Would you stay in a Bothy?

bothy2I’ve currently been tucked up in bed at nights with the wind howling outside ( Storm Imogen I believe ;) ) and a good book , one that I have become thoroughly engrossed in. The Book Of The Bothy by Phoebe Smith is a celebration of these humble ‘stone tents’ that offer a basic shelter and roof over the head of weary walkers in the remotest parts of the UK. Phoebe , a renowned travel journalist and serial ‘Bothy bagger’, has chosen 26 of her favourite MBA ( Mountain Bothies Association) bothies to hike to,spend the night in and write about. On the back of the book Phoebe explains ‘ I believe, if you wanted to, you could spend a whole summer staying in bothies, travelling from place to place,taking in one spectacular landscape after another with nothing but your rucksack, map and thirst for adventure. And the best thing? It wouldn’t cost you a penny….

The Lookout – Isle of Skye ( Image www.cicerone.co.uk )

It’s true, bothies are Free! Free places to stay for anyone and everyone. They are often abandoned farmsteads or cottages, sometimes with only one room and sometimes larger. They are incredibly basic inside with no running water, electricity or bathroom facilities. They are always a good hike away from civilisation of any kind and are left unlocked so wandering walkers can bed down in them for the night. The  MBA looks after 100 bothies around Britain. Most of them are found in the wilds of Scotland but there are a few in Northern England and rural Wales  which are mentioned in the book.

The Book of the Bothy is set out for an easy and informative read. There’s a map in the front with the locations of the bothies dotted in red. Phoebe’s introduction covers the history of bothies, their pro’s ( space to sleep, escape from midges etc) and cons ( Mice, spider’s, loud snorers! ) ,what to take, bothy etiquette ( leaving it tidy etc) and safety.

She also mentions Bothy traditions such as walker’s sharing a sip of whisky or two from a sigg bottle and of course filling in the Bothy Book.  Every bothy has a kind of visitor’s book in which walkers can record their  stays adventures and experiences. Seems like a useful tradition. :)

The rest of this handy guide  concentrates on each individual bothy and Phoebe tells the reader the routes she followed ( there’s always a handy map reference), what to look out for ( wildlife,landmarks etc), essential information ( water sources, facilities etc) and she also writes her own Bothy Book entry for each property. :)

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The author inside a rather ‘luxurious’ bothy in the Highlands. :)

I’m really enjoying reading about Phoebe’s Bothy bagging and even though I usually hyperventilate at the thought of hiking anywhere…….this book is almost inspiring me to seek out a bothy. I think I would have to persuade Wil too, mind. What about you? Would you stay in a bothy??

You can buy The Book of the Bothy  at www.cicerone.co.uk

Foodie Penpal Parcels ~ January.



I’m a wee bit late with my January Foodie Penpals post as my February penpal is already waiting in my Inbox. But I have to show you the delicious ( and healthy) treats that Teresa sent me a few weeks ago now.

First though I will tell you what I sent Liliana, who was very easy to buy for. Her only stipulations were, that she didn’t like cabbage or liquorice!
I decided that I would try my best to shop locally. On a trip to the Lakes I found myself in Ye Olde Friars in Keswick. This is a traditional confectioners with a marvellous array of sweet treats. I purchased local delicacy Kendal Mint Cake as well as some chilli jellies and homemade Orange curd. And back home I bought a tasty tagine mix and a chicken stir fry mix from my local butchers. Finally my hometown has a beautiful vintage tea room called Callooh! Callay! which sells Alice In Wonderland inspired tea blends, so I popped a ‘Queen of Hearts’ rose petal infused tea in too. :)


I asked Teresa if she wouldn’t mind posting me some healthy(ish!) snacks and she certainly obliged. Raiding her local Health Store, she found me this amazing selection!


Of course the first thing I dived upon was the rather naughty but nice Mrs Crimbles Jam Coconut ring which was heavenly. I also treated myself to a nice cup of Wild Blackcurrant Infusion from Heath and Heather. It has fast become my new fave brew as it is so refreshingly fruity.

