Afternoon Tea at King Street Town House ~ Manchester.

Manchester’s trees decorated for Halloween.

Can there be no more decadent birthday celebration than Afternoon Tea? We were spoilt for choice in Manchester recently when exploring options in the city. Eight friends enjoyed a little shopping and cocktails followed by afternoon tea at King Street Town House on Booth Street.

King Street Town House is housed in an impressive Italian Renaissance building, originally the Manchester Salford Trustees Bank. Today it is a rather posh city centre hotel, famed for its seventh floor infinity pool and private wine cellar dining.

King Street Town House.
Our own private dining room.
Afternoon Tea was served on a three tier silver cake stand.

On arrival we were escorted to our own private dining room, one of the resident wine cellars I believe. The ambience was candle lit and cosy , it was certainly a nice touch to inhabit a dining area exclusive to ourselves. Although at times we did feel a little forgotten about by the otherwise attentive staff.

We all opted for the Traditional Afternoon Tea which consists of a sumptuous selection of finger sandwiches, dainty cakes and desserts, and of course the obligitary home baked scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. I loved how the goodies were decorated with edible flowers and cute Cape gooseberries.

There was a choice of teas and coffees to drink with free refills and out came the mismatched vintage China. Although I don’t make teacup candles anymore, I still love the ritual of drinking tea from a proper teacup. πŸ™‚

Mismatched crockery.
Mouth watering.
A veggie afternoon tea for one.
Look at those goodies!
The Birthday Girl. 🍰

The King Street Townhouse Afternoon Tea is perfect for celebrations. A delectable tea time treat. 😁

Thanks to Ailyn, Louise and Sarah for their photo contributions. πŸ™‚

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Autumn in Strid Wood.

If your thinking of partaking in a Woodland walk this October, you can’t go far wrong with a wander along the woodland trails at the Bolton Abbey Estate in the Yorkshire Dales.Β  We took our dog Hugo here this morning and despite it being a soggy rainy day, we had a fab time enjoying the sights and sounds of Strid Wood. The Autumn colours are stunning at this time of year. And after despairing of not finding any fungi on local walks near where I live in Clitheroe, here at Bolton Abbey there are mushrooms and toadstools galore….
Here are a few images from our time on the estate. If you can identify any of the fungi I haven’t ( which is most of it! ) I would love your help. πŸ™‚

Male and female mandarin ducks. Saw lots of these beautiful birds.






Cauliflower Fungus.


Robin.

A rare sighting of a kingfisher sitting still. πŸ™‚


Possible Mallard Hybrid.


Beech nuts.

Have you enjoyed any Autumn walks recently?

Wild October. πŸπŸ„

The season is turning to Autumn and the natural world is abundant with colour. A quick glance at Pinterest and I was engulfed in Autumn inspired poetry and quotes.

I can smell Autumn dancing in the breeze, the sweet chill of pumpkin and crisp sunburnt leaves. ( Unknown).

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall. ( E. Scott Fitzgerald).

Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the Autumn tree. ( Emily Bronte).

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are October’s. ( Anne of Green Gables).

To celebrate the beauty of the natural world in October I’m joining in with the hashtag #wildoctober2019 on Instagram & Twitter. Why not bob over and post your own Wild October finds too. Here are some of the photos I’ve taken so far…

Horse Chestnut, Clitheroe Castle.

Cuckoo Pint Berries, Ladies Walk, Edenhall & Langwathby.

These look like tiny green flowers but I was informed on Twitter they are actually whorls of leaves on Hedge Bedstraw. Found in Melmerby.

Purple Callicarpa Berries, Clitheroe Castle.

Autumn leaves, Ladies Walk, Edenhall to Langwathby.

A collection of conkers in the pub. πŸ™‚

This weekend I’ve been at the caravan with Wil and Hugo. It’s the first weekend we’ve visited in cooler weather, so it was important to stay snug and warm. My tips for keeping cosy in Autumn are…..

Always have throws and cushions nearby.

I like to light a scented candle.

Cook something hearty and tasty like this yummy Veggie Curry .

Keep a favourite book or magazine to hand.

Or watch some well loved old movies. For an Autumn vibe try Hocus Pocus, When Harry Met Sally, Practical Magic, Beetlejuice or The Craft.

