Get Out: Or How I’m Addicted to Dartmoor

Get OutOn coffeeing with a friend recently in her ridiculously fancy pants central London office complete with on-site barista (it blew my country bumpkin mind) she told me how much she misses Devon and how my Instagram feed always shows me enjoying that outdoors life she misses so. My Life….Outside London if you will. No, YOU stop it.Dartmoor And it’s true, if you were using Instagram as a measure, this little life does have all the markings of being owned by a proper ruddy cheeked outdoorsy sort.  Why yes, you can follow me here, thanks for asking. The thing is, I don’t feel like an outdoorsy sort. Or I didn’t think I did. But like all properly curated (I’m sorry, I don’t even curate, I don’t know where that came from) social media feeds, mine does show the best bits, the highlights, the lovely little moments I want to share with the world*

And it would seem that most those for me now do take place outside my house.Whilst it might very well be true that my natural state used to be curled up in front of a Netflix binge with some oven chips and a bucket of wine, el poochos have turned me into a different beast. And slowly but surely, what started as an unfortunate by product of having two very active fur friends became my favourite part of every single day.playmore

Dartmoor, DevonNow, I feel a bit claustrophobic and antsy if I don’t get a good dollop of fresh air each day. Now I actively seek out new places to explore and mooch through. Now, when my soul needs quietening I head for the hills. I’m in so much danger of going full Maria Von Trapp, stick with me.

What I’m trying to say, in a typically convoluted way, is: GET OUTSIDE. It’s good for your body and your mind. Even if you don’t have somewhere quite as scenic as Dartmoor on your doorstep, hop outside, take some deep breaths, explore a bit.  I promise you’ll feel instantly more human and grounded and ready to tackle whatever the world wants to throw at you.Dartmoor, DevonThere’s a chance I might be spouting any old waffle to share these photos I like from a day I spent on the moors at the end of last Summer.  You’ll have to get outside and see for yourself.

Bye.

*and that is why social media envy is INSANITY. You’re coveting a fabrication and that ain’t never going to be healthy. Said the blogger…Dartmoor, Devon
Dartmoor, Devon

Dartmoor, Devon

The Great Outdoors

Devonish folk, this was nowhere more off the beaten track than a loop around Haytor, it was just a particularly nice day for it and with the two grub vans from Parke in the top and bottom car parks you really can’t go wrong.

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Wonderful Wednesday Thirty-Two

imageIf happiness is being sandwiched between a cracking cup of tea at optimum drinking temperature and a flatulent spaniel, I’ve got it. In spades. And honestly, if that isn’t happiness then I don’t know what is.

The husband and I have this week off. A bit to enjoy summer at home and a bit for the annual pilgrimage to IKEA to stock up on mini Daims and those vanilla candles that cost, like, 90p? So far the week has given us a whole lot of sunshine, enough to bring my red nose back with a bang, and just enough cloud for us to be able to hole up inside and snooze guilt free. A break at home is the absolute best.

Other things that have made this week awesome:

Wonderful WednesdayDog Friendly Beaches

I know not everyone likes the furry ones (never trust a dog hater though, life advice right there) but dog free beach season starts WAY too early around here. I’m forever grateful for the few dog friendly beaches there still are from May onwards. Yesterday the husband and I went on a hunt for one. Sure, when the spaniels spot a bird strolling jauntily too close to them and go batshit crazy it’s not all that relaxing but all summer long I’ve wanted to swim in the sea with the hound dogs and I got to do that. And by ‘swim’ I mean hovered freezingly around the waters’ edge and by ‘with the hounds’ I mean they stood on the shore and whinged at me for a bit whilst the husband threw balls far too close to my face.  The sun shone and it was a good day to splash about in the sea.

Cheese Tea

Hang on to your hats folks, we’re about to get real controversial: cheese tea. Not brewed tea you heathen, no, a variation on the cream tea. We’re talking savoury scones with a side of chutney, a hunk of good strong cheddar and a token bit of lettuce on the side. Do it, come back and tell me how much you loved it.

