April, my favourite and most anticipated month all year! Yes, the spring flowers are blooming, lambs are bleeting and the sun starts to shine a little bit longer and warmer, but most importantly, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!! I’m an Aries, so naturally, the whole month has to be about ME! (I’m only a little bit joking about this too…!!) Now we’re into May, I feel as though April was a rollercoaster of events, winding us through some crazy emotions and some of the toughest challenges I’ve ever faced. Yet, it’s left me with a warm glowy feeling that all will be well, you can conquer your fears, and that patience really does pay off in the long run!
The start of the month was a frustrating one. There was an angry and disappointed post sat in my drafts about how we were supposed to have exchanged on 6 April as planned, but at first our mortgage didn’t come through, then our solicitors didn’t quite get their act together, then the other solicitors couldn’t get hold of the seller. A long list of darn annoying hurdles that we couldn’t do anything about and still prevented us from moving in, despite having waited 9 months since our offer was accepted!
Still, though we’d planned our weekends around being free to shift boxes and sort items into their new homes, the unexpected free time meant we could do some last minute fun days out, such as taking Adam’s little brother Dan and his friend Sam on a bike ride up to the National Trust house nearby, Saltram. A sunny April afternoon involving cycling, headstands on the grass, icecream and cake! We also topped it off with the first BBQ of the year and possibly my best food invention to date – toasted marshmallows stuffed with a Galaxy Golden Egg. Heaven.
The BEST day of the year!!
It didn’t take me long to bring up the fact it was my BIRTHDAY on the 11th April!! After disappointment of nearly but not quite exchanging (and being able to move in, it’s a long story) on the 10th, and believing we’d be waking up on the 11th in our new bedroom, I actually was really treated. A party tea the night before with Adam’s family, a mortgage meeting in the morning (LOL!), and then a delicious brilliant afternoon tea at Choccachino on the Barbican in Plymouth which was insane. Finger sandwiches, plain AND chocolate chip scones, then a kebab of strawberry, brownie, lemon nougat, salted caramel profiterole and homemade cherry marshmallow, with melted milk and white chocolate to dip into. They also very cutely wrote out a little chocolate birthday coin for me!
Stuffed and satisfied, we strolled along by the sea before heading home to my parents for a party with a mix of my friends from all walks of life! I used to hate mixing friends, so the idea of having school friends, college friends and uni friends was bizarre, but we had a fun evening eating my favourite crispy duck pancakes and (of course) multiple puddings (tiramisu, chocolate mousse, ice cream, raspberries and Tunisian orange cake). However, it all went by in a manic blur as I was also preparing for work over the next two days near Newcastle.
April Adventures up North
The day after I turned 25, I met my colleague Jon at 5.45am in Taunton and we set off for the long journey up north to do an install of some reedbeds.
Now, I’m a south west girl, and realistically anywhere above Bristol is considered “The North” but this was really pushing it. As it turns out, to get to the real north (as in, we went past the angel of the north, much to my excitement!) it takes over 6.5 hours non stop driving! We did the install on site which went smoothly, stayed in a nice AirBnb (for less than the cost of just one hotel room) and celebrated Adam and I finalllly exchanging 6 days later than planned with a 3 course slap up meal! The journey back the next day took even longer because of traffic, and then I headed down to move into our new house!
That first night felt so strange, as we sat in the living room eating Chinese at 10pm, feeling like we were trespassing in someone elses house! After over 17 hours driving, and 1000 miles over 48 hours, it was certainly a relief to have Easter Bank Holiday that weekend!
If you saw this post, or in fact ANY of my social media posts over the last few weeks, you’ll know we’ve finally moved in! I hear ya, shut up about the damn house already Alice…
Well, after 9 months, I’m excited to be a homeowner, so sorry it will continue just a little bit longer!
In the first weekend, we had 28 visitors come and see our new abode, followed by about 30 the weekend after too for a celebratory BBQ! With the incredible help of my family, we brought in everything from the barn over one morning, took a huge amount of items out of boxes and found homes for them, and hooray, fixed the boiler! We celebrated our first meal at the local pub, which turned out to be incredible! (I had forgotten to photograph my tandoori chicken wrap before I tucked into it, so above is my brothers delicious avocado and halloumi burger!)
There is still so much to do and accomplish, but I’m loving pottering around getting bits and bobs done so that once everything is initially straight, we can then decide which rooms to tackle first and slowly go around each one at a time in a chain of DIY fun!
Torquay Gin Festival
Just after we moved in we were invited to attend the Torquay Gin Festival, and we both loved it so much I wrote a post on it here!
Exploring our new area
There are some seriously beautiful houses around us, that during the summer often have open gardens. We tentatively followed the signs to Ince Castle one weekend in April and were amazed by everything we could see before us! A beautiful house, surrounded by multiple beautiful gardens and wonderful extra features like the shell house, and a swimming pool. It’s a private home, but I’m so glad we have the opportunity to wonder around it. They’re also lucky enough to be located on a peninsula out in the sticks down a drive lined with daffodils that’s miles and miles long!
One of the hardest physical challenges I’ve ever done was accomplished in April! The Ocean City Half Marathon was held on 23 April and the sun shone down from early in the morning! I was exhausted, and very achy, as well as having significant blisters under my big toenails (I know…ewww gross) but I bloody well did it! Never did I think I would be able to run 13.1 miles, and IO honestly don;t know how people manage to do a full marathon, half was bad enough! However, celebrating all afternoon alongside my best people with prosecco, BBQ and cake certainly made up for it! I also smashed my fundraising target for Macmillan, and, after seeing that my race number was 118, decided it would be a great idea to run the whole thing wearing stripy socks, wristbands and a painted on moustache…
Trying out a new recipe box
Adam and I were lucky enough to try out Gousto during April which was a) perfect timing as we have been so busy each weekend, there’s not been a lot of time for food shopping and b) delicious! I think the crab curry was the best curry I’ve ever made!
Whenever we’ve tried recipe boxes in the past, my initial thoughts are always dubious that there will be enough food (perhaps we are just greedy), but I loved the selection Gousto had to choose from (way more choice than other recipe boxes) and their ingredients were really fresh. It did slightly bug me that there was so much plastic packaging (wrapped sweet potatoes…no no no!) but the recipes turned out to be amazing! I had chosen a crab curry, which was really quick and simple to make, and I’ll definitely be repeating soon, and a Moroccan lamb shepherd’s pie which was also really fast to make, and a flavoursome and interesting take on a traditional dish!
I love the lack of waste you get with a recipe box, and trying out new ingredients and recipes, so if you’ve got a flexible budget they’re definitely worth investing in! Plus, if you wanted to give it a go, with no obligation, you can use the code TORNADO to get £20 off both your 1st and second box, making them just £7.49 each. For a weekends main meals, that’s a bargain!
So there you have it, within the space of a fortnight in April I’d turned 25, driven 1000 miles, bought a house and run a half marathon! Phewww…is anyone else exhausted?! What lovely things did you all get up to in April, let me know your highlights in the comments below!
***Some items in this post were sent to me for review, but all opinions are my own!***