my little shopping spree in the streets of Southbourne
We have been visiting Southbourne, which is about 15 minutes along the coast from Bournemouth, for my whole life. We have seen the High Street go from being full of "old lady" shops interspersed with charity shops and stores that would make up the Happy Family collection.
There's a butchers with red stripey window drapes, a bakery, with the best poppy seed french plaits you could ever eat and a variety of wonderful knick knack shops and little hardware stores crammed so full that the buggy bashes into everything. But I love them, they are like an Aladdin's cave of goodies and you come out having spent less than a tenner and got things you couldn't find anywhere else.
One of my favourite childhood memories is going crabbing at Mudeford. As my boys are still quite little, I am not sure that even the big boy would have the patience to wait on the side of the pontoon, I popped into this incredible haberdashery, aptly named The Treasure House and got some fab bits to make mini crabs at home! I will post some pictures of them later! Amazing what you can do with a magnet, pompoms and a crabbing bucket!
I then stopped in at my other favourite Sugar Mango which sells beautiful gifts, cards and handmade jewellery. I got a fab little extra present for friends who are getting married this summer. A miniature grow your own cress garden which has the backdrop of a village church!
But hands down the best bit of my shopping spree was a potter around Coastal Creatives. They sell the best selection of nautical inspired paintings, furniture and gifts, I have ever laid eyes on. I defy anyone not to come out without a bag full of goodies saying "oh I just spent far too much in there, but I couldn't resist!" They have handmade, drift wood pieces, children's clothes and last year my cousin bought her son the handmade drift wood beach hut wardrobe! We are very jealous! I had a lovely chat with the owner and told her to get on Twitter so I can spread the word!
I bought big boy a seaside garland of beach huts and seagulls for his bedroom, a leather purse, perfect for storing my camera cards and a selection of cards I just wouldn't have found anywhere else.
I also picked up a bed guard for £5 and a musical train for small boy from the charity shop a few doors down!
We finished our little spree having lunch at The Ludo Lounge. I am not a huge fan of eating out with children, especially young children, as I seem to end up covered in food and spend the whole time worrying about whether they are being too loud. Big boy announced proudly to the restaurant that he had done a poo in the toilet, but I needn't have worried as everyone just smiled and carried on eating! It has a great menu for kids and adults alike. Proper sausages for the children not the really cheap kind you often get at play centres that look like they have been microwaved to within an inch of their lives!
They have a selection of games for kids to play (adults too) including Jenga, Connect 4 and masses of colouring pads and pencils.
It is the first meal out where I have really relaxed because we were in a grown up restaurant (one where there actually isn't more food under the table than on it) but that caters well for families. They have a number of restaurants in the South and South West so I would definitely recommend a visit if you are looking for a family friendly place that does posh grown up food too. Find them here.