Manchester  ~  Hanging out in The Northern Quarter.

I thought I would share with you a few of the quirky shops and cafes that my friend Lisa and I visited in the vibrant Northern Quarter area of Manchester last week. This plethora of independent bars, eateries and emporiums is situated not far from the city centre and can easily be reached from both The Arndale and Piccadilly Gardens. 

Oklahoma. A must if you are after a quirky gift or something unique for the house, this colourful gift and homewares shop on High Street is a delight to mooch around. Ideal for cute stocking fillers and novelty items too. Has a super Christmas decoration section with lots of kitsch baubles and festive fun. I bought a couple of little fun presents from here. 🎄okla.co.uk 

Craft & Design Centre.  Housed in a Victorian Fishmarket building , the Manchester Craft & Design Centre is home to several talented artists and maker’s workshops over two levels plus a wonderful little cafe. After admiring some of the crafters work we had lunch here. I can recommend the tasty frittata and salad. 😁 craftanddesign.com 

Lisa and I find a Manchester Bee.

Northern Flower.  I was dazzled by the array of plants and flowers in this bijou florists on Tib Street. Describing itself as a Potting – shed boutique, Northern Flower has an impressive selection of cacti and succulents as well as beautiful pots and hangers. I couldn’t help but purchase a tiny cactus for my collection. 🌵 www.northernflower.com 

Image from Pinterest.

Chapter One Books. A great place to relax with a coffee and cake this spacious and comfy coffee shop is also a book shop. We bobbed in for a brew and a chat and made the most of the comfy sofas. Its quite alright to settle down with a book and if you buy one you get a free drink. Oh and the cakes are good too! 🍰 chapteronebooks.co.uk

Afflecks. No visit to the Northern Quarter is complete without a mooch round the institution that is Affleck’s on Church Street. Over 70 independent shops and businesses trade under one roof and any spare wall space is adorned with colourful street art. Fancy dress, vintage clothing, tattoo studios, music, art and quirky cafes can all be found here. Well worth a look. 🃏 afflecks.com 

Bonbon Chocolate. Just as we were thinking about heading home Lisa and I stumbled into … a chocolate cafe! 

Bonbon Chocolate Boutique on John Street is an artisan chocolate makers that also serves amazing Hot Chocolate. Lisa tried a chocolate orange flavour and I had the chilli hot chocolate. The cafe area is tiny with only room for 3 or 4 small tables and chairs. But if you happen upon it in a quiet moment , why not enjoy the decadence.  🍮 bonbonchocolate.co.uk 

Of course I have only touched upon the huge amount of shops and cafes in the Northern Quarter, not to mention the many bars in the neighbourhood. Hopefully I have inspired you to visit! 

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Sunday Sevens 19th November.

I’ve just realised whenever I post a Sunday Sevens ( 7 or more pictures from the past seven days) I seem to average about one per month, not one per week! But anyway I have just had a week off work…and that seems a good enough reason to join in. 😁

Last weekend it was my Birthday get together so here I am on a Night out with the girls. I’m holding an Espresso Martini , which does look more like a Guinness! 

A week off means more time spent walking with this gentleman of course. It’s been pretty muddy and squelchy in the fields. But that doesn’t stop Hugo’s enjoyment. Whilst I am busy pulling myself out of bogs , he whizzes round like a whirling dervish! Here he is in a rare still moment.

On my actual Birthday my friend Lisa took me to Manchester and we had a great time mooching round the Northern Quarter. This is a colourful area in the city full of quirky bars, cute cafes and independent shops. Just my cup of tea! I am sure I will blog about it soon. 🍰🍫🍸

My Guilty pleasure at the moment is watching Grimm, a supernatural series about a homicide detective who inherits the ability to see monsters.Those goblin, witches and werewolf types inspired by Grimm’s fairytales. And there are a lot of monsters in Portland for sure!  I have also finally finished watching Son’s of Anarchy with Wil. All 7 seasons! When he first started watching it I thought it wouldn’t be my thing, a drama about an outlaw motorcycle gang. But hey it became an addiction! What TV shows are you enjoying at the moment? 

