About

Name:VintagePretty
Location:United Kingdom

An avid tea-drinker who likes nutmeg in her coffee and warm lavender-scented quilts. She knits, crochets and partakes in random acts of craftiness (and kindness). She likes obscure works of literature, philosophy and the idea that her mind exists separately from her body. She enjoys moving furniture around, literary criticism and baking bread. She writes haiku about nettles, would like to swim with seals and become completely self-sufficient. She writes as if her life depends on it, listens to beautiful music, and loves her darling husband Mr. VP.

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Wednesday 31 December 2014

The Old Year: 2014 in Review

You’ll have to excuse me while I panic at the thought of 2014 being over – I was just getting into the swing of things, and last I heard, it was September!  Time it is a-flying.  It has been such a lovely, if challenging year.  It started by joining a gym and taking up swimming again, which I really enjoyed.  I took a lot of power-walks along the rivers of Cambridgeshire, we had an amazing weekend in Southwold at the beginning of March, and then we were thrust into the rush of packing up and moving in March/April.  Before we knew what was happening we had found a delightful rental house, moved, Mr VP had changed jobs and we were ‘back’ into our new and exciting life in Northumberland.  We arrived just as the last of the blossoms in Cambridgeshire were fading and the first of the cherry and hawthorn blossoms were beginning to flower up here – we had the longest, most luxurious spring in my memory.

Summer was a holiday for both of us, and just what we needed after a stressful move.  We visited Coquet Island and saw puffins and seals, we spent our wedding anniversary picking strawberries, we walked for many miles along our favourite beaches old and new, and we made the most of every spare moment we could.  At the beginning of September, we began the mammoth task of house renovation.  This turned out to be not only extremely stressful and difficult, but also very educational and I know a lot more about things I didn’t even know existed (like building regulations and how best to choose decent workmen).  After three months, we moved in to an almost-finished house and that’s where we are now.  We’re still mostly living out of boxes as we’re still waiting for the floor to be laid, but with the lights on, candles lit and the fire going, it is very homely indeed.

If 2014 was about movement, then 2015 will, I hope, be about growth.  Moving house twice in seven months is unbelievably stressful and having to pack-up one house and oversee works in the other is tear-your-hair-out worthy, so I would like to settle down in 2015, yet still grow and develop. At some point I plan to return to my studies, either this year or next, and I would like to increase the time I spend doing good and useful things.  It sounds obtuse, but it means me taking on more challenges and making more committments to myself and the life I would like to create.

I always have a bit of a panic at the end of the year, as I worry about the future and what is to come.  I suppose it’s the not-knowingness that New Year represents that worries me the most, but each year I keep trying to let that worry go a bit more and spend a little bit more living as in-the-moment as I can.  I have had such a glorious year in 2014 that I am eager to see how 2015 will pan out and how we’ll grow and change to meet the year.

So that’s it for 2014.  Here we sit watching Guardians of the Galaxy (Mr VP’s pick), having nibbled at some of the buffet food I’ve made (the homemade sausage rolls and olive palmiers have gone down a treat!) and toasting ourselves in front of a warm fire.  We might not be awake come midnight, but we’ll usually be woken long enough to welcome the new year by the fireworks going off around and about!

To all the lovely blog readers who stop by, I would like to wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2015 for you and yours.  Thanks for reading and see you in 2015! :)












Tuesday 4 March 2014

A Weekend Away in Southwold







Real, enduring happiness has been a little absent of late.  You know how it goes: your days begin the same and end the same, they roll into one another until it is suddenly another month and you cannot remember how it happened.  The daily grind becomes a little bit more of a grind than usual and you find yourself longing for a break away from it all.  The weather hasn’t helped.  Given that almost all of January and most of February was filled with dark grey clouds and oddles of rain and wind, it seems kind of appropriate that most of the UK seems to be suffering the winter blues. And this tale of seasonal sadness is why Mr VP and I decided to eenie-meanie-mynie-mo a place on one of East Anglia’s coasts and just go.  We both settled on Southwold, a place that looked right up our street with lots of cafés, bijoux shops and sea.  We found a B&B that looked good, packed modest bags (oh who am I kidding?  I have yet to master ‘packing light’ when I carry an enormous camera bag and assorted other bags that are Very Necessary!) and jumped into the car on Saturday morning, ripe for adventure.

Southwold is, for the uninitiated, really that kind of promenade type of place, with splendid grand Victorian houses facing the sea and streets full of older fishermens’ cottages.  The town is, in Mr VP’s own words, “Corbridge-Next-the-Sea”: full of community, Victorian pharmacies (oh, how wonderful they are!), nice pubs and interesting shops (it really is only missing RE).  We didn’t do much, per se, but we did a lot of walking.  The sea air and the walking and the wind and the newness of it all meant that by 10pm we were exhausted and ready for bed and slept soundly until our alarms woke us for breakfast the next morning!  Some of the best bits were when we went for a long walk along the promenade, stopping to look at all of the various beach huts along the way.  There is something magical about the beach at sunset, with row upon row of brightly-coloured beach huts.  It is its own kind of bliss.

We really enjoyed the Under the Pier Show, which is kind of the antithesis of all the usual seaside amusement arcades.  Whilst most are populated by bright lights and chances to lose money, this one is full of home-made arcade machines and hand-built automata that do anything but the usual dull games.  You can visit the automata doctor, see an instant solar eclipse, go on an armchair holiday or take part in an alien probe!  It really is the most fun that one can have in a day and is highly recommended (make sure you take plenty of cash with you!).  Another place we particularly liked was visiting the Adnams Cellar & Kitchen Store, which not only sells their complete range of beers (and now wines and spirits), food and kitchenware, but also serves some of the best coffee in Southwold (and their carrot cake is divine!).  Though neither of us drink much, it is hard to escape the Adnams name when in Southwold, as this age-old brewery was founded in the town and both The Swan and The Crown hotels, have wonderful restaurants and comfy bars.  We also happened to find ourselves new pairs of shoes/boots.  Whilst Mr VP opted for some very swish Doc Martens, I fell in love with these soft, suede desert boots.  They are possibly the most fabulous pair of shoes I have bought in a very long time and just happen to be in one of my favourite colours.

Though it was raining when we set off, it had brightened by the time we got there and stayed that way for almost our entire visit.  We were really lucky with the weather, the only bad bit being on Sunday night when a storm raged around us but we were tucked-up cosy and warm in bed!  For the most part, we had bright, mild days with lots of blue skies and fresh winds – in other words, it was glorious.  By the time we had to leave on Monday, I was very sad indeed to go.  During our stay, I felt oddly lighter and we both laughed a lot and felt better for our trip.  I have some really lovely photos to get printed of our time there and I came away having re-connected with Mr VP and feeling more in love than ever.  All in all, a great weekend away, a lovely way to welcome Spring into being (spring does begin in March according to my body-clock!) and a thoroughly lovely place to visit.