Dry Land Yoga

After the great paddleboard adventure I decided to get back into a regular yoga class. The Strala Yoga session I went to last Thursday was awesome, full of good vibes and all kinds of impossible stretching. I came out feeling about 6 inches taller and smushily relaxed. I then went home and ate half a crumble.

Wonderful WednesdayCrumbling Marriages

On an early morning dog walk last week I foraged some blackberries from a secret stash I found (thank you poop bags/emergency blackberry receptacle). Apparently there’s a shortage of blackberries this year, did you hear? If you find a patch get in there quick. I got back from the yoga ^^ to find that the husband had baked them into a crumble with apples and honey. How awesome is he? Very.

Nashville

We’ve become a bit obsessed with Nashville. No regrets. It’s cheesy and over dramatic and makes me think of rubbish old American dramas like Knot’s Landing and All Our Children but it’s completely addictive and we’ve been bingeing it when the sun goes in. We haven’t binged like this since early Grey’s Anatomy. The music is pretty good too, apparently I might be a country music fan, who knew? Hand me my stetson at once.

Wonderful WednesdayBreakfast of Champions

One of the best bits of having a week off is having the time to cook something really tasty to start the day. Lingering over breakfast is a luxury we don’t often get. We’ve scoffed an unholy amount of pastries so far this week but topped it all yesterday with a feast of grilled mushrooms covered in halloumi, mushed up avo and bacon. All the delicious and with time to digest it properly. Living the dream.

Wonderful WednesdayAdventuring

With a few hours to myself on Saturday morning I took the spaniels on an adventure; we found some woods we haven’t discovered every single inch of before and went nuts. Better yet they were woods with sea peeps.

Thanks Devon, you’ve completely nailed this week.

How’s your week been? Give me your best bits?


Super Sally is responsible for all this joy sharing so head on over to Sally Tangle for more jolliness than you can handle. And don’t forget the WW posse Kate, Helen, JoCatEmma, Sam and Kerri. They’re full of the good stuff. 

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Wonderful Wednesday Twenty-Three

IMG_1311The great kitchen sort out 2016 is well underway: I ballsed up my nose moving some dusty old shelves and had all of the catharsis clearing out my cupboards ready for the new kitchen. A lot of that sentence sounds euphemistic, it is not, we’re just having a ruddy good sort out before our shiny new shelves and wall mounted oven arrive in a week or so and it’s incredibly satisfying. It’s also pleasing that the summertime seems to have bogged right off, making staying in to make decisions about muffin tins not as painful as it might otherwise have been.

Whilst this week has been sadly devoid of wild river swimming, it’s not been without some brilliant bits:

Hostess with the Mostest

On Saturday we bid a final farewell to the old kitchen by holding a little dinner party in it. There were burgers and Pimms and Cards Against Humanity. As the queen of the introverts it makes me fairly uncomfortable to have a house full of bodies. The discomfort may or may not have manifested in a little G&T quaffing beforehand, I still mostly nailed the hosting though. And I made the mother of all baked cheesecakes – recipe coming soon, just as soon as we’ve polished off the leftovers and I have an excuse to make another.

Nesting

Not baby related nesting, calm the eff down. For one reason and another it took me a VERY long time to feel at home in our used-to-be-new home, a long time to become invested in curtain choices and carpet colours and other alliterative accoutrements. Just lately though I’m enjoying all kinds of soft furnishing and wall print fun, spending some time finding the little things that make a house a home. I rather like it.

Simple Salads

I rustled up a cheeky caprese salad at the weekend, utterly convinced at the outset that it wouldn’t be as tasty as the one I fed my face in Rome. I was wrong, the tomatoes were peak ripe, the mozzarella rich and creamy, the whole thing drizzled with a bit of balsamic and scattered with artfully torn basil leaves. I could have eaten it four times over. Caprese salad. Make one now.

Screen on the Green

On Friday night I conned the husband, gathered up the teens, spaniels and some blanket action and headed off to the open air cinema right on the sea front. There’s never a bad time for Dirty Dancing and watching the sun set, turning the sky from bright blue to candy floss pink and beyond, with a cider in hand and the heady anticipation of Baby being liberated from her corner, made for a cracking Devonish night. Helped along by the scent of pasties and the steady hum of an ice cream van lurking in the corner obvs.