Indoors I live in my slipper boots. πŸ™‚

Outdoors I live in my Wellies! Head for a pub with a roaring fire after a woodland walk.

Keep Cosy.

Enjoy your Wild October. πŸπŸ„πŸ•ΈοΈπŸ¦‡

Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ September.

I am loving Kate’s words for September, they are giving this post a glowing Autumn vibe. If you would like to see more interpretations of the prompts that Kate chose , please pop over to her lovely blog.. ☺️

Cosy. Here is Simba the cat looking very cosy in his usual spot, on a table at the entrance of an Amsterdam restaurant. It was definitely his presence that attracted us there……..and the cheese!

Changing foliage. Autumn colours in Clitheroe town centre. After the glorious Indian Summer type weather we have recently experienced, it does feel more Autumnal now.

Scarf. I do actually have a recent photo of myself wearing a scarf. This was taken on Allonby Beach in Cumbria. In the distance you can make out Scotland, separated by the Solway Firth.

Baking. I’m not one for doing much baking ( as you can probably tell!) but this prompt did encourage me to bake this pear and ginger loaf cake. Hurrah! A recipe can be found here.

Cobweb. A misty Monday morning walk down by the river gave me ample opportunity to photograph cobwebs……….as there were thousands of them! It’s scary to imagine how many spiders are out there. πŸ•ΈοΈ

My Own Choice. This was taken last night on a Bat Walk organized by the Ribble Rivers Trust. My niece and nephew with Bat Detectors. Bats love water apparently and trees ( especially in hedges and on the edge of woods) as both attract insects. They can eat up to a thousand pesky midges a night, as well as other insects and even small fish. The Bat detectors enable the human ear to listen into bat calls which are mostly too high pitched for us to hear. We were able to detect Common Pipistrelles , Noctules and Daubenton’s Bats ( water bats) with the help of the detectors. It was an amazing and fun experience. πŸ™‚

Thanks for dropping by.

The Girls Go To The Caravan.

So one of the best things about owning a static caravan is being able to invite friends for a weekend away. Our caravan is in the village of Melmerby in the Eden Valley in Cumbria, close enough in driving distance to the beautiful LakeΒ  District, but in a less busy touristy area. On Friday five of us drove up to the van for a girls getaway.Β  We spent an enjoyable and chilled couple of days there. Here are a few photos from our trip.
Pre – trip selfie.
Pimm’s.



Meal out at The Shepherds Inn in Melmerby.



Breakfast on the decking.

A stunning Hat Model 😁. The Vintage Emporium ‘ La Brochante’ in Melmerby.

Exploring Penrith ~ Penrith Castle.

Quirky sign in Penrith.

Even quirkier sign in Penrith.

Drinks in Xavier’s Cafe Bar in Penrith.
Stunning Ullswater from Glenridding.

Jetty, Ullswater.

Meeting a furry friend ‘ Derek’ in Glenridding.

A Blueberry Pancake Breakfast at The Old Village Bakery in Melmerby.

It was fantastic to spend maybe our last sunny & warm  weekend of the Summer with my friends at the caravan. Happy Days. 😁

Thanks to Arwen & Marian for some of these photographs. πŸ™‚

Sunday Sevens ~ 15th September 2019.

I haven’t done a Sunday Sevens for a while, so maybe it’s time to recap my week with 7 ( or more) pics from the last 7 days.

Last Sunday we were up at the caravan and because it was sunny I managed to persuade Wil that it was the perfect day to drive to the seaside . We are about an hour away from Allonby on the Solway Coast. What a lovely little place! I must admit the trip was partly inspired by fellow blogger Eunice’s very informative post about the village, which she visited over the Summer. I love that Allonby and it’s surroundings have inspired so many artists over the years and writers Charles Dickens & Wilkie Collins stopped here on their tour of Cumberland. For us it was just the perfect place for a stroll on the beach with Hugo. πŸ™‚

I’ve managed to cross a couple of items off my 40 Things To Do Before I’m 50 Bucket List this week. Well kind of! One is to go to the remote farm in Yorkshire where Amanda Owen ( the Yorkshire Shepherdess) lives. She makes cream teas for the walkers that pass through. However she was actually doing a talk in nearby Longridge on Wed eve, so I got to see her there. She’s very down to earth , very funny and pretty awe inspiring. I got my book signed. I’m very chuffed!