Presently I am stopping in an apartment in Harrogate with Wil ( my Birthday present! ) and yesterday I got to cross something off my Bucket List. 😁 I had booked us into the Turkish Baths which are Britain’s most fully restored Victorian Turkish Baths. As you can see , I took one very sneeky pic in the Relaxation Room aka the Frigidarium. Photography is not allowed but I wanted to prove I visited this beautiful building with its gorgeous ornate tiling. Bliss..

 

We also had early morning coffees before our spa experience in a Harrogate institution Betty’s Tea Rooms. I think having breakfast there maybe before 9am , is one way of beating the queues! 

But I will post more about our stay in Harrogate very soon. 😊

Thanks to Natalie at www.threadsandbobbins.com/ for organizing. 

What are you up to this weekend? 

Two Eden Valley Houses in Autumn.

Once you have scaled the heights of Wainwright’s fells and completed The Ullswater Way, there are gentler pursuits to enjoy in Cumbria’s ‘Eden Valley’.  Only minutes drive from the historic market town of Penrith stands a 15th century fortified manor , with an unusual sanctuary door knocker  and a  fine stately home famed for its annual Marmalade Festival.

Last Sunday I took a few photographs of both Brougham Hall and Dalemain House. It was a perfect sunny Autumn day, and though our visits to both were brief, I hope my pictures inspire you to look them up when you are next in the area.

Brougham Hall 

The historic remains of the home of the Brougham family date back to Tudor times . The Hall and several other buildings lie inside the thick fortified walls in the small parish of Brougham. Sir Winston Churchill commandeered the site for secret military research during WWII.   Renovations here are a work in progress, so do not expect a grand old house. Instead delight in the area’s history, enjoy a stroll round the grounds and browse the array of arts and crafts workshops in the courtyard. There is a small friendly cafe too. Entry to the Hall is free though donations are of course welcome. As are anyone who cares to visit, including four legged guests. 🙂  www.broughamhall.co.uk

 

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Free car parking on this side of the Hall.
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The Brougham Door Knocker is actually a replica of the original, but impressive all the same.
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The 1520 door and gatehouse entrance.

 

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Behind the black doors are artist’s studios and craft workshops.
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Plenty of room outdoors for the kids to run around.

 

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Gwen Bainbridge Ceramics are unusual and beautiful.
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Wil and I just had to share a scone in Bettyann’s Tea Parlour. 🙂
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View from the cobbled ramp under the Gatehouse.
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Brougham Hall and Durham Cathedral both have replica’s of these ‘Beastly Bronze Door Knockers’. They are called Sanctuary Door Knockers and by tradition, anyone  who was running from the law and dared to grip the handle and knock, could claim sanctuary within the walls.

Dalemain House  

Unlike Brougham Hall, Dalemain is an impressive Country House that is still resided in by the Hasell family, who have been in residence since the 1600’s.  The imposing Georgian facade certainly makes the visitor curious, as to what the rooms are like inside. Of course we rocked up here an hour before the house and gardens closed for the day!  So we chose to venture round the gardens. We did not have Hugo with us but that is probably a good thing, as dogs are sadly not allowed at Dalemain.  Car parking is free and there is a Tea Room in the Medieval Hall. Because we only had an hour to explore, we were charged a discounted price of £3 each to view the gardens. www.dalemain.com

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The impressive rose tinted Georgian Facade.

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Lady Marmalade Rose.

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We came across a giant topiary Dragon!
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Relax and enjoy the view.
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Even at the end of October there was a wide array of flowers at Dalemain.
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Above the house there is a Deer Park.
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And to our delight, a large herd of Fallow Deer. 🙂

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We didn’t even have time for a brew in the Medieval Hall. 😦
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Dalemain holds The World’s Original Marmalade Awards every year in March, along with a festival of all things Marmalade. Next years Festival will take place 17th & 18th March 2018. Will Paddington Bear be there, that’s what I want to know!

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I hope you enjoyed my super quick tours of two Eden Valley delights.  I am determined to visit both of them again in the future. I especially need to frequent the Marmalade Festival. 🙂

If you are thinking of exploring this beautiful area of the Lake District, you might also want to read my blogs about  Lowther Castle  and  Ullswater & Aira Force.  

Which historic houses do you like to visit in Cumbria?

Photo An Hour ~ Saturday 28th October. 

