It's been a busy time just recently here; we've spent any spare time gardening, tidying and busy with DIY jobs around the house. In between that we've been enjoying the lovely light evenings taking Barry for an extra walk most nights. Barry loves his walks and already gets two or three each day, but we've had some beautiful sunsets just recently and been going out for a final quick stroll around the nearby field at 9pm. I like to make the most of the light evenings and I'm convinced that extra bit of fresh air not long before bed, helps you sleep better. We certainly don't get any complaints from Barry! We've had some amazing skies too though; hailstorms in between sunshine etc. (as the photo below shows... more photos on my Instagram account; @handmade_em).
I love stormy skies
The back garden is looking good; the Alliums are just about to start flowering, the wildflower bed is full of greenery (soon to be full of flowers I hope), the Montana Clematis is going mad and covered in buds and flowers that are just emerging, the lawn is like salad cress and grows so quickly, my runner beans are covered in pretty scarlet flowers and we've already been enjoying dinners with home grown pak choi, peas and mangetout. I love pottering in my garden!
Tasty young Mangetout
I spent all of yesterday afternoon cleaning the conservatory; the windows were filthy and I now realise it's because the conservatory roof is leaking in particularly torrential downpours, which means over this past winter it's been getting quite damp in the room. We're going to have to look at what we're going to do about the roof leaks but in the meantime at least it's all clean again. We popped to Ikea at the weekend and bought two Poang chairs and a footstool, which means I've got somewhere nice to sit in the conservatory and read a book - Barry has already claimed the footstool as his! We bought a lovely corner plant holder too and my handmade Terrarium now has pride of place on the top shelf. I've bought another pretty glass jar to make another terrarium, I'm a little addicted to them now.
And finally I bring you onto my exciting holiday plan news... very exciting actually! Jack and I went on a special holiday 3 years ago to New York with his family for his Dad's 60th and then we flew onto Vancouver, Canada to visit my Aunt and Uncle who live out there. We had an amazing two weeks exploring new places (I completely fell in love with British Columbia) and vowed we'd do more 'exploration adventure' holidays in the future. Jack then told me a week ago that he wanted to take me away for my birthday and that we both deserved a special holiday away having not had one since saving very hard over the last few years for our house deposit. Jack made various suggestions of places we've both said we'd like to go, but in the end we've both decided on..... a California road trip!!
To say I'm excited is an understatement! We're going at the end of August/beginning of September and will be out there on my birthday. This holiday will be very enjoyable for the both of us and we've had great fun so far researching where we'd like to go and what we want to do. One of my dreams for a long time now was to go whale watching in Monterey, California and to know that we're now going to do that is so exciting! One of my favourite animals is the Blue Whale and it would be a dream come true to see just a glimpse of one. We were very lucky to go whale watching in Vancouver three years ago and see 8 Transient Orca, it was fantastic, so I'd love to see some again but this time in a different place. Jack is a car lover so is also very excited for this holiday as we're hiring a Mustang convertible to drive along the Pacific coast highway in California. We fly to San Francisco, have a few days in San Francisco, drive onto Monterey to spend a few days there (including my birthday), then we're spending a night in San Luis Obispo, then a few days in Los Angeles, before finishing up with a few days in Las Vegas and flying home from there. It'll be a tiring but fun holiday and one we're both super excited about.
We've booked our flights and hire car, and saved ourselves some pennies by organising and booking hotel stays ourselves; we're staying in a total of 5 different hotels during our stay and it took us two evenings to decide and book them all. I'm also very pleased to say we've earned over £200 in cash back thanks to Quidco. Anyone who doesn't use cash back sites I really do recommend Quidco! Since moving into our house last year we've earned over £300 in cash back and it's so easy to use and free to register. It's paid for a couple of night's of our hotel stays anyway. I've also been busy sorting out unwanted things in the house to put on eBay to make us a bit of extra spending money hopefully. Every little helps as this won't be a cheap holiday (America is expensive!), but we know we work very hard and deserve to treat ourselves and we also know just how lucky we are that we get to go on a nice holiday like this. I've already ordered a couple of guide books and a book on wildlife too; I'm itching to get tonnes of photos and have been busy practicing with my camera!
We're most excited about;
- Whale watching in Monterey
- Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
- Driving along the Big Sur
- Driving through the Californian wine region
- Walking along Rodeo Drive (I'll try and resist the temptation of quoting my favourite film of all time, Pretty Woman!), Los Angeles
- Watching the famous fountain display at the Bellagio in Las Vegas
- Seeing the Grand Canyon, Nevada
I will stop rabbiting on about it for now, I promise! It's still 3 months away after all, but I'm sure lots of photos will appear on here when we're back!
Have a good week everyone