Pancakes Aren’t Just For Pancake Day

A week on and I am sat here thinking back on the excitement felt this time last week, all because we were having pancakes for dinner, it was that time of year again the joyous ‘Pancake Day.’ But why does it only have to be once a year? Pancakes are simple to rustle up and of course cheap  historically originating from using up all the ingredients left over one’s larder as preparation took place for lent. Pancake ingredients are cheap as chips, they are easy to cook up and are most importantly  a great vehicle for all sorts of fillings and toppings whether savoury or sweet. They are worthy of far more than a just once a year highlight in our diet, so last week, over lemon and sugar drizzled pancakes we concluded these flat friends would become more regular visitors in our lives.

So on that note here is one of my savoury pancake recipes to share with you:

Honey Roasted Beetroot And Feta Filled Pancakes:

Serves 4 with 3 pancakes each:

Pancake Mixture:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • pinch of salt


  1. Put the flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the middle, then pour in about 50ml milk and 1 tbsp oil. Start whisking from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the eggs, milk and oil. Once all the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it is too stiff to beat.
  2. Add a good splash of milk and whisk to loosen the thick batter. While still whisking, pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk. Continue pouring and whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream.

While the batter is resting, (it’s good to leave it for up to 30 minutes) you can start on the filling:

The pancake mixture should look something like this:


For The Filling:


  • Pack of pre cooked beetroot
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Good drizzle of honey
  • 200g of feta cheese

Honey Roasted Beetroot:


  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 celsius or gas mark 5. Cut the beetroot into quarters then lay them in a baking tray.
  2. Drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and then a good drizzle of honey getting a bit of a coating on each piece of beetroot but not too thick as it can tend to become a bit too sweet.
  3. Then pop it in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes keeping an eye on it and taking it out when it is starting to brown and go all gooey.
  4. Allow to cool for a few minutes then cut it down into small pieces ready to go inside the pancakes.
  5. Leave the oven on at the same temperature ready to put the filled pancakes in once you have assembled them.

Whilst the beetroot is in the oven you can cook the pancakes following the instructions below:

Heat the pan over a moderate heat, then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper. Ladle some batter into the pan (three quarters of a ladle full of batter is a good measure), tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin and even layer. Return the pan to the heat, then leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 30 seconds.  If the pan is the right temperature, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 30 seconds and will be ready to turn.

(Usually the first pancake or even first two pancakes are a bit of a disaster, especially in our house hold, so don’t panic if that’s the case, they always tend to come together nicely after that).

Flipping pancakes: Hold the pan handle, ease a fish slice under the pancake, then quickly lift and flip it over. Make sure the pancake is lying flat against base of the pan with no folds, then cook for another 30 seconds before turning out onto a warm plate. Stack onto a plate. You can freeze the pancakes for 1 month, wrapped in cling film or make them up to a day ahead if you do want to save a bit of time.

The Filling:

Once you have cooked your pile of pancakes you can get on with assembling them.

  1. Get an oven proof dish at the ready, take your first pancake and lay it out on a plate, crumble some feta cheese over the pancake then a handful of the pieces of cut up beetroot then another sprinkle of crumbled feta and then roll up, place neatly in the baking dish.
  2. Continue this process with all the pancakes until you have a neatly filled baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle some feta cheese over the top of them all (this will go a nice golden brown in the oven).
  4. Pop them in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes keeping a close eye on them, once the cheese has started to go golden brown, whip them out.
  5. Eat whilst hot, they go well with a tasty green salad.


Hope you enjoy them, they are also tasty with some sliced sautéed mushrooms cooked with a little fresh thyme, you can add these to the filling along with the beetroot and feta.

Bon appetite, and remember pancakes don’t just have to be for Pancake Day, like us why not embrace them all year round.




