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It was overcast with a very cool blustery wind, but we all had a rare mid week day off today so we made the most of the opportunity with a visit to Whitstable. This is our local seaside destination and a favourite spot of mine for it holds many beloved childhood and even adult memories for me. I just feel very content whenever I visit Whitstable, so I’m always up for a trip here whatever the weather!

Today we parked up at the big market car park, and took a leisurely stroll up the road towards Whitstable Castle. Surprisingly in all the years I’ve been visiting this seaside town, only recently this year did I venture in the delightful castle gardens and grounds for the first time. Its small and intimate but has a really nice welcoming feeling about it. Because its slightly up the hill at the end of town, you can see the sea in the distance behind a cute little bowls ground. Its so lovely and today I took my mum and dad to look around it for the first time too. We agreed that we’ve definitely been missing out all these years! Such a nice spot.

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The grounds are not extensive but I quite like that about it. There are some unique plants and flowers giving it a bit of a tropical feel with long feathery grasses and little palm trees – if the sun were out I’d almost wonder where I was momentarily! At the back of the castle there is a beautiful rose garden with a lovely archway and small water fountain. Its very pretty.

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After looking around the grounds we headed in the direction of Tankerton which is a short walk up the road from the castle. When we reached Tankerton we walked down near the sea front and it was much more sheltered from the wind down there – possibly with thanks to a sloping bank and the protection from all the sea huts! It was much more pleasant nearer the water without the wind blowing us about. Polly and Peggy enjoyed meeting all the dogs and people down at the beach, but even though it was a peak summertime August day it wasn’t very busy – probably due to the iffy weather.

It was so calm and quiet down by the sea and it was the perfect way to spend a day off. I honestly think there is nothing more therapeutic than a seaside stroll. It does me the world of good every single time and I could never tire of that feeling. The only trouble is I always get those seaside fish and chips cravings! Must be due a trip down one evening soon for fish and chips on the beach…

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How would you spend a mid week summer day off ?

 

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England truly is an exceptionally beautiful place. Add some sunshine to the mix and its even more delightful. I happen to be particularly partial to our lovely home county Kent, so when we knew Oliver’s family were visiting from Australia I felt confident that we could showcase some of the best of our county. To capture an authentic taste of Kent, you need to see a traditional old town and some scenic countryside. Luckily its easy to find both those, but we decided to take Oliver’s dad and brother to some of our current favourite spots that we hit for a day out.

First up, and in fact a recent discovery even for us is The Pantiles, Royal Tunbridge Wells. Its a quaint little area of independent shops and cafes with an unquestionable sense of charm. Like a lot of Kent, The Pantiles is surrounded by history there was once a natural Spring there which you can still see the remains today and it used to attract lots of well to do visitors and even royalty back in the day.

Its just a pleasant place to go and stroll aimlessly around, take in the lovely buildings, poke your nose in the the odd shop and enjoy a coffee or spot of lunch. I am always won over by the fact it always seems relaxed here as the atmosphere is so calm – I have never seen Tunbridge Wells too busy or with huge crowds of people rushing around at a 100 miles per hour. I think that peaceful places are hard to find these days, especially main towns so its nice to go somewhere like this if you want to get out but don’t fancy fighting with the masses.

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There is ample parking round the town, I’d recommend parking in the more central part if you want to make the experience last a bit longer. Take a leisurely ten minute walk down the main high street where you will pass your typical high street shops and then the closer you get to The Pantiles there are the more upmarket stores including even a couple of large department stores.

To make the visit worthwhile it is best to stop off at one of the many cafes or restaurants. There are so many to chose from and its nice that they are not just your standard food chains that you can find anywhere. There is a really cool gin bar if you’re into that and just tonnes of options! Yesterday we stopped at a gorgeous hotel restaurant amongst The Pantiles, we sat outside absorbing the lovely atmosphere. Oliver and his brother enjoyed burgers the size of their heads!

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National Trust. Whenever I think of my quintessentially British childhood, National Trust properties are definitely up there in my memories of local days out. There are heaps round Kent, but probably one of the prettiest has to be Ightham Mote.

We added along a visit here yesterday on our way home from Tunbridge. You could spend all day here and make more of a trip of it but you can also just add it on to your day for a few hours like we did. Ightham Mote offers a stunning 700 year old house, and beautiful gardens and grounds to enjoy. There is plenty here for the entire family. The garden is full of colour at the moment and is a pleasure to walk round. Well worth a visit.

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Today we headed out to another of our favourite spots in Kent, Bedgebury. I won’t ramble on too much as I know I’ve already declared my love for this place on the blog before but this is definitely a must visit location. The forest is stunning. Its a wonderful place to go to unwind – the air is so clean and fresh and nature is in every corner you look. Go for a walk round with the entire family or hire bikes and explore the forest on two wheels! It is such a gorgeous day out any time of the year.

