Monday 16 November 2020

Waves on the beach

We've not been up to much at all lately. We had just started getting back into the gym and taking the children swimming, but of course it has closed again now. We have our shopping delivered, we've not been socialising with others, so apart from taking the children to school and back, along with some exercise, we haven't left the house. 

I'm really glad that the children are able to go to school, it's definitely needed for both their education and their mental health. They had to miss a few days before half-term because we had to isolate for a few days while awaiting a test result after Harry developed a temperature, but both schools have remained open so far with no problems.

Last week I was really hoping that Harry would be able to sit his long delayed piano exam. Unfortunately it was cancelled at the very last minute. It was due to be held in a church and I assume they weren't allowed to host it. We have him rebooked next month at a different, not very local, venue but I'm not convinced it will actually go ahead - fingers tightly crossed!

I mentioned leaving the house for exercise - this is one habit that I started when the children went back to school in September and I've successfully continued. I have designated Monday, Wednesday and Friday as exercise days. I usually go out for a run in the streets around my house, and I aim to run at least 5 kilometres, but usually between 6 and 7. It's a distance that I can now run quite comfortably, it's enough to feel like a good workout but not so challenging that I struggle and avoid it. If the weather isn't looking great I've been doing a Joe Wicks workout on YouTube - they are definitely not for the fainthearted, they are very tough and they leave me struggling to walk the next day!

Waves on the beach in Worthing

I'm lucky that my husband usually drops the children off at school in the morning. But when I do find myself on the morning school run I've been parking up on the seafront and going for a run along the promenade. It's a lovely clear run with plenty of space, a nice view, and when I've finished I can have a little sit on the pebbles and watch the waves which I find very calming. 

Like everyone, it's difficult to make plans at the moment without knowing what will be happening over the next few weeks. We have a short break booked just before Christmas and then we are planning for a Christmas at home just the four of us. This weekend we'll be putting up the Christmas decorations, I think we are definitely ready for something sparkly to cheer us all up a bit as the dark evenings draw in!

Monday 9 November 2020


I'm very lucky in that as well as living close to the sea I've also had the opportunity to visit and spend time on beaches across the world. I love how each beach is different, and as soon as you step onto the sand or the pebbles you are face to face with the unique features of that part of the coast. For example, on my local beaches near Worthing you can hardly move for mermaid's purses (egg cases for sharks and skates) and cuttlefish, but it's unusual to find an intact shell more interesting than the slipper limpet. In contrast, on our recent holiday to Hunstanton the beaches were thick with razor shells, which I've never seen down here. 

I particularly love to find sea glass, but I've found that beaches either have it or they don't - Barcelona beach was a particular hot spot, perhaps because it's in the middle of the city, as well as beaches on the Isle of Wight. I'm also desperate to find some sea pottery, but I've had no luck yet!

Pebbles and stones on a sandy beach with waves coming in
Despite spending a lot of time hunting for treasures I feel that I'm not very good at it, perhaps I'm still developing my eye. I'd love to find a fossil, or even some interesting things like on the Lego beaches in Cornwall. Luckily I don't tend to see much rubbish washed up by the sea. 

I'm a bit squeamish when it comes to finding parts of dead crab, although I was relieved to read recently (see my book recommendation below) that they are more likely to be crab moults rather than actual dead crabs. We did pick up this interesting 'skull' which was later identified by my wildlife expert friend as a herring gull pelvis. 

Child holding a skeleton piece found on the beach

I think that most people, even those that don't live by the sea, have some kind of receptacle in their home where they keep shells and stones that they've collected. I have several vases and bowls scattered throughout the house with no kind of order to them. One day I'll get around to doing something crafty with everything! Here is just a small selection of my Hunstanton bits and pieces, I found such a lovely variety.