French Inspiration

Whilst truffling around my Mum’s stall last week in Covent Garden I came across a lovely book ‘The French Cafe’ by Marie-France Boyer. After a few minutes of dreamily looking through it, Mum kindly said I could borrow it for a while, so happily over the last week I have been avidly looking through it at any spare moment, being whisked off to some of the dreamily rustic French cafes and bars it captures throughout the beautifully photographed book. Photographed by Eric Morin, this lovely book captures how the French Cafe epitomizes the French art of living. With most cafes opening early and closing late they are the centre of society and the community.

Image taken from The French Cafe’ by Marie-France Boye photography by Eric Morin


These wonderful places are sanctuaries to sit alone and watch the world go by or to sit and socialise with much loved locals.

Image taken from The French Cafe’ by Marie-France Boye photography by Eric Morin


This book captures the effortless style they ooze, from the most rustic workers’ local cafe to the grand establishments dating from the beginning of the century, but all offer the same principal, they are a place to feel comfortable, to relax and catch up on some alone time or to socialise with friends and loved ones.

Image taken from The French Cafe’ by Marie-France Boye photography by Eric Morin


As you know from past blogs I already love France and always feel inspired after visits there, buying trips over there are such fun and always reap great rewards with wonderfully unique vintage finds. We are still in the throes of renovating our house and are constantly feeling inspired by French and Scandinavian interiors and vintage homewares, so who knows what look we will end up with, it will certainly be eclectic, but after enjoying this lovely book my love affair with a rustic charm is definitely becoming more apparent.

These were a few of my finds the other day…


I am slowly building up our collection of French crockery to eat off, its so much more fun building it up gradually as and when you come across a piece on various travels. This is a much more enjoyable reward than to buying it all in one go, and of course much cheaper which is key at the moment with our new life on a shoe string.

These were a find from years ago which I saved up whilst I dreamt about having our own home to show them off in, and one day it came true …..

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This lovely French salt shaker and vinegar bottle are also two more additions to the house and really reminded me of the similar ones you get in French cafes, I so love their simple shape and unelaborate decoration. Both I found on separate occasions, we are just short of the pepper shaker now, so eyes are peeled, if anyone comes across one do please let me know.


Our online shop has also benefited from this French inspiration and we have a few lovely new French vintage finds ….The Nostalgia Exchange’s Shop…..


We are planning another French trip sometime soon so I will keep you posted on new inspiration and vintage finds.

But for now bonne journée!


An Edible Bloom

I have just clambered out of the pile of courgettes our garden has produced, it’s amazing there are more and more everyday, it’s all very exciting! I especially love the vibrant orangy, yellow flowers, they are quite striking! and of course edible, which is wonderful news, living on a shoe string budget at the moment makes any food we can grow ourselves very pleasing and so very helpful.

After reading up on some delicious sounding recipes for some inspiration on how to make a scrummy dinner out of these fabulous blooms, I came up with the following, adapting some of the recipes slightly to fit what we had in the fridge:


Makes a great starter or lovely as an accompaniment to fish, serves 2:


6 to 8 courgette flowers (depends how hungry you are, in our house we tend to always eat lots!)

4 0z soft Goats cheese

Good handful of a mixture of fresh herbs (depending on what you have, but the following are great, basil, mint, oregano, thyme or parsley)

1 egg

100g plain flour

Salt and pepper

5 tbsp Olive oil (you may need more, this is for frying, if the frying pan becomes dry just add more oil)


  1. Pick your selection of flowers, then just open them up gently and remove the stamen and any rogue bug that might be hiding in there.
  2. Chop up your selection of herbs nice and finely and then in a bowl mash up the cheese and mix in the herbs, so you have a paste.
  3. Then gently open up the flowers and fill each one with the cheese mixture then just twist the top of them closed.
  4. In a separate bowl crack in the egg and whisk up, then stir in the flour and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Dip each flower into the egg and flour mixture and then heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.
  6. Once the oil is piping hot, just throw in your flowers and keep turning them over coating them in the olive oil and until each side is a golden brown and lovely and crispy. Then dig in whilst still nice and warm.

I hope you get a chance to try this out and hope you enjoy it, bon appetit!