Thai Food and Girl Chat and Babies (Oh My!)

Leaving the old fella at home to watch twenty-two men he doesn’t know, on behalf of countries he’s never been to, kick a ball about, I hung out with some of my favourite women over a Thai feast. Thai food is never a bad call. Good thai food in the company of awesome ladies and a gorgeous four month old made for a ruddy brilliant Thursday. Never underestimate the power of a pad thai and a good natter.

Nice News

A few of the loveliest people I know have had some well deserved niceness this week, we’re talking weddings and awards and babies and all kinds of good. When great things happen to great people it makes every week a good one.

And you? How’s your week been?

*If you’re reading this before the referendum, or even on the day, please please please go and vote. In or out, whichever side of the fence you fall on, go find out all you can about the implications and make your voice heard.*  


Gorgeous Sally is responsible for all this joy sharing so head on over to Sally Tangle for more jolliness than you can handle. And don’t forget the WW posse Kate, Helen, JoCat and Emma – that lovely little bunch of chaffinches are full of the merriment. 

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Wonderful Wednesday Twenty-One

Wonderful Wednesday Twenty-OneA very merry mid-week to you, shall we do a small awkward group hug for making it this far? Come on, bring it in close. You’re squeezing a bit hard, yeah…it’s gone on too long now. Are you feeling weird yet?

This week has again been punctuated by the loveliest of pottering weekends, doing a few little chores in the garden, starting to sort through a decade of kitchen detritus before it’s ripped out and refashioned next month. Bear with whilst I type the most middle class sentence I’ve ever uttered: a friend asked if she could borrow some mixed spice, the only one I could find expired in 2013. We moved into our new house in 2014 – why did I bring out of date mixed spice with me? What kind of person does that? One with a rotten soul.

And on that bright and shiny note, here’s some bright and shiny from the week.

ONE Whilst out on our Saturday morning stomp the hounds and I stumbled across a community garden, bunches upon bunches of freshly picked rhubarb and an honesty box. I filled my backpack (yep, I carried a backpack, what of it? As I stuffed it full of rhubarb sticks I had flashes of Rachel Greene going to ‘find some stuff to put in my back pack’). I’ve rustled up some compote for my porridge and am feeling a bit zen and adult and not unlike the delectable Sally Tangle.

TWO Step-child number one sent me this adorable little filmy thing she made of our adventure to the moors last week, how cute is she?? The video is lovely, the fact that she wanted to make something like that of our teeny tiny Saturday morning walk made me want to weep a small tear of joy. She told me I could share it with you as long as I also plugged her instagram so here it is ri_meredith, if you like pompoms she’s your gal. She takes a mean picture too.

saturday mornings on dartmoor ?#bluebells #gopro @michelleoutsidelondon

A video posted by ri ? (@ri_meredith) on

THREE Ripen in the bowl. I think I might be a delayed gratification kinda woman, I do love watching whatever I’ve managed to grab from the supermarket reach peak edible in my little fruit bowl. This week we did more pears and some nectarines, rocking and a rollin.

FOUR Being out and about. I made a semi-joke on Instagram recently (get me, social media bants) that every picture I post there makes me look so much more outdoorsy than I actually am. It’s not strictly true, when the weather is as b-e-a-utiful as it has been and the perfect storm of hayfever conditions isn’t upon us, I love some great outdoors.

Wonderful Wednesday Twenty-One

FIVE Reminiscing. I finally got to writing some of my holiday adventures – coming soon to a mobile device or old school desk top near you in the next few weeks. Sorting through the photos and remembering just how much we saw and did was a cracking way to while away an evening in the garden.

SIX The actual sea. We took the shiny new GoPro to the beach on Sunday I planned badly which is why I ended up in the sea up to my thighs wearing jeans. Not my finest moment but splashing about in the water with les pooches was pretty spectacular. Also, when I got home I felt the need to try to get into my wetsuit. A wetsuit we bought on one of our first holidays together in TWO THOUSAND AND EIGHT. These are some things that happened:

  • Punched myself in the face mid yank.
  • Husband also punched me in the face (says he was trying to help)
  • Oozing. Back. Fat. Note to self: never EVER stop yanking half way.
  • Pete hung his head in shame.