The Holland & Barrett ‘Good To Go’ snack packs were perfect for my packing up to take to work and the Bombay Firecracker snack was really very tasty….and low calorie to boot.

The only things I have left are the stock cubes which are bound to come in very useful and the Liquorice sweets. Maybe I should send them to Liliana. ;)

As usual I really enjoyed taking part. If you fancy becoming a foodie penpal the website is here.

See you soon. X




Candles, Cakes and snowdrops.

February is here and at last there is hope that Spring is round the corner. The 2nd of February is celebrated as Candlemas Day in the Christian religion. Candles are lit in churches to symbolise Jesus,hope and light. Before Christianity the day was known as ‘Feast of Lights’ and celebrated the daylight hours increasing as winter gave way to spring. Whether you are religious or not, it is lovely to light candles around the home. I am sat writing this post with the lovely scent of my favourite Earl Grey Tea scented candle filling my nostrils. :)


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Snowdrops I saw last year at Conishead Priory.

Snowdrops have been known as Candlemas Bells and according to superstition they should not be brought into the home until now. A bunch of snowdrops symbolise  the ending of Winter and looks beautiful in a little vase. I bought my snowdrop plant today and hope to replant it in my flower bed……once the stormy weather wanes.  Even better why not see snowdrops in all their spring time glory on one of many Snowdrop walks in the UK.

In Anglo Saxon times February was known as Solmonath which is apparently translated as Sun Month and Mud month. The mud seems very appropriate after today’s Mud Bath – esque walk with Hugo!  The Saxons baked Cakes for their God’s in February. This seems like a good excuse to me to bake a cake or even better why  not book an Afternoon tea for you and a friend.  Here are a few places I’ve enjoyed  Afternoon Tea :), always guaranteed to cheer you up on a drizzly day.

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Enjoy your February. :)

Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ January.



Hi this month’s Photo Scavenger Hunt is slightly different than normal as Jill simply asked us to contribute twelve random photo’s from our month. I am happy to do that :) so here goes. Apologies to those of you who may have seen some of these pictures in my past posts.


Naughty But Nice ~  Although I am on a bit of a health kick this month, I have had time for a couple of treats. Oh yes :). This was a particularly wonderful Afternoon Tea I enjoyed with friends at the lovely Mitton Hall near Whalley. It was I have to say, scrumdiddlyumptious!


Gorgeous Scenery on a day out in the Lake District. The lake is ‘Derwent Water’ and there is snow on the mountains ,geese on the lake and a certain black labrador is enjoying a paddle. :)


One Black cat sat on my bed. She thinks it’s her bed obviously!

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Family ~ Wow this feels like a long time ago now. Our Christmas get together actually happened in the New Year. Every year tradition dictates that we pose for a family photo. This involves my brother setting up the camera, everyone jostling for position and all of us falling about laughing when the camera doesn’t take the shot. Fun times. :)


Read ~ The only book I have read so far this year is ‘The Art of Being Normal’ by Lisa Williamson, which I heartily recommend.

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Here’s a close up of Hugo by the lake. He’s just come out of the water which must have been freezing!  He’s wearing his new Grrrrrrrrrrr! tag.  :0).



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Welcoming ~  A lovely wooden horse welcomes visitors to a shop in Kirkby Lonsdale.

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Naked ~  Yup, one of many naked statues on Crosby Beach near Liverpool. One Hundred of them in fact!  You can read my post about this unusual art installation  here. :0)

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On the same day we visited Formby Beach , where the nearby pine woods are home to lots of  cute  red squirrels.

20160131_095820.jpgUninspiring picture of the spare room. We are hoping to decorate and make it into a kind of dressing room/storage space. Trip to Ikea is needed methinks. :)

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Gorgeous wildlife tiles at the Rheged Centre in Penrith.


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And my Favourite birdie picture from January is this cute female Bullfinch!

Thanks for dropping by!

February Beckons. :)





Three Things Lately.

