Pete Tong and The Heritage Orchestra

Wonderful Wednesday 2018Bear with, I can’t write things about banging tunes and ‘sets’ without wanting to punch myself in the face just a little.

Musically gifted I most definitely am not. FYI that does not stop me spending hours crafting the perfect playlist for any occasion, life event or car journey lasting more than 5 minutes, nor does it stop me caterwauling at the very top of my lungs (you’re welcome planet earth). Where was I going with this….? Oh yeah, I don’t do a ‘genre’, I go for a vibe **she types, safe in the knowledge it makes her sound like a massive massive douchebag**. But it’s true – if it fits the mood, it’s in. Whether the output of Big Narsty (literally no clue what that is) or Big Country.

Last month we were invited by a kind of awesome cousin slash drummer to go see him play with Pete Tong (leave it) and the Heritage Orchestra with Jules Buckley. I really like the cousin, I really like all the music and I can survive Plymouth when required to so we hot footed it down to the Hoe and readied ourselves for the rave of all raves.  I did spend the time before we left the house hooking out my anorak – because al fresco UK – and YouTubing the hell out of The Heritage Orchestra.  Turns out that no amount of having to sit through that Clear Blue ad without being able to skip, did the HO justice.

Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra
Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra

Ibiza Classics haven’t been my jam for a decade (and a half) but the whole thing was incredible.  35,000 steps, a very tight pair of hamstrings and a Wurzel Gummage do to rule them all later and I can honestly say I have never danced so hard, cared less about the rain or had such smile induced faceache as I did down on the Hoe.

The combo of a shedload of absolutely stonking dance tunes and a full orchestra was nothing short of incredible.  The 65 piece were more than a match for the thumping beats and vaguely epilepsy inducing light show*  we hopped our way through symphonic renditions of Galvanize, Lola’s Theme, You Got The Love, Insomnia and so so many other songs from an occasionally misspent youth. Highlights were probably Right Here, Right Now, the string intro of which was really beautiful and the encore Out of Space which conjured up all the memories and sounded unbelievably good**.

If you get the chance, you HAVE to go see Pete Tong (who definitely has a grotesque painting of himself in a loft somewhere) and The Heritage Orchestra with Jules Buckley. I can’t recommend it less coolly or more emphatically enough. I’ve given serious consideration to jacking in real work to carry someone’s tambourine around the world with them. The vibe man, it was all about that vibe.

Also, I may be have a teeny tiny crush on Jules Buckley. Like miniscule. Crushette if you will.

*that right there is the most NME I’ll ever be. Let’s have a moments silence for how damn cool I am. 

**the drummer had some skills too, he should consider going pro.


Wonderful Wednesday 1st August 2018

Wonderful Wednesday 2018We didn’t manage a Wonderful Wednesday last week, there’s a long and sad tale involving an overheated spaniel and a sleepless night all round. (He’s fine and dandy now, the rain has fixed him up a treat). So here’s a bumper set of beautiful little bits:

Wonderful Wednesday 2018Sunset Chasing We are working hard to make sure that Monday feeling doesn’t creep into our lives. I made an utter douchebag comment a while ago about just ‘living your best life every day so there is no Monday or Friday or sad sack Sunday vibes, every day is a cracking day’. The words came out of MY mouth and I KNOW it’s crap. Life is what it is BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t grab on to those lovely little mood enhancing moments to carry you through. Which is why we got home on Monday evening, ditched the corporate whore attire in favour of flip flops, packed up a leftover BBQ picnic (ale included) and headed out to follow the sunset. Peak Devon right there and it was magical.

This Is Going To Hurt I used my last Audible credit on the audiobook version and can confirm that Adam Kay narrating his own amazing/harrowing NHS journals is a thing of majesty. Not for the easily offended or weak of stomach but an incredible insight into just where our healthcare system is at and the extraordinary pressure those on charged with taking care of the rest of us. Bevan would probably call the whole thing bullshit. The system, not the book. He’d bloody love the book.

Crimble Crumble Early one dog walk I spied some small children clutching handfuls of delicious looking juicy blackberries. SURELY it’s too early for those?! After making my peace with it I did what any self respecting woman would and woke up even earlier to beat them to it the next day* The weird and wonderful weather none of us can stop banging on about seems to have brought the blackberries out to play a little early. I’ve been sticking handfuls in my morning smoothies and whipped up the first crumble of the year . 

Those Malteaser Buttons I resisted grabbing a bag at the checkout to find that my friend R had brought a bag over to to scoff post BBQ. They are absolutely as sexual as everyone is saying. Get them, put them in your face.Wonderful Wednesday 2018It’s All Gone a bit Pete Tong After a long old week in the office, I wasn’t 100% convinced that I wanted to spend Friday night raving on the Hoe. I was an idiot. Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra with Jules Buckley brought their set to the South West and it was UNBELIEVABLE. The combo of stonking dance tunes and the talented orchestra is ridiculously good. If you didn’t catch the live stream, here’s a sneak peak. If they rock up at a venue near you I’d very strongly suggest dipping your face in glitter and getting tickets. We wore anoraks and ached a lot on Saturday, totally worth it.

