Last year I spent Easter on the beach in Busselton, soaking up the 46°C sun whilst covered in salt and sand and suncream, playing in the water with dolphins and stingrays. This year I spent it in the rolling hills of the Dorset countryside surrounded by fields and cows, covered from head to toe in thick clothing. It was my birthday on Good Friday, so the family and I packed our bags and hit the road for a weekend away.
We took my two grandmothers with us, and spent the weekend snuggled up in the warmth of an old barn conversion which stood in the middle of the hills with only wildlife and a couple of neighbours for company. Dylan absolutely loved it, he had a wonderful time chasing the birds and local wildlife while the rest of us spent some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and had an [almost] internet-free few days of peace and relaxation (ish)!
On my actual birthday on Friday we went for dinner at a lovely pub in the local village and just chilled out, then on Saturday we went down to Weymouth for a wander around the Quay, and of course being by the sea Gramps couldn't escape our thoughts - Nanny recalled how he always told her the story of the time he had to swim across the harbour in Weymouth. We spoilt it for her by telling her it was just him winding her up, why would he swim when there's a bridge!? He was full of stories like that! It made us all laugh though and put a huge grin on my face recalling all of his crazy stories (the best was when he was chased up a tree by bears in Canada during the war).
After morning coffee in Weymouth we drove over to Portland Bill to have lunch and see the lighthouse, and so Dad could do a spot of bird-watching. Apparently Portland Bill is famous for bird-watching - who knew!
I was a very lucky girl this year and had TWO birthday cakes! One was a delicious lemon cake made by my lovely Nanny, and the other was an incredible chocolate cake made by Langs of London. Owner and head baker at Langs of London, Charlotte, is a good friend of mine who has been in a few of my blog posts in the past. She made my cake using exactly what I'd asked her to use, I gave her a very vague idea of 'chocolate sponge, chocolate buttercream icing, and white chocolate buttons', and she produced this masterpiece with those three main factors...
Even though I'm biased, it tasted amazing! The cake was so moist and the chocolate sweet and chocolatey without being too rich and sickly. My family loved it and remarked on how delicious it was. We also finally drank my 'special' bottle of wine I bought four years ago on my 19th birthday in Margaret River. It was a limited edition bottle of Edwards Wines' 2009 'Biggles Blend', and I've been keeping it for a special occasion ever since. I finally let go of it this weekend, and it was so worth it. A blend of SSB and Chardonnay, it tasted just fabulous, so fruity and zesty. It took me right back to when I first tasted it in that hot Australian summer heat back in 2010.
As well as Charlotte's cake we also had Nanny's cake, which was equally delicious - full of lemony goodness and light as anything!
On Sunday we went to Easter Mass in Dorchester, it was a traditional Latin mass which was really rather lovely, although it did go on a bit...an hour and a half was far too long. It was pouring with rain all day so we went back to the barn and spent the rest of the day eating leftover cake and watching movies in front of the log-burner.
Dylan was not impressed when I tried to pick him up. He's so big and heavy now!!!
On the Monday we drove slowly back home, stopping off at a pub in the New Forest for lunch on the way back. I love the New Forest so much, donkeys are one of my favourite animals, and luckily I got to meet these lovely chaps, which definitely made my birthday weekend!
As well as Donkeys just casually strolling down the road past the pub, there were plenty of horses around too!
A lovely weekend with my lovely family!