Postcard from the Isle of Purbeck

Old Harry Rocks

The Isle of Purbeck is a peninsula (not an island) and lies on the southern tip of Dorset. We headed by train and taxi to Swanage, destination the lovely family-friendly campsite at Kirkwood Park. Swanage town - just a 10 minute walk from the campsite - is full of old-fashioned British seaside charm. It has a small sandy beach with fine views across the bay, great fish and chip shops, a choice of amusement arcades and a magnificent working steam railway. 

Swanage Steam Train and Corfe Castle

Daytimes we rode the chuffing, puffing steam train through an Enid Blyton landscape, climbed up to Corfe Castle and took coastal walks along Studland Bay, marvelling at the glory of Old Harry Rocks. By night we wandered through town following the sound of ringing church bells and sat around a campfire toasting marshmallows under star-filled skies.

 Swanage, Purbeck Peninsula

The Good, the Fab and the Snuggly: Stylish Dress Book 2 - Dress D

Stylish Dress Book 2: D

Design D: Box Dress with Boat Neck from Stylish Dress Book 2 is a contender for my favourite Japanese sewing pattern ever. I like it so much I've made three of these dresses (and counting). It's a simple slightly A-line t-shirt shaped tunic with useful front pockets. The underarm seam is curved and the finished garment is roomy and elegant. When I first saw a picture of it on the book's front cover I wanted to squeal with delight. It's rather Cos but you won't have to wait for one of their sales to afford it (or until next May if you've stopped buying clothes).

Box dess D in red Java print cotton

The dress takes a couple of hours to make and here it is in three different fabrics. The red one (above) a 'Super Java Print' Hollandis heavy cotton. I hung onto this material after parting with this ukulele tote bag and had enough for a tunic. The bold geometric yellow/blue print (below) is a wax print fine cotton from Worthing's Wednesday market. It's printed slightly off-register and so was reduced to £2 a metre. Intended as a beach cover-up, the finished frock is so spectacular I'll wear it everywhere.

Stylish Dress Book 2 : Box Dress

The final blue longer-sleeved fleece version I made to wear when camping. I lengthened the sleeves and cut the neckline higher to keep me warm on a cool summer's evening. It's soft and snuggly and reminds me of a Cornish fisherman's smock.

Customised version of D, Stylish Dress Book 2

The People's Park: not just swings and roundabouts

Swirly tarmac at Homefield Park

In 1881 Homefield Park 'The People's Park' opened as the first municipal park in Worthing. There are other great parks in the town; Marine Gardens with its retro cafe and wall of gigantic hydrangeas, Victoria Park with its adventure playground, and beautiful Beach House Gardens which until recently boasted stunning colourful flower beds (inexplicably dug out last month and replaced by floral displays in ugly green crates) as well as a unique pigeon war memorial. However “Homefield Park is the best!” says my daughter, and she's not wrong.
     Homefield has a large central open space edged by majestic mature trees and lush hedged borders. It's got little hills (perfect for sledging down in the snow), a cycle track running round the circumference of the park (where she learnt to ride a bike), a skate park, tennis courts and a Parklife Cafe kiosk serving perfect coffee. Until recently the playground was the only thing that let the park down, though my daughter never complained as there's always someone there to play with. 

Jump for joy!

Then on 27th June a sign went up with a futuristic artist's impression of an idealised play area. We curiously watched the workmen's progress on a daily basis and marvelled at how one man armed with a flat piece of board laid the new brightly coloured safety flooring by hand in very hot weather. Four weeks later another sign appeared announcing the playground would be ready sooner than expected and was due to open imminently. A miracle, and in time for the school summer holidays!

Homefield Park playground *all new*

The playground has been busy every day since – in all weathers – and I can report that it is brilliant. It's got a zip wire, a trampoline, a spinning astronaut's chair, new climbing frame, rope swings, a musical area with percussion posts, and the good old climbing frames, swings and roundabout have been given a fresh coat of paint. We are thrilled to bits and it's made a great park even better. Well done Adur & Worthing Council, it's a success!

Homefield Planets