Blooms, Stripes And A Harvest – The World Of The London Escape Artist

Summer is here, although that is a dubious concept with all the April type showers we are having, it can be very confusing when you go out in shorts in the morning to bright sunshine and two hours later you are desperately trying to find shelter from a torrential down pour, I can’t say I am enjoying the unpredictability, but I can say our new garden is enjoying every minute, and has come on a storm.

When we left London to move to Harwich I was determined to get stuck into the garden and try to grow some of our own food to help with our cost of living abit. So one of the first things I started to do when we moved in, in March was to start sussing out what seeds I could set about planting. We are abit limited on space so I decided to go for a select few fruit and vegetables for this year to see how we get on. Broad beans, carrots, courgettes, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries and a nice selection of herbs made the list.

A few were hardy enough to plant straight into the ground – so the broad beans and carrots went straight into the soil in the garden in late March, whilst the courgettes and tomatoes were planted up in the sheds to keep warm until some warmer weather ensued. I waited with baited breath, checking every day in the hope of a sign of a youthful shoot, it took a few weeks when finally there were signs of life as excitingly the seeds started sprouting and our vegetable garden dream was beginning to become a reality.

A Broad bean sprouting…..

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Once the tomatoes and courgettes were of a fairly substantial size and able to hopefully withstand any bouts of cold or slug and snail attacks (seaweed by the way is a great way to keep away slugs and snails, just put it around the base of the plant as in the above picture) I put these outside in their designated spots. They are coming on a storm and we have had our first few harvests of lettuce, courgettes and broad beans, a joyous moment indeed and it’s great thinking up recipes to make the most of all this fresh veg.

Courgette flowers in full bloom…..

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Lettuce and broad beans in all their glory…

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Our first harvest of broad beans and courgettes, love the colours….

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A Spanish inspired tomato salad with fresh oregano and thyme from the garden…..

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Oodles of oregano and our thyme in full bloom….for all time…

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And a fresh salad with our delicious fresh lettuce from the garden…..

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Strawberries making an appearance just in time for Wimbledon….

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I also decided we needed to introduce some splashes of colour into the garden with some blooms and some stripes. Some of my favourite flowers are poppies and sweet peas so I planted handfuls of seeds and waited excitedly for them to start to bloom; and was over the moon when they all started to come out….

Poppies in bloom…..

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Sweet peas in bloom….

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A bouquet of blooms…..

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Inspired by the beach huts on our nearby beach I thought it only fair to give our little sheds a bit of a revamp, armed with a paint brush they were adorned with green and white stripes. Much to The Woodfashioner’s amusement I think I actually covered myself in more of the paint.

Shed transformation…..

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Here they are with their stripes…

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I am still waiting on our garlic and carrots to ripen ready for harvest, exciting times still ahead. I have many more ideas for next year and am so looking forward to coming up with some new recipes to try out our fresh vegetables and fruit which I will be sure to share with you. But for now, with all this rain there is some weeding to do, so bye for now and see you all again soon….. have a great weekend!

Blowing Away The Cobwebs And Grayson Perry’s House

Last weekend with a house full of dear friends from my old job we decided to explore the local area around Harwich, and despite a rather heavy night fueled with Prosecco and red wine we embarked on an 8 mile walk from Harwich to Wrabness, in the hope that the fresh sea air would blow away the cobwebs (that it did). We had heard great things about Wrabness and were very excited by the prospect that it was home to Grayson Perry’s illustrious house, so what better carrot to have dangled in front of us as we set about the challenge ahead.

We started off in Old Harwich…


where we quickly stumbled across this lovely old book shop, at this rate this walk could take a while!


Distraction over, the walk then takes you along the seafront along to Dovercourt Beach, a white sand, blue flag beach, with pretty beach huts lining the way – much of the time was spent picking out our favourite, a hard choice let me tell you.


These two we my favourite after lots of thought…


The course then takes a more wild route across marsh land reminiscent of the beautiful Norfolk broads.



