Whiteley Gets a Brand New Shopping Centre

If you’re not from round these parts (said in true Hampshire Hog accent), then you probably wouldn’t have heard of Whiteley.  It’s a little place just off junction 9 of the M27, between Southampton and Portsmouth, that consists of a housing development, a leisure centre, a business park, and a brand new shopping centre.

I was invited to check it out a couple of days before it officially opened to the public.  Go and look round a shopping centre, without hoards of other people, AND get lunch thrown in for good measure? Don’t mind if I do, thanks.  

whiteley shopping centre

I’d never been to Whiteley before, but the first Good Thing I discovered is that the shopping centre is really easy to find.  Even for someone like me, who gets somewhat panicky about directions.  

Honestly! Getting lost in Farnborough whilst trying to pick up Roo’s birthday present put me right on edge.  I had to stop in at Mummy Barrow’s house for a cuppa and a natter to get me back on track.  But anyway, I digress. … 

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Let’s Go Fly A Kite

So here’s a nice thing to do on a Sunday.

Today we celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday by being outdoorsy.  We drove to St Catherine’s Hill in Winchester, climbed up to the top, and flew a kite.


Incidentally, we picked this kite up from Aldi a few weeks ago.  Best random find ever! We bought two – this one and a stunt kite.



It was good and windy at the top of the hill. Both the kids had fun running around, and in Elliot’s case, jumping in cow pats.  Charming boy.  I think, however, Ross and I were more enamoured with our kite than the kids were.





There is a labyrinth at the top of the hill as well, which the kids enjoyed.


After we’d had enough of flying kites and gazing down at the M3, we walked down the hill, along part of the Itchen Navigation path, back to the car and to a pub in Twyford for lunch.

Lovely Sunday was lovely.  Back to school for my girl tomorrow. Hello, 6:30am starts, how I have missed you*

*this may not be true.


Night Time Adventures in the New Forest

Some of our friends were camping in the New Forest at the weekend, and invited us along for laughs and chatter around a fire on Saturday night.  We decided this would be an amazing adventure for the children, so, after dinner, we bundled them into the car, made a quick pitstop for marshmallows and beer and headed off to the woods.

Even though it was well past their usual bedtimes when we arrived, it was still light and the children were both raring to go.  The campfire was lit, and lots of attention was lavished upon them, giving Ross and I a chance to chat and relax a little.


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A Jolly Ramble at Farley Mount

Today we drove out to Winchester for a yomp with our friend Chix, and the kids, at Farley Mount.  I had never been before and Ross kept harping on about a horse that fell into a chalk pit, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  But it turns out Farley Mount is a GREAT place to take adventurous children.

Farley Mount Hampshire… 

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Rockpooling at Lepe

This afternoon Ross and I bundled our brood into the car and drove out to Lepe to get a bit of sea air in their little lungs.

We met up with a friend and his son, played with our kids at the playground, and scrambled about on the shingle.

The tide was right out, and despite our vastly inappropriate footwear, Roo and I navigated the little rockpools and skirted around the slippery sea weed to hunt for crabs and pretty shells.

We found both.  … 

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Chesapeake Mill

Since we moved down to the South Coast, I’ve developed a new hobby: nosing around second hand furniture shops and sourcing thrifty bargains for my home.  It started off when we needed to find some furniture for Elliot’s bedroom. We were so woefully unprepared for his arrival that we hadn’t bought anything to keep his clothes in.  All his babygros and vests were kept in bags until we bought a second hand pine chest of drawers from one of the house clearance shops nearby.

I’ve trawled through Gumtree looking for bargains, and have picked up a coffee table, a TV cabinet, a butcher’s trolley, a dresser, a futon (which we sold for more than we originally paid) and a beautiful pine bookcase.

Everything we’ve bought has been decent quality; always real wood, no hardboard tat that only lasts a couple of years, nothing that comes flat packed and is constructed with allen keys.  Nothing from that well known Swedish shop, famous for it’s artery clogging, yet delicious meatballs.  Most of it is pine, and some of that I fully intend to sand down and paint to give it a shabby chic look.

I can’t think of much that we have paid full price for, and nothing is particularly matching, but that, I think, is part of my house’s charm.

Anyway, this is not entirely a post about my mismatched house, but about a wondrous place in a little village just up the motorway between Southampton and Portsmouth.  A junk shop to end all junk shops.  Somewhere you can while away many a happy afternoon in antique heaven.

Chesapeake Mill, in Wickham.  It’s absolutely brilliant and possibly my new favourite place.  It is essentially a giant market, all under one roof, with a number of different rooms.  In each room there are different sellers, some of it vintage, some of it new.  Quite a lot of the furniture is sold as is, some of it has been restored or painted.  Some of it is worth a lot of money; you can often find Victorian chests or wardrobes, for instance, which can be quite pricey.  But on the flip side there are hundreds of little nooks and crannies filled with trinkets, vintage jewellery, fabrics, cutlery, crockery.  You can pick up a decent set of silverware for under £15!

And that is just scratching the surface.  This post would go on for-ev-er if I tried to list all the stuff in there.

On Thursday I had a day out in Wickham with my mate Kez, who also has a bit of a penchant for nosing around Chesapeake Mill – indeed, it was Kez who first told me about it.  We had a really good nosh up at Lillys tea shop, before heading on down the road to Chesapeake Mill.  Kez bought a really beautiful art deco mirror, and then we saw the dressing table in that there photo.

I have learnt that the thing about places like Chesapeake Mill is that things don’t stay for long.  If you see it and you want it, and you can afford it, you have to buy it there and then because otherwise, some other canny soul will snaffle it up fast.  I have been on the hunt for a dressing table for yonks, and then this just happened to be sitting there.

SOLD to the lady with the purple hair!  And for under £100.  My most favourite bargain to date.  It now resides in my bedroom, and those tiny drawers at the top are just the most perfect size for my nail varnishes.

I missed out on a wooden coat hook and shelf combo, painted and distressed, that would have looked great in my dining room, but nevermind, there will be others, I am confident of that.

Although it’s not really a place for very small children (all breakages must be paid for, and navigating a buggy is no mean feat) Ruby quite enjoys looking round Chesapeake Mill.  She finds all the little trinkets interesting to look at, and has had fun pretending to use the rotary dial telephones.  I really hope she develops a thrifty streak.

So, if you ever find yourself in Hampshire, it’s definitely worth making the trip to Wickham, Chesapeake Mill really is an interesting and inspiring place to visit.

Note: this is not any kind of sponsored post, I just really love Chesapeake Mill.