Spring Fever

Nursing a bit of a hangover after a fantastic city wedding last night. The hottest day of the year today has made it that bit more bearable though. I’ve always got more energy when the sun is shining, which is handy as this week’s been non-stop.

The kids are off school for Easter Holidays this week so I took a few days off work to spend with them. On Monday, we took them on a day visit to Butlin’s in Bognor Regis. I last went there 27 years ago so I was keen to see what had changed since my teen years. It was loads of fun and the kids loved every minute; from the water slides to the fairground rides, the soft play and the penny arcades. If you’re planning a day visit, a few quick tips:

  • If you find you really enjoy it and book a longer holiday you can reclaim the cost of the day visit (it was £64 for our family) from your trip
  • Mondays and Fridays are the change-over days so quieter. We went on Monday so the pool complex wasn’t too crowded and we spent ages in there as a result
  • There’s a left luggage point on the site, so you don’t have to lug all your swimming stuff around with you all day
  • Day visitors will need £7 in coins for the car park and another £1 coin (which is refunded) for the swimming pool lockers
  • The weather wasn’t great when we went, but that didn’t affect what we wanted to do. There’s plenty to do under cover

As we were staying with a friend down on the south coast, we also got time to go to Arundel Castle on Tuesday. This was a real treat and one of the most impressive castles I’ve ever seen, probably because it’s still lived in by the Duke of Norfolk so it’s in great nick. It’s the most fairytale-looking castle I’ve been to too and daughters 1 and 2 were convinced it was Arendelle (as in the home of Elsa and Anna in Frozen), so were particularly excited. They’ve got loads of events on at the castle over the summer so we might be returning later in the year, as even though we spent most of the day there, there’s still a lot we didn’t get a chance to see. We’ve really noticed with our kids that they respond more intently to people in character, for example in historical costumes, so it’s always fun to visit places like Arundel or Kentwell Hall on reenactment weekends.

As loads of my blog visitors are from the US, if you are planning to visit the UK, in addition to Arundel Castle and Kentwell Hall, I’d really recommend Warwick Castle, Caerphilly Castle or the Tower of London. And if you’re not visiting but are in the history mood, check out my delicious recipes for medieval bread here and here (both pictured above). Unfortunately the trip away ended up costing much more than we planned as our old motor finally started packing up on the way home. With three kids, our car choices are pretty constrained as we need to fit in three child car seats plus various extra friends / family / pets, so a seven-seater is necessary. And as London’s Mayor is rightfully cracking down on diesel cars, it had to be a petrol model. I know nothing about cars but we went for a Citroen Grand C4 Picasso and we’re all really pleased with it – especially the kids as they can have The Trolls Soundtrack on loop through the bluetooth. Joy.

Last night, my wife Sarah and I went to a beautiful wedding at Islington Town Hall followed by a reception on a boat on the Thames. It really reminded us of our own wedding day, back in September 2008 – us then and now pictured above. Sarah and I got married at Trinity House in the City of London, then took our guests on a boat ride from Tower Pier all the way down the Thames and back to Westminster Pier, before our reception near the Houses of Parliament. Like yesterday’s wedding, we were also lucky to have a really sunny day. There’s been a lot of water under the Thames’s many bridges since then and last night gave us both the opportunity to reminisce about how much we’ve done – our part-time degrees, renovating our derelict home, having three kids and everything to do with the Bake Off too. It’s been a really busy eight years or so and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

As for this week it’s back to work for me as I’ve got a new car to pay for now, but looking forward to the long Easter weekend with the three monkeys pictured above. I’ve got a cake chilling in the fridge tonight that I’ll share on Instagram when it’s finished and also a Simnel cake to make before the weekend (recipe from my 5-star rated book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself – only £8.94 on Amazon and a great Easter gift too). So whatever you’re up to this week, Happy Baking and I’ll see you on Easter Sunday!



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