Disclaimer: we are related to the drummer but my effusive love of raving is in no way familial obligation.

How’s your week been? Best bits?

For more WW search the hashtag over on Twitter #wonderfulwednesday or check out any of these beauties:  JoHelen, SallySarahKateCatSamEl Kerri’, and Peta’s blogs.

*I swear I left some behind, chill. I probably didn’t make any small children sob this week. 


Secret Beaches: Ness Cove Beach, Shaldon

Ness Cove, Shaldon

We only have two requirements when it comes to beaches – pooch friendly all day long and decent coffee nearby. Ness Cove wins on both counts. Even better, it has a whopping great car park and the loos are always immaculate (no, YOU’RE middle aged).

Trying to avoid the sun seeking masses, we only discovered Ness Cove this Summer, it has fast become our favourite place for the Sunday morning dog walk/breakfast date. It probably isn’t that much of a secret but it’s beautiful, secluded and dog friendly all year round.

The Ness, Shaldon
The Ness, Shaldon
Ness Cove, Shaldon

You’ll find Ness Cove at the end of Smugglers Tunnel for those who like a bit of spooky adventure to their summer days out. It’s not a legit Poldark tunnel, it was carved by the residents of a nearby country pile to provide access to the beach but the kids (and husbands) don’t need to know that.

The tunnel slopes gently, opening out onto a spectacular view with steps marking the final descent to the beach. The tunnel and steps render Ness Cove a bit inaccessible but if you do follow in the footsteps of the smugglers, it is a beautiful spot to while away a summers’ day.

Ness Cove, Shaldon
Ness Cove, Shaldon

Ness Cove, Shaldon

Tumbled piles of rocks flank each end of the beach (ideal for adventuring little ones or yoga toting big ones) and each time we’ve ventured down here the sea has been crystal clear. Freezing because, Britain, but clear.

The beach is surrounded by those famous towering red Devon cliffs, which makes it super safe and enclosed BUT the sun does dip behind them at about tea time, signalling the moment to haul your butts back up to civilization.

Ness Cove,, Shaldon
Ness Cove,, Shaldon
Ness Cove, Shaldon
Ness Cove: What to Eat and Drink

Cafe Ode, at the top of the car park has served up the top three of my best sausage baps of all time list (toasted brioche, caramelised onions – yes). The coffee is phenomenal and they live and breathe sustainability and local produce.

Just around the corner into Shaldon, The Clipper is another cracking breakfast spot with a completely unrivaled view. Also great coffee.

If you happen to be around at lunchtime, I have it on good authority that The Ness does a decent roast.

All three are dog friendly.Ness Cove, Shaldon

Ness Cove: The Small Print
  • The loos are at the entrance to the tunnel which might be too far a walk for the tiniest of bladders
  • There is nowhere to get a drink on the actual beach, take it with you (and don’t forget to take your rubbish away afterwards)
  • Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round which may be your idea of heaven…or hell. If it’s the latter, walk away and we’ll never speak of this again.

You and beaches? Got a favourite? A fan of The Ness? Let me know.

More of our favourite Devonish secrets here. 


Wonderful Wednesday 18th July 2018

Wonderful WednesdaySettling down to write this in a post yoga zen daze, clutching quite the Malbec and with the latest Handmaid’s Tale* on in the background, I feel a bit….content.

After the last six months, that’s a word I wasn’t sure I’d get any more use out of! BUT this week has been all kinds of restorative and soul feeding and full of beautiful bits. Shall we?

Le Weekend Husband and I had a FULL ON week back in the office, we hit Friday with empty tanks and frazzled brains. Recognising that we desperately needed some recovery time, the rest of the world was shut out in favour of two whole days together in the sunshine. We stomped on the moors, paddled in old quarries and lay prone in the garden for a ridiculously long time. We did a bit of yoga a deux too, check us out.  A moment of gratitude for the fact that we are, as frazzled as our brains may be, so very fortunate to be able to take that time to be together with food in our bellies and a garden to veg in.

Devon Sunsets are always the best. Especially when enjoyed from the middle of a river divesting a trainee of his futile optimism. Fecking teenagers (he might have been 21. Apologies fella). That sunset though. Go. Devon.

Wonderful Wednesday

British Protests Because we may be screwed politically but boy do we give good protest. Always proud to be part of a nation willing to speak up against injustice and tangoed terrors at the beautifully entitled Carnival of Resistance. Some of my absolute favourite British protest signs here, here and here .

And here…

True that.

A Good Book I’m a dirty great book pusher. If you spend more than five minutes in my company you can bet your arse you’ll walk away with something to read. It’s not entirely altruistic, I love it when someone comes back and says how magical they found the recommendation (in need of validation, moi)? The most recent success was Eleanor Oliphant – is there a human being alive that wouldn’t benefit from a bit of Eleanor?

