Express & Echo: We all pull together when it counts

Last week’s column for the Express and Echo:

It never ceases to amaze me how generous we (and I’m using the Royal ‘we’ here!) can be, when called upon. Take Children in Need last Friday, as a nation we managed to raise an incredible £31 million to help children throughout the UK.

My two boys did their part, dressing in their pyjamas for school and eating Pudsey bear biscuits all week – oh well, it’s for charity right?

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I was also humbled to hear that their school, Feniton primary, would be collecting for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines during its Christmas productions this year. I can always count on head teacher Mr Butler and his staff, to lead by example for the pupils and already the kids are keen to help, in any way they can.

This last week has been humbling closer to home too, with the Pride of Exeter awards – a great initiative of the Express and Echo and Exeter City Council. The awards honoured our local heroes and I was particularly pleased to hear that double lung transplant survivor, Kirstie Tancock, was among the winners on the night. I have followed her story for some time and continue to be amazed at her courage and strength. She is an inspirational young woman who is a real fighter and an example to us all.

On a different subject, I think I might be the last person in East Devon to discover the wonder of Haldon Forest! We ventured up there on a cold but bright Sunday, to burn off some energy before a delicious roast dinner, and it’s fair to say we will definitely be returning.

Whether you just want to amble around the easy 1.5 mile Discovery Trail – perfect for all the family, with regular resting points to take in the stunning views over Exeter and Dartmoor – or if you’re more adventurous and fancy the Raptor Trail, with its steep ascents and descents, there really is something for everyone.

I was pleased to see it so busy. When we visited there were plenty of people all out in the fresh air, enjoying a fun activity with their family and friends. I think we’d timed it pretty well as we arrived after lunch, just as most people were heading home for the afternoon and it started to quiet down – but if you want a more peaceful cycle or walk you might want to plan to visit at a less busy time.

And, while I didn’t try it this time (the pull of the roast lamb awaiting us at home meant we didn’t hang about) I have it on good authority that the coffee and cake at The Ridge Café is pretty spectacular too – cycling has never been more enticing!

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Silent Sunday: A boost for business in Budleigh

This weekend Budleigh Salterton welcomed visitors to its inaugural Food and Drink Festival, organised by Budleigh in Business.

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Three days of cooking demonstrations, local food and drink produce, socialising and plenty of kids activities, the event was wonderfully organised and, I think, a real asset to the town.

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I’m really inspired by the local towns around our corner of Devon fighting back and encouraging people to ‘Buy Local’.

Just one of the delicious offerings at the festival, a Caribben curry…

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This year we’ve seen the inaugural Ottery St Mary Food and Drink Festival, and next year we can look forward to the first Honiton Sausage and Cider Festival in May.

A welcome boost to the local economy and a clear display of the fighting spirit I’ve come to love from Delightful Devon!

L xx

25 Questions Tag: Facts about me!

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What is your middle name?: Clair
What was favourite subject at school?: English or Drama
What is your favourite drink?: A cup of Earl Grey tea
What is your favourite song at the moment?: I’m loving Passenger’s Let Her Go at the moment
What is your favourite food?: Mmmm, I’d probably pick anything Italian…
What is the last thing you bought?: French vocabulary books
Favourite book of all time?: I’d probably have to say Pride and Prejudice, I just love Jane Austen
Favourite Colour?: Blue
Do you have any pets?: Yes, a dog called Molly and two cats, Poppy and Buzz
Favourite Perfume?: Miss Dior
Favourite Holiday?: Anywhere warm, I like beach holidays and summer city breaks
Are you married?: Yes, this year we celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary this month!
Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times?: Yes, too many to count
Do you speak any other language?: Spanish and hopefully French soon!
How many siblings do you have?: One sister, Hollie
What is your favourite shop?: There is a lovely antiques shop in Honiton, called Fountain Antiques, which I love browsing in
Favourite restaurant?: Locally it’s The Holt in Honiton…delicious!
When was the last time you cried?: I cry watching TV a lot, but the last time I properly wept was watching Comic Relief…I have to turn it off after 5 minutes 😦
Favourite Blog?: I’d have to say The Londoner
Favourite Movie?: Shawshank Redemption, The Colour Purple, As Good As It Gets, Dirty Dancing…the list is endless!
Favourite TV show?: I love Mad Men, and we’ve just started House of Cards which is brilliant. But, you can’t beat a good ol’ episode of Friends
PC or Mac?: Mac
What phone do you have?: iPhone 4S
How tall are you?: 5ft 6
Can you cook?: Yes. When I first met my husband I wasn’t great, but now I do all the cooking. I’d still love to learn a bit more from someone professional

Silent Monday: Bank Holiday extra…

A Silent Sunday extra on this sunny bank holiday Monday…

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A brunch at Toast Cafe in Honiton is a great way to start the day, especially in their beautiful, sunny garden.

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Boys being boys, spotting tadpoles.

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Beach fun and sea mist at Budleigh Salterton.

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Vogue, strike a pose…

I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful weather this bank holiday Monday…here’s to the four day week!

Lxx

Keep your kids out of trouble this half term

A sunny day at Escot!

A sunny day at Escot!

I’m always stuck for ideas of things to do during half term. It can be hard to find interesting, exciting and inexpensive ways to spend each day of the school holiday. So, I’ve compiled a mini list of the things that are on around East Devon this half term…without breaking the bank (which always helps)!

Monday:  Killerton’s Dragons, Myths and Tales 11am-3pm

“This half term Killerton will be open every day from 11am-3pm for fun myth busting and dragon hunt quests and story-telling sessions from 12-12.30pm and 1-1.30pm in the library.”

Tuesday: Free Family Drop-in Workshop 11am-4pm at the Thelma Hulbert gallery in Honiton

“Explore animation and printmaking together with your kids, guided by Josh Gaunt and Double Elephant Print Workshop. Just drop-in anytime and have a go, suggested donation £2 per child.”

Wednesday: Stay and Play (10am-11.30am) at Honiton Chlldren’s Centre

“The Stay and Play group provides a variety of play activities for you and your child to share, as well as the opportunity to meet other mums.”

Thursday: All Day Free Entry for Children to Escot for Red Squirrel Day

“There will be a variety of great activities for the whole family to enjoy, including face painting, storytelling, games and the great nut hunt!”

Friday: Visit the Donkey Sanctuary for Free and enjoy lunch

“Gently rolling countryside with walks around the fields where you can meet the donkeys, who adore the fuss and attention received from visitors. Visitors are free to spend as much time as they wish meeting the donkeys in the Main Yard where they wander at will.”

So, a fun-packed list of local activities to keep your little explorer out of trouble!

Enjoy.

L xx