A mini-break at Rowthorne Lodge, Derbyshire

Just a week ago we headed off on a mini-break to celebrate our wedding anniversary, the end of term, retiring from teaching and the fact that it's summer and with the easing of lockdown we're now allowed to go on holiday. I was as excited as Bridget Jones and the fact that we were the property's first occupants since March felt quite special. We chose to venture just an hour away to Derbyshire to a beautiful one bedroomed lodge in the grounds of Hardwick Hall which is owned by the National trust. It was a beautiful property. Let me show you around...
The clutter free and spotless interior was perfect for unwinding and the 2,500 acre estate gave us plenty of scope for exercise and exploring. For anyone who's not visited before, Hardwick Hall is an Elizabethan country house and was first built by Bess of Hardwick (see a statue of her below), a noblewoman and ambitious builder. The hall was eminently impressive  and it was such a shame that due to Covid we couldn't go inside and get to look out at the estate from the magnificent windows for which it's famous.
However, the gardens near the house were a source of pure joy for me. Such great planting involving gorgeous and unusual plants and artistically thought out colour schemes. These are just a few of the vistas that caught my eye. Boy, have I got so many planting ideas to try in my tiny garden and in our community garden. 
I've had trouble putting this post together as it's been so long since I blogged at length but really these photos are wasted sitting on my phone. Just a few more to go, I promise. 
Can you tell, we had a truly relaxing break. It wasn't perfect as we had quite mixed weather and a power failure on our last day which was time consuming to remedy but we had lots of time to enjoy reading, walking, eating simple but delicious food and a blessing... no wi fi to distract us. Just a few more photos and I think I'll have recorded enough memories of a wonderful four night break.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Take care, my friends xo


Life Changes

So this is where I'm at. I've retired early from teaching. On Friday I left my full-time teaching post after six happy years at a wonderful primary school. I've had various roles there including three years as a full-time class teacher. And, like a lot of other teachers I haven't seen or taught my Year 3 class since March 20th. However, I've been in school every week since then and have seen about a third of my class during lockdown. I've had communication with the rest of my class via email and phone calls but this wasn't how I anticipated ending my teaching career. My decision to leave was made before coronavirus and I handed my notice in during February so I felt under no pressure to change my mind. Teaching nowadays is full-on and exhausting and was not working for me or my family.

It's been a very strange end to my teaching career but a decision I know I won't regret. A simpler life beckons...