I just got back from a short but sweet little trip to the New Forest. I haven’t been down there since I was a kid and always had this memory of it being this sprawling, Snow White forest, but actually, turns out that it’s not that big at all. You can easily whizz around it by car in an afternoon. That’s not to say that you can explore every moss-covered trunk in such a short snippet of time though, it’s still got that fairy tale charm and mystery that it had when I was a kid; you know, little towns with red brick cottages and sash windows, wild horses and fallow deer. You can see a lot, but still leave wanting more. It’s the perfect place to go exploring for a weekend 🙂
Have you been to the New Forest? What were your favourite spots?
In terms of Christmas shopping I’m down to the last couple of presents… and they’re driving me NUTS. Speculative searches on Amazon have come up empty, and the last time I popped into Cardiff for a browse I came home empty handed (and because there were hardly any spaces left I had to park in the twirly car park – St David’s 2 – which leaves me cross-eyed). So on Tuesday I decided to take the present-hunt out of the country. I popped over the bridge to Bristol and still managed to come home empty handed (pfft!), but it was a nice change of shopping-scenery anyway. I got lost in Cabot Circus, stumbled up the Christmas Steps and hung around St Nicholas Markets for longer than necessary just so I could oggle all the street food for a bit longer. 🙂
I can’t believe Christmas is just over a week away!
Here’s a fun fact; Bicester Village is the UK’s second top attraction for Chinese tourists. Yep, apparently cut price designer handbags are only slightly less interesting than watching the changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace (which still reigns supreme as the top tourist spot). I was totally lured in by Bicester Village; so many people go on about it being a shopper’s Shangri-la that I was kind of excited to make the pilgrimage myself and y’know, see what all the hoo-ha was about. 🙂
A few weeks ago Sunny was Oxford-bound with his Dad for a Charlton Athletic game, so we made a very gender stereotypical family day of it – the guys went footballing and the girls went shopping.
I wasn’t exactly expecting to come home laden with bags full of designer bags (no 5p charge in Bicester for fancy bags…), but I had no idea quite how out of my league price-wise everything was going to be – even with 50% off. I was expecting cold, hard BARGAINS, people. But alas; bargains there were none. Not unless your idea of a bargain is a Versace chinchilla coat at an eye-watering £11,000, even after taking 20% off (!!!!!).
We drifted from store to store flipping tags and gulping, while Chinese tourists were loading up on whatever they could carry.
I’m firmly in the “love the look not the label” camp when it comes to fashion. I’ve got a beautiful Micheal Kors purse in my £7.99 H&M handbag (the only fancy-pants designer item I own), and a Zara dress I bought when I was 19 that I still adore and wear every summer – it was a bit pricey at the time and my student loan took a hit, but it was worth it because I’ve worn it thousands of times and probably will a thousand times more. But I can’t see myself – even if I was overflowing with cash – ever spending £200 on a handbag purely for the name on the side of it. I’d have to love it. Like, really, love it. Love it, marry it, have babies with it – love it. And, meh, I don’t think I could pull it off anyway. It’s just not me.
No offence, Bicester, but give me the great British High Street and a bit of Primani any day 😉
A few weeks ago Sunny and I were invited to a first birthday party and christening. I thought attending friends’ weddings made me feel old, but first birthdays? They make me feel flippin’ ancient! It was gorgeous though, our friend Hannah (and Oliver’s Mum) had organised every tiny detail; from making hundreds of teeny felt carrots to decorate the place cards, to the pretty flower garden centrepieces – it was pinterest perfect from start to finish 🙂
On the way home from West Country weekend, we stopped in at Ilfracombe – which until then I’d only heard of in passing as a seaside pit-stop on an oldie road trip. It’s a pretty, typically Victorian seaside town with painted buildings and doors. We didn’t have time to properly explore or do it justice really, but what we saw we liked; the furthest we got from our pay and display car park were the Victorian Bathing Tunnels and tidal pools 🙂