Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Special Delivery

This morning, a little new arrival landed on my doorstep. A few days overdue, and much anticipated, my new baby is lookin' mighty fine.

She came from eBay, for an exceedingly wallet-friendly £20, with P&P. She's a second-hand, Herm├Ęs Birkin-esque, real leather bag by Jasper Conran. When I say Birkin-esque, here's the real deal; I think you'll agree there ain't much in it... apart from £13,000 ish.

Image courtesy of

A vintage, green (beautiful) real Birkin is currently selling on Matches - - for a rather eye-watering £12,460. It is 'on sale' from £17,800, so you would be saving 30%... anyway. I'll leave it up to you.

Should you feel similarly enamoured with this timeless, classic design, you can buy Jasper's most recent incarnation of this model through Debenhams here. A more similar version you can find, again through Debenhams, here in a very chic taupe, or - should you want to grab an even bigger bargain - head over to eBay; there are a few of my model up for grabs in a colour-popping pink, breton-esque white, pearlised white, or in eminently wearable - and slightly more practical - black.

So, are you tempted?

I shall be teaming mine with little summer dresses, studded boots, shirts, skinny jeans and chic flats.

Let me know how you get on!


Monday, 24 June 2013

The Joy of a Scuppered Plan

Sometimes, you make a plan with the best intentions, and something comes along to throw all plans out of the window. It seems to be the way that a clean-living plan is usually scuppered by a more naughty one, rather than plans for a party being intercepted by a burning desire to go to the gym. For example: a few days ago, some friends and I had planned for an evening of healthy wakeboarding on the estuary, yet mother nature decided to make it too choppy, so we ended up going for a drink instead. Chuh, wind, eh?

Needless to say we still had a whale of a time,  quickly getting over the fact that we weren't going to be sopping wet and cold on a June evening.

However, look how keenly we started out at Trouts' Boatyard! Lunges, big grins and everything.

At the mooring, the water was disarmingly calm...

A rainbow signaled the start of potentially plan-scuppering weather...

Dave merrily and optimistically points out the patch of good weather. You know, the one just in front of the rainbow.

Tory and I (perhaps prematurely) accept the inevitable, and get stuck into a bottle of Prosecco. 

Glass number two?

Even excellent wakeboarder and surfer Dave deemed the water to be a tad choppy (I'm a complete beginner) so we headed to the beautifully situated River Exe Cafe, to enjoy the view and a few beers.

If you haven't been there yet, it is well worth a visit. Despite being a stone's throw away from Starcross, the only way to reach the cafe is by water taxi from Exmouth, or via your own barge, be it kayak or RIB. The food is locally sourced, the atmosphere is great and they are hoping to host regular comedy and live music nights.
We only stayed for a few drinks, but the food is excellent, so good in fact that the days of mooring up on a Friday or Saturday night on a speculative foodie visit are now gone - the place gets booked up quickly now so make sure you call so as not to be disappointed!
You can also book it out for private parties; my brother's 30th is to be celebrated there later this year and that, in my opinion, is a hard setting to beat.


The boys discuss whether or not it's time to get in the water...

 According to this guy, it definitely is. Darn.

We don't look too sure.

But after a bit of posing...

and a brief chat with Snoopy, the River Exe Cafe's resident pooch, we get on our (slightly too) merry way.

It's 9pm by the time Dave gets in the water, so there's only enough light for our resident pro to show us how it's done.

all going brilliantly, until...


Brave Dave gets back up but by now it's pretty pretty dark and even my widest aperture is struggling, so apologies for the blurred lines...


 We head back in, windswept, sun kissed, tired and happy.

If you fancy heading to the River Exe Cafe, find out all you need to know here.
It's well worth the trip.


Gone 'Fishing'

Not long ago, my extended family and I decided we needed a day off. The boys had received early birthday presents from Dad in the form of a fishing rod each, with all the trimmings. Arguably this was a form of thinly veiled bribery by Dad in order to acquire two new fishing buddies, but the boys were pretty delighted. So on what felt like the first real day of summer this year, we packed a 'proper picnic' and headed up to Kennick reservoir, near Bovey Tracey. Reminiscent of East Coast America (that's what I told myself, anyway), Kennick was peaceful, beautiful, and the perfect location for our one-day getaway.

The shoreline is peppered with with rhododendron bushes, which act as beautiful natural partitions between groups, providing a degree of privacy and adding to the getaway feel.

We chose our spot and settled down with blankets, books and enough food to feed a small army.

(Claude never fails to miss the point that picnic blankets are, in fact, laid for humans.)

 He - and we - really were in seventh heaven.


When I said we made a 'proper' picnic, we really went all out. We decided to dig out an old silver service tea set, which hadn't been used since my granny's time, to complement the wicker hamper which too had been given shamefully few outings.

It really made the most beautiful cup of tea I have had for a long time. Partly, I'm sure, due to the length of time it took to come to the boil - about 25 minutes - but boy was it worth it!
The waiting got too much for Claude, who decided he needed a lie down. 

After a little while more 'fishing', we felt we deserved a break, and so tucked into some bubbly, as a reward for everyone's hard work.

We had a delicious lunch of pork pies, coronation chicken, fruit and Dad's homemade 'curry coleslaw' - not for the faint-hearted!
The food was so good, in fact, that I forgot to take a photo, oops.

After having our fill, the boys got back to fishing and I settled back down to finding out what the Lannisters et al were up to. 

After a while, I spied a chocolate cake, lurking in the shadows. Time to brew the beautiful 25-minute kettle again, I believe...


Fishing update: apparently we came at the wrong time, and the fish would have been laughing at us. They are more likely to be fooled by our neon flies early morning or from 8pm onwards. This mattered very little to us all - luckily supper wasn't riding on the fruits of the day - but as time elapsed, Dan's frustration manifested itself in him standing deeper and deeper in the (very chilly) water! You gotta hand it to him for being so valiant.

Mike and Lizzie, meanwhile, weren't quite so fussed...

Mum and I decided to take Claude for a stroll and have a bit of an explore.

I can't recommend a trip to Kennick enough; it's only a 40-minute drive from Exeter, absolutely beautiful and we returned fishless, but feeling like we had been on holiday for a day.
In order to preserve its atmosphere and the environment, Kennick is strictly a fishermen-only day out, although as half of our group were attempting to fish, it was no problem for us non-fishergals to come along for the fun of just being there. You can find out more details about fishing permits and the reservoir here. Pack a picnic, a good book, some good friends, and make a day of it.