Beautiful Barton-On-Sea and The New Forest – now with MORE PONIES!

Barton-On-Sea is a very special place. When we can no longer stand the incessant hum of city life, this is our escape. A couple of hours in the car driving South takes you to a magical land where animals roam free. Sparkling waters, crumbling orange coastline, and The New Forest nearby…Cows, pigs, ponies, donkeys…all just knocking around your neighbourhood as tame as a house cat.
We recently escaped to the sea for a few days of peace and sunshine. It was as rad as it always is. Enjoy the photos! x

photo (6)

P1010958

P1010943

P1010936

P1010911

P1010839

P1010903

P1010928

P1010935

P1010944

P1010959

P1010963

P1010962

P1010917

P1010835

P1010971

P1010980

P1010981

P1010993

P1011019

P1011030

P1010991

P1011045

P1011049

P1011053

P1011056

P1011057

P1011061

P1011071

P1011081

P1011101

P1011123

P1011131

P1011156

P1011150

Advertisements

You can never have too many ponies…

I remember the exact moment I realized that the magical sparkly world I lived in might be a big horrible lie. I was 6 years old and I had been seeing this commercial for weeks in between my much-cherished Saturday morning cartoons:

Omg. They fly. They are ponies that fly. Flutter Ponies. Holy shit. NEED.

I decided that I had to have a flutter pony more than anything in the world and eventually I wore my mother down and was soon standing in the “Barbie aisle” of Target (as I always called it).
AKA the “PINK aisle” (American girls you know what I’m talking about).

Anyway, there I am. A shiny naive six-year-old Jamie Susan. I’m rocking the SIDE PONYTAIL and I’ve got my SLIP-ON KEDS and I’m taking FOREVER carefully selecting my magical flutter pony.
Probably the most important decision of my life at this point.

tumblr_mlextxydeV1rbb8pdo1_500

How do you choose a new best friend!?

1193

I picked the pale yellow one with pink hair. I don’t recall her name. But I couldn’t get out of Target fast enough to free her from her packaging and watch my new friend fly across the parking lot.

I literally threw her into the air. I watched with all of the hope in the universe. My pony was gonna flutter around my head like a butterfly and my life would be complete.

Instead, gravity ripped her from the air and she landed near my mom’s car with a loud plastic THUD.

I remember my mother gazing down at me with amazement on her face.

“Why did you do that??”

I looked at her incredulously. WHAT A STUPID QUESTION!

I can honestly still recall the sensation of my tiny angry face hurting from pinching it up in disdain and shock at my flutter pony’s poor performance.

“Moooooooooooom!!! She’s broken!!!” I bellowed.

“Oh Jamie.” She sighed. She picked up my poor flutter pony and handed it back to me.

The car ride home involved a long conversation about what you see on TV vs. reality.

This conversation was necessary I suppose, but it stabbed me in the heart as I clutched my stupid pony. I simply refused to believe that the Saturday Morning cartoon advertising THAT I TRUSTED AND APPRECIATED would lie to me this way. Don’t they know how awful it is to lie about whether or not a pony can fly?

LIFE LESSONS.

So, let’s speed up 24 years into the future of my life. I still love ponies. I love magic. I love fantasy. I am however, completely lacking of the beautiful naiveté I clutched onto as a child.

Aren’t we all…

Photography lets me tap into that little girl that believed all those glittery falacies and sometimes I get the opportunity to capture images that directly source those pure innocent feelings. It’s a gift I receive on a regular basis.

On a hike through New Forest, a few months back when the weather was still bitter and the Spring flowers were desperately trying to push through, I encountered ponies.
Velvety, soft and magnificent ponies. Gentle and wild all at the same time.
It was extraordinary and it made me feel very pleased to be alive and grateful for EVERYTHING good in the world.

I also found some super fluffy sheep and some delightful foresty bits.

Enjoy!

P3101891

P3101887

P3101882

P3101878

P3101870

P3101863

P3101845

P3101842

P3101832

P3101827

P3101824

P3101822

P3101820

P3101815

P3101809

P3101803

P3101801

P3101793

P3101789

P3101787

P3101777

P3101773

P3101766

Towards the middle of the day, after hiking for a couple of wintry hours, we stopped in Burley for lunch and I saw this in a shop window…

P3101868

This immediately reached in and dredged the whole bittersweet flutter pony childhood tale from my memory banks.

And then on the last leg of the hike, I climbed over mounds of prickly bushes and through deep pockets of mud just to say hello without trying to “capture the moment”…

My husband pulled out his iPhone just at the right time and snapped this sweet little blurry shot of me COMPLETELY in my element.

885618_10152591070710018_461386062_o

Life is beautiful folks.
Even in a world where plastic ponies don’t actually fly. xx

The worst zoo I’ve ever been to, the most spectacular landscape in England, and parking lot ponies…

I have a love/hate relationship with zoos.
As an animal lover (and I use this lightly as I’m probably more of a fanatic than a lover) I appreciate the opportunity to see animals. Anytime, anywhere…I’m game.
Hahaha. See what I did there???

