Saturday 30 October 2021

Half term - week two!!

New bedding from Habitat, thought I'd treat myself!

So after my rare Sunday off, I worked my normal Monday, Tuesday.....

Sophie was celebrating her birthday early, as it's reading week next week and most people go home, including her. So with a friend visiting who is Vegan, a flatmate who is vegan, another who is gluten free, I sent her these vegan/gluten/dairy and refined sugar free treats!! 

I've also set up a travel account on Instagram to share future travel plans and adventures, 
so if you are interested it's @hap_pea_travels

Then on Wednesday, day off, Jeff and I headed to Cardiff to check in on the boy!

"Meet you at Tesco's at 12:30!!!"
So obligatory food shop done, bedding changed and fresh towels! 
Booked into our accommodation for the night and spent the afternoon walking along the river and enjoying a coffee....

...... before meeting up with Sam for the evening.

Jeff and I were up early on Thursday, quick walk around the park before coffee, then a few hours wandering around the shops of Cardiff (Jeff hates shopping!!)

Then met up with Sam for Lunch, after his Lab session finished.

Dropped him back at his Hall's and then headed on home. 
It was good to just to check in on him, chat again to some of his flatmates, make sure he was doing some work!! He's obviously enjoying the social side of student life, looked knackered but is happy and that's the main thing.

Friday at home and a bit of a catch up day! I did a big food shop, got my hair coloured, then in the evening Di came over to cut it. I then spent an enjoyable hour sorting out the Christmas chocolate tins, ready to give all the ones we don't like for the trick or treaters on Halloween. Am doing an extra tin for Sam this year, as he's not due home until the 17th of December! Sophie wants a proper chocolate Advent calendar this year so I don't have to do her one.

It's hard to believe we're nearing the end of October and it's Halloween on Sunday. Clocks go back too, which is one of my least favourite things, hate the dark evenings and waking up to it being dark. It's still quite mild though, not had a cold snap yet!

I'll leave you with this photo - graffiti on the wall in Cardiff!

Got another busy week next week with Sophie home for reading week and her birthday. Have a few days out and treats planned in, blink and it'll be time for me to sit here writing next weeks blog! I know they say that time goes by quickly, the older you get but really, where does the time go??? I must get myself into Christmas mode and start sorting out what needs to be done. Work will start to get busy, extra shifts no doubt, so I must get organised!!

Have a good week xx

Sunday 24 October 2021

Half term - week one - PALMA!

Worked Sunday, half a shift on Monday then no work on Tuesday....

...a 2:00am alarm instead and a flight to Palma x

We arrived on time, caught the public bus to Palma and then walked to our accommodation. What a find!! The Samaritana Suites, in the center of Palma were fabulous. We got upgraded too, which never happens and although there was no outside space linked directly to the room......

.....there was a fabulous roof terrace, with views across the city.
We did spend an hour or two up there late afternoon, our early start catching up with us and we had walked 20,000 steps exploring the city. 

Had a lovely meal out it the evening. 
The weather warm enough to eat outside, just had to wear an extra layer.

We got up reasonable on Wednesday, first stop the bakery, then headed to the.....

....bus station, where Jeff got to speak the Spanish he's been learning. 

We decided to make the most of the glorious sunshine and head to the coast. Although our first stop was the town of Andraxt. It was market day, so we sat in the square people watching with a coffee for an hour, bought something for lunch, then got back on the bus and headed to....

....Port de Andraxt. 
We walked another 20,000+ steps today around the full bay. Jeff went in for a dip, me a paddle and we just soaked up the bonus warm sunshine.

We did spot our first ever octopus, just swimming right in by bay. Amazing!
So after a full day, we got the bus back to Palma......

...before going out again in the evening to eat....

....and a walk around the Cathedral area, to see it all lit up at night.

Thursday our final day and breakfast in St Cristo bakery. 

When we holidayed in Soller back in 2019, Alfonso was the baker in their shop in Soller and his wife Rene worked here in Palma. If we said hello we'd get a discount! They make the best pastries and make the best coffee, so we definitely had to come back this time and enjoy the Ensaimada pastries.

We then found a seat up by the Cathedral and sat for an agonising half an hour, trying to get Coldplay tickets. They went on general sale at 10am UK time, so 11am in Palma. And amazingly with all 4 of us trying, I managed to secure four tickets for the concert at Wembley Stadium next year.

With that done, we could then relax into the day and continued to wander around the Cathedral...

....and the lovely gardens to the side.

We then walked about 3km I guess, along the coast road to Portixol.

The walk is fabulous. You cross over a 6 lane carriage way, with the Cathedral and Palma city on one side and the sea on the other. There's a designated, palm tree lined cycle lane and wide pathway for pedestrians.

And the walk back is even better with views of the Cathedral.
We had lunch in the harbour area, then paddled our way back, with Jeff inevitably taking a dip. 
To be fair the weather was just fantastic and it'll be his last chance this year!