Homemade Coleslaw Freshly chopped with a decent grinding of salt and pepper, squidge of lemon juice and a bit of thinly sliced fennel chucked in. Not too shabby at all with all the barbecue food we’re still wading through. Posh puppy anyone?

Those Summer Ni-higggggghts Not those ones. I mean the ones spent with a decent read, a cup of peppermint tea, a snuggly blanket and a spaniel companion. We’ve been sitting out in the garden til the last of the sun dips below the horizon and we’ve squinted our last out of the books. I’m not saying I don’t love a good Netflix and chill (not using that right, I know) but the peace of the garden and the company of my favourites of an evening might just be a shade better.

In Their Own Words  Amnesty International’s podcast with people from around the world share their extraordinary stories of fighting for the rights so many of us take for granted. Well worth a listen if your podcast list needs a refresh.

Peep Show From the sublime Amnesty International to the utterly ludicrous Peep Show. For all the outdoorsing, one still needs a little something funny to stick on when bedtime comes round. Enter Peep Show from the beginning.

Go forth and enjoy more wonderful courtesy of:  JoHelen, SallySarahKateCatSamEl Kerri’, and Peta’s blogs. Or search the hashtag #wonderfulwednesday on Twitter.

*Waterford’s getting shittier by the week. He wasn’t brilliant where Atwood stopped was he? But man alive, SUPER DOUCHE. 


Wonderful Wednesday 11th July 2018

Wonderful Wednesday July 2018I’m struggling not to go full Brit and bang on about the weather so no pre-amble, straight to the beautiful little moments that made this week a good one:

Birthday Bonanza The husband had a whopping birthday last week and we celebrated in the best possible way: hopping on a plane and getting the hell out of Dodge for a bit. We spent four days wandering the palm lined proms of Palma, navigating tiny little Mediterranean streets and basking in the sun like oversized gekkos. Hashtag weird creature choice.  More on Palma next week but spoiler alert: much trendy, very avocado, go.

Sunset Dinner Continuing the birthday bonanza, my beautiful step ‘children’ descended on The Shire to enjoy a sunset dinner of dreams. Coombe Cellars is right on the river and might be the perfect spot to enjoy a bit of sunset porn and a roast beef on a Sunday evening. There were pooches, sunshine and all of my favourite souls. Not the worst.

Cracking Caprese I’ve had a think about it and yes, ‘cracking caprese’ is the very worst thing I’ve ever written BUT the combination of perfectly sweet Mediterranean tomatoes, rich mozzarella and all the pesto and balsamic is not to be sniffed at! I’ll try to keep it more relatable in future….

THE Playlist I’ve spent some time curating the ultimate running playlist. It starts all Motown (read: Gladys Knight) when I have the lung capacity to sing along, switches to a bit of angry female in the middle when I need a boost and switches to fairly offensive noughties rap (read: Big Pimpin’) when rage is the only thing that will get me home. Apart from some awkward gyrating incident at the traffic lights, it has so far served me well. The power of the right playlist should not be underestimated.

Wonderful Wednesday July 2018

Early Mornings Ok, it’s a bit weather related. But getting out of the house first thing with the pooches and making the most of the beautiful sunrise and slightly cooler temperatures when no one else is awake yet is just lovely. It feels a little like being the only souls privvy to the sunrise…or like extras from 28 Days Later, whichever appeals to your particular persuasions. Basically it’s an introverts dream.

Not My Monkeys, Not My Circus I’m that douchebag who returned from holiday full of vitamin D and good vibes, spouting old Polish proverbs like this one. Didn’t even go to Poland.  Extra arse points for coupling it with a shaka as often as possible. BUT as post holiday life philosophies go, this is a pretty good one to have – stepping away from ‘fix it’ mode and accepting the things that lie completely outside of our personal spheres of influence is not a bad place to set up camp. I’m staying here, it’s warm and fuzzy and my only energy expenditure is where I can make a difference.

Playtime Because if I don’t mention yoga is it even worth it? Nope. After a long and arduous return to the life routine, I set aside a good hour to stretch and unwind in the evening sunshine. It remains the greatest of self care gifts I’ve found. It’s not about the fancy stuff, it’s about showing up for you – DO IT!

Secret Beaches Particularly ones accessed only by a smugglers tunnel. Happily, most of the off the beaten track beaches in Devon are dog friendly all year round. This week we hung out at The Ness in Shaldon. It feels counter intuitive to tell the internet about my favourite secret beach hangouts but I’m not naive enough to think there are more than three readers who may benefit from that knowledge. Hi mum! More on The Ness next week.

New Frocks Found me a Mango Outlet store in Palma, bought all of the dresses. Current favourite is a blue and white floaty number. Any dress that makes you feel like a more feminine version of a functioning adults is an absolute win. It’s on Instagram. Seamless link there, seamless.

Green Tea with Mint Nuff said. Particularly good after the excesses of the holiday.

Wishing you the most beautiful of weeks, tell me stuff.

For more WW search the hashtag over on Twitter #wonderfulwednesday or check out any of these beauties:  JoHelen, SallySarahKateCatSamEl Kerri’, and Peta’s blogs.