The Essex Way as it’s called, which was swapped around many a time along the route to the well known phrase “The Only Way Is Essex” then steers you up across farmland and fields, at this time of year awash with startling splashes of yellow from the crops of rape seed along with pretty dandelion clocks. Occasionally we were met by a friendly horse bounding over in the hope of a free snack.



You are then met with the pretty village of Ramsey complete with pub The Castle, but after our rather heavy night it was unanimous a pub could not be stomached at this point in time and we must crack on with the promise of fish and chips at the end.

The path then creeps up from Ramsey until you find yourself in field land peering back over Ramsey windmill. Through fields of wild flowers, lined with hedgerows that promise great blackberry harvests in the Autumn you then meet Wrabness wood. A welcome contrast from the openness and head wind and we found ourselves in an enchanted enclave, filled with carpets of bluebells and snow drops.


As you meander through the wood you suddenly become aware you are alongside the Stour Estuary, idyllic for all kinds of bird and nature watching.


With sore feet and the start of rumbling tummies we were elated to catch a glimpse of the top of Grayson Perry’s house.

As we finished the last few steps along the estuary the path then takes a sharp left and leads you up the hill to Black Boy Lane and the location of Grayson Perry’s House.

Where you are met with this…..


A House For Essex was designed by Grayson Perry (one of the UK’s leading contemporary artists, winning the Turner Prize in 2003) and FAT Architecture It is both an artwork in itself and the setting for a number of works by Grayson Perry exploring the special character and unique qualities of Essex. The building has been designed to evoke a tradition of wayside and pilgrimage chapels. It belongs to a history of follies, whilst also being deeply of its own time. The house itself doesn’t attempt to blend in with or copy local buildings in the village of Wrabness, instead it stands alone as a unique addition to the countryside. However it remains sympathetic to the site and the area’s sense of remoteness. For example, hand-made tiles relate tonally to the landscape while the building’s simple pitched roof forms echo simple agricultural buildings and farmhouses.


According to Chelmsford born Perry the house is ‘inspired by follies, eccentric homes, shrines and fairy tales. More precisely, though, it’s inspired by a woman called Julie. Born in Canvey Island in 1953, she married refinery worker Dave in her youth and had two children by him before an affair ended their marriage. She subsequently wed Rob, who commissioned this ornate house in her memory after she was knocked down and killed by a curry delivery driver in Colchester.’ It really is quite extraordinary and finished off our beautiful walk nicely along with the promise of fish and chips after the train ride back to Harwich, it was unanimous there would be no round walking trip back!

Our Feathered Friend – Arthur

Yesterday was spent selling at Spitalfields Market, which is always a great day out, but yesterday was particularly special as I found our new addition to the home, a feathered friend. I have always wanted to own a piece of taxidermy and yesterday I  met Phil – Spitalfields Taxidermy who made it all possible. The Woodfashioner (my boyfriend Alf) is a little sceptical and not such a fan as I of this creative art form, but I have felt for a while I home was in need of just a small piece, so when I saw this fella yesterday I couldn’t resist, he was coming home with me.

We have named him Arthur, and here is our first piece of taxidermy and our latest vintage addition to our new home…..


and here’s Arthur in situ, he’s definitely going to make me smile every morning….


Be sure to check out Phil’s website and instagram page, so many wonderful things, I also fell in love with the peacock, so stunning! But for now Arthur is just fine.


With our new life in Harwich and my new vintage dealer “full time status,” life can be a little frugal at times. It’s a wonderful way of life but the belt buckles have to be tightened and we are having to get more creative with our recipe ideas to make food go further. This is great fun and very satisfying when you create something delicious yet on a shoe string budget.

This week my new recipe idea is ‘Finger Linkin Chicken Salad’ which I thought I would share with you. This is great as you can get two meals out of one, we managed to pick up a reduced chicken which we roasted on Sunday for lunch along with some roast potatoes and a green salad with lettuce picked from our garden so was a nice cheap, yet scrummy meal. We always have some chicken left over from a whole one as there is only two of us, so this is where ‘Finger Linkin Chicken Salad’ comes into its own.

