22 August 2013

There's no place like Home

We're just back from a mini break in the Cotswolds, which is a lovely place to explore if you ever get the chance.  I thought the least stressful way to travel with Daisy was going on the Caledonian sleeper train, as you leave at night time and arrive at your destination in the morning; easy as pie.  I did consider a flight but the thought of arriving at a busy London airport with said three year old made me feel a little queasy.  I felt much safer on the train.  We arrived at 7:30am and waiting on the platform for us to go on our pre arranged breakfast date, was my lovely Aussie friend; although the Australian accent has disappeared, maybe it’s something to do with living in Kensington, I must ask.

We had a few fun filled days out, the first being a trip to Tetbury Rocking Horse works.  I’ve been trying to get Daisy into Rocking Horses because I have very fond memories of one from my childhood.  There’s lots of Rocking Horses out there and it's hard to tell the machine made imports from the actual hand carved ones, which I love.  I’ve taken Daisy to the Rocking Horses that are in the local hospital but she’s not too sure of them.   Some can be a bit creepy if not painted quite right and I’ve done a fair bit of research to know that each workshops horses are unique.  I specifically chose to visit Steve & Bea's workshop because of the style of horses they lovingly create.  I called ahead and Steve said he would make sure the kettle was on and Daisy got a cup of Blackcurrant juice, which luckily she managed to drink without spilling down her clothes.  We chatted for a bit, got some snaps and then Bea showed us the different colours of hair and options should you want to buy a horse.  I’d love a horse for Daisy, but they are expensive if you want to get a decent sized one.  You have to weigh up what’s most important don't you, a toy verses a holiday of a life time maybe. However, I think a Rocking Horse is a heirloom purchase, it’s an investment right?  Maybe one day we will have the money to buy one.  Mum keeps saying, "how do you know if she would like one, you sure it's not for you".  I said how do we know she wouldn't like one if she never gets the chance?

Our next day trip was to Snowshill Lavender Farm near Chipping Camden.  I saw a BBC documentary about the farm recently and thought, I’m going to take Daisy there!  I wasn’t sure how long we would stay at the farm as I didn’t think Daisy would be entertained for long with a field of Lavender, how wrong was I.  Bees obviously love Lavender because there were hundreds of them!   Daisy was not phased.  I just said to her, “you must not stand of any of them while they are having a rest from drinking up all the nectar.”  I didn’t realise that as well as bees loving the Lavender, Butterflies love it too!  Daisy now loves butterflies and she managed to catch not one, not two, but FIVE Butterflies at the farm.  She really loves her creepy crawlies, but only held onto them for a few seconds before releasing them back into the air.  We were there for several hours, there’s a café and gift shop on the farm.  After our picnic was finished and Daisy was all Butter flied out, we went down to have a look at the shop and buy some smelly souvenirs.  In the cafe we tucked into some tea and scones, with clotted cream and jam, it was delicious.  We went back up to the Lavender again before we went home.  I couldn’t believe the amount of Japanese tourists that visited, the women were all dolled up with heels and designer handbags and I saw two men wearing Chanel handbags!  Then a few of the older ladies started picking the Lavender.  Now where I come from you don't pick certain types of flowers, nor do you pick flowers on private property that belong to someone else.  At first I thought, maybe they were just picking a small bunch for a souvenir, next I see one with scissors and they were stuffing huge bunches into carrier bags.  I was thinking, some people just spoil it for everyone else.  

The following day we visited Blenheim Palace on the recommendation from the friend we were staying with, as it was only five miles away.  With it being our last day and the hire car having to go back, I didn’t want to go too far afield.  The palace was great, I didn’t know what to expect but again it was a good day out.  Lots of information on Winston Churchill, I had no idea he was from that area and is actually buried in the village.  As much as people go on the pilgrimage to Graceland to see Elvis’s grave, I was not thinking Daisy would be remotely interested in a visit to the cemetery.   We were also surprised to see a horse and carriage entering the grounds with a Japanese bride who was about to get married.  Daisy was really impressed by the princess like carriage, it was like something out of a fairytail.  We explored the palace and grounds working up an appetite for our tea and cake time.  I can't believe I nearly left, missing out on the children’s area.  It was tucked away behind the trees but as soon as I saw it I recalled my friend saying there was a play park and a children’s train ride. Needless to say, we stayed for a further two hours playing, eating ice-cream, souvenir shopping, painting pottery and trying to catch more Butterflies of course.  Later that evening we treated our hosts with a Chinese meal as a thank you for letting us stay. 

On our return to London we met up with Lexi again and went to a much-loved Sushi Bar for a spot of lunch.  Lexi was mortified when she managed to spill a pot of garlic sauce down Daisy’s dress, but I just said “no worries”, it will keep the witches away.  Afterwards we went to Hamley’s toy shop on Oxford Street, you could easily spend a whole day in there; just as well Daisy is easily distracted.  Soon we escaped the hustle and bustle of oxford Street and headed to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Gardens and spent the afternoon playing, riding on the ferries wheel, eating ice-cream and Daisy managed to get Lexi back by spilling a cup of coke on the table, which was a very near miss for her super duper camera.

We ended our trip back at Euston Station with some fish and chips at Harry Ramsdens, although Daisy had “mermaid and chips,” another mystical topic Daisy has cottoned onto from her mama.

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