Southern Yacht

My little take on plus size fashion, life, travel and smurfs

Friday, 30 October 2020

Days out in Hampshire: Hinton Ampner

Hinton Ampner House

It feels like Autumn is well and truly here now in the UK. The clocks have gone back and the rain and grey clouds seem here to stay. It doesn't seem possible that only a few weeks ago we were enjoying the sunshine and blue skies at Hinton Ampner.

Hinton Ampner is a National Trust property in Hampshire. Originally the site of a Tudor manor built in the 1540's the building has had many incarnations over the years. The renovation of 1936 uncovered the original Georgian style and the subsequent rebuilding after a major fire in 1960 leaves us the house we see today. The house was left to the National Trust in 1985 by Ralph Dutton, the 8th and last Lord Sherborne.

Despite only being a 40 minute or so drive from Southampton, it was a place I had driven past many times but never actually visited (fun fact - I used to drive past regularly during my time when I was a Meals on Wheels delivery driver - maybe that's a story for another day?).

After seeing a story on the local news about the grounds being open for visitors we decided now was the time to finally visit and enjoy the last bit of summer. Although the house itself wasn't open, tickets were available for a timed entry to the rest of the estate.

Hinton Ampner walled garden

Hinton Ampner walled garden

Even so, it still felt busier than expected. Maybe we've become over sensitive to crowds now? We arrived at the exact time our visiting slot opened thinking we'd avoid too many people and instead went straight into a bottleneck. Probably due to first part of the grounds being the walled garden, so space inevitably was limited. We scooted off to one side to allow the crowds through and just pottered round at our own pace. Once out of the walled garden, there was a lot more space to be socially distant and enjoy the grounds.

Hinton Ampner Estate

Hinton Ampner Estate

Hinton Ampner Estate

Hinton Ampner Estate

There are plenty of self-led walks to choose from. Ranging from a gentle stroll suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs up to a 4 mile Dutton Estate Walk that takes you through ancient woodland including a view over the Battle of Cheriton in 1644. Another highlight in the grounds is the Ancient Tree Walk which incudes trees of historical importance. The massive oak by the entrance is between 500-600 years old, dating back to Tudor times. It's amazing to think it survived the Civil War and is considered the most iconic tree on the Estate.

Hinton Ampner Estate

Hinton Ampner Estate
View over the site of the Battle of Cheriton

It was also the perfect opportunity to try and take some photos with my new phone. I think though the other half's patience was tested at this point. Luckily, I'd bought a picnic blanket with me, so lunch from the cafe soon placated him. Although seating wasn't available, picnics were encouraged, so come prepared for alfresco dining!

Hinton Ampner Estate

Hinton Ampner Estate


Hinton Ampner Estate

Picnics and photos at Hinton Ampner

Although life is far from being back to normal - this felt like a near normal day in amongst all the confusion and disruption going on at the moment. It's left us wanting to explore more local National Trust properties and grounds. And lets's face it - a day out in the fresh air walking is always a good idea!

Cathy
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Monday, 7 September 2020

Something I never thought I'd wear...

Spotted Dungarees from TU at Sainsbury, size 20

Has there ever been something you fancied wearing but thought 'nope, not for me' or 'wouldn't suit me' or even 'how comfortable would that be really....'.

Well, for me, it was dungarees. I think they look great, I used to live in them as a kid! But as an adult, definitely not. I'm bigger on the bottom half than the top, so finding something that fits top and bottom is about as easy as finding hen's teeth.

So when I was in the TU clothing section of Sainsburys earlier this year and saw a pair of spotted dungarees, I wasn't optimistic about the chances of them fitting.

Well, I was right, they didn't fit - because I needed to size down! Unheard of in TU clothing to be honest. I normally find their sizing very much on the small side. Sizing down is not something I've ever had to do before. So that was a good start.

And you know what? I didn't hate them. They weren't too long in the leg, they fitted my thighs and didn't gap at the waist and they were adjustable enough on the top to fit. 

Spotted Dungarees from TU at Sainsbury, size 20

So they came home with me - and I love them. I try to ignore the other half making Andy Pandy comments and doing a speedy trip to the toilet is yet to be mastered. But I think dungarees are back in my life now - and that makes me happy!

Thanks for reading

Cathy
xx

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Tuesday, 1 September 2020

New Season - New Start?


A summary of my time during lockdown

I know - it's not technically a new season just yet. But I can't deny I did a little internal whoop as I changed the calendar over to September this morning. I'm already thinking about cosy jumpers, hot chocolates and all things Halloween. 

Perfect Autumn days

So I'm going to embrace it all and use this time as an opportunity to restart / kick my blog back off again. Lockdown was different for all of us. For me when I looked at all the draft posts I'd written and scheduled about fashion, travel, holidays and days out etc, they all just seemed frivolous and unnecessary. So I pulled the lot until a time when I thought I was ready to share them again.

Travel days

I know travel isn't on the cards for a lot of people. It certainly isn't for us. But hopefully it will be one day and when that day comes maybe, just maybe, my blog posts will be useful for someone. If nothing else, I know I enjoy reading about other people's travels and it gives me ideas and inspiration for the future.

So that's what will be happening in the future - but what did I do during lockdown?

Lockdown puzzles
(I didn't realise I'd done so many.....)

Puzzles - a lot of puzzles.... They're normally a Christmas thing for me. But there's something quite relaxing about sitting peacefully and working your way through a jigsaw (as long as it's not too brown....don't like a dark jigsaw....)

DIY - much to the other half's horror, I had a mini painting frenzy at the start of lockdown. On the positive side, the bedroom and bathroom look great now!

And finally - picnics. Thank goodness for good weather and socially distanced picnics on Southampton Common.

Picnics on Southampton Common

That's me pretty much caught up. I'm not going to set myself a schedule because of the pressure that brings, I want to get back to enjoying blogging. I know some people are blogging everyday in September - maybe by December I'll be back up to that level.

Thanks for reading and see you all soon

Cathy
xx





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Thursday, 30 April 2020

It's ok...not to be ok

It's ok not to be ok

Well, it's been a while hasn't it? I had so many posts saved as drafts that I was going to publish in March and April. But then lockdown started and suddenly everything I wanted to write all seemed frivolous and irrelevant. I took plenty of photos, but words seem to escape me!

April 2020 pictures

5 weeks in and I've started tentatively thinking about blog posts again. I'm not planning to write much about how this has impacted my life and all our lives - my blog isn't a space where I'd feel comfortable talking about that. Instead I'm just going to share some images that friends have shared with me that sum up how I feel much better than I can ever express in words.

We are not in the same storm

Productivity

Looking at my draft posts, a lot of them are travel based - would people would want to read them when travel at the moment seems like a far away dream? But then - I'm enjoying spending time reading about places I've visited, places I hope to visit in the future so maybe someone out there might like reading about our travels.

View from a plane window


And there's nothing much else to add other than look after each other - and remember to look after yourself.

Cathy
xx

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