Thursday, 25 April 2013

A winning weekend in Winchester

The strangest thing; winning that radio competition. I found out Friday Simon and I would be off to Winchester the very next day, and only a day before, I'd been on air telling my story to the whole of the south. But it was the evening before that, when quite out of the blue relatives had rung to say: "We're coming to have the kids for you on Saturday; you never get a break." Imagine my delight, when not only did I win the prize, but the sitter was already booked! And I never enter competitions... So yes, it was the strangest thing. The planets had aligned. 

Saturday morning the grandparents arrived early, and we left early. Winchester via Sat Nav is a novel travel experience. Back roads twist and tangle, passing thatched cottages and farmland in turn. The Hampshire countryside is at its best in the early morning sunshine and one gets a sense of Austen's territory. It is just beautiful.

I tried not to let my Sat Nav prejudice ruin our run and resulted in following Simon in following his toy. (I did wonder where the hell it was taking us though and if I would be sat in the hairdresser hot seat on time?). Half an hour on, about to sit in said hot seat, I swallowed my pride, agreeing yes it was not only the prettiest way - but also (grrrr) apparently, the fastest too. 

MENTAL NOTE: Is it just us, or does Sat Nav cause other couples such grief? 




Swish new hair cut later, Simon and I grabbed a much needed coffee. After a quick gossip, we revelled in the peace and quiet that we miss so much due to our hyper kiddies. We enjoyed silence, staring out the window on to Winchester High St, before the next part of the prize - a makeover with Boots No7. 

Makeovers aren't my thing really. And I suppose that's because I'm a fan of the more natural look... isn't every mother - who has the time for more than mascara and lippie? But I was already thinking, I can always buy make-up remover if I don't like it - for in my head, I would be wearing a new fashionable look of caricature not couture. Although, in the end, I have to say I rather liked what the lovely lady did.

Afterwards, Simon and I sat on the green in front of the cathedral. It was a stunning day and we took in the rays over a read. Again, a weekend paper is my idea of heaven, but with the kids being so little, and so demanding, it never happens. 

Before we knew it, it was time for lunch. The Kyoto Kitchen scored big for both of us. It was a fantastic setting and the food was incredible. I love Japanese. It is my favourite food, so for me, this was definitely the highlight of the prize so far. Delicious!

After lunch it was time to pick up a handbag, courtesy of Jess at LK Bennett. As she gave it to me, she commented, 'Funny thing is, this bag, is called the Emma bag.' Emma needed to sit down. She had seen the £400 price tag.

£400. 

'It's not about the price tag' though is it Jessie?! 

Some r&r was then to be followed by the finale of Winchester Fashion Week, and the reason I had won the prize in the first place. (An email telling a fashion faux pas tale of mine). To read that tale, visit here. Or, let me fill you in by saying it was a fashion faux pas with a moral. Obviously they (at the radio station) liked that. 

But before we could get to the fashion show, we suffered double wardrobe malfunctions. OH THE IRONY! 1). Simon had been told to wear a tux as it was black tie. He had felt uneasy about this request and had popped in to the venue to check. My astute O.H. For it was in fact the opposite - very relaxed and informal - so very media. Easily taken care of; he bought a shirt. The tux jacket and trousers over it looked somewhat quirky. Just how I like it. 

Then it was time for me to dress. Not in the monochrome dress I'd fished out of the ironing basket to go with the tux, but something far more casual. Thank goodness I'd put it out as an option. At least I thought I'd put it out as an option... 2). Nope, it was still hanging on the bedroom door at home. Back to the high-street! 

What the goody bag lacked, the bubbles made up for, and the show was fab. Although we blew off the second half in favour of drinks and then dinner, courtesy of No 5. A gorgeous bistro. (So good, the next morning, we went back for eggs benedict).

So there you have it... Our Winchester weekend. What a wonderful experience and some great (and much needed) time out. Come the afternoon we were in the car, heading over to our girls. And the best thing about the break was that I hadn't realised I had missed them both until they were back in my arms. 

FOOTNOTE: The Sat Nav scenario for us has much improved since Simon ditched the old set for an up to date mobile device!