Collection of shells and stones found while beachcombing

When we got back from holiday I bought this brilliant book - Beachcombing and the Strandline (affiliate link) - which is an excellent read if you are interested in the things that wash up on beaches. It doesn't just cover the things that should be there like shells and seaweed, it also helps you to identify pieces of beach rubbish like security seals and tags from the fishing industry and pieces of lobster and crab traps. Although it's focussed on British beaches there's also a section on the more exotic finds from around the world that occasionally wash up, and it also has information on common marine wildlife. 

Beachcombing book and shells on display in a large wine glass

Now I'm all inspired to jump in the car and head down to the beach again!

Wednesday 4 November 2020

A short break away to Norfolk

It's fair to say that this year didn't go quite as planned when it came to global travel. We have had three big holidays cancelled this year, and have nothing booked for next year which is unheard of for us. We've been lucky though, we managed to get away at the beginning of July for a lovely last minute week in Westward Ho! and we've just returned from a week in a bungalow on the Norfolk coast. 

Our trip to Norfolk wasn't quite the one that we had planned. It was intended to be a joint holiday, with extended family members staying in accommodation nearby. Unfortunately due to tier restrictions and isolation requirements the rest of the family had to cancel, so just the four of us went. But even if we had all been able to make it, with the rule of six in effect we wouldn't have been able to spend time together anyway. 

Old Hunstanton beach at sunset

We stayed in a lovely little bungalow in Old Hunstanton, just a few minutes walk from the beach. We do live quite close to the sea but I love visiting different parts of the coastline, especially when you can walk easily from where you are staying. The weather wasn't that great but we were able to get out for a walk on the beach every day, and several days I took myself out late afternoon to watch the sunset. I love wandering slowly by the edge of the sea searching for shells and pretty stones.

Sandringham Estate playground swing

We didn't venture out very much as we are wary of crowded places, so we spent most of our time going for local walks and relaxing in the bungalow. I read a book almost every day and also worked on my cross stitch, the children played on their iPads and we watched some films together. I even managed to get out for a couple of runs along the promenade. One morning we drove out to the Sandringham Estate, the house and gardens were closed but we went for a walk in the grounds and the children enjoyed the playground.

It was a really lovely spot for a holiday, and although not what we had planned we had a lovely week away. It was wonderful to have a change of scenery and spend time together.

Old Hunstanton beach huts

Monday 2 November 2020

Scandi inspired Christmas crafts using Hama beads

Scandi inspired Hama bead Christmas crafts

I love the red and white Scandi style at Christmas, so simple yet you can create so many different variations on a theme. Regular readers of the blog will know how much I enjoy crafting with Hama beads, and over the last couple of years I've designed several different Hama bead Christmas crafts with a Scandi feel, using red and white beads. I've rounded them all up here in case you are looking to update your decor this Christmas!

Scandi inspired Hama bead mat

I use this mat for my daily hot chocolate at Christmas time. It's made with a simple Hama bead red and white striped base, then I used red and white embroidery thread to mark out some different designs. The holes in the Hama bead design are perfect for trying out some cross stitch and other simple stitches, and I love the contrast in textures and colours. The mat is perfect for both hot and cold drinks.

Scandi inspired Hama bead red and white mat

Scandi inspired Christmas baubles using Hama beads

These Hama bead baubles are really easy to make, and although I've provided some patterns in my post you can create a huge number of variations. They are designed to have a ribbon tied around the top and then they can be hung from the Christmas tree, or you could string them to create some Scandi Christmas bunting for the mantlepiece.

Hama bead baubles with Scandi inspiration and free pattern

Hama bead Scandi inspired battery tea light holders

Note - these Hama bead candle holders are designed for battery tea lights only - it would be very dangerous to use them with real candles!

This simple wrap design is a perfect way to add a bit of interest to your battery tea lights and they look so pretty with the light shining through the holes created by the Hama bead design. Again, there are so many options for different patterns and designs.

Scandi themed Hama bead Christmas battery candle wraps

If you enjoyed these Scandi themed crafts using Hama beads then you might also like some of my other Hama bead Christmas crafts. You can find a full round up here - Hama bead Christmas crafts.

Hama bead Christmas crafts collection for children