But it went all the way onto my body! This is very exciting news, see my excited face. Cue so very many more trips to the sea.

wonderful wednesday twenty one

(It’s very important that I now only go to things that are wetsuit friendly, I’ve been in the thing since Sunday, not sure it’s ever coming off).

And that’s that. How’s your week? What’s the bestest of best bits?


Gorgeous Sally is responsible for all this joy sharing so head on over to Sally Tangle for more jolliness than you can handle. And don’t forget the WW posse Kate, Helen, JoCat and Emma – that lovely little bunch of chaffinches are full of the merriment. 

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Wonderful Wednesday Twenty

Wonderful Wednesday Twenty

This week’s Wonderful Wednesday is oh so late, I got sidetracked Googling ‘oesophageal transplants’ on account of the throat that FEELS LIKE A THOUSAND TEENY TINY SADISTIC PYROMANIACS ARE LIGHTING UP SIMULTANEOUSLY IN THERE.  Spoiler: bit of hosepipe or the inside of a loo roll should do a better job than my actual windpipe.

Fiery throat aside, this week has been a really lovely one. REALLY lovely. Full of firsts: first Pimms of the year, first BBQ, first freckles, first paddling in the actual sea.  I don’t want to be smug but it’s been easy mc peasy to find good bits to share. Bits I want to hold onto forever. Wonderful Wednesday Twenty

Sexy Ponies.  Seriously though, how awesome is this nosy filly? She was loving life as a Dartmoor pony, ignoring her showboating brothers and generally flouncing about wantonly.  Newly returned home R and I went on a moorish adventure on Saturday and stumbled across a whole herd (? Pack?  Legion?)  of them. Definition of a brilliant Devon day out? Watching tourists doing some beyond terrified selfie sticking near the ridiculously tame wild ponies. No better way to spend an hour.

Hotdogs and burgers and coleslaw, oh my. My mum’s been on the other side of the world for a whole month, we celebrated her return with the first barbie of the year. It wasn’t ground breaking and I was forbidden from making Nutella bananas (grounds for divorce, no?) but there was Pimms – elderflower and blackberry – burgers, corn on the cobs, sunshine and my favourite people. Bliss.

Juicy pears. The punnet of pears I bought last week ripened to perfection, so deliciously juicy and sweet. Yep, pears made one of my weekly highlights. Really not sorry.

I bought a GoPro. I’m BEYOND excited about it. I one hundred percent bought it for more reasons than filming the dogs… There’s definitely a blogpost in the very weird exchange we had in Curry’s but for now let’s celebrate the glorious fact that I have a GoPro and have so far used it to film swimming hounds and the husband when he wasn’t looking. Worth every single penny.

The Routine. Husband and I reverted to our old Sunday morning routine of day dating at the beach. The sky was a ridiculous shade of blue, the beach huts were back in all their cheery glory and the beach was FULL of dogs playing in the sea. Best. Hour. Ever. In other dog news, I met a spaniel outside Boots today-she showed me her belly and we instantly became best friends. *satisfied sigh*

Wonderful Wednesday TwentyThe Whole Weekend. I’ve cheated and used a whole weekend as a ‘thing’ before but truly, this one was just the best. So nice that over our Tuesday morning porridge the husband and I thanked each other for the best weekend we’d had in years. It was weird and polite and actually a nice way to round off all the niceness.  I can’t quite put my finger on what made it so lovely, I suppose spending time in the sunshine with my favourites is never a bad way to pass the time. It was relaxed and full of adventure at the same time.

The (blue)bells, the (blue)bells. After I posted last week’s Wonderful Wednesday, Sarah took me to see the bluebells at Holwell Lawn on Dartmoor, they were beyond incredible. Their abundant mauvey goodness was a definite  highlight.

And that my friends, concludes the wonderful for this week. What’s made your week amazing? Tell me stuff.


The delectable Sally is responsible for all this joy sharing so head on over to Sally Tangle for more jolliness than you can handle. And don’t forget the WW posse Kate, Helen, JoCat and Emma – that lovely little bunch of chaffinches are full of the merriment. 

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