Sunday, 9 November 2008

Birthday Weekend

Firstly, thank you so much for all your birthday wishes.  I can reflect that the last year has been a really good one and I'm thrilled to have found so many friends through blogging who have wished me a happy birthday this year.  It's a great feeling, so thank you (again)!

I have enjoyed a very spoiling weekend.  I was woken by a very excited Munchkin and presented with a lot of lovely gifts, in particular lots of gorgeous books (Knitted Flowers, Crocheted Flowers, books on the style of the 1940s and '50's, the new Nigella's Christmas,) some Union Jack bunting and flip-flops, a cookery day with Jean-Christophe Novelli and some fabulous Paul Smith stripey ballet-style shoes.  All too soon, the Munchkin had to go off to school and we set about packing because my other half had planned a weekend away for us.

The destination was a closely guarded secret and I followed directions to head off for the A2, the M25 then the A12. Soon enough, I found myself in...Suffolk, somewhere I have never been before.  Oh happy days. Obviously, my heavy hints over recent months have worked and my other half is very receptive to the same!  The roads were lovely and clear, the weather crisp and bright.  We decided to take a break and found ourselves in Dedham, actually in Essex but right on the Suffolk border. This area is traditionally known as Constable country as the painter was born very close by and many of his paintings depict the local landscape.

There were quaint little village shops, a couple of pubs with log fires serving Adnams' ales and Aspall's cider, pretty beamed cottages rendered with limewash in attractive shades, particularly the traditional Suffolk pink.

The tea shop had a lovely display of the local Tiptree's preserves on a painted vintage wooden stand. I'm sure it's been there donkey's years.

Refuelled, we set back off for our eventual destination which was to be this rather marvellous place near Woodbridge in Suffolk, Seckford Hall.

My fabby other half had not only booked us into the Seckford Suite, where I found a dozen red roses and champagne waiting, but I was then whisked off to the spa for an Indian head massage and then a full body massage. Bliss! Thank you, you are the best, Mr HenHouse.  I felt thoroughly pampered and very very relaxed!

I had dropped hints that I would like to visit this area, in particular to go to Aldeburgh and Southwold, having read a lot about these places and thinking they were "my sort of place".  So, on a decidedly miserable Saturday, we headed off for Aldeburgh, a small place right on the sea.  There were many huts selling what looked like deliciously fresh fish and oh so cheap.  How I wished I could have bought some.

The beach was looking pretty inhospitable.  Not a day for a dip!

There was a small high street with a range of shops.  I bought a nice old chocolate box full of embroidery threads from a charity shop and we went in what must be the most ancient ever sweet shop!  What little stock there was looked like it had been there a very long time indeed!  There were some gorgeous old shop fronts, always a treat to behold given the horrid garish shopfronts which seem de rigeur on the high street today.

We whizzed on up the coast to Southwold. What a lovely place. There are quite a lot of shops on the bustling high street, even one selling Cath K stuff. The real gem, however, is the beach.  The photos show you that it was a pretty stormy day and we certainly blew away a few cobwebs as we walked/were blown along the promenade!

Just look at these absolutely gorgeous beach huts. I couldn't choose a favourite...

Then again, I do like this one, duck egg blue paintwork and Cath K's Boats fabric curtains, scrummy!

Eat your heart out, Baywatch!

There is also a good old fashioned pier.

Inland, nestled amid the pretty victorian terraces is the Southwold Lighthouse.

As if that wasn't enough, Southwold seems to have licked the splendid vintage transport category, too...

All in all, a great little place I can't wait to revisit in the sunnier months as I know the Munchkin would love it and I can even wear my new flip-flops!  What a lucky girl I have been, there are definitely some good things about getting older...


  1. How lovely Hen....My OH is from Suffolk, we know Southwold very well, we had one of our first dates there!

    The Beach huts are fab!

    Glad you enjoyed your very spoiled you have been, such a lovely birhtday, so well deserved!

  2. What a fabulours weekend you had Hen! How lovely to be pampered and spoiled like that!

  3. Wow, what a fabulous trip! and such a great way to celebrate your birthday! You always seem to find the best shopping places. That chocolate box full of thread sounds like a great treasure. I love those beach huts too. So quaint and charming.

  4. Fab stuff's like you took us all with you! I loved Southwold and indeed Suffolk when we went there, some time ago. Looks like we are due another trip asap.
    Glad you had such a good birthday.
    ;-) x

  5. What a lovely present.
    I know that area very well, when I was a child the beach huts did not look like that! Aldeburgh was a day trip for us, and I used to have a collection of starfish collected from the beach, it is nice in the summer, but still very windy though even on sunny days.

  6. Wow! Hen, I have just popped in for a visit for the first time, really enjoyed your blog, OMG! and the Carlton ware! I love it and have a few pieces, but it is very very expensive here in NZ. I will definitely be back! Carole

  7. Hey Hen,
    Looks like you had a lovely birthday!
    I used to live in Essex and dashes to Suffolk were some of my fave trips. Such a beautiful area of the world to explore.

  8. Oh.. I want to go too to those wonderful place where you went...
    About the books, maybe you could post a picture of them. I'd like very much to see the front covers.


  9. Many happy returns. I've recently found your blog and am loving it. Southwold looks beautiful. Glad you had a super weekend.


  10. Happy Birthday again! Wow, sounds like the most wonderful weekend. You're very lucky indeed. The Hotel looks gorgeous as do Aldeburgh and Southwold which are both places I'd love to visit too. The beach huts are fab. I bet Monday morning is seeming rather dull after such a wonderful few days!

  11. Looks like you had a great weekend. The beach huts are lovely, they look like cornishware with the stripes! I'm liking the sound of the books, knitted & crocheted flowers.....could we have a picture please??? :)

  12. Golly, that sounds just perfect, every bit of it. Glad you had such a great weekend xx

  13. So glad you had a lovely birthday. What a fab selection of pressies.
    Suffolk is one of the places I'd love to visit but as I'm in Cardiff the thought of a 4+hr car journey with four boys makes me come out in a cold
    I think 3 hours is the minimum we could manage without getting divorced then thats pushing it!!
    Are you excited about your cookery lesson? Claire x

  14. Sorry Hen.....knew there was something...thanks...the 10th of Dec...then that gives everyone time to make and send...
    I'll edit that post...cheers!

    Mel is your cold?xx

  15. Reading your post made me desperate to go to Southwold lol!! I live 20 mins away down the coast - it really is lovely isn't it? :)
    Well thats me de lurked lol!! So will just add how much I enjoy reading your posts x

  16. Sounds like a beautiful and relaxing weekend - wow that beach looks amazing - love those beach huts! I want one!

  17. Goodness MrHH spoiled you this year, you are a lucky girl.

  18. Thanks for your lovely pictures. I was like a mini-vacation while sitting at my computer;)

  19. WOW, What a fab birthday. Looks like a fab place to visit. Mr Hen House really needs to give Mr Pixie some tips. xxxx

  20. Hi Hen,
    Glad to hear that you enjoyed your Birthday weekend away.
    I have to agree that Southwold is scrummy (have visited myself this month and did a blog post very similar to your with the fab beach huts!)
    BTW, my view is women are like cheeses - the more we mature the better (and tastier!) we get!! ;-))


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