Joe's 30th

At the weekend we sang Happy Birthday, a lot.


Lake Como

A few days away in the sun




Devon holiday snaps! 

Australia 2016

Excuse us while we share a few snaps from our adventure down under...


A little breathing space

Llangollen International Eisteddfod, Wales

Big Skies

From a few days in Poole


Please excuse us while we post our holiday snaps...

A few lazy days for us in Italy. 
(The best bits: the views from Parco del Cardeto, a seafood platter at Rosa, a little Airbnb and a bus ride to Sirolo)

Ancona, Italy


Simple summer days with ice-cream and bonfires. JOY


Seaside time

We've been visiting a few old favourite spots and a few new ones. Thanks North Wales.

Llandudno & Conwy, North Wales

The Barcelona Birthday

We are in love with this city. If you want any of our recommendations (for pintxos, brewpubs, sees or stays: hit us up with a message)


Loch Lomond

Please excuse us while we flaunt a few of our holiday snaps from Scotland. We had a few days around Loch Lomond staying in a little cottage in the woods. It was bonnie.


Snowdrops at Attingham Park

Paris Part 4: Life in Paris


What we saw in Rome


Abersoch in Spring





Dreaming of.... Camping

from utterlyengaged.com via pinterest
We're daydreaming about a little break: camping in the countryside, in the springtime. Fingers crossed we'll go over Nom's birthday, and there'll be little lambs, daffodils, birds singing in the trees... We'll see. 
Anyone got any tips? What should we pack, what should we plan? 

Luxurious 'essentials': bunting, a torch, a little cosy tent, a warm hat,
wooly socks, candles,  double sleeping bag and hot water bottles
Eating & Drinking. For the perfect drinks: our favourite mugs, a cafetiere,
a bottle of rioja, a flask for soup, a hand grinder and a volcano kettle.
For snacking: caramel hot chocolate, croissants, cup-a-soups, tinned fruits
and variety cereal packs.

The last time we went camping was in Busselton, Western Australia. It was at least 35˚C and by the warm, blue sea. However, the average max temperature for April in the UK is more like 12˚ (and this March was the coldest for 50 years!). Are we mad?

P.S ARGH, how utterly sick in my stomach does this make me feel?!


South Wales: Part 2

We didn't spend out entire time on the South Wales coast in the dark looking at Christmas lights, we got some fresh air  in Singleton Park, strolled along Swansea Bay and loved the industrial landscape at Port Talbot. 


South Wales: Part 1

We went on an adventure to South Wales to take a peek at the Christmas lights in Swansea and Cardiff. Mostly we shopped and bought a tun of Christmas presents, but we also took some photos- so here they are.  

P.S Check out Nom's slightly freaked-out face on the ferris wheel! 




The Coast
At Brighton


Hell's Mouth


Hell's Mouth, Abersoch





Trainee teacher and master tinfoil craftsman

View from the harbour


View from the harbour, Abersoch

A postcard from GB

To our dear friends from Perth (and other globetrotters),

Thank you for having us to stay! We had such fun exploring your streets, dipping in your pools, talking to your dogs and sizzling sausages.

Now isn't about time we returned your generosity? 

In an effort to persuade you we've put together this little tour of the UK, a dream team itinerary, as a pledge of good hostmanship. We hope it'll wet your appetite.

(If you're here for a while check out the whole list, if you've only got a short stop check out the comments marked with an asterisk*.)

What to do in the UK...

Visit Scotland: In Edinburgh* theres the Jenners department store, the Castle (with the military tattoo), the Scottish National Galleries of Modern Art to fill your day. Of course you couldn't miss out Linlithgow*- home of your Scottish friends, which has its own beautiful Palace and Loch (see your first white swans!). If there at the right time don't miss the marches. Take a long drive and two ferries to isolation on Iona, theres a monastery surrounded by purple and turquoise sea (you can easily walk round the whole island in a few hours). See your first ever snow and ski on it in the Cairngorms. Kayak on a loch and spot some highland cows. Make sure you drink IRN BRU, eat tablet*, haggis, an Oliphant's pie and at least one insane thing deep-fried in Glasgow. Finish with a cultural turn up for the books in Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art.

Have a long weekend drifting around the countryside on a canal boat. And make sure you see at least one dramatic waterfall and one fast flowing river.

