Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Chanda's Visit

A little while ago Dorina emailed to let us know that Chanda would be in the UK for a summer school session with the Royal Ballet School and were we near London.  The big city is not on our doorstep but is still a fairly respectable train journey away and so a plan was hatched that our VIP guest would arrive on the 2nd August and leave on the 4th.

In between cutting out Sara's dress pattern I organised myself in the kitchen and cooked ahead for the weekend, our menu plan was as follows:

Saturday Lunch ~ butternut squash and nut butter soup with multigrain rolls, followed by a grain free orange and chocolate cake.  Both the soup and the cake were yummy!

Saturday Tea ~ chorizo and loaded veg pasta sauce served with tagliatelle, followed by a family favourite, bananas and custard.

Sunday Breakfast ~ overnight oatmeal cooked in the slow cooker and served with cream and sugar, followed by toast and home made red currant jam from this year's crop of redcurrants.  I double checked that Chanda did in fact actually like oatmeal as I remember reading not so long ago, that she was reluctant to finish her oatmeal breakfast :-)

Sunday Lunch ~ was courtesy of a long standing veggie restaurant in town, The Whale Tail.

Sunday Tea ~ lemon and cream chicken cooked in the slow cooker, carrot and swede mashed, roast potatoes and cauliflower and broccoli.  For dessert we had a lovely baked cheesecake topped with syrupy strawberries courtesy of the River Cottage Every Day cookbook.

Monday breakfast ~ crumpets (known as english muffins in the states) topped with cheese infused scrambled egg and roasted tomatoes.

Chanda's train was later that morning so I packed a lunch for her to have on the train.  She also had two travelling companions as Tom and Sara were travelling to Cambridge for an interview for Tom with the National Trust in Royston.

Weatherwise the weekend was a washout (!) with heavy downpours but our spirits were not dampened and everyone had a happy time together:

The soup was declared a success as was the cake and after we had finished eating we opened our presents from Dorina, Greg and co, which were much appreciated

 Chocolate Bar Tea!

Saturday activities included Pip and Chanda playing with the dolls house, marble run and Jenga bricks and dancing like flower fairies.  After tea whilst Pip was having her bath and settling for bed, Chanda, Dave, Sara and Benedict played the Lego Hobbit game.

 "Steady now...

"... uh-oh!"

Best foot forward.

On Sunday after breakfast they watched the Morecambe and Wise film the Intelligence Men.  It has some swan lake references in the film which Chanda thought was hilarious, so we sent her home with a copy to share with her family.  I have linked to Eric Morecambe before on the blog, so they are in for quite a few laughs!!  By mid morning they were ready for their sojourn to the Maritime Museum and lunch in town, unfortunately getting soaked within minutes of leaving the museum.

 Dress up fun.

Sunday afternoon was devoted to playing Monopoly Junior and friendship bracelet making, watching the Wallace and Gromit film "The Wrong Trousers" and when the weather broke a play in the garden for a short while after tea.

  Later that evening I finally had  chance to sit down and have a chat with Chanda, I knitted and she worked on her friendship band.  It was lovely to learn more about her neighbourhood and her family.


Despite leaving just after eleven on Monday morning, we still managed to pack in quite a fun morning of garden play and indoor play, but all too soon it was time to load up the car and head to the station :-(  

Our final treat was a coffee take out from Costa which we almost managed to finish just before the train pulled in to the station.  Sadly it was standing room only as the service was busier than usual due to the close of the Commonwealth Games the night before.  I was glad Chanda had Sara and Tom travelling with her, somehow when you are with others it makes awkward and challenging situations more bareable. 


A few tears were shed by this little one ~ best buddies don't you think?!

Dear Chanda, thank you for visiting and being a kind friend to both Benedict and Pip.  Thanks also to Dorina and Greg for trusting us with your precious daughter, she really is a super star! xoxo


  1. So happy to see it all worked out! You did a wonderful job with all the cooking and preparations! It looks all so inviting and done with love. I am sure Chanda will never forget this visit. Now I have to send you my children . . . Who should I send first? :)

    1. Love your last comment! I am always hopeful that we will get to meet one day. One thing I forgot to mention was that Chanda skyped her mum Saturday afternoon and then I got to chat :-) Dorina was in a coffee shop and I was in the front room with my cup of tea! So funny.

      I must admit the kids were on their best behaviour :-) and deserved their treat which was the Lego Movie DVD and a small bag of chocolate to share.

      We had a lovely weekend and I think Benedict is hoping that I can continue to provide hotel standard fayre on a continual basis!!! So I guess he would welcome some extra visitors to ensure that this is the case! However the chef in residence is currently takng a well earned break!


  2. Hello San, this is so sweet. What a lovely post. It feels so funny to see Chanda with all of you. Pip is such a doll. They look very happy together. And Chanda did have a fun time traveling with Sara and Tom. How well that worked out! Thank you for making her a picnic lunch :)

    I am very impressed with your meal planning. Sadly, I've been unmotivated this past year. I do manage to get a meal together, but it's always last minute and we end up eating very late. I like having it laid out ahead of time. I need to make more of an effort and write meals out on a two week calendar; similar to laying out lessons (which is also difficult for me). The River Cottage Cookbook looks very good (you can peruse the pages on Amazon) and I see it's in the library in Southampton. I think I'll check it out this Saturday when we go back to my parents' house. And I see that the BBC website is also really nice with an easy to read layout. So many recipes! And I have a ton of cookbooks on my kitchen shelves. Maybe it's TOO many choices for me these days . . One or two recipe sources is enough otherwise one doesn't know where to start. I can pick two sources for every two weeks . . there I go :)

    Chanda raved about how wonderful it was staying with you. She felt so at home with everyone. Thank you for making her welcome. I hope one day I can see you here on my doorstep :)

    Love and a big hug . . (P.S. Keep us posted on that beautiful wedding dress!)

    1. Yes I am hoping one day too that I can visit you and Eva :-)

  3. How wonderful to welcome a guest into your house that you have met online. I have no doubt that she had a wonderful time with you all :) hope you enjoy the rest of your summer :)

    1. Yes it was lovely to welcome Chanda into our home :-)

  4. Lovely post. It felt like being there with you.



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