A friend and I had decided to take Molly on an adventure over the bank holiday weekend. We were going camping, and although I was excited, I was slightly nervous at the idea of the 3 of us sleeping in a two-man tent (especially as one of us is incredibly wriggly). We found a lovely little camp site in Bodiam, East Sussex, which accommodates a children’s play area and also has access to a lovely river which we could see ourselves playing in, like a scene fresh out of ‘The Darling Buds of May’ (I’m Catherine Zeta Jones, obviously). We would spend the day walking around Bodiam Castle, before searching for fairies in the nearby woodland, and collecting blackberries for our homemade crumble the next day. We would finally spend the evening relaxing next to the fire, whilst cooking our freshly caught fish from the river.
We soon found out that the first rule of camping, is that no one talks about camping. Literally. It turned out that 3 of our friends were also going on their own separate camping adventures, that same weekend. And when it got to the day of our expedition, miscommunication meant that ‘our’ campsite was actually full. Which is probably just as well, because the only thing I would have caught in that river is Weil’s Disease.
Instead, my little Molly Beau and I had a date night and went to her favourite restaurant (where all the waitresses know her name, and her favourite food on the menu). She had a brief meltdown because I had eaten one of her discarded pizza crusts, and at one point she insisted on taking her top off, but apart from the public displays of manic rage and temporary semi-nakedness, we had a lovely Friday evening.
Our alternative adventure plan was to visit Scotney Castle on Saturday for a picnic. This National Trust property was a fantastic way to spend the day. We got to use my fabulous picnic backpack (yes, I am still banging on about it), discovered secret gardens, got ambushed by ducks, and pottered amongst the vegetable patches, discovering all of the seasonal crops. Instead of facing the potentially laborious task of convincing a 3-year-old that it was ‘normal’ to fall asleep in a room made of Polyester, we snuggled on the sofa and watched the new adaptation of The Jungle Book. Perfect.
Molly was then picked up by her father for a last minute Sunday expedition, which was just as well, seeing as my original plan for the day had involved Blackberries. I ended up meeting some friends in London, which involved a visit to a rooftop beach and a roller disco at my favourite event, Glitterbox.
After a quick stop for some jerk chicken at Notting Hill Carnival on the Monday, we spent the afternoon walking through Kensington Gardens. We wondered passed the Diana Memorial Playground (which looked fabulous, inspired by Peter Pan books with a giant wooden pirate ship to play on) and Kensington Palace. We walked passed the Serpentine Galleries, and followed the Serpentine Lake through Hyde Park, where people were enjoying the sunshine on the deck chairs amongst the majestic trees, or floating in paddle boats on the lake. It really was the perfect day.
This weekend I had the perfect mix of history, culture, music, food (maybe a little drink too), and fun. I cannot wait to return to the parks in London with Molly, so we can spend the day spotting the wildlife, kicking the leaves (now that Autumn is coming) and watching the clouds. The best part? It’s FREE! Regardless of whether you are going on a date, spending the day with friends and/or family, or just looking for something to do by yourself, I would definitely recommend a walk through the Royal Parks, a day that won’t be forgotten.