On Saturday I joined in with Janey and Louisa’s Photo An Hour on Instagram, posting a photo every hour, on the hour , all through the day.  It happened that I was staying with family in the little village of Askham near Penrith, so my piccies are all taken in Cumbria, instead of where I live in Lancashire.

8am. Woke up to  a view of a rather murky day .

9am.  Coffee and Toast for breakfast.

10am. Heading down the village  of Askham past one of the  Greens to the Village shop. The shop has a great community feeling and serves coffee too, so we sat in and enjoyed another brew. 🙂

11am. We had been told about a local photography art exhibition in the Village Hall so walked there for a nosy. I bought a few cards and will no doubt frame them, when I get round to it. 

 

 

12pm.  Pie & peas for an early lunch.

1pm. Off to Keswick in the car so a pretty boring shot of the road. Still murky out there, which I guess is appropriate for the time of year. 🎃

2pm.  In Keswick Wil finds a new jacket…..and some walking pants. I prefer to admire pumpkin ornaments! 

3pm.  Enjoying a blood orange tea and a slice of Cherry Chocolate cake in Merienda , a fave tea room in Keswick. 🙂

4pm.  Back in Askham and find Biscuit the family cat relaxing on the bed. He is  a gorgeous boy but is petrified of dogs. So we couldn’t bring Hugo !  I spend most of the weekend seeking out random dogs to stroke. 

5pm.  Admiring the flowers in Mum’s garden. 🙂

6pm.  I bought a Lake District & Cumbria magazine in Keswick so I’m having a glance through. Lots of walks and useful info in here! 

7pm. Tea over, Wil and I head to one of the two pubs in Askham , The Queen’s Head. There is a tempting cocktail menu. Later I do have  an Expresso Martini ! 

8pm.  I wish I had taken a better photo of Floyd the Cocker Spaniel. Here he is at the bar with his owner,  after hoovering up the entire pub. His owner said he was at the village Halloween party, the night before too. Floyd is a party animal! 

9pm. Just  a short of Wils glass. Spooky! 

So there you have it, some random shots of a day in my life. Hope you are having a spooktacular Halloween, and I’ll be back in a few days with more  Autumnal pics of a couple of places we visited on Sunday. 🎃

Hawthorn’s October Scavenger Hunt.

So my Photo Scavenger hunt for October is not going to be very inspired, as I haven’t been out and about very much. It’s been a quick scramble to find some suitable pictures. Here goes !

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1. Making.   I have been Making progress with my Christmas shopping!  I know, a bit to organized. But when having a mooch in Oxfam the other day , I saw some really cute recycled  paper bird houses and couldn’t resist buying them. Oxfam have a really fun gift selection this year, including some lovely books and… Beer Bread. Nice stocking fillers. I also found a couple of bits in ‘ The Keep’ , a really fab gift shop in Clitheroe. I’m on a roll ! 

2. Empty.   It’s always good to walk Hugo in the early morning, when the woods and fields are Empty, save for us and nature. 

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3. It Starts with an F.   A favourite  Flower  of mine at this time of year is the Chinese Lantern.  It appears in a front garden of one of my neighbors every Autumn and I always stop to admire the papery orange flowers. A few years ago Wil even bought me a Chinese Lantern necklace, and it’s my favourite piece of jewellery.  🙂

4. Paper.  I have recently picked up this spooky looking paperback. Thought it may be a good Halloween read. Anyone read it yet? 

5. Neat.  Hurrah that my other half is so neat at wallpapering and tiling! Living room coming on now. Will post some more pics when completed! 

6. Street.  A photo of a Clitheroe Street taken from inside the Castle grounds, on a walk with Hugo.

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7. Kettle.  So here’s a very boring picture of my kettle.  It lives on top of the microwave , as space is at a premium in our kitchen.

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8. Unexpected.    It was  Unexpected  to see a singer sewing machine on a wall in Boot !  This photo was  actually taken last month, on our holiday in The Western Lakes.

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9. Vase.   I love my seahorse Vase in my bedroom window, but I’m not sure a bunch of flowers would suit it.  What do you think ? 

10. My Own Choice.  This shrub in the Castle park bares purple berries every Autumn. I always wonder what it is? Any ideas? 

