I’m a regular at Oasis, our local Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurant; it’s very popular in the neighbourhood, and it makes a nice change to the usual Indian or Chinese.

 It looks pretty low key from outside with a couple of round tables and small olive trees but as soon as you step passed the threshold, you immediately feel as if you’ve set foot into a different culture and that it’s time to try something unusual on the menu.

 The décor is bright and solar with murals of desert scapes, palm trees, camels and mud brick buildings and you instantly feel warmer as you walk in and the loud Moroccan music plays. Inlaid Marquetry is a traditional craft in Morocco and a decorative wooden panel feature is set in the floor in front of the bar; all of the chairs have palm trees cut into them.

 The bar is finished in colourful ceramics and smaller mosaic tiles in geometric patterns. A tall water feature made up of small rocks and earthenware emerging from a huge pot at the centre reaches up to the ceiling and feels very middle-eastern and rustic.

 We sit at an Octagonal glass top wooden table and my daughter sips a colorful mocktail filled with cranberry, apple and mango juices, while I pour mint infusion from a decorative silver teapot into a patterned tea glass. The food is always fresh, and for our starter we order falafels, houmous garnished with sticks of cucumber and warm flat bread.

 I watch dish after dish emerge from the kitchen. There’s a huge choice of vegetarian and meat dishes served in rustic tagine pots in all shapes and sizes. I enjoy having a look at what others have ordered. Although these tagine dishes full of vegetables and goodness are traditionally served with couscous or rice, I’m amused by the way many people order chips on the side instead; a quintessentially British addition that apparently goes with anything!

 There’s a feeling that meals have been thrown together with flair and creativity and different flavours are to be explored; I never manage to finish such substantial portion sizes. The waiter tells us about how particular the chef is when sourcing and cooking the food. You get a sense that customers count; it feels like they care about their reputation and take pride in what they do.

 We end our meal with some baklava, a delightfully sweet delicacy – layers of pastry covered in honey, walnuts and pistachios sweeten paying the bill. I love watching my daughter biting into the layers and savouring the flavours; I have to keep an eye that she doesn’t polish it all off! We feel nicely full, say our goodbyes and cut through the park on the way home.

We walk across the parkland of Hatfield House estate and head towards a circle of marquees corralled around a field. I’ve enjoyed many craft fairs since moving to St Albans. As I never came to events like this while growing up in London, I find them fun to explore as they represent a slice of country life, a place where the community can share its gifts and talents.

 It’s a bright and breezy day, I take in the festival atmosphere and breathe in the scent of freshly cut grass. There is a wide variety of merchandise from handmade teddy bears and leather-ware to ceramics and knitwear.

 We enter the first tent. The sound of a wooden flute catches my attention and I’m drawn to a small crowd listening to music reminiscent of Native America. I think of an old school friend who reached Grade V for her flute playing at school and how she’d love to play this beautifully crafted piranha pine flute; I take the designer’s card.

 It’s wonderful to have so many designers all in one space. A Chinese artist showcases his fine art prints of calligraphy, I admire the pretty strokes and swirls of the decorative ancient characters.

 While trying on a selection of fascinators I am approached by the milliner who explains which style she thinks would suit me. The bold flamboyant Philip Treacy styles don’t work that well and we try on a variety of the smaller hats with feathers and netting. I find the perfect look for a wedding I’m going to in June.

 The specialist food and drink stalls are a delight and I taste as many things as I can. The pork and leek sausages are amazing but so are the tomato and chilli ones. I let my husband decide, being a northerner he knows his sausages!

 I’m drawn to the chocolate peanut butter. A guy next to me is all smiles as we dip into the butters with our crackers and have a taste; we end up chatting about which is our favourite. I’ve never tasted anything so delicious and whip out my purse and buy a jar.

 We hear loud folkloric music and step outside to see lots of children dancing around a maypole, holding ribbons weaving in and out of each other as a pretty woven pattern forms around the pole. The sun has come out and we feel uplifted as we witness this rural celebration of the arrival of the Spring.

 It’s been a relaxing afternoon. My husband has wandered off and is in deep conversation about marquetry so I step outside. I notice a sign “Throw a pot for £5.” I put on my apron introduce myself and the next thing I know I’m sitting at the potter’s wheel my hands covered in clay. It’s such fun and within minutes I have produced a perfect little pot. I look forward to decorating it with some bright red acrylic paint.

I’d heard that Carpenters garden centre in Sandridge had been renovated recently and wanted to go and see for myself. It’s quiet and peaceful before the weekend rush and that time of year when nature bursts back into life.

The warm steady sunlight shines on the clusters of mauve and pink hydrangeas. The scent of lavender and slow buzz of bees leads me to the Mount Fuji cherry tree, rich with light pink blossom. Blackcurrant and raspberry plants are perfectly cut back and ready to bear fruit. The peachy shades of roses are named Lady Marmalade and the luminous yellow, Golden wishes.

The exquisitely tall and slender Lupin Charlelaine goes straight into my trolley. It’s exotic purple and white colours and small seashell petals tapered into a peak draw me in. It has a beanstalk quality to it and contrasts with the stout thick shiny leaves of the camellia plant in front of it.

I stop at the herb garden. The scent of the dark basil leaves holds childhood memories of watching my mother cooking, snapping off several leaves from one of the fresh plants by the window sill, rinsing then tossing them into a large pot of ragu sauce.

