Tag: Paignton

2019 in review, with highlights!

As the New Year approaches rapidly I always think it’s interesting to look back at the 12 months that have passed. Not in a congratulatory or self-pitying way. Just as a round up and reminder. And of course to pick out my 2019 highlights.

I couldn’t possibly do my decade in review, because that would be way too long and detailed, but needless to say the biggest and most life changing event was losing my Dad. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to lots of places and build a strong marriage (at the beginning of the decade I was fairly new to being a wife, whereas now I’m a veteran!)

In a nod to the decade “thing”, I will post a comparison pic – it’s actually my old vs new passport photo. I’m not doing too badly!

2009 vs 2019 - passport photo

My passport, on the other hand, is no longer European, sob…

So, 2019!

I started the year full of gusto, in a new job that felt very promising and full of great people, with travel plans afoot (as always) and hoping for another incredible summer after the great wonder that was Summer 2018.

I’m ending the year feeling a little more jaded, in a different (temporary) job; having learnt life lessons, employment lessons, and intuition lessons. If something feels wrong then it probably is! That said, an amazing Christmas holiday has made me happy and content, and that’s the most important thing.

2019 highlights

Every year has its ups and downs, and 2019 was no exception. But when I think of the best things, off the top of my head, these are the three that come to mind.

The birth of my nephew

After a really shitty pregnancy during which she was pretty much constantly poorly, and a 3 day labour, my sister gave birth to a 10lb 2oz beautiful baby boy by C-section on Saturday 27th July. It’s my first time being an auntie and it’s filled me with a new sense of pride and delight. Jacob is a joy (now he’s stopped crying when he sees me, and rewards me with smiles instead!) Being part of his first Christmas was incredible. I love him so much!

2019 highlights - my nephew

Easter weekend in Paignton

This was totally unplanned and very last minute! The weekend before Easter we were watching Four in a Bed on TV and I said how nice it would be to have a short break at the English seaside. We haven’t been to Paignton for many years. The husband has happy memories of childhood holidays there, so we found a B&B and off we went.

Last time we were in Paignton it was quite run down. Lots of places were closed and not much going on. We were thrilled to see there’s been some investment in the area, with seafront pubs reopening and lots of people around. It helped that the weather was unseasonably excellent for Easter. We went to the zoo, went on a steam railway, went on the fairground, met up with friends who were staying in Torquay, and had an absolute blast.

2019 highlights - a weekend in Paignton

Read about our weekend here.

Buying a campervan

The highlight about this was seeing my husband’s face as he lived a childhood dream. He’d gone on and on AND ON about it for months; looking for the right one and umming and aahing about what to do. Then we found Bodhi Bongo at the end of September. We picked him up in early October, and have already had some great times with him. No overnighters yet, but watch this space in 2020!

2019 highlights - Mazda Bongo campervan

What are your 2019 highlights? Thanks, as always, for reading!

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A weekend in Paignton

No-one was more surprised than me when we booked up to go away at Easter for a weekend in Paignton. It wasn’t on our travel plans for 2019. Firstly, going away for Easter wasn’t even on the cards; we hadn’t even talked about it. Secondly, we haven’t been to Paignton in 11 years. The husband used to holiday there as a kid, and we went a couple of times early on in our relationship, but the economy took its toll on the English seaside town, like many others across the country, and we heard reports of closed pubs, boarded up frontages and a general feeling of rundown-ness which didn’t appeal.

So, what changed? We’d heard that the town had received investment and was in better shape. But what really swung it was watching Channel 4’s “Four in a Bed” programme, and talking fondly of staying in a UK guesthouse by the seaside. Fuelled by a couple of glasses of wine (as the best plans always are) our weekend in Paignton was booked!

What did we get up to?

We had loose plans of what we wanted to do over the course of our 3 night break (woo-hoo for a long weekend at Easter), but of course we knew we’d be held to ransom by the British weather. We needn’t have worried though. Like much of the UK, Paignton was bathed in wall to wall sunshine with higher than average temperatures, which meant we spent pretty much all of our time outside.

Out and about

We walked along the coast from Paignton and up to Roundham Gardens looking down on Goodrington Sands. You wouldn’t think that some of these views were in the UK, especially not in April!

We caught the Dartmouth Steam Railway train from Paignton to Kingswear, and then got the ferry across to Dartmouth.

Then we walked along the riverfront to Bayard’s Cove, before heading to the Above Town area and walking past coloured houses and through woods down to Dartmouth Castle.

There isn’t an awful lot to see at the castle, but there are some educational exhibitions and hands on things for kids like helmets to try (which, FYI, also fit adult heads too – I speak from experience), plus the views back down the river to Kingswear and Dartmouth were stunning. We got 20% off the entrance price with our steam railway ticket, so we only paid £6.60 each. It’s free if you’re a member of English Heritage, which we keep saying we’re going to join but never get round to, although I think it’s only a matter of time!

Then, on Sunday, we went to Paignton Zoo! It’s quite a hilly zoo, so probably not great for people with mobility issues. We saw lions, monkeys, giraffes, the elephant, zebras, ostriches and camels. The tigers weren’t out to play, which was a shame but we were super chuffed to see everything else. There are peacocks wandering freely around the paths too.

Where next?!

Have to be honest, I always overlook going away in the UK in favour of going overseas – mainly because of the weather situation! Let’s face it, our weekend in Paignton would have been very different if it had been raining; which there’s always a chance of during British summertime. That said, I’m so keen to see more of the South West. I’d happily do another weekend in Paignton. There’s so much to do in the area, including the other 2 English Riviera towns of Torquay and Brixham. I’m keen to explore some of Cornwall too.

Do you love visiting the UK? Any tips for where else I should put on my list?

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Nature photo challenge – day 3

Here’s my third nature photo.

Seagull drinking a cocktail

I love love LOVE this photo of a cheeky seagull enjoying the remnants of someone’s cocktail! This was taken outside a bar in Paignton on a warm summer night about 10 years ago. Being a seaside town there’s a plethora of seagulls, many of whom are very tame as they’re used to being around people (much to my chagrin; I don’t like birds that fly close to humans). We were having drinks just one table away, when this dude swooped down and started poking his head in the glasses left by the previous table occupants.

Look closely and you’ll see the creamy drink on his beak!

The rules for the 7-day nature photo challenge are simple. Just post your favourite nature photo each day and nominate another blogger everyday, for the next 7 days.

I’ve been nominated by Tou89Lou – pop on over and check her out!

Today I nominate OxfordCottageGardener as she’s very outdoorsy and will no doubt have lots of great pics to share!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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