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There are hours of fun to be had at Bedgebury. Today was no exception: the four of us hired bikes in the morning and I packed up a picnic that we sat down in the grass to eat together and we spent the remaining time in the afternoon exploring by foot.

Oliver took his climbing to a whole new level today, literally he loves to climb every time we go out he cant help himself and today he was half way up a tree! The boys chucked a ball about together after lunch and we all participated in a bit of monkeying around.

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Its been a busy 48 hours but I think we did a pretty good job of showcasing some our beautiful Kent.

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Delightful April gave us an absolute scorcher today with tropical temperatures, blazing sunshine, blue skies and a warm breeze! Needless to say, it was gorgeous, so of course me and the boyfriend snapped up the opportunity to make the most of such a lovely Sunday. Amazingly we live just 45 minutes away from the most stunning forest. Its hard to believe this great and beautiful outdoor space sits virtually on our doorstep. The term ‘picture perfect’ springs to mind and I’m a little snap happy whenever I take a visit to Bedgebury.

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Bedgebury holds a soft spot in my heart for sentimental reasons: it just makes me so darn content and chill whenever I go there. Today certainly did not disappoint. Back in the autumn one of our early days out was to Bedgebury Forest: where my boyfriend managed to get me on a bicycle for the first time in years and it was probably one of the most fun dates I’d enjoyed. Ever since its become a favourite spot of ours to revisit. I pack us a picnic up in the car, take a scenic drive out into the country and we hire some bikes to explore the forest on. I absolutely love it!

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There is something so serene about being in the midst of miles of greenery and luscious trees: I get an overwhelming sense to breathe in and savour the clean air every time I visit. Particularly today on this scorching hot April day! The intoxicating smell of wood and pine played in the breeze as we whizzed around on our bicycles, making it feel as though we were somewhere exotic rather than in our own home county.

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We took a new route today, riding round vast open space that was all undiscovered to us. Not surprisingly we got a little lost by the end – all the trees and pathways can look a little similar at times! However the forest is just so tranquil and lovely you can’t help but want to get stuck in to it. And because its such a large place you barely see another soul as you explore the tracks. Its so nice.

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Eating our ham sandwiches in the grass under the shade of the trees, I couldn’t help but think today felt more like a summers day. Definitely not complaining! There are few other better ways to spend a sunny day and today was the perfect end to our week! I’m pretty sure I’ve never caught the sun so much in April.

The rest of the month has certainly got a lot to live up to!

IMG_7987IMG_7991IMG_7983Weekends are quite simply the best now days. I love having someone to share my time off with, it makes my life feel so much more complete being able to do things together. Naturally my Saturdays and Sundays spent exploring new places or revisiting old spots or just being cosy at home have become something I treasure. Particularly now the weather is allowing us to get out and about a bit more, my weekends are always a highlight.

The nice thing is that it doesn’t even have to be anything groundbreaking to make it seem special. Take this weekend for example, it was just a leisurely trip into town yesterday and a walk in the countryside today but it was so lovely.

We walked fairly locally today, it was so peaceful out that you could simply hear the birds singing along with the noises of nature. The inner child came to life upon stumbling across a makeshift swing in the orchard this morning. Its refreshing to find myself doing things I never would have done alone, encouraged by the unquestionable playfulness that inhabits my boyfriend.  Swinging on a tree in a field together: you just cannot help feel joyous by the fun and silliness of it.

I’m grateful for having someone who makes me smile, fills my time with fun and sweet memories. I always feel so content come Sunday evening. 

 

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Hygge. Everyone and their mate seems to be embracing it at the moment. The term ‘Hygge’ is getting a lot of attention recently and I say with good reason. I’ve been searching Pinterest like a hawk for beautiful home inspiration and ideas for when we move out in the spring, and I like the look of a neat stack of books set upon on a coffee table. ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ (I got mine from Amazon for £5) has been popping up everywhere I look lately and I figured that it would fit in well with the cosy theme I hope to achieve. Little did I know how much I would enjoy this small hand guide of how to Hygge.

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Firstly, its the perfect size for a coffee table also meaning its ideal to pick up and put down at your leisure. I really like the structure of the book because it can be read as and when you please as each chapter looks at totally new aspects – therefore you don’t have to read it from cover to cover to appreciate it. The pages include beautiful photos, colourful illustrations and are full of digestible little facts making it a pleasure to sit and have a flick through.

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The focus of this book revolves largely upon Danish lifestyle and practices that the Danes adopt to lead happy and contented lives. I absolutely love the concept of it. It talks about the importance of home and having a place to relax alongside family and close friends. This guide fills you in on everything you need to know about what Hygge stands for and how to do it: think hot drinks and candles burning for the ultimate coziness. This little book really is a bit of me and contains values I can totally get on board with.

A perfect addition for someone who is looking to unwind and for inspiration on how to better appreciate the smaller things in life.

Have you heard of Hygge? What do you make of it?