Ten beautiful things

Yesterday I was having a very sad day – I’ll imagine various sympathetic expressions!! πŸ˜‰ When I decided I was going for a long walk, my usual answer, L gave me a task … he challenged me to take ten photos of beautiful things and then I’d have to show him the proof when I got back … what?! How was I meant to find anything beautiful, let alone ten, in that mood?!!

My hubby knows me well! I found ten beautiful things to take a photo of … in fact, I ended up finding more than tenΒ  … what a surprise for this camera-loving girl, right?! πŸ˜‰

How could I have avoided this first one, sitting, as these flowers were, right in my path outside the green grocers round the corner?!

Laugh if you like, but I just had to include this in my beautiful-things-line-up!! I think that the sight of rows and rows of books is a truly beautiful sight!!! Is that very sad of me?! πŸ˜›

This used book stall, which is much bigger than this picture suggests, is set up nearly every day of the week on the street just 2 minutes from my front door … let’s just say that the friendly man who runs it recognizes my face and is always glad to see me back … !!! πŸ˜‰

What could be more beautiful than a tree dripping with red dots?!? πŸ˜›

There’s something so beautiful and graceful about trees and their spreading branches!

These leaves looked almost like scattered petals on the grass where I found them!

I love reflections! Beautiful!! πŸ™‚

This is one of the first of many, many photos of autumn-coloured leaves that you will definitely be seeing over the next three or so months … I love autumn, I love autumn colours and guess what?! I love taking photos!! πŸ˜› Bet you couldn’t have guessed that one!! πŸ˜‰

This one speaks for its self really, doesn’t it?!

Have I ever mentioned the words predictable, compulsive or adictive in connection with myself, trees, the sun and my camera?!! πŸ˜‰

The wind was gusting these willow branches around, the sun casting beautiful shadows and patterns!! A moment of perfection!

I took this photo late last night, when after a day of sun, muggy heat and gathering black clouds, it poured down with rain. I caught the rain in the light of the street lamp outside my living room window … I love the beautiful, glowing golden-orange light!

What are three beautiful things that you’ve seen so far this weekend?


Adventuring in the forest …

… at least, that was the idea …

Last Friday (our usual date night) we were having fun with L’s family and this Friday night we were chatting away at a friend’s birthday cocktail party! Both great fun!! πŸ™‚

This did, however, mean that we hadn’t had a Date Night in 2 whole weeks … so we took this Saturday as a Date DAY!! And it was completely fabulous!!! πŸ˜€

Not having a car of our own, we took, after much online consultation from me, a bus to a stop nearest to the forest we wanted to walk in.

I packed up a yummy picnic of all our favourite picnic foods in the picnic backpack we’d bought for our honeymoon – it’s covered in multi-coloured dots, of course!! πŸ˜‰

I’d copied down directions on how to get from the bus stop to the entrance into the forest … they looked easy to follow and made it seem like it would be a little trot around the corner and we’d be there …

Have I given you enough hints so far that you know what I’m going to say next … ?!? πŸ˜›

Yup, it wasn’t so simple to follow the directions when we were actually there … especially when “the bridge over a stream” was more like a hidden-by-bushes water trickle and tunnelled under the pathway … so I spent the whole time till we reached the roadway again following my nose and looking for that tricksy stream and bridge … on the way back a little hunting in the trees brought the discovery of the much mis-described “landmark” …

The barley fields we walked round the edge of were truly beautiful and such an amazing golden colour! They stretched on and on and disappeared over the brow of the hills … seemingly endlessly! It’s reminded me that I am really quite partial to barley bread … ! πŸ˜‰

It had reached 2:30pm and we hadn’t had lunch and didn’t know how much further we still had to go before we reached this forest … it was beginning to feel like every step we took towards it, it retreated a step … maybe this forest was a community of Ents … ooh … ok, so I guess not, but we did want that elusive forest to prove that it really did exist!!!

We decided to have our picnic under the shade of this massive oak tree, which was at the side of the field we were walking up, just when our tummies told us they needed some attention! πŸ˜‰

Crunchy cheese and onion crisps (maybe we broke into those while waiting for our bus …!), scotch eggs, juicy cherry tomatoes, a chicken and lettuce sandwich for L, cheeses and biscuits, salted pistachio nuts, mozzarella with sun-dried tomatoes and olives – a favourite of the hubby’s!, fig rolls and last, but definitely not least, cans of cloudy lemonade! Yumtastic!! πŸ˜€

L enjoying his mozzarella and olives – “oh, hello, are you taking a photo of me eating?!” πŸ˜›

Me enjoying the multiple photography opportunities … thankfully my hubby knew all about my love of taking photos well before we started going out!! πŸ˜›

L decided it was just the right time and place to have a little snooze … about 15 or so minutes later, we heard people talking, so, as we were on the edge or and over the path, we got up … it was a good thing we did …

… the voices belonged to these people, on galloping horses … thankfully, they saw us and slowed down to a walk, so we had time to move any stuff out of the way and stand up … phew!! πŸ™‚

I do love my English countryside! I am sometimes taken aback by the beauty, depth and history of the country I live in, despite having grown up in a rural town and despite having been hiking on the local moors before I could walk – do you think I would have looked cute all huddled up in a back carrier?! πŸ˜‰

The first time, after I’m guessing about 2 or so miles worth of walking, we came across something which promised a forest in the near vicinity, were these stacks of felled logs at the side of the road … ooooh! Maybe it’s just round the corner …

