At the beginning of the month, you may remember that I had a case of itchy feet, desperately looking to plan a whole raft of travelling agendas for the next 12 months. I’m pleased to say that even though the urge to wander hasn’t disappeared completely (when does it when travel is a passion?), it has been sedated – not least because we’re flying off to Greece in less than a fortnight and because I’ve had a manic few weeks out and about in the great outdoors. And while I wasn’t planning on a busy month, it just turned out that way. Which is good, it helps keep me focused!
I wouldn’t exactly call myself an opera fan, however, when I was invited to watch a performance of Romeo and Juliet in the grounds of an English country estate in the heart of Surrey, it was too good an opportunity to pass over.
Set in the sprawling gardens of West Horsley Place – a Grade I listed medieval manor house – Grange Park Opera hosts a summer season of events in their Theatre in the Woods. It was a wonderful evening – we had a picnic near the orchards, and enjoyed the performance under the twinkling lights. The experience reminded me that it’s always worth giving something new a go – because you might end up liking it.
The weather here in the UK has been scorching hot for several weeks – which is pretty much unheard of here! So it’s been truly amazing to be able to get out and about as much as possible. On one weekend, we had a family photo shoot and chose our local National Trust property, Polesden Lacey as the setting. It was a stunning day, and while we ran around the grounds chasing the children, we also sat under a huge oak tree to enjoy another picnic in the dappled shade. Once again, reminding myself how beautiful England can be. I’ll look forward to sharing some of the images with you when they’re ready.
Which leads me neatly onto my annual trip to our local lavender fields. Peanut had yet to go so this was a great chance for me to take as many photos as possible with him and his brother. The smell, as you can imagine, is so fragrant and I was proud of how the kids ignored the bees, and took themselves off, running in between the purple showstoppers. If you haven’t been, I do urge you to go before the season ends.
We also had two impromptu trips to the seaside. I mean, where better to be in searing heat than by the coast? On one rare free Sunday, Monkey turned to us and insisted that he wanted fish and chips for his dinner, so my husband agreed but suggested that we should just jump in the car and head to our favourite seaside town of Whitstable. It was later in the afternoon, and the roads were much quieter so we arrived onto the seafront in no time. It was bliss munching on our dinner and then taking a dip in the warm sea.
Now that school’s out for summer, we’ve planned a host of activities to amuse Monkey – from activity camps to visiting his cousins, he won’t be too bored, hopefully. And we kicked off with style on a day trip to West Wittering in Sussex. We made sure we went early, anticipating large crowds – and we weren’t wrong. However, we managed to secure a good spot near the water’s edge and spent the day building sandcastles and running in and out of the sea. It was a great start to the summer holidays and I enjoyed watching Peanut being much more aware of his surroundings.
Although it was my mum’s 60th birthday last month, my sister and I had planned all along to treat her to a night in London. After lunch along the Southbank, we strolled along the River Thames – people watching the scores of tourists, families and passers-by who were also enjoying the London views and the hive of activity in this bustling part of our metropolis. Our endpoint was the Tate Modern – and Picasso’s exhibition, Love Fame Tragedy. It was a beguiling look at his work during a tumultuous time for the painter in 1932, which very much reflects in his art.
Afterwards, we headed over to Green Park and checked into the luxurious Chesterfield Mayfair hotel where we were all treated to a wonderful evening of drinks, pampering, and food. Looked after by all the staff there, we left the following morning feeling thoroughly spoiled and relaxed.
So now I’m looking to getting everything in order for our trip to Zakynthos with Simpson Travel. I am very much looking forward to exploring this Greek island and taking on my role as a Simpson Travel ambassador with gusto. So do expect plenty of from me about it in the coming weeks.
Until then, have a great August!