Beach days are the best days

We live in the New Forest on the south coast of England and we are blessed to be surrounded by the forest, farmland and the sea. We are extremely lucky to have such a picturesque landscape at our disposal, yet we find that we don’t spend much time in the forest. 
I spent some of my formative years playing in the forest amongst the cool and shady trees hunting for pine cones and slow worms. Even though I have fond memories of the the fun I had, the forest just doesn't have the same charm and appeal as our other neighbouring landscapes. 
We have bucolic farmland directly behind our house and we couldn’t imagine waking up to anything else. It is a privilege to see it transform throughout the year and guess what the new summer crop might be (this year it is beautiful golden wheat). 
However, it is the coast that we are completely and utterly besotted with. It puts a spell on us like nothing else. We are lucky enough to live just half a mile away from the beach (albeit a shingle one with a minuscule amount of sand), and we like to spend almost every moment we have there and at the beaches (much less shingle and lots more sand!) of our neighbouring villages and towns. 
Whenever we have a day off together we will always find ourselves drawn to the coast and last week was no exception. 
As usual we went to our favourite beach side bistro for lunch. 
Unfortunately dogs are not allowed on this popular stretch of beach in the summer months. So after the delicious luncheon we headed a few miles east to Hengistbury Head, which is dog friendly all year round. 

This little love bug also happens to be completely and utterly smitten with the beach,
and the oyster shells! 

It was a happy day enjoying life’s simple pleasures with my loves, and nothing could be better than that! 

Exbury Gardens

During our week off we spent a day at the beautiful Exbury Gardens. It was our first time visiting, despite it only being a few miles from home. Sometimes it is all too easy to forget about these local treasures and we thought was about time we remedied this. They are also dog friendly, so it was the perfect destination for a relaxing day out

The first dose of loveliness was from the nursery, which was crammed full of peonies, so my heart was all a flutter! 
Especially when we found the one and only remaining Sarah Bernhardt peony which is the same variety that was used for my wedding bouquet. Needless to say, we snapped it up immediately! 
Poppy getting to know her namesake 
The grand house transported me to Agatha Christie's novels. Can't you just imagine a party gone awry and the inimitable Miss. Marple or Hercule Poirot finding out all of the secrets and lies?! 
Our intrepid adventurer taking a peek at the little waterfall

I found this Wisteria Alba completely and utterly enchanting. The fragrance was divine and the unusual white flowers were so delicate and pretty 

Exbury are famous for their vast collection of Rhododendrons and this was one of my favourites 

Walking downhill through a woodland brought us to this stunning view of Beaulieu river
The gardens also have the most adorable miniature steam railway 
I have always wanted to be a passenger on a steam train, and even though it wasn't quite the luxurious steam travel I wanderlust after, it was very good fun! 

Poppy raring to go

Then we were on our way back to the sweetest train station, ready to pick up our Peony from the nursery
We had such a lovely day walking around the gardens admiring the beauty and then the adorable miniature steam train was the icing on the cake! We will definitely visit again, perhaps in the autumn for those vibrant colours or in spring for the bluebells! 

Five Happy Things

This has been a splendid week full of fun day trips, a spot of gardening, quality time together, and a lot of relaxation and delicious food. It was absolutely perfect! 

These are my favourite things which have made me happy this week... 
We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary on Friday, and even though the weather was abysmal, we had a lovely day and a fantastic meal at one of favourite restaurants
Bubbles to toast our anniversary. Here is to another wonderful year of wedded bliss with the love of my life!
Finding a Sarah Bernhardt Peony (the same variety from my wedding bouquet) for sale at a garden nursery
Golden sand dunes 
Spending all week with my loves 

What has made you happy this week?

Weekend Reading

Happy Saturday! I hope you have had a lovely week and the weekend will be even better!
Here are a few links that have caught my eye this week...

An interview with Carolina Herrera, one of my favourite fashion designers 

25 places around the world with beautiful sunsets 
It's World Gin Day! 
Home tour of an adorable quaint cottage in Wiltshire  
Mango and Jalapeño Guacamole 
The prettiest pink shirtdress 
A quick guide to Mykonos 

Happy weekend! 

Happy Sunday!

We have the rest of the week off work and it seemed only appropriate to celebrate this joyous occasion with an indulgent brunch in the garden! 
There is nothing quite like brioche French toast, bacon, strawberries and maple syrup to start the holiday on a happy note!
Happy Sunday! 

Weekend Reading

Happy Saturday! I hope you have had a lovely week and the weekend will be even better!
Here are a few links that have caught my eye this week...

67 years of the Cannes Film Festival in photos 
Island style home 
98 perfect cubes of raw food 
Dreaming of Turks and Caicos 
Summer champagne cocktail 
Pretty pink peplum jacket 
10 hidden sights in London

Happy weekend! 

Spring Bucket List

I am so happy that spring is in full swing! The days are longer than the nights, the trees are blossoming and there is a feeling of hope in the air. Spring is the perfect time of year for purging the old, embracing the new and embarking on fun adventures. With this in mind I have compiled a spring bucket list of everything I would like to do in order to celebrate this beautiful season. 

Find a bluebell wood 
Take a pilates class
Plan a summer getaway 
Forage for wild garlic
Enjoy the first picnic of the year 
Visit a botanical garden 
Update the décor to reflect the new season 
Sow wildflower seeds 
Participate in the London Marathon!

What is on your list of fun things to do this spring?