Thanks to  Kate / Hawthorn  for arranging the Scavenger Hunt once again. 

 

 


Links & Likes ~ October. ♡

Wow we are really rushing through October!  Everyone has been up to some good stuff this month. So please make yourself a nice hot drink and settle down for a read of these lovely blogs. ♡ 
Apparently BottomlessBrunch is the New Afternoon Tea ! Kellie gives it a try. Yum. 🙂

Theres a Quick and Easy French Toast Recipe on Wonderfully Bookish.

I had no idea that in Scotland Mums To Be recieve  a very useful and cute  Scottish Baby-Box.  Nina shows us whats in hers…

Apples galore on Christine’s blog.

Eunice shares a Missing Pooch Story  with a Yappy Ending. 🙂 

 Christine searches for her favourite Apple varieties at an Apple Festival in the Gorse Hill Nature Reserve. 

Fancy a mug of tea and a hike round Rufford Old Hall.   Melodie’s blog Tea Bee’s Trips explore’s the English countryside, holidays abroad and her tipple of choice  ‘ Tea.’  🙂

An Idylic Hideaway  in Bodmin  ~  My Little Country Life.

Emma stays at the most perfect little holiday cottage in Bodmin . I really want to book this place ! 

 I love the look of  this wonderful journal reviewed on  Made by Mi. 

And this delicious Ginger and Syrup Sponge on Emily Llou’s blog.

 

The Breathe journal is reviewed on Made by Mi.

 Theres a great little review on the recent H is for Hawk documentary on Only Natural, which I still need to watch.

I really must get round to visiting the  Yorkshire Sculpture Park which appears  on Down by the Dougie.

Lets end with the cats of Monmartre Cemetery


  in Paris, who live and prowl amongst the graves of famous Parisians.  
 

 Thanks for reading and hopefully see you soon. 🍁

 

 

13 Vampire Films.

October nights are drawing in. Why not cuddle down in crushed velvet and sink your teeth into one of the following…

Interview With The Vampire ( 1994). A centuries old vampire recounts his epic life story. Louis’s  tale starts in 18th century New Orleans , where he is turned by the selfish, violent and pleasure seeking Lestat. A tortured soul , reluctant to kill, yet instilled with a terrible lust for blood, Louis plots to escape his evil maker. Things are made more complicated however, when the couple turn a child. A sumptuous  adaptation of Anne Rice’s gothic horror. Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Kirsten Dunst star.


Vamps ( 2012). On a lighter note, Amy Heckerling’s  ‘ Vamps’ is all fun and fangs. Reunited with her Clueless Star Alicia Silverstone, Heckerling directs a  romcom about two vampire flat mates. Negotiating a dating life in modern day NY is pretty dicey when your a blood sucking babe ! Krysten Ritter( of Jessica Jones fame) also stars.

The Lost Boys ( 1987).  Think sunkissed Santa Cruz in the 80’s and it seems an unlikely haven for the undead. But then this movie has quirky characters, a killer soundtrack and some badass leatherclad teen vampires. Two brothers move to a new town and whilst the older boy gets in with the wrong crowd, the younger brother begins to suspect their Mother may be dating a vampire.  Luckily he finds friendship in the form of a couple of garlic clove wielding comic store geeks, and the threesome go all out, to out the towns blood sucking fiends. Horror comedy with a stellar cast that includes Kiefer Sutherland and Diane Wiest.

Byzantium ( 2012). Gemma Arteton and Saoirse   Ronan   play Mother and Daughter vampires,  seeking refuge in a washed out British seaside resort, in this Neil Jordan ( Interview with the Vampire) directed horror thriller. On the run from kindred vampires,  the duo try to etch out a life by the sea, the mother ( a lap dancing prostitute ) and daughter ( enrolling as a student in high school) , but danger always lurks around the corner, for themselves….and their victims. 

Fright Night ( 2011).  Anton Yelchin plays Charley , a fairly normal college kid , who finds life is on the up when he starts dating the hottest girl on campus. He grows a bit tired of his geeky mate , who is convinced that there is a vampire serial killer on the loose, after a spree of killings in the area. But then Charley begins to suspect his and his  Mums new neighbor ( a rather dishy Colin Farrell) of deadly goings on. It all gets rather silly when Charley enlists the help of vampire expert Peter Vincent ( David Tennant) , though plenty of humour and gore makes, for a fun and thrilling ride.

