Canterbury – a mini break – Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

A holiday in England isn’t complete without some wet weather.  We woke up on the Sunday morning of our break in Canterbury to a downpour which lasted until lunchtime.  However, when the last of the rain disappeared, the clouds parted and we were treated to a warm afternoon.

We fancied cream tea and I suggested Perry Court Farm, which has a lovely little tea shop and farm shop.  We underestimated the drive and got there 30 minutes before closing time! Still, it was worth the drive, as we feasted on delicious scones topped with jam and clotted cream and freshly brewed tea.


Look at this delicious carrot cake.  The staff were very friendly and encouraged us to take our time finishing our tea as they tidied up around us.


The bear washed down her scone with a big glass of milk.


Look at this lovely row of apple trees on the farm.


We drove back to Canterbury and we had to stop and admire the tulips in full bloom.


Just before nightfall, we drove to Dover to see the Dover Castle.


Fog had rolled in by the time we drove into Dover town to catch a glimpse of the White Cliffs.


The bear loved the boats and the harbour.


We all slept well that night and felt refreshed for the drive back home to London.  A lovely mini-break had.  Thank you Canterbury, we’ll be back someday soon.

Toddler update – Happy 2.5 years old

Dear little bear

They say the days are long, but the years are short and this certainly resonates with us where you’re concerned.  Happy 2.5 years, baby girl.

Here you are at 1.5 years old – a photo taken in May last year.


A few months ago, you referred to yourself as Ibobol.  We remind you about it from time to time.  One recent afternoon, I said ‘Ibobol, come here please’, and you were quick to correct me ‘Mama, not Ibobol, it’s Isbel (your current pronunciation of your name)! Yesterday when I was undressing you, I said ‘take off your shoes please’ and again I was corrected ‘It’s slippers Mama, not shoes’. Well, excuse me bossy boots :-)


Little bear, you are as sensitive as ever. Even the slightest telling off sends you into floods of tears.  You are ever so contrary – headstrong one minute, loving the next, assertive of your independence and yet seek and cling to us if we are out of your sight for too long.

You do say the funniest things … we were in the garden a few weekends ago and you came running to us shouting ‘Mama, Papa, what are you doing, come inside!’ You are constantly telling us you like ‘dogs, rabbits, camping, cheese, strawberries…’ One evening, Papa picked you up from nursery. Once you arrived home, Papa did something which didn’t meet your approval and you apparently said ‘I will tell Mama’. Haha, atta girl!


You still have a good appetite and are happy to eat what we eat.  I credit baby-led-weaning for your adventurous palette, though you still prefer a vegetarian meal over meat.  However, despite Mama waxing lyrical here, if asked about your favourite food? Your response never fails to be ‘Cake, chips, beans, pizza and ketchup!’ *face palm*


You are a very active child.  Meals out are kept short as once you are done with your food, you’d rather run around and explore.  We’ve had two mini breaks this year and both times we opted to drive.  I’m not sure we’ll fly anywhere this year. Well, until you lose the ants in your pants at least…

Your favourite tv shows are Peppa Pig, Ben & Holly, Thomas the Tank Engine and In the Night Garden.  I’m pleased to say that you still love books, enjoy reading and being read to.

You are afraid of loud noises – cue tears when the hoover/hairdryer/floor steamer/blender/mixer is turned on.  We have let your hair go uncut as I’m not sure how you’d react to a visit to the hairdresser! We’ll make a Rapunzel out of you, sans the solitary confinement in a castle (though Papa might change his mind in your teens).


We love you very much and you’ll always be our little bear.

Garden update – flower patch

We had lovely tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in the flower patch over springtime.


Once the blooms had passed and I took my eye off the patch, we ended up with Borneo in our backyard.


Two delicious scones earlier gave me the motivation to sort out the above mess.  The bear and I went to a local plant sale, stocked up on petunias, geraniums and the like.  But first, a big tidy up had to be done, but I did have a little help from the bear.

Three hours later….



I spruced up an old hanging basket.


That is just scratching the surface.  There is plenty to be done in the garden and what we need is fine weather next weekend.  Here’s hoping.

Canterbury – a mini break – Part 1

Our second mini break this year was a little trip to Canterbury over the recent bank holiday weekend.  We rented a cottage in the city, within walking distance to the high street and sights, but more importantly, one that was calm, cosy, comfortable – the perfect home away from home.

The following were the highlights of our trip.


We stumbled upon the No Name Shop – a lovely french bistro upstairs and a well stocked deli downstairs.  No photos of the food.  We had our hands full with the little one!


We fancied having a sandwich here, but it was far too busy.


We caught the tail end of the Saturday market in the square.


There’s always time for some horse-ing around!  Hubby and I got our wires crossed with packing and the bear ended up wearing double denim for the day..


Coastal drive

I can never tire of seeing these beach huts.


Pebbly beaches – no sandcastles to be built this time around.


Wind turbines galore.


Hubby took a photo of this bird.


The sea air did us all good, especially moi who had been battling a chest infection.

Part 2 to follow.

Hainanese chicken rice – revisited

Hainanese chicken is another childhood favourite.   I’ve attempted it at home several times over the last few years and is a good remedy for when I’m in need of a health-boost.  This time, I poached the chicken for 45 minutes with spring onions, garlic, ginger and peppercorns and then baked it in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.  As is customary, I used the poaching liquid to cook the rice (with more ginger – I couldn’t get enough!).  It was a Sunday afternoon, and feeling lazy, I used bottled chilli sauce as a condiment. Drizzled with sesame oil, dark soy, the chicken is served with sliced cucumber, rice and some broth.  Simple and delicious.


Return of the meal plans

I had long given up on posting meal plans.  Due to work commitments in what I refer to as Q1, we lived on pizza, Chinese takeaways, fish and chips, toasts and Jacobs cream crackers.  Now that all the craziness is behind us, I’m hoping to return to meal planning – health, routine and bank balance being main motivators. Although Friday night is an exception for it has been named the Bear’s ‘chips and ketchup night’.

Here is this week’s meal plan (dinners only):

  • Monday – salmon and puy lentils
  • Tuesday – lamb chili, steamed broccoli
  • Wednesday – leftover chili
  • Thursday – chicken fajita salad
  • Friday – dhal, chinese-style omelette

A mini break

We went away on a much-needed mini break a few days to our usual haunt in Nord pas de Calais.  The weather was similar to London, though it wasn’t sun, sand and sea that we were after.

The day we arrived was fairly decent and prompted a drive to Le Touquet.  Being a Thursday evening, the town was fairly quiet and there was no sign of Le Pirate bar we’d been to before.



Good Friday was a very quiet affair.  It rained all day long and we nipped out only once for some coffee. The weather cleared up the next day, Saturday.  We could have stayed in again – Ben and Holly on the iPad for the Bear, me catching up on some reading, and the Hubby messing around on his laptop. Come 11am, we agreed on a day trip to Brugge, about 1.5 hours drive away.

Lunch was at Restaurant t’Vagevuur.   Delicious mussels for me.


The Bear enjoyed spotting horse-carts.  We’d better start saving up for a pony, Hubby.


This is our third trip to Brugge (the Bear’s second trip) and we retraced steps from our first visit.



The mini break did us all good, and afforded us some quality time with the Bear.