last in 1747. dukes, knights, earls and nobles all came to their end outside the tower walls. an execution could draw a crowed of 100,000 spectators. this was considered entertainment, the whole family would go, with a picnic to boot! possibly the x factor of the day. the first being simon sudbury in 1381 and the last simon fraser in 1747. so if your names simon, i’d give tower hill a wide berth!
whilst recently wandering the streets of williamsburg in brooklyn, searching out independent retailers who have a point of difference, something out of the norm to say, we stumbled quite delightfully and unexpectedly across a chocolate shop. but this was no ordinary chocolate shop. as we opened the doors to this store we weren’t quite prepared for the intense smell that was about to hit us. it was epic, like something i have never smelt before. pure chocolate. this was no shop or store, this was a real life chocolate factory. the chocolate factory of the mast brothers, rick and michael mast, bearded food-loving pioneers from primghar, iowa, what a find.
it was a bit nippy out this morning, as ronnie would say, but the sun was shining so everything was alright. we scooted over to the east end after breakfast, to have a cuppa char with nanny minnie. on our way home we decided that actually it would be rather lovely to have a little walk around the park before lunch rather than after, well just incase that beautiful sun decided to disappear from our skies. we quickly popped home to grab our cameras and off we set.
we only had a couple of hours in williamsburg, but in those few hours we stumbled across these beauties so i thought i’d care to share. on a saturday there is a streetartwalk at 2.30pm for two hours for $20. if only my couple of hours had been on a saturday and not a tuesday!