Go to London to see the Queen (and Corinne!*), go to the Tower of London to see the crown jewels (you can have a really quick visit for free if you go round as they lock up), see art in Trafalgar Square and the Serpentine gallery or swim in the Serpentine lake. Top up on art in the Saatchi Gallery, the V&A, the Tate galleries and eat lunch in the Turbine Hall*. Watch a show in the West End, Shakespeare at the Globe and sneak a peek at a celebrity on the red carpet at Leicester Square. Go to the Natural History Museum, the Imperial War Museum and see the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. Glimpse grandeur in Westminster Cathedral and St Paul's, or watch MPs in The Houses of Parliament. You should probably check out the Liberty's building to compare it to Perth's imitation, London Court. While you're at Liberties you might as well go in for a spot of shopping, and while you're in the mood Oxford street* is a must see (Topshop for Bee and Moo). Get a Boris bike and crash London fashion week. But don't go in the Thames

There are loads of special events to see too, depending on when you're in London, the Oxford/Cambridge boat race, The BBC Proms, Pride Marchesthe State Opening of Parliament, Chinese New Year or the Trooping of the Colour to name but a few.... oh yeh, and there's the Olympics.

In London enjoy the Tube (its fun when you're not in a rush) then take the Megabus to another city for £1.

Stop a while in Birmingham: Go to the Bullring markets and a vintage fair at the Custard Factory. See a show at the REP or a film at the  Electric Cinema (and text your waiter your order for olives from your sofa seating). Have a curry in the Balti Triangle* and experience a proper pub lunch. Meet the pre-raephelites in the BMAG, something more contemporary in the IKON or something less famous in one of the Digbeth galleries. Taste Cadbury's without the wax at its home in Bourneville and check out the canals. Meet our friends and picnic in Sutton Park

In Wales you could stay in a bothy to experience the countryside up close and personal. Take a visit a Welsh revival chapel and some of our favourite beaches around Abersoch. Eat a Cadwaladers, do some wake boarding in the cold sea, warm up with a bonfire on the beach. Then see the heights of Snowdon on your way back to England.

The following deserve at least a mention: Brighton (ride a carousel at the end of the pier, its a family tradition of ours), Cornwall (the best clotted cream and amazing art in St Ives), the Lake District (has lots of lakes), the Cotswolds (have pretty cottages with yellow stone walls and thatched roofs), Bristol (is an environmentally aware city, with a hippy vibe and cool goings on) and Blackpool (for tacky souvenirs and the blackpool illuminations).

This completes our list of recommendations for a visit to the UK (this list is not conclusive). 
Please come and see us soon,        
With love
Coz, Nom & Malc                              

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Dear Aussies, We miss you!

Its been 6 weeks since our 6 weeks in Aus: about time we wrapped some things up I think! So this week we've got a few posts planned about our time in Perth, Dubai and then something a little closer to home. Hope you enjoy them.




Christmas Tree decoration

The waiting is over

We're Off to Aus today! Our theme song

C-to the-Otswolds

For our anniversary Malc planned a trip to the Cotswolds. It was a top secret destination, I found out where we were going after we'd left the house (the details were written in a book he'd made for us to record our trip in).

We road tripped around the Cotswolds stopping at: Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Burton-on-the-Water, Broadway, Burford, Bretforton, Ebrington and Evesham. The car was stocked up with various sugary snacks and quality tunes. When the sun shone we walked around and took photos, when it rained we walked around and took less photos, and when it was really foggy we stayed in the car, picnicked and took photos non the less.

We stayed in Chipping Campden, at The Chance, which was rather smashing. (All it takes is a good breakfast to convince Malc. Day 1: fried toast, cooked tomato, mushroom, black pudding, bacon and sausage). We ate out in the town twice, at Michael's (calves liver, kleftico, baklava and white chocolate cheese cake) and Caminetto (scallops, calamares, cannelloni and stuffed pasta). And bought fresh bread and fine wine.

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The countdown begins



Photo: Caro Embrey

We've just booked flights to Australia over Christmas and the New Year.

We've just booked our tickets for 6 weeks of fun, so we're on the look out for your recommendations! Where should we go, what could we eat and which photos should we get? We're having some time in Melbourne, before going to Somers for a family Christmas and then flying to friends in Perth after New Year.

Off to Wales

We're heading off to Abersoch today to help run a Scripture Union Beach Mission there.

