the ship inn cobham kent

Husband always has a day or two to use up at this time of year, he keeps them aside just in case and actually they are a real indulgence.

He chose to take one day off after a Christmas ‘doo’ where he arrived home after midnight (I know! tut tut) BUT in his favour he had booked us a table to eat at The Ship Inn in Cobham which is literally a stone’s throw away from us.

Oh, hang on a minute, he wants us to walk there so we can both enjoy a drink so that stone’s throw is actually an hour’s walk.

jeskyn's park statues

A beautiful walk nonetheless, across Jeskyn’s Park where you can find interesting sculptures, cows grazing and a sense of countryside even if you have the Euro tunnel train track running alongside and the A2.

cobham village store kent

Cobham is one of Kent’s quaintest villages and I want to move there, seriously. The village has three pubs, heaps of history and a picturebox quaintness to it. I will get round to telling you about them all but today it’s the turn of The Ship Inn.

The Ship Inn Cobham Kent

Husband booked a table for 1pm knowing we would be walking there. When we arrived the table wasn’t ready; you know how it is, someone came in at 12 and said they’d be gone by 1pm. They were gone but the table needed setting.

the ship inn cobham kent

This doesn’t bother me. I waited on tables for years in Folgaria. I know what it’s like, so I ordered a G+T and himself a pint and begun to enjoy our ‘date’.

‘Would you like Gordon’s or Hendrick’s?’ the lady asked.

‘Hendricks please.’ came my reply.

‘Would you prefer lemon or cucumber?’ threw me a bit and I learnt that Hendrick’s is normally served with cucumber; well there you go! I learnt something new and it was delicious as well.

The menu is a typical pub menu, very reasonably priced with a huge selection to choose from. Husband went predictably for the mixed grill and I chose the Surf and Turf Rib steak.

pub food - ship inn cobham kent

Both were delicious, the service was impeccable and we had a really nice Christmas lunch together, spending some quality time together without the children which is so important.

Verdict: Fabulous. We had a very enjoyable meal and will most definitely return. Excellent food and reasonably priced in a beautiful setting. Our table (7) was in front of this cosy fireplace.

Find the Ship Inn on Facebook

Address: 14 The Street, Cobham Gravesend, Kent, DA12 3BN

Call: 01474 814326
cosy fireplace ship inn cobham kent

Visit Santa Broadditch Farm

How many years have we got left of believing that the Big Man is real? I’ve been asking lots of mum’s recently when their children cottoned on as I can’t remember with my older two the exact point that they passed from believer to understander.

Broadditch Farm is where we booked in this year for our annual trip to Santa. We went there a few years back, in the snow and it was the perfect Santa trip. Over the years we have tried others, one was very disappointing, for me and dad – long queues, short time with Santa, expensive photo and shuffled through a trail that left dad and I a bit slump shouldered, even the gift was cheap.

When that happens you feel like you’ve lost an experience that you can’t get back.

bessie

It has to please mum and dad more than the kids, that is my answer. If the parents come away thinking it was brilliant, it was.

Broadditch Farm Visit Santa

Visit Santa Broadditch Farm Southfleet Kent

We arrived at Broadditch Farm in good time for our 2.30 appointment and made our way to the reception tent. Lots of other visitors were already there but the elves were taking very good care of the young and old. There was a table with lots of different pictures to colour in to take to Santa which helped distract the younger members whilst we waited our turn.

Santa tractor Broadditch farm

Silly Billy Bunting arrived with his tractor and trailer all decked out with tinsel to take us on a journey to meet Santa. We all climbed on and sat down on the benches very excited to be on our way and the coloured in pictures in mummy’s handbag.

Broadditch farm elves

Sparky and Tinsel the elves accompanied us and we sang, When Santa got stuck up the chimney and Jingle Bells as we made our way to Santa’s lodge in the woods.

Broadditch Farm visit Santa

We arrived to a fabulously lit up area that took our breath away. Lights, animals, Christmas tree cutting areas and an elves crossing led us to Santa’s lodge. Once there we stood outside and the elves told us Santa was sleeping so we had to shout loud to wake him up and get him to let us in.

Santa selfies

Santa was very pleased to show us some selfies taken with him, including the Queen herself! He said people are always asking to have a photo with him but he was very good and told us he doesn’t charge like some others do ;) We saw photos of him with Clint Eastwood, David Beckham, even the Grinch!

broadditch farm Santa grotto

He then read us a story about his elves and the trouble he had finding helpers before deciding on elves. All of the children were gripped. He then stood up and said he would allow the children ONE present now, any others would be delivered on Christmas Eve.

The Elves handed out the gifts according to age and each child walked with a massive smile out of the hut towards Silly Billy Bunting with his special tinsel tractor. We sang ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas,’ to Santa before departure and he danced for us! I must admit his dancing was a bit odd and lots of the children thought he was hilarious.