We then had a lovely meal in this wonderful square. My one rule on holiday is that I don't cook, so we do treat ourselves to eating out every evening. We can make do in the day with bought bakery bits, just the odd coffee stop or ice-cream but in the evenings, we always have a proper meal, soak up the atmosphere, try out the local cuisine, sample the local beer and people watch!!

So sadly Friday morning came around far too quickly, with a 6am alarm and a walk through the sleepy streets of Palma to the bus stop. We caught the bus back to the airport, all super easy and efficient. Got delayed due to a queue of planes all wishing to depart at the same time but really easy flight home.

We had the best time. Although short, three days was long enough to feel we've been away, had a little break, enjoyed some bonus autumnal sunshine and recharged the batteries before heading into winter.

I know we're lucky and I don't take one single trip for granted. 
Back in 2019 Jeff and I went to Girona, just the two of us, the first time since the children. It was affordable, really cheap flights, accommodation booked separately, cheap travel on local buses. I can spend hours/days/weeks researching our trips, finding affordable accommodation, we only need a bed, shower, fridge, as long as it's clean! We had big plans to start travelling without the kids (suddenly affordable) but then Covid happened and stopped everything. We're so glad we decided to go to Greece this summer and now our few days in Palma have just reignited that enthusiasm for adventure and travel. We already have trips planned for next year and a looooong list of where we'd like to go. "You off again?" " You do like to get about!" My simple reply is "Yes!" We don't drink, don't smoke, don't buy designer clothes, we have cheap old cars and we work hard and chose to spend our money on travel and when on a budget, you get to travel more!!

We'd rather get to travel to more places cheaply, than one expensive holiday a year. So trips to Naples, Florence with my sister, Kefalonia and Dubrovnik are already booked and a possible trip with Sophie, once she starts working is on the cards. If we wait until we retire, we might not have our health and time to do all we want, life is for living and travel is high on our agenda, so we will be "off again" in the year ahead.

So Saturday and with nothing planned I headed over to my favourite woods, on a Fly Agaric hunt. There is something quite special about seeing these classic fairytale mushrooms when just out walking, although there seem to be far fewer than last year so far......

.... you have to really look hard to spot them.

But there are plenty of others to spot too. 

Then last night we went out! out! to see Scouting for Girls. I saw them play at Bath Festival in the summer but this was Jeff's first live music, since Covid closed the doors on it all at the start of 2020. They were as brilliant as ever and The Cheese and Grain in Frome, is such a fab venue.

So a good week! A busy week. 
Next week is still busy, I have a rare day off today (Sunday)  but I'm working my normal Monday, Tuesday, then we're Cardiff bound on Wednesday to see Sam. Sophie then comes home the following week for a few days as she has a Reading Week, plus it's her birthday. So still a lot to look forward to.

You can see more photos from Palma, if you're interested, over on my Instagram page 

Have a good week.

Sunday 17 October 2021

A week of two halves!

My weeks are really split into two halves, work Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and sometimes Wednesday morning, then off the Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

As soon as I finished work on Wednesday, did a quick food shop then went for a walk in the woods, to clear the air and breathe in the calm and stillness.

Then Thursday is my 'walk with Lynn day'. I decided to treat her as my guest to a morning at The Newt. I'm trying to get the most out of my membership, as it's gone up from £17 to £48 and I'm not sure I'll renew it, maybe get National Trust membership instead. It is lovely there but I'm not sure it's worth the increased fee but I can take in a guest for £15. The apple display as you entered was beautiful, all lined up to welcome you in.

Although I would miss the apple and cinnamon buns! 

We saw the deer, it's rutting season at the moment and the vast majority were out in a field but boy, can the stag make a noise!! You can read more here on their Facebook page It felt like Jurassic Park as we closed the great, heavy metal gates behind us, this deep roar coming up from the distant fields!

The grounds as usual are beautifully maintained....

...and the seasonal changes on full display.
We were sooooo lucky with the weather, a beautiful blue sky, full sunshiny autumnal day.

I spotted a few of my favourite fungi finds too. 
I will have to go back again soon, maybe when Sophie is home early November,
 it's only 20 minutes up the road but it's sometimes tricky to find the time.

So then on Friday I got the train to Reading for the day to see Sophie. It's always so lovely and reassuring to meet up, see her happy, hear her news and spend a few hours together and it's so easy on the train. We've put a London date in our diaries, trying to squeeze a visit in before Christmas.

And then today (Saturday) the boy has come home for a visit! 
He was in Bristol visiting friends on Friday night, spent the day with them, then caught the bus home. So am spoiling him with a roast (Jeff's happy) ......

......and made brownies for pudding and for him to take back with him. 

It's been lovely to check in with them both. 
Both seem happy which is the main thing x