Also on my bucket list is Eat Dutch Pancakes in Amsterdam. Well at the moment we are in Amsterdam! Having a bit of chill time so I thought I would upload some photos.

Canals & Bicycles.

Wils fave snack!

Spider Sculpture Rijksmuseum.

Sunflowers.

Poffertjes ( Dutch Pancakes) .

Stilt walking angel.

Rooftops.

Dam Square.

It’s my first time in the Dutch capital and I love it. πŸ˜€

Observations ~ Everyone rides bicycles, sometimes wearing flipflops or high heals, often carrying baskets of shopping, boxes, dogs, babies, etc

~ It’s a miracle that I didn’t get run over by a bicycle.

~The canals are full of noisy coots. These are small black water birds with white bills that build nests in boats and under canal bridges.

~The local drink is Jenever , a liqueur made from Dutch juniper berries. The term ‘Dutch Courage’ comes from soldiers taking a flask of this to war, for courage. I didn’t like it!

~ The outdoor markets are amazing. So many cheeses, mushrooms, stunning cut flowers etc

~ The Red Light District actually has a church in it ( The Oude Kerk) and the architecture there does make it an attractive place to visit.

~The rooftop on the Science Museum is a fantastic outside space with a free exhibition called Energetica .

~ There are lots of crooked houses….even if your not stoned. πŸ˜‰

Outside space on the Science Museum rooftop.

Jenever Bottles.

A saucy brass sculpture outside the Oude Kerk.

The Sea Palace Floating Chinese Restaurant opposite our hotel.

Thanks to Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for devising Sunday Sevens. X

Shap Abbey & Wet Sleddale Reservoir.

So on Saturday we decided to see what the Eden valley village of Shap has to offer. To be completely honest I have never been the biggest fan of Shap. Partly because it’s one of those places that you mostly just pass through, a road of grey houses on the way North…Β  and partly because I actually stopped there for a night once with an ex in the deathrows of our relationship. These reasons and the fact that it usually rains in Shap ( in my experience!) haven’t exactly endeared the area to me. But I am being unfair. A little bright sunshine and some friendly hospitality has happily changed my mind.
We arrived mid morning with a destination in mind, Shap Abbey. Little is left of this twelfth century abbey except the imposing tower which looks striking against both stormy and sunny skies. Information boards scattered around the site give a you a good idea of what was where. The building was one of several used by the Premonstratensian Order of Canons before the disolvation of the monestries by King Henry VIII.
The canons were known as ‘The White Canons’ because of their unusual white woollen habits. They were apparently given good pensions when their home was destroyed , some of the abbeys stones were used to build the adjoining farm house. I can’t help but wonder if those canons still walk the grounds of a moonlit night…..

Wandering round the abbey gave us a good appetite. Shap is home to an award winningΒ Fish & Chip shop. We headed there for lunch. Situated in the heart of the village, Shap Chippy is incredibly fresh and clean looking inside & out. The decor has a homely nautical vibe and we recieved a cheery welcome. You can eat in too, and we were pleasantly surprised that dogs are very welcome. Most importantly the fish & chips are excellent. Well recommended!



After that tasty treat we needed a good route to walk off those calories. Nearby Wet Sleddale Reservoir has a 4 mile public footpath & quiet road that circles the water. Set in the Shap Fells this triangular reservoir was built in the sixties, the water like many Lakeland reservoirs is used to supply Manchester. For this walk I recommend wearing wellies! I guess the clue is in the name. Wet Sleddale is indeed quite wet & boggy, even on a dry September day. We parked on the car park near the dam.



The countryside is lovely here and so peaceful. We only saw a couple of other walkers, so its definitely away from the Lake District crowds. Ling Heather, Scabious and Bog Asphodel grow in abundance and buzzards soar in the sky. The area also has connections with the cult ( and rather batty!) movie Withnail and I. Film locations include the stone bridge where Withnail attempts to shoot fish in the brook below and Sleddale Hall where him and his friend try holidaying in the Lake District. I took a sneak peek at the remote Hall, where outdoor screenings of Withnail and I are shown annually in the yard.


At the end of our wander round Wet Sleddale we sat and admired the gushing dam which is 21 metres high.

Have you ever visited Shap or the surrounding area?

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