Twins christmas 2014

At the last part of our return journey Silly Billy Bunting had to reverse his tractor so it would be in the right position for the next visitors but his ‘beep beep’ was broken so the elves asked us all to beep for him. Great fun!

Verdict – LOVED it. The best Santa we have been too so far. I will most definitely be booking up this one again for next year.

The gift was a Maze Ball for children over 7, the next gift down was 3 – 5 and I thought it might be too young for the twins so I put them down as 7 year olds. We allowed them to open it  and it kept them amused for ages. Even dad asked to have a go. Top quality gift that will provide amusement for years not just a moment.

Maze ball

Cost

Children £10 (worth it considering the gift and experience)

Adults £6 – worth every penny, I was a child again for a moment.

I didn’t see any unhappy faces.

Tips

Dress up warm as both times we have been it has been cold – last time there was snow!

Arrive early so the children can colour in a picture to take to Santa

Other Visit Santa trips include

Millbrook Garden Centre – needs writing up oops!

Shorne Country park

Bluewater

 

Pocahontas Gravesend

The start of school in Year 2 was based around the topic My World and learning about the history of our local area Gravesend. Mid October saw the whole of Year 2 dress as Native Americans to celebrate Pocahontas Day which they all enjoyed and later on when we were in the town centre I took the girls to St Georges church to see the statue of Pocahontas and to see if I could find where Pocahontas was buried.

Native American Costume

One thing the girls knew from school is that the ‘real’ Pocahontas wasn’t like the one they had seen in the Disney film but her story was very similar.

Pocahontas Gravesend

The Story of Pocahontas

Powhatan her father was a powerful man and ruled over 40 Native American tribes, he gave his daughter Matoaka the nickname Pocahontas which means ‘the playful one’, she was her father’s favourite and the most beautiful of all his children.

As she grew up she witnessed many changes in Virginia her homeland, Europeans started to arrive and set up colonies. They brought objects with them like mirrors and knives which Pocahontas had never seen. There was a growing mistrust between the Native Americans and the Europeans, relations grew worse in 1607 when Captain John Smith was caught on their territory and brought in front of Powhatan for trial.

St Georges church Gravesend Pocahontas statue

Pocahontas is believed to have fallen in love with him and she pleaded with her father to save his life but he refused, Pocahontas threw herself between Captain James Smith and the executioners and her father was forced to let him live.

Captain James Smith later became leader of the settlers who built Jamestown, the first settlement in Virginia named after the English King James 1. The captain returned to England badly wounded in 1609 leaving a heartbroken Pocahontas believing he was dead. He survived and became a hero in the King’s court telling tales of his wondrous escape.

Back in Virginia relations between the settlers and the native Americans grew steadily worse, Powhatan ordered that the white man should stay within the confines of Jamestown. Pocahontas however was still fascinated by them and was easily enticed to the settlement where she was held captive whilst a ransom note was sent to her father.

Pocahontas Gravesend

It is said that she thoroughly enjoyed her captivity and in 1613 was the first native American to be baptised and re-named Rebecca. Shortly after this ceremony she married John Rolfe the magistrate of the colony in 1614 with her father’s blessing. They lived on John Rolfe’s tobacco plantation for two years and Pocahontas had a sone named Thomas.

In 1616, Pocahontas set sail for England with her family on Sir Thomas Dale’s ship with an escort of twelve Native Americans. They arrived in Plymouth and travelled to London where they created quite a stir. Pocahontas was praised for her beauty and became known as ‘la belle savage’.

Pocahontas mural Gravesend

It was on her return journey to Virginia after a year in England that she arrived in Gravesend, she became seriously ill offshore and was hurried to land where she spent her last few hours. It is thought she died of the plague and was quickly buried in St George’s Church at the age of 21. The parish church register the entry

“1617. March 21st Rebecca Wrolfe, Wyffe of Thomas Wrolfe, gent., a Virginia lady born, was buried in ye Chancell.”

Sadly the church was destroyed in a fire in 1727 and now no one knows the exact spot of her burial. The Pocahontas memorial serves to remember her.

Pocahontas today

Pocahontas profile

Gravesham was twinned with Chesterfield County of Virginia in 2005, since then pilgrimages have come to seek out the burial spot of Pocahontas. Her importance in English history has been recognised by a number of ceremonies including the placing of a plaque in the church in the late nineteenth century, a tablet and stained glass windows being donated in 1914 and a bronze statue of Pocahontas unveiled by the Governor of Virginia in 1958.

In July 2006 Gravesham welcomed eight tribes of Native American Indians who visited the UK for the first time. The visit was organised by Jamestown British Committee and Gravesham Borough Council to develop a better understanding of history, culture and to create new friendships.

Gravesend – What’s on?

To find out what’s going on locally take a look at Go Gravesham and check out their full Christmas schedule including Christmas Jumper World Record on the 6th December – can you be there?

