Thursday, July 28

apple picking

This year the apples are super super early. Apples in July!?

English apples are for autumn. They're for apple pie and apple crumble, homemade and warm from the oven, melting in your mouth. They're for custard, they're for blackberries, they're for scrumping in September, they're for eating too many at once and getting tummy ache. They're for stewed fruit on a cold night in October, November, December. They're for Devon apple cake and apple muffins and a billion other baking projects. They're for taking huge bites from whilst reading a Victorian novel in an armchair.

Basically, I love apples.

My brother and I picked ours the other day, on a hot July afternoon.

I thought the apples looked pretty in their basket. Check out the monster (last photo) which was almost bigger than my hand and weighed over a pound. 

I was twelve when we bought the apple tree. I remember feeling very bored on a gloomy rainy day in late summer, being dragged around a garden centre, whilst my parents took hours and hours to make a decision on a tree. And it looked rubbish anyway, a stumpy, runty thing slotted wonkily into the earth. But now it's huge, big enough to climb and full of green healthy life. (It also seems to be a popular spot with spiders, else I'd always be up there.)

It produces a lot of fruit. And not much can beat a home grown apple.

Tuesday, July 26

perusing the sales!

Don't you love it when you peruse the summer sales, buy a few random items, then come home to discover they all accidentally match?

Clockwise, from top left:

Cath Kidston + sale = a recipe guaranteed for success. I bought this make up/toiletries bag for £10, reduced from £16. There was a lot more I could have bought. In fact I'd just like to buy the whole shop. But I restrained myself.
I have no idea whether 'fashionistas' think Gap is really uncool, but I don't care - I like it. Their Breton t-shirts are THE BEST (believe me, I've tried many kinds of Breton tees), they're super soft and never lose their shape despite being worn a lot. I liked the colour scheme of this one - it's slightly different and will be better for autumn/winter than the usual blue and white styles. £10.95, and on a 3 for 2 offer.
I own far too many pairs of cheap sunglasses, but I couldn't resist adding to the collection with these, which were £4.99 from H&M.
This cotton denim style shirt dress was a steal at £9.99 from Uniqlo. Uniqlo are similar to Gap in their simple colours, cuts and fits - simple, classic styles are what I'm trying to aim for. The dress is light and has a lovely feel, with a similar shape to this one I found in a charity shop. Love!
My absolute favourite bargain of the day was this skirt from Topshop. The usual Topshop story - I saw the skirt when it first came out, and loved it, but didn't love the price. Then I spotted it lurking at the end of a sad-looking sale rack for a CRAZY £7! It was the only one left, and a size 6, so I wasn't feeling too optimistic - but somehow it actually fits! I can never squeeze into size 6 clothing because my shoulders and hips are too broad (painting such an attractive picture of myself right now) so I think this must be destiny. I love the centre buttoning and the colour will accompany me all the way into autumn.

Last but not least, I bought this little pencil charm necklace, which was down from £9 to £2.50 in good old Accessorize. I feel it's a necklace reflective of my character!

Have you had any stupendous summer sales steals? Or are you impatiently waiting for the autumn/winter looks?

Friday, July 1

british beaches: weymouth

Weymouth must've once been a lovely place. The upper crust probably spent summers there; the handsome men and women of society going for jaunts along the promenade, enjoying picnics on the pier, spending long sunny afternoons in tearooms, going sailing in the wide calm bay, whilst children rode donkeys along the beach in between Punch & Judy shows.

A faint whiff of this history still wafts through the streets of today's Weymouth; the crooked harbourside townhouses that were once the lairs of grizzled old sea-dogs, the narrow cobbled streets and bakeries, the grand architecture of the Esplanade, the seafront hotels that used to be the favourite hangouts for the cool rich kids of bygone days...

Somehow my photos have managed to make Weymouth look prettier than it is. Sadly all that's left of any glamour the town once enjoyed are dilapidated old hotel signs, weathered and peeling pediments, and the feeling that the upper crust of the twenty-first century prefer to spend their summers soaking up the sun in the Seychelles. The over-abundance of tacky billboards, cheap fast-food restaurants and squalid-looking pound shops only reinforce the strong suspicion that  Weymouth is not in its heyday any more.

Still the beach there is sweet, especially for children, with its gentle blue waves lapping at long stretches of golden sands. (Got to admit I'm more suited to the wild, rugged coastlines of Cornwall and Devon...)

Despite my Weymouth experiences I'm sure that the Great British Seaside Holiday still exists somewhere. And I still believe that the British should fly abroad less and enjoy Britain more. Does anybody else agree? It's a greener approach, and Britain's got gorgeous countryside, breathtaking coastlines and cities full of life and colour. (Just remember to pack a raincoat.)

Have you ever had the perfect British seaside holiday? Is there somewhere special you and your family return to and love? What's your favourite British beach?