So this year, we stumbled across an interesting concept called Alphabet dating, and thought we would give it a try. We saw a post on Tom Fletcher’s Instagram about it and thought “why not!?”
Alphabet dating is pretty simple, the clue is in the name: Every weekend (when we don’t have something planned, like a marathon, a family trip, or a birthday), we take it in turns to come up with something to do on the Saturday that starts with a letter of the alphabet – easy! As we both have a pretty hectic Monday to Friday, coupled with training for races (me) and jet-setting off to shoot wedding videos and films (Tim), it is lovely to know that every weekend we have a day where it’s just the two of us doing things we enjoy, and trying new things!
An important thing to remember, is that you don’t need to go overboard. They don’t need to be overly extravagant, or pricey, just doing things you love!
I’ll try to keep you updated on our adventures from now on, but here is a quick snapshot of what we have done so far…..
A is for…. Adventure walks and Ale! 3rd Jan.
OK, I admit, we kinda copped out on this one. But it was the first one we did, and it was a cold, wet Sunday afternoon. We had just got back from the Isle of Wight the day before, and we were itching to get out of the house. So we went down to Hayling Island and went for a walk! We are really lucky that there are loads of lovely nature walk trails near us, so we just picked one and off we went. (Check out www.wildlifetrusts.org to find one near you) The adventure part came from the jumping through the muddy puddles and along the beach. We then went to a pub for a nice ale. It was great fun, and a good start as far as we were concerned.
B is for…. Bucklers Hard! 9th Jan
This is more like it. So today was Tim’s turn, so we went out to Bucklers Hard in the New Forest. (www.bucklershard.co.uk )Bucklers Hard is a historic hot spot, an 18th-century village where Nelson’s fleet was built with a maritime museum and shipwright’s cottage. With its Georgian cottages running down to the river, Buckler’s Hard is part of the 9,000 acres Beaulieu Estate. The hamlet is located some 2 1⁄2 miles south of the village of Beaulieu. We had a great time wandering through the museum (we even got to see Nelson’s baby booties and a lock of his hair, which was odd), and then went for a walk through the nature reserve. Stopping in at the pub/hotel before we left for a coffee to warm up, it’s definitely somewhere to go back to in the summer. We got an annual membership each for £20 so will definitely be back for a boat trip and a picnic in the summer!
C is for… Castles, Cake, and Cheesy goodies. 16th Jan.
Well, this was a great day out. We live about 3 miles from Porchester Castle, so decided to go down there for the morning. We are fully fledged English Heritage members, (www.english-heritage.org.uk ) so we get to go to all of these sites for free! It was great fun. We tried to do the full audio tour, but got a bit lost once we entered the castle but managed to find out way around pretty easily, working our way from the grand hall up to the roof, and then back down to the cellars. We then went to the Garage Lounge in Southsea (Not a C, but bear with me) for lunch – Cheesy goodies in the form of the most delish eggy cheesy bread (for me) and macaroni cheese (for Tim), a coffee and takeaway cake for later.
D is for Dover! 23rd – 24th Jan.
This was great fun. Tim’s turn again, and we went to Dover for the weekend. Tim has family over there and decided it would be good fun to combine D with a trip to see them too. We took Dolly ( that’s our puppy by the way) for an overnight stay with the family before we headed over to the Dover Marina hotel for the night. (www.dovermarinahotel.co.uk )After a quick blast in the gym, we went for dinner and some drinks at the hotel. Great staff, a lovely meal and good breakfast the following morning. The next day we went up to Dover Castle, which was a lot less castle than we thought. A lot of emphasis was on the tunnels which were used in the War as accommodation, a hospital and a hide out. It was fascinating to hear all the stories and to walk through the hospital. We headed up to the castle which was amazing to see, starting at the very bottom in what would have been the kitchens, right to the roof and back down again (watch the stairs, they’re pretty slippery!). Then it was a drive back to the family for an amazing Sunday meal before we went home.
E is for Exeter! 29 – 31st Jan.
Another weekend away! So we decided to go to Exeter as Tim has friends there who very kindly put us up for the weekend. We arrived Friday evening and went out for beer and burgers at Hubbox – best. Burgers. Ever. (www.hubbox.co.uk )
Saturday morning started with Park run, my sister came up for it too (this is why we love alphabet dating – a great excuse to visit friends and family!) and a couple of Tim’s friends were there also. Then back to get changed and went to lunch in the city, followed by a lovely walk around Exeter for the afternoon. The evening involved a whole host of awesome food, drinks, Rapi-dogh and Cards against humanity! Sunday we were treated to a great breakfast, and then went for a lovely long walk which took us to the very top of Exeter, with some amazing views. In the afternoon, we wet for coffee and cake with friends, before the drive home.
F is for… French food, films and Ferneham hall… In Fareham! 6th Feb.
After going away for two weekends on the trot, we decided to stay home for this one. We found a lovely little French bistro for lunch called Lauros in Fareham, (www.lauros.co.uk ) and had a great meal, only 2 minutes away from our front door. Our afternoon consisted of a movie, neither of us had been to the cinema in years (with good reason, it was almost £30 for the two of us!).
The evening’s entertainment was brilliant. We went to Ferneham hall in Fareham to watch the Havant Chamber Orchestra. I’ve never seen/heard and orchestra live before, and it was absolutely mesmerising. Definitely something we would go back and do again! ( www.fernehamhall.co.uk)
G is for…. Golf, Games and Gin! 20th Feb.
So, we had a little break in between these two. We both had stuff on the last weekend, so decided to wait until the following weekend to make sure it was done properly! We went down to the Portsmouth Golf Centre and hit 100 balls at the driving range – some good, some ok, most badly! After a quick bite to eat, we went and found one of Portsmouth’s hidden gems – the Game Over café. (www.gameover.cafe ) It’s a basement café, which is filled with every single games console you can think of! You pay for a 2 hour slot of £5pp and can play whatever game on which ever console you fancy (as long as they have it obviously).. We had an amazing 2 hours! (And yes, I kicked butt). Our evening out involved Gin, and lots of it! We headed into Southsea to the Gin and Olive for dinner (Via the Beer Vaults and the Leopold, before and after respectively) and woah. They have an incredible selection of 63 Gins to choose from, ranging from £4.95 to £6.95 including a variety of Tonics to complement. Great service, a really lovely experience. The staff were lovely and we really enjoyed it there, again, its somewhere we will definitely go back to. (www.ginandolive.co.uk )
So thats where we are up to right now. Next weekend is H, Tims turn again. Ill make sure I keep you all posted!