Kevin Smith's Blog

Day 353 - holiday!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

To be honest I've struggled to find time to write this blog. You see we're slap bang in the middle of the six-week summer school holiday and, what with Gemma at home, the time has been filled with no end of exciting activity. Let me get you up to speed...

Gemma turned 30 at the end of July and we had all sorts of celebrations to enjoy. The fun started with a weekend away with our good friends Neil and Victoira. We left Ida with Nanna for a couple of nights and stayed in a gorgeous pub in Woodbridge (see here for a sneaky look - I'd definitely recommend the place for a special treat). We did nothing but eat and drink for the entire time we were there, and it was bloody marvellous. Photographs of us eating and drinking are a bit dull, so here's a picture of the river at Woodbridge. Neil liked the bird life the river had to offer:

We followed the weekend away with a big picnic at RHS Garden Hyde Hall. 40 friends and family joined us on a beautiful sunny afternoon and we even played a game of rounders. I'm not sure if it was against the rules, but we took enough booze into the garden to sink a battleship. We were very well behaved, of course, but could we have been the first visitors to stroll around an RHS garden holding glasses of fizz and cans of larger? Nobody told us off, but it did feel a little naughty (in a good way). We've not got photos of the picnic because we forgot to take our camera. Neil and Victoria, if you're reading this could you please email me a suitable picture to slot in here.

The birthday celebration climaxed with a slap up meal at The Boatyard. It's one of mine and Gemma's favourite restaurants and here's the birthday girl cutting her cake:

Amid all the birthday excitement I did have to do a little work. Gemma's sister, Claire, was a bridesmaid at a wedding and I'd been commissioned to do the flowers. Here's auntie Claire clutching Ida and flowers by moi:

So we've had endless birthday celebrations with a wedding squeezed in the middle, but the fun didn't end there. We've just returned from a stonking week in the North Yorkshire Moors and, even though it rained virtually every day, we had a fab time. We were joined by three other couples and five children, which made for a jam-packed yet rather noisy week. Here are some of the party enjoying the glorious summer weather:

And here are the rest of our holiday highlights:

That's right, us adults had a devishly naughty murder-mystery party. Here's Mary-Jane Faithless, Tamara Fara-Bucktooth and Kitty Killer:

The North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway
All aboard - a hoot and loved by kids of all ages.

Nunnington Hall
You can't beat a good National Trust house and garden. Here's a rather lovely bit of the grounds:

And here's us sheltering from the rain while we had our picnic:

It rained. We got wet. Ida had her biggest tantrum to date in the Coop. We're not in a hurry to go back:

Our cottage
It was MASSIVE (I suppose it had to be with all us lot), and had a very handy washing line:

And here's the rather stonking view from our sitting-room window:

The slide
Ida didn't care about much - just the slide:

So, there we are - half the summer break is gone. Could the next half get any better? I doubt it. Oh, the joys of being a stay-at-home dad. Jealous anyone?

Until next time...

Ooh, I must tell you all about Harvest at Jimmy's. It's taking place 9-12 September and I'm getting involved by putting on a couple of gardening workshops. That's right ladies and gentlemen, you can see The Kooks, The Feeling, James Martin, The Gruffalo and me. Check me out in the family section.

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Kevin Smith | Garden Media Writer and Editor

On 31 August 2010 I quit my full-time job as the Commissioning Editor at Gardeners' World Magazine to be a stay-at-home dad  and to try and scratch a living as a freelance garden journalist. It's often said that a 'life change' is good, but can I cut it with the yummy mummys? Will I manage to get a single shred of work done? Will Ida (she's the gorgeous little girl who's the cause of all this) like gardening as much as me? Who knows, we're going to find out...