We've made some blog posts to upload while we're gone, about our wedding! And hopefully when we get back there'll be plenty of pictures of sunny beaches to upload.

Happy Holidays

Hurrah for a holiday!

We hit the Grand Union Canal with 7 lovely people and 69 feet of Narrow Boat Joy and took on the wild waters between Weedon Bec and Great Linford. We played bananagrams, ate cooked breakfasts, pulled off some amazing manoeuvres, read books, got sunburnt, held baby animals, moored up, fed ducks, ate out, ate on, ate in and ate ate ate. And Malc navigated all 2,813 m of the Blisworth Tunnel with just one little bump.

Between busy times of intense relaxation we found time for a spot of food experimentation in the form of: lamb and mint kebabs, stewed strawberries, lavender champagne and some more elderflower cordial.

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Bring on the 'Shine

Summer Goals 2011

make wicked ice cream 
(get the ice cream maker "back")
go camping
make ice lollies 
do some photo cools
    -more pics of people
    -at least one family shoot
go for nightly walks
listen to the book of the week
cycle for a picnic
listen to an album
visit lots of friends
make good use of the garage
wear good clothes
go swimming
have a dress date
grow some of the grow list (lambs lettuce, mushrooms, lavender...)
have lots of dinner guests
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London Baby

Happy Birthday

Mum turned 50 this week so she and I hopped down to London to celebrate with Corinne. We found dinner in LEON then desert and champagne in Caffe Vergnano 1882.

And let our hair down in the hotel. 

Bathurst Mews- I'd take one of these houses for free. You might not be able to see it, but there is a horse standing outside its stable at the end of the street. And that Olive Tree is quality.

Mum and I strolled through Hyde Park and sat at the Lido by the Serpentine for some elevenses. There was a heron, plenty of other close-up birds and two chinooks, cue plenty of "oh wow, that's amazing!" from Mum.

Then we stumbled across the rose garden, which is incredibly scented and full of delicate colours.

We'd planned to walk past Buckingham Palace on our way to lunch with Corinne but this crowd persuaded us to linger and watch the Changing of the Guard. Reader beware: if you go to watch the Changing of the Guard, what you will actually do is watch the back of the crowd watching people marching around, while you shuffle around trying to catch a glimpse of some red and gold on your tip-toes. (And when you do finally get a clear view of the procession, your camera battery will have just conked out). Still, if its not raining, its pretty good fun.

P.S Does anyone know who any of these chaps are?

 Photos from previous London adventures are on our Flickr.
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the SCOTTISH holiday

Nathan Coley, There Will Be No Miracles Here, 2006
During our trip to Scotland we stayed at my Uncle Gav's house in Polmont near Falkirk, which proved a good point to travel to and from and a very hospitable home in which to stay.

During our stay we looked at some galleries, such as...

The Modern Art Galleries of Scotland 

Clockwise left to right: the plinth for Reclining Figure Henry Moore; metal sculpture, artist unknown; Nom outside the Dean Gallery and Work no. 975 EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT Martin Creed.

We enjoyed a lot of the work, particularly the permanent sculpture pieces in the gallery gardens, August Sander's marathon People of The 20th Century collection (made all the more impressive as the prints were taken directly from the photographer's negatives) and other individual works by the likes of Emin, Creed, Hatoum, Munch and Lucas. Curiously, the grounds of The Dean Gallery contains a small patch of allotments with no obvious connection to the gallery itself (organic veg for the café perhaps...?) Simultaneously secluded, rural, cultured and urban, we both agreed we could think of no place more interesting to grow produce.

Talbot Rice
This Edinburgh University gallery (which is in their Old College building) was showing a retrospective Rosemarie Trockel exhibition. We were both impressed by the provision of such a large and seemingly well-staffed gallery space within a university, although we were also bemused by the lack of obvious themes in Trockel's work and found it hard to engage with.

On our meandering route to the Talbot Rice Gallery we came across the small but intense Stills gallery. They were showing the second part of Social Documents: The Ethics Encounter, an unsettling collection of photographs and films around the theme of 'war, sex and political urgency'. The pieces were sometimes uncomfortably close to the exhibition's remit: to include material exploring the 'murkier waters' around the ethical codes imposed on more conventional documentary and investigative photography. Dani Marti's 'post-coital portraits' were particularly near the knuckle. The exhibition also included the very timely My Neck is Thinner than a Hair: Engines by The Atlas Group, 100 pictures collated from Lebanese archives of engines found near the scenes of car bombs during it's civil war of 1975-91. We like the overall operation of the gallery: an experimental and theoretically-minded approach to exhibiting photographs.