Oy vey.

Anywayyyyy…I’ve only been to one animal park where I didn’t feel like the animals were sad and bored and miserable. See here: https://nashvillegirlinlondon.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/the-lake-district-and-lemurs/ And here: https://nashvillegirlinlondon.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/parental-invasion/

P7154053

Recently this Safari park made the news because this happened: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/may/24/tiger-mauls-zoo-worker-cumbria

This made me very sad because I love this place dearly. It doesn’t feel like a zoo and they are so incredibly dedicated to animal conservation. But they are wild animals…so I suppose these things happen.

All of that being said, when researching fun things we could hit up on the drive back to London, I saw that there was a “world famous” zoo in Dartmoor as featured in the film “We Bought a Zoo”
http://www.dartmoorzoo.org/

I remembered that Jonsi did the soundtrack for this film and I though I haven’t actually seen the film, the website for the real-life zoo made it sound like a wonderland of zoological proportions. It also bragged about how great it was for photographers because the animal enclosures were so close up. I was exceptionally excited!

Cue disappointment.

First, there were hardly any animals. Half of the exhibits were empty. No indication given as to why. It was like touring an abandoned zoo. When we did actually find animals, they were very very far away.

I used my super duper zoom lens to capture this. We were squinting to make out what animals these were from about a football field away.

P2179921

And granted, those are big fat adorable Capybaras. But after seeing them…from a mile away…there was about 15 minutes of walked past completely empty exhibits until we found a clearly distressed racoon pacing in circles in a very tiny little chain linked space. Screaming like he was on fire. It was fucking grim.
Needless to say I didn’t photograph the poor guy.

The petting zoo area was fenced off in such a way that you couldn’t actually pet anything. We watched as family after family pushed their prams through the muddy path only to find out that all the animals were 50 feet from the fence and you could not enter to actually pet them.

We watched as couple after couple tried to explain to their incredibly disappointed children on the way back through the mud that “they don’t know why the goats are so far away” and “they don’t know where all the animals are…”

BUMMER.

I did get a couple photos.

P2179929

The Cheetah exhibit was the only only exhibit where you could actually get uninterrupted photos.
The Lion & Tiger enclosures were small and surrounded by chainlink on all sides.

P2179966

The whole experience just made me feel horrible to be human.

I just looked at the zoo map online again and I’m simply puzzled. Where were all these animals?

We thought about asking for our money back, but then realized that Dartmoor Zoo definitely needed that money more than us. Sheesh.

We were at the Zoo for about 45 minutes. I’m not even joking. We walked back to the carpark in complete silence. Once inside the car we just sort of looked at one another in a state of shock and grumpily continued our journey home.

Thankfully, we decided to cut through Dartmoor National Park and the day was SAVED!!!

SAVED BY SHEEP!!!

P2170028

SAVED BY PONIES!!!

P2170052

P2170066

P2170210

P2170096

P2170101

My husband is brilliant at spotting things way before I see them (because of his super sharp astronaut vision) And he was able to see ponies congregating in a carpark off the side of the road in time for us to hang a sharp right and park the car amongst them.

These ponies were the most ultra chilled out group of ponies I have ever met.

P2170104

I’d say they were “stoner ponies” if such a thing existed because they were M-E-L-L-O-W.

P2170179

Check out the utter disbelief on my face.

P2170144

Followed by complete happiness…

P2170157

P2170201

After more time petting ponies than we had probably spent in the Dartmoor Zoo, I reluctantly got back in the car, blowing air-kisses at my new fluffy gypsy friends as we pulled back out onto the main road.

P2170206

P2170224

P2170226

Thinking I had seen it all, that the day was not only saved but could not get much better, I made another friend by the side of the road!

P2170243

Also mega-laidback and happy to be hugged.

P2170264

GLASS HALF FULL!

Next up…RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey

Barton on Sea

I was just about to post the first batch of my Spain photos and realized that yet again, I’ve got photos from other trips that I’ve not posted!

I’m not sure how my spectacularly magical Summer trip to Barton fell through the cracks of my blog posts, but I’m here to rectify this oversight!

Beaches, flowers, forests full of ponies, frolicking puppies, and double rainbows.
Pretty damn magical.
Enjoy!

P7282477

P7282648

P7282364

P7282360

P7282366

P7282368

P7282417

P7282386

P7282459

P7282393

P7282461

P7282469

P7282490

P7282523

P7282551

P7282558

P7282566

P7282584

P7282589

P7282612

P7282627

P7282657

P7282658

P7282371

P7282373

P7282384

P7282643

P7282655

P7282656

P7282661

Rainbows and wild ponies in New Forest!!!

P7292730

P7292676

P7292733

P7292739

P7292742

P7292693

P7292716

Amazinggggggg!!!!
xx