Cirque du Freak : The Vampire’s Assistant (2009). Based on the Darren Shan books , this supernatural tale follows a typical teenage boy, who ends up being turned into a vampire and uses  his new powers in a travelling circus, full of wierd and wonderful performers.  Its a while since I’ve watched The Vampire’s Assistant , but I remember it having a Night Circus Vibe. Watch out for Salma Hayek as Madam Truska, the Bearded Lady. 

Let the right one in (2008). A tale as much about friendship as a gruesome vampire killing spree, this Swedish horror is a favourite of mine, despite me spending any gory parts behind a cushion ! Bullied 12 year old Oskar becomes friends with his neighbour Eli, but it seems she is no ordinary girl next door. ….. If your not a fan of subtitles, this movie  got the Hollywood treatment a few years later and was remade as Let Me In. But I prefer the more atmospheric Scandinavian version. 

I am Legend ( 2007).  Existing in a desolate New York City , after a virus has exterminated nearly all mankind and turned survivors into bloodsucking darkseekers , scientist Robert Neville ( Wil Smith) works on a cure, not knowing whether there are any other unaffected humans out there.   This for me is  a hard film to watch ( as I got to emotionally attached to Robert’s loyal dog Sam 😦  ) , but it is a gripping movie , with Smith exceptional in the role of a tormented lonely man, trying to outwit the darkseekers and keep a hold of his  humanity. 

Bramstoker’s Dracula ( 1992 ).  Bramstoker’s gothic horror is brought to the big screen in Francis Ford Coppula’s  lavish production. Dracula ( Gary Oldman) discover’s the reincarnation of his long lost love and sets out to pursue her, slaying and seducing everything in his wake. Mina Harker’s ( Winona Ryder) fiance and friends enlist the help of Vampire killer ‘ Van Helsing’ ( Anthony Hopkins) to destroy the count,  before Dracula claims Mina as his own. 

The Only Lovers Left Alive ( 2014).  Stylish undead duo Adam and Eve are centuries old vampires living in the present day. Whilst Eve still finds the world a fascinating place and resides mostly in romantic Tangiers, Adam is becoming disillusioned with humanity, mostly confined to his apartment in a run down area of Detroit. Eve returns to Adam to find him contemplating the end ,but manages to persuade him otherwise. Their reunion is disturbed by a visit from Eve’s sister Ava, who does not play by the Vampire rules.  Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston star in this cool ( and almost collected) tale of the undead ,existing amongst the living. 

Hotel Transylvania (  2012  ).   Where do Monsters go to get away from it all? They go to Count Dracula’s lavish holiday resort ‘ Hotel Transylvania’ of course. 🙂 To celebrate his daughter Mavis’s 118th Birthday, Dracula invites all their Monster Mates for a special weekend. But when a human crashes the party monster mayhem is sure to follow.  Fangs and fun with Adam Sandler and pals. There’s a fangtastic sequel too. 

Buffy the vampire slayer ( 1992).  Before Joss Whedon created the legendary TV show, Buffy was played by another blonde bombshell , not Sarah Michelle Gellar, but actress Kristy Swanson.  In the movie Buffy is trained to be a Slayer by Merrick (Donald Sutherland) and is constantly rescuing her class mate Oliver ( Luke Perry) from bloodthirsty vampires. Thank goodness then,  she has more than her cheer leading skills to fall back on when her most evil nemesis turns up in town. Silly stuff, but theres a hint of why the television series became so successful.

Twilight ( 2008).  I’ll end on every teenage girls favourite vampire movie ( maybe) , as  17 year old Bella Swan ( Kristen Stewart) moves to a new area and new school and meets the strangely mysterious Edward Cullen. He and his equally mysterious family go on frequent hunting trips , avoid the other students and stay out of the sun. Is it possible they are vampires??  Twilight is the first of several movies based on the popular Stephanie Meyer books. Robert Pattinson plays  Bella’s toothy soul-mate Edward Cullen. 

So what do you think of my list ? Is it fangtastic? Or does it Suck??

Enjoy………

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