Finger Linkin Chicken Salad:



Serves 4:


4-6 handfuls of roast chicken meat and the wings if you didn’t devour them first time round

3 cloves of garlic


2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

A tablespoon of tomato ketchup

A tablespoon of grain mustard or smooth is fine too

2 cm piece of ginger finely chopped

Back pepper to season

Drizzle of olive oil

For The Salad:

4 handfuls Rocket leaves or lettuce (either is fine)

1 orange

1 grapefruit


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  2. Strip the cooked meat from the chicken.

  3. Peel the garlic and add to a pestle and mortar along with a generous pinch of salt. Grind down until almost a paste, tip into an oven proof bowl and stir in the honey, soy sauce, chilli sauce, ketchup, mustard and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with some black pepper, then add the chicken  meat. Toss gently then bake for 20 minutes, or until the meat is glistening.

  4. While it’s cooking away you can make the salad. Peel the oranges and grapefruit, then slice thinly. Toss into a salad bowl with the rocket or lettuce leaves.

  5. To serve, pile the hot chicken onto the salad and serve.

If you give it a try I hope you enjoy it. It’s perfect for a light summer dinner or if you want to make it a little more substantial it’s lovely served on top of rice all the juices soak into the rice, delicious!

Bon Appétit!

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After a few months of chintzy florals….,


patterned carpets…..


and the wall to wall stripping of wallpaper….


we have finally moved into our new home. I had an idealistic dream that we would have mostly finished everything before moving in, but far from it. We are still living with bare plaster walls and un sanded floors, but it is a work in progress, a long term project, we are slowly but surely breaking through and with each end result comes a sense of satisfaction and reward (usually a glass of wine).

We’ve discovered some gems along the way including these beautiful fireplaces boarded up in both bedrooms…..


We are so thankful they were left alone for us to uncover.

Also with the move has come the full time start of the markets and the world of a vintage dealer for me, an exciting concept but not always plain sailing. Anyone in the vintage and antique world will be familiar with the crack of dawn wake up calls, these of course go hand in hand with this surreal world, and are the epitome of the well known saying ‘The early bird catches the worm.’ I have always been an early riser much to The Woodfashioner’s horror in our early days of first meeting, but is something he has grown to well and truly sleep through (I occasionally manage to persuade him along to the odd car boot, he has a great eye, so is a strong side kick to have along). However the new alarm wake up call has been taken to a whole new dizzy height, one that even I am still slightly shuddering at, Mondays and Thursdays now bring a 3.30am wake up for a 4.10 am get away, OUCH!

The eve before my first Covent Garden, we were welcomed home on a cold February Sunday evening after a weekend away, to a very lifeless boiler. The electrician left to his own devices over the weekend, whilst rewiring the house had somehow (unbeknownst to him) cut off the power supply to our boiler leaving us with no heating and no hot water! Uncontactable until the following day we had no choice but to just crack on; but boiling a kettle at 3am the following morning to run myself a shallow bath, before driving into London to stand outside on a market stall all day, did get me wondering that I might have gone slightly mad, it was bleak! The next short encounter with a blizzard of snow when stepping outside ready for the drive into the city confirmed it, what had I done giving up a perfectly good job in a warm office?!

But a short time later, surrounded by an array of characters at a buzzing Covent Garden the doubts soon started to pass, and when setting up my stall in my own little world, free from the stresses of replying to endless emails and answering the incessant phone it was confirmed I wasn’t so mad after all.

Over the months the wake up calls have become slightly easier (they will never be easy), certainly helped by the warmer mornings, and with them come the excitement of what the day will bring. No market is ever the same, meeting wonderful wacky characters, customers with interesting, touching stories and nostalgic reminiscing are just a few highlights. Then of course coupled with this you feel like you have nailed the front row seats of a catwalk model show, witnessing the most creatively dressed individuals in outlandish, wonderfully eccentric clothes, all extensions of their unique, inspiring characters.