Gravesham White Christmas

danson park

We’ve had some pretty bad weather this Christmas holiday sometimes being stuck indoors all day or going out only to go back indoors in a supermarket, shopping centre or house.

So when we had one good day predicted we decided to make the most of it and pulling on our boots and getting the monkey nuts from the cupboard we set off to Danson Park in Bexley.

squirrel danson park

It’s only 15 minutes up the A2 for us but I often forget about it being there so I was very grateful for one of my twin mums putting forward the suggestion for a meet up.

danson park

There’s something about the crisp winter air that puts colour in everyone’s cheeks and the beautiful sunshine did us proud shining constantly in a brilliant blue sky, that alone was enough to put the smiles on our faces.

squirrel feeding

Of course the recent bad weather meant that the squirrels were VERY hungry, I’ve never seen them so bold, coming to our hands to collect the nuts at some points. It also meant the ground was waterlogged and very muddy.

danson park playtime

Danson Park is an enormous green space with a boating lake, restaurant and a fantastic play are for children to play in too.

danson park play area

The fields stretch for miles and in the summer there are water fountains for the children to play in and plenty of areas to eat a picnic. There’s also an annual festival which has even seen the likes of Rowetta … you know Rowetta from the X Factor? No? I can’t remember her either but if Wikipedia says it then it’s good enough for me.

A well worth visit at any time of the year and if you do go, take some bread with you for the hungry ducks and geese on the lake too.

I’m linking up with Country Kids and apologies for the time and date on my photos – new camera and only just sussed out how to take it off! I suppose at least you know I wasn’t lying, we really did go there this week ;)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Little Hermitage

Now all the invites are out and the acceptances back (barring the last few who we are chivvying up “Come on man! It’s not difficult Yes or No.’ why it is so difficult for some people to reply to an invite, I will never know.

Anyway rant over, all the best people have put the thumbs up and will be joining us so now I can talk about WHERE it’s all going to happen.

I went along this morning as there are only SEVEN weeks to go (panic!) and I sat down for over an hour with the lovely Jeana as we went through the entire day and the organising of the event. I think this was the first time I got butterflies thinking about it, up until now it’s seemed so far off it didn’t affect me but this morning….

Little Hermitage wedding venue

Little Hermitage is a Grade II listed Georgian manor house dating back to the 18th century and is fully licensed for weddings and civil ceremonies.

‘Can I ask how you heard about us?’ Jeana asked.

‘Our plumber! He took a Saturday off to come to a wedding here when he was revamping our bathroom and he said it was the best wedding he’d ever been too.’ came my honest reply.

The wedding venue is the most important factor of your day, it’s the one that you will be investing most money in and so it’s important you get it right. The Mister and I had a few places we’d jotted down from our internet searches and Little Hermitage was the first one we visited, it happened by chance on a day my mum was visiting so she tagged along too, curious to see the place.

Little Hermitage - North Kent Wedding venue

As I drew up in the car I got excited and as Jeana showed us around I fell in love with it. I left having booked the day and didn’t even go and see anywhere else, THAT’s how much I loved it.

The gardens are beautifully kept and have a gazebo and stone benches to host an outside ceremony, I won’t be able to decide on this until the day so am praying for a glorious March day, guests be warned to put a cardi in your bag ;) Just In Case.

In fact when we went over the ceremony details with the registry office they told me that you have to have the legal part of the ceremony under a roof, as our ancient law declares, hence the use of the gazebo. Quaint and I love quirky and quaint.

Of course if the Great British weather should decide to tip it down, no problem, you’ll not be ruining our day as the ceremony will be held in the Ivory Room.

Little Hermitage Ivory Room

Little Hermitage has three rooms for people to retire too, a comfortable large lounge, a smaller room overlooking the gardens and the Blue Room which will be turned into a buffet come evening.

Little hermitage rooms

There is also the most fabulous Bridal suite where I shall go to get ready, this too has a balcony overlooking the gardens which I’m sure the girls will love (please let there be sunshine) playing on in their flower girl dresses…

The Mister and I shall also be spending the night here and check out this bathroom!!! and thanks Mum and grandad for taking the girls home that night for us.

little hermitage bridal suite

Jeana and I went through every section of the day and asked each other all the questions we needed to ensure a smooth running of the day. She asked me,

‘What time will you be arriving Marianne?’ (our wedding is at 1.30pm)

‘Don’t know, 12.30pm?’

Jeana very kindly pointed out that I may need a little longer to get ready (I’ve only got to put a dress on!) and although some brides like to be insitu at 7am, (when I hope to still be in bed that day) it might be a wise call to get there at 11.30 and take some snacks for me and the girls.

Mirror bridfal suite little hermitage

Enough wedding news for today, come back for more soon and please spare a quick like to Little Hermitage on Facebook