Whoop whoop!! The long-promised bridle-path into the forest is finally in front of us! We kind of felt like we had already had a pretty decent walk, but now that the long anticipated goal was within grasp, we didn’t feel we could give up and re-trace our steps without first venturing into some wooded walk ways …

Yay!! We got here at last! πŸ˜›

The forest was beautiful, peaceful, alive, green …

… and one of the forest inhabitants, who kept leaping in front of the camera every time I pointed it in a different direction, obviously wanted to be included in my documentation of this auspicious (ha ha) visit … so here it is … an Elke of the rarest species … πŸ˜‰

On the way back to the bus we did some log-climbing …

So yes, we might seem childish, but we had so much fun and hey, at least I’ve spared you the pictures of us climbing to our victory points .. which, let’s face it, were not so elegant and maybe involved too much of a bummage view!! πŸ˜‰

We didn’t walk very far into the forest, as we felt like we had already done a day’s worth of walking and some … but we ventured in amongst the trees, took a look, took some photos, took a walk, took a path – or two, or three! – then took a decision … time to head back to catch a bus home … !!

I couldn’t resist taking one last photo of the amazing fields of barley …

… before we got back to our bus stop where, thankfully, we only had to wait about 10 minutes for our bus back into town!

Now that is what I call good and fun adventuring!! πŸ˜€

I’ve only just realises how many photos I’ve included in this post … and that’s partly because I haven’t yet been able to master posting photos in blocks … do I post too many photos? Are my posts too long? Please so let me know how you feel … ok?! Thank yoooouuuuu!!! πŸ˜›

Bikinis, swimming, raw mushrooms and other randomness …

Where should I start?

With bikinis I think …

I’m guessing that, because of the title, many of you might think that a) I wore my first bikini this week or b) I bought a new and very fun bikini – both of those are wrong!

I’ve come a long way from the dressing standards I grew up with, but wearing a bikini is one thing I can’t ever envisage myself doing! If you wear a bikini – cool! For me, a fastidiously private dresser at the best of times, it would be a mite too much like wearing my underwear in public. And for someone who has just a few body perception hang-ups, I just can’t see myself having the confidence to show my body quite so openly.

This week, however, I had definite feelings of wishing I was able to bring myself to wear a bikini!

It all started when L and I decided we would start swimming together. L still had his swimming trunks from years ago, but as I hadn’t been swimming in over 12 years, my swimming costume had been chucked a loooong time ago … bother, that means I have to go buy a new one!! 😦

I had high hopes of finding a dotty swimming costume – what else?! πŸ˜‰

If not dotty, then definitely brightly coloured …

… or at least fun …

… I’d settle for a decent design …

… and worse-case-scenario, I was sure I’d be able to get a red costume, at least!

Um, no!

Epic fail!

Mission unsuccessful!

There was a seemingly limitless choice of bikinis in cool dots, fun colours, funky designs and great details!!

There was a pretty big selection of amazingly coloured and designed tankinis – I was seriously tempted at this point! πŸ˜›

But my paranoia of showing the belly stepped in and firmly put it foot down on that idea … boo!!

So in the end, I had no other choice but to settle for a boring black costume and black cycling short very much like these – I have some skin problems on my upper legs that need covering up, I’m not quite that paranoid!! πŸ˜€

Admittedly, my buying was limited to just the one store, as we still had some vouchers left over from our wedding, but that didn’t stop me from being disappointed! πŸ˜›

Clothes purchased, towels packed, timetables checked, we headed over to the pool at our nearest leisure center. As we walked through the doors, the strong smell of chlorine hit hard and I was swamped with memories of the many swimming and diving lessons I had as a kid. I loved diving and was so devoted I broke a toe while attempting to demonstrate the rough procedure of a back-dive to my Mum … on the landing of our house … hmm, maybe not the best plan honey!! πŸ˜›

When I was last swimming, aged 12, I had this big fear of the deep end of the pool – the bit where it goes down and down and down and is really dark and the very deepest part is murky … shudder!! So, having reached the not-so-grand age of 24, surely this was not going to be an issue anymore, right?


I started off fine, crawling along by means of an embarrassingly slow breast-stroke … when the pool bottom started to dip … then it dipped further … then it started to get dark down there … ok, emergency action required! Get to the side of the pool right now!!

After collecting myself and calming the hubby’s concern for what was up, I decided this was something I just had to conquer. I wasn’t going to let a silly pool-depth have sway over me, now was I?

I took my courage in both hands, pushed of, kept my eyes on the end of the pool, refused to let myself look down and freak myself out and … Made.It.All.The.Way. … to the very deepest end of that pool, and back over those scary meters to the shallow end again. Go me!!! πŸ˜€

Having conquered that, I stuck to swimming half way up and then back again, not feeling the need to put myself through that anymore, now that I’d made my point … πŸ˜›

We only managed 7 lengthsΒ  each, so it’s pretty obvious we’re going to need to build up our fitness levels over time, but we took the plunge (literally!!) and got started! And no, that is not a photo of me swimming – you really think I’m going to put a photo of me wearing a swimming costume on a public blog?!? Think again kiddo!! πŸ™‚

I’ve developed a new obsession …

… for raw mushrooms!! They’re ending up in every bowl of salad I create!

I’m loving the nutty, savoury flavours and the way they soak up the dressing!


And on that final little note of randomness, I hope you all have wonderful starts to your weeks!! πŸ˜€

What new thing have you started doing/eating lately?