I’m in the mood to share folks, so let me share with you a few new bits and pieces I have discovered in January. Well, new to me anyway. I have always been a wee bit late to the party! :)

Firstly let’s talk about a Film.  If you like your movies to have a retro arty feel then The Diary of a Teenage Girl has that in spades. Set in 1970’s San francisco , with a 70’s soft rock soundtrack ( think Heart’s Dreamboat Annie) , this is a sometimes cringingly honest but very refreshingly frank tale of a young girl’s sexual awakening.


British newcomer ‘Bel Powley’ plays precautious teenager Minnie, who records her thoughts about sex on cassette tapes in her bedroom. Her first entry reads: ” I had sex today -Holy Shit!! ” and then we find out she has set her sights on a much older man,her mother’s boyfriend…  A somewhat inapropiate relationship ensues. For all the whimsy ( Minnie daydreams in cartoon form) , the film has its dark moments. It’s funny,sad,dreamy and disturbing in so many ways. I still want to recommend it……

Are you thinking about booking yourself a City Break in 2016?   I’m sending out big hints to my other half……with my recent purchase of a Supertime Amsterdam Map from Herb Lester Associates  These quirky little travel maps are guides to the Usual and the Unusual and cover most of the major cities you might want to explore. My Amsterdam map shows me a few of its more obscure attractions ( with detailed descriptions on the back) such as Europe’s oldest comic book shop, a museum devoted to all things feline and a microbrewery in a former bathhouse.


The maps are handy pocket size, printed on 100% recycled paper and cost £4 each. :)

Lastly if you are thinking about adding some pretty Vintage touches to your home but don’t have time to shop around for gorgeous nic naks , then you may just fall in love with The Vintage House That Could  Vintage Styling Kits.  This inspirational blogger searches high and low for beautiful things and posts out adorable kits to your home.

Image ~~ Bloggers Belief.

The kits contain a beautiful storage suitcase,  a charming vintage book,  a milk bottle ( will make a fab vase) , a rather sweet vintage teacup & saucer, a pretty postcard, a set of twinkley copper lights, washi tape and a surprise gift. They cost £40. Check out this wonderful review by Blogger’s Belief. 

Have you discovered any new things this month?


Sea Air ~ Squirrels and Naked Men on the Sefton Coast.

Wednesday was a gorgeous cold and clear blue sky day and both of us happened to have the day off work. Talk about good luck!  We decided to head off to the Sefton Coast near Liverpool….with the dog of course.

In the morning we found our way to Formby Beach and parked at the National Trust Car Park which was quite expensive but well worth it. I do keep thinking about membership and just don’t get round to it. Anyone out there a member?  So, the car park area is right by the pine woods where red squirrels are in residence. :) But first we ambled down to the beach via one of the many trails. Check out the recycled Christmas trees that have been planted in the dunes to protect them from becoming flattened.

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Formby Beach is lovely and very dog friendly too. There are lots of shells especially Razor Shells. This part of the coast is home to some rare wildlife such as Dune Tiger Beetles and Natterjack Toads. And when the tide is out ancient human and animal tracks dating back 5,000 years can be seen in the rocks.  The other wildlife Formby is famous for is of course it’s  Red Squirrels.

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The pine woodlands  were planted 60-110 years ago to stable the sand dunes and protect the asparagus crops that were once grown here.  Nowadays they are a refuge for our protected squirrel species. The squirrel walk ( dogs allowed on leads) is a delight. I can’t tell you how chuffed I was to see so many of these beautiful little tuftys. :)  They are smaller than their grey cousins and never keep still for long!

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After our fun times in Formby we drove a little further down the coast to Crosby Beach. Here is  home to 100 cast iron statues by artist Antony Gormley entitled  Another Place. They are dotted around 3 km of beach, looking out to sea.  There is a signposted free car park and dogs are allowed on the sand. I’m not sure what Hugo thought of the sculptures. He did pee on a lot of them!

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As you can see all the statues are naked!  They are actually modelled on the artist’s own body. I wonder how he feels about himself being duplicated  across the coastline in his birthday suit. Well pretty good, I guess. :)

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It was interesting to see the varying states of erosion and weathering the statues have succumbed to. Ten years have passed since they were installed. I hope they are gracing the coastline for many years to come. :)



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