So for now certainly no regrets, we are managing to live our seaside dream with a combined taste of London a couple of times a week, but always with the eagerness to return home to the sea air after the thrill of a busy day. We will never be millionaires, but some may say we have a millionaire’s lifestyle on a shoestring. Life as a market trader does mean a frugal way of life but with it comes freedom, and although sometimes challenging, living less extravagantly can be rewarding and satisfying. More to follow on this with future blogs on our cheap, yet tasty recipe ideas, we both love cooking and with a little less money coming in, comes the need for creativity with ingredients, which is always great fun! Furnishing the house is also a thrill when you don’t have access to lots of funds, a challenge we are embracing and loving, this is one of my latest finds and little project …..


and after…..


More updates to come on our progress and challenges and delights and achievements in this new world, but for now an image from our evening walk……


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It’s been a long while since I wrote a blog post, apologies for my disappearance. It’s been an exciting few months, rather mad and hectic but all in a good way.  In the middle of last year my boyfriend (The Woodfashioner) and I came to the decision to leave London, not a decision taken lightly and one mixed with lots of apprehensions along the lines of…. ‘how will we survive without the bright lights and the hustle and bustle?’ ‘will life without our beloved London be too quiet and unsatisfying?’ But when faced with the prospect of being able to buy our own home (by the sea no less), an impossible scenario for us in London despite being on relatively good wages and having saved a fairly decent deposit (thanks to The Woodfashioner’s Mum putting up with us under her roof for the last two years), the apprehensions soon began to wane.

Lots of research went into possible areas, combined with lots of day trips, finally we came upon Harwich. An Essex town, known for its international port with the ferry to The Hook of Holland. It’s a town full of character with beautiful Historic Harwich one way and your classic English high street in Dovercourt the other, whilst being surrounded be sea, for us it seemed like it had it all on first glance. But despite this the worries were still there, mainly being that it would be too quiet after a London life, but it soon became apparent that maybe the slower pace of life with fresh sea air and friendly people might not be such a bad thing and actually one that we may possibly really relish. So just putting the worries down to the big changes that were on the horizon, we cracked on, and after a few months of looking and a few heartbreaks we finally found our dream home, ticking all the boxes. It was by no means ready to go, but we could see the potential and we wanted somewhere we could put our own stamp on, owned by a lovely man for over 50 years it had been truly loved and we know we are going to love it just as much.

A little glimpse at where to find Harwich…


On the 23rd December we very excitingly got the nod, the house was finally ours, definitely goes down as the best Christmas present ever!


Our new road, new keys and some very excited faces…


Our walk to our lovely local pub The Alma….


Lovely splashes of colour in Old Harwich….


This was it we were taking the plunge!

The life change also came with other big decisions, I had a full time job in London where I was Head of Locations at a location agency, finding locations for photographic and film shoots, where I had been for 6 years. Alongside this, as you know, I have been a vintage dealer working at markets at the weekends and trying to build an online presence, the dream has always been to do this full time, but the courage to do so is another thing. With this embarkment on a new life the courage came and finally I have taken the plunge, more about this is my next post on our new life by the sea. The Woodfashioner has been running his own business for the last few years but always based in London so another big decision for him, but one he has relished and now he is kitted out with his own new workshop, all to himself, unlike London where this was impossible due to the ludicrous rents.

The Woodfashioner contemplating our new life ahead….


It’s not been without its challenges which we are still discovering but so far we couldn’t be happier, life is relaxed, people have time for you, we get to see the sea everyday and I get my fix of London a couple of times a week with Spitalfields and Covent Garden Market. More to follow on the trials and tribulations of a London escape artist but for now a glimpse of Old Harwich…


Our New Website

Happy Friday everyone! Sorry I have been a bit quiet for a while, we have been busy beavering away on our new website, which is finally finished and has now gone live, which is very exciting!

So things will now change slightly, all my new blog posts will now be on our new website instead, so I just wanted to make you all aware of this as it’s been so lovely having you all following our blog so I really hope you will be happy to look out for our new posts on our new website instead.

Here is the link to our new website and glimpse at what the blog page now looks like ….really hope you like it…

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Happy weekend everyone!