I walk inside to a beautiful central display of indoor plants surrounded by useful things like garden tools compost and charcoaI. I spot an entire wall covered with old family photos and linger; so many memories seem tied in with the business giving customers its spirit and ethos; my favourite is of several children larking about and climbing over a huge tractor.

The farm shop has been refurbished, is more spacious and has a gluten-free section. The produce is freshly picked and not prepackaged or shipped from overseas. Buying produce from local growers is clearly better for the environment and gives shoppers a sense of belonging and community spirit.

I am drawn to the fresh and wholesome breads. Then there are the large slabs of ginger, lemon and orange sponge cakes on offer at 3 for £8, I am seduced and pop them in my basket along with a jar of tomato and chilli chutney and marmite popcorn.

As a city-dweller, looking at some of these organic vegetables in their raw state I frankly wouldn’t even know how to prepare them, like marrow, chard and celeriac!

The assistant tells me that Carpenters was established in 1923 and that over ten acres of land is dedicated to growing vegetables and flowers. He also mentions the ‘tips and recipes’ link on their website, offering advice from how to grow dahlias to listing a choice of healthy and delicious recipes like spicy cauliflower and almond soup.

My next visit will involve a full English breakfast in the brand new restaurant The Potting Shed. I’m told it’s very popular and that I’ll need to book!

We’ve driven 20 minutes from St Albans for a guided tour of Waltham Abbey Church. As we turn a corner this huge Norman Church looks quite imposing and almost feels out of proportion in the middle of the town with small buildings dotted around it. The clock face catches my eye and is uniquely designed with a dark diamond shape framing it.

 As we’re a little early we explore the surrounding area. The Saturday market is in full swing; locals are chatting and selling everything from handbags to cat food. My husband has slowed down and is mesmerized by a stall selling tools and everything you could possibly need for fixing things, while I linger to look at some colorful summer tops. We stop for lunch and as the sun is shining we eat outside.

 We walk back towards the church and have a look at the gardens and surrounding cloister ruins; butterflies float amidst sunlit cherry blossom trees; birdsong fills the deserted rose garden, perfectly symmetrical in design and full with buds about to burst into colour in the next few weeks.

 We enter the church, our guide awaits and we join the group. It is an attractive interior with high Romanesque columns towering up to form rounded arches all along the nave; I look up to the West End, mesmerized by the beautiful stained glass Rose window depicting the Creation story. Each petal depicts one of the seven days; the light from the vibrant ocean blues, strong apple reds and soft greens of the trees shines into the church. Christ is depicted at its centre holding the sun with a rainbow in the distance.

 I look up and marvel at the dizzying heights of the ornately decorated ceiling forming part of the Victorian restoration. It is covered with paintings of the signs of the zodiac framed in blue patterned diamond shapes all along the nave ceiling; a somewhat strange addition to a church.  

 The guide explains that we’re standing on a site where Christians have been worshipping for over a thousand years; the first church on this site dates back to the seventh century. In 1540, Waltham Abbey was the last Abbey to be dissolved in the Dissolution and all that remains is the nave.

 To end the tour we approach the Lady Chapel, colorful streams of light pour through the stained glass. We’re invited to have a look at a rare 15th Century wall painting covering the entire East wall and depicting the Day of Judgment.

 We leave the church and go and have a tea. As we approach the market square there are few passers by and it has gone very quiet. We sit outside. The atmosphere of the square has totally shifted from a bustling town crowded with shoppers to a deserted space with a single road-sweeper silhouetted in the distance clearing litter.

Sunlight gently filters into the woodland. We walk deeper into Nomansland on this cool Spring morning. We breathe in the clean air and tread the soft earth amidst hundreds of trees, blending and running into each other, each one growing towards the light, their branches tangled and trunks twisted into their own unique shapes.

Situated close to Harpenden between Wheathampsted and Sandridge, Nomansland common is over fifty hectares of woodland and rolling grassland; a popular open space for dog walking, horse riding and model aircraft flying. Wheathampsted cricket club is close by and cricket has been played on the common since the mid 1800s.

As the common lies between two parishes, during the 15th century the monasteries of St Albans and Westminster both contested ownership, so it became known as No Man’s Land and for this reason was never developed. The land is currently owned by the Althorpe estate and Wheathampsted Parish council.

It’s hard to believe that we’re only two miles away from St Albans as nature here feels undisturbed. There is always an enchanting quality when I’m in the presence of trees and I feel as if I become part of the landscape. Some Oak and Birch trees are close to a hundred years old, their fallen branches providing the perfect habitat for all sorts of wildlife.

Springtime is here, the choir of birdsong overrides any traffic noise in the distance. The tree branches are budding and the only sign of colour is yellow clusters of flowers on the heather. I enjoy walking along the woodland path with my husband, he grew up surrounded by the countryside and seems totally at peace in his natural habitat.

We stop for a picnic. I’ve made some ham and cheese sandwiches and it feels good to eat in the open air. The occasional puppy dashes over and raids our space, wagging their tails curious to sniff out what we are doing and eat our food.

As we turn towards the road and onto the common, our mood shifts. Walking in woodland feels meditative and quietens my thoughts. As we walk across the grass, it feels expansive and open, the sky feels low and we stride out onto the sloping green, dogs running in the distance.

We end our walk with a pint and a half of ale at the Wicked Lady, just where I want to be; relaxing in a huge armchair, and this time wearing my wellies covered in mud!