We ate and drank in some great places...

Amore Dogs
We'd read about Amore Dogs (and it's sister restaurant The Dogs) online before we went north. It didn't disappoint: tasty, decent portions of simple but well made Italian food for reasonable prices - so reasonable in fact that Uncle Gav didn't quite trust the menu until the bill had been paid.

Our namesake company sells itself as an established essential food outlet in Edinburgh. Having originally set up an outlet for their excess farm produce, Henderson's now have a shop, deli, bistro and restaurant which serve interesting, ethical, vegetarian food. We had lunch in the bistro: soup of the day with a choice of homemade bread and pâté. We experienced Baba Ganoush (a powerful purée of baked aubergine and raw garlic) for the first time and enjoyed it enough to make it for our first guests when we got home.

Another highly anticipated Internet discovery was this glorious establishment with a menu of over 40 teas and a range of cakes. Each tea is served in a china tea pot and infuser, with an hourglass timer for the perfect brewing time. Their mismatched, delicate cups and saucers fit in with the feminine 'boutique' decor. The cliental seem to reflect their design decisions, but gentlemen should not be dissuaded from experiencing this surprisingly rare example of tea connoisseurship. Perhaps eteaket is also a reaction to the macho coffee house aesthetic of dark-stained wood double espressos, wi-fi access and business-while-u-drink. It's not only a place to experience fine tea, but a space to relax and have a natter.

Malc tried a fine Bouteaque Blue Mist and Nom had the Chocolate Abyss (with chocolate, cocoa and coconut pieces) and enjoyed it so much that we purchased two tubs to bring home. It went well with our Tunnocks teacakes (25p!).

We experienced the downside to its deserved popularity on more than one occasion when we were turned away because there were no seats left. Go first thing in the morning or later in the evening (they open until 7) to avoid the disappointment.

Loch Lomond
We cooked pope's eye steak on an open fire mid way through our adventure on Loch Lomond (of which more later).

Caffe la Ronda
A perfect mother's coffee stop in Linlithgow, Caffe La Ronda isn't glamorous but it was a nice rest stop and shelter from the elements.

Fredericks coffee house
Another Edinburgh winner, we ended up in Fredrick's having been turned away from eteaket, and only noticed it because the pot plants outside had been blown over, but we'd go back. We had a white chocolate mocha (yummy!) and a cappuccino (a little heavy on the steamed milk, but good). We enjoyed the view of the street below and well chosen decor. Looked and felt great, tasted great and was quiet too.

The Kenilworth
Is a beautiful restored pub with a fine whiskey list. Mentioned in Uncle Bob's Pub Audio Tour (New Town). On the pricey side, but enjoyable high seating with cosy vibe and thoroughly tiled walls.

If Oliphants in Linlithgow doesn't already qualify for legendary status, it should. We had heard rumour that they had closed down, a tragedy especially because Bob the dog had eaten the last of our frozen reserve of imported Oliphant's meat pies. So, great joy when we found both the shops still open. 

We ate the goods sitting beside Linlithgow Loch and were amused by the advice of a passing scot "they're bad for you they are".

Good, solid, old Linlithgow pub with eight ales always on, including their own personal brew. 

Other things we got up to

  • Checked out the highland coos, deer and fish farm at Beecraig's.

  • Walked along the canal from Polmont to Linlithgow (shooting stills for an animation along the way) and caught the train back again. In between the two journeys we took in several eateries, the Palace and several shops.
  • We loaded Gav's car up with a canoe and he took us to Inchcailloch, an island on Loch Lomond, for a BBQed steak sandwich. We had a walk around the island taking in its highest viewpoint and this pile of moss that looked remarkably like a dog.

And finally...

Tips for surviving the journey:
- a laptop, a series of House and some headphone splitters* go a very long way.
- painting can be a mobile activity
- two extra plastic cups make a picnic shareable
- old scottish ladies with trashy magazines and sandwiches make good travel companions
- avoid Birmingham New Street during Friday's rush hour at all costs (particularly during strikes)

* This is our 5 way headphone splitter- share music with five people, or mix music from two mp3 into unto four pairs of ears.

We're going on holiday

This is how we get ready in our house.
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