Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

Hurrah for Macmillan Coffee Mornings !  Not only are they a brilliant and social way to raise money for a fantastic cause,  they are also pure heaven for those of us with a sweet tooth.  This morning I dropped in at my friend Nicola’s Macmillan Coffee morning…and stuffed myself with cake. Nicola , who is a Queen Baker ( as well as a busy Mum of 4! ) made all these goodies. 🙂

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Lemon Drizzle.
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Coffee Cake.
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Chocolate Fudge Cake.
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Take me to the Cake!

Our hostess got some recipe inspiration from the Macmillan Coffee Morning Recipe Page, which features quite a few recipes contributed by celebrities , such as Julie Walters and Amanda Holden.

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Afternoon Tea anyone?
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Ginger and Salted Caramel Cupcakes.
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Victoria Sponge.
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Pear and Ginger Cake. My personal favourite. 🙂
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Cookies 🙂 The dark chocolate and ginger biscuits on the left, another favourite of mine , this recipe provided by Harry Potter star Rupert Grint. 🙂

Nicola was sent a Coffee Morning Kit when she signed up to host this event, and this  included table cloths, bunting & cake toppers etc, as well as ideas for fund raising games and raffles. She had such a successful morning that she raised an amazing £270!

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Cake really is best enjoyed with friends.

You can host a Macmillan Coffee Morning whenever you like, and help raise funds to support people with cancer. The website is Here. 🙂

Photo an Hour Sat 24 September.

On Saturday I joined in with Janey and Louisa’s Photo An Hour challenge on Instagram. For me it was a different kind of day as Wil was away falling off a bike  mountain biking in deepest darkest Wales….so it was just me and the pets for most of the day.

8am. This is how I woke up. With furry faces in my face. 🙂

9am. Out in the park with Hugo and his doggie friend Mollie The Collie.

10am.  I take Hugo for a coffee ( he got a couple of treats ! ) at Escape in town. They are currently selling the most yummy Finch Bakery cupcakes, so well, I couldn’t resist!

11am. On the way back home Hugo poses with some scooters. Saturday was actually The Ribble Valley Mod Weekender so Clitheroe was packed with Vespas and Lambrettas.

12 Noon. I’m back in town running errands…and….shopping. 😉

1pm. Quick pasta lunch before catching the train to nearby Whalley to meet my sister and nephew.

2pm. We take Hugo for a walk by the River Calder. He hunts out an old tennis ball ( that dog has a snout for all things rubber!) so much fun is had. 🙂

3pm.  And no trip to Whalley is complete without refreshments in Benedicts. We loved this cafe with it’s smart decor and a-joining deli and gift shop. Pet friendly too!

4pm. Oooops no photo. The truth is when I got home I bobbed over to Bowland Beer Hall,  bought myself half a cider and promptly got the worst heartburn ever!!!  Luckily a glass of milk proved an amazing cure….but the experience put me off going out again that night.

5pm. Instead stayed in and watched The Addams Family. Class!

6pm. And put photos in my album. So rock n roll!!

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7pm. So this is a totally staged photo of course. I am reading MIss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ( and loving it 🙂 ), but Autumn leaves were not falling gently over me.lol. 🙂

8pm. Writing up my Sunday Sevens 25th September blog post.

9pm. New ankle boots that I purchased from Beryls in Clitheroe this morning. Weirdly I think these are my first pair of ankle boots since the nineties! Like the colour.

Cheers for reading. Maybe you can join in on Instagram next time. Look for the #photoanhour tag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Sevens 25th September.

Sunday’s here again and so is Sunday Sevens, which is devised by Natalie at Threads and Bobbins, wherever she may be lately….:)

Last Sunday Wil and I found the best place to go for Breakfast. Hindelinis at Ribblesdale lodge park in Gisburn is a cosy country cafe with a stunning interior ( think blue leather sofas and logs piled high) that serves yummy food, especially breakfasts. I had pancakes with strawberries and blueberries, drizzled with maple syrup and Wil had the Eggs Benedict. So good!

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We had actually stopped on the way to do a Supermarket shop in Skipton.  Keelham Farm Shop on the outskirts of the town is a great place to pick up fresh produce. But boy was it busy!  Luckily the cheese tasters are topped up regularly. 🙂

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Waiting for Bridget. Photo credit A Garley.

Has anyone seen Bridget Jones’s Baby yet?  Went with the girls last weekend ….and really enjoyed it. Sure Bridget is now 43 and seems to have got it together in the whole losing weight and becoming a (kinda) successful tv producer thing. But being Bridget, she still puts the kooky into everything else….especially her love life!  Lots of chuckles, old familiar faces …and some new ones, star turns and the odd glass of chardonnay. Go Enjoy. 🙂

The Mods are in town this weekend at The Ribble Valley Mod Weekender and Clitheroe is ram packed full of Scooters, live bands and Paul weller look-alikes.

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But Hugo and I escaped the Mod Madness and went for a walk with my sister and nephew.

What have you got up to lately?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links and Likes, Lately. 

Im Spreading the Blog Love and adding a few other links in this post. Enjoy!                       

How lovely that Roots and Toots has baked her Hollywood Idol’s own recipe for Chocolate Brownies. Yummy!

Also in Blogland I’m loving Rike’s little piece of cyberspace, as much as ever. She not only poses in stunning vintage frocks, she makes them all too. She writes her blog Draped in Cloudlets in both her native German…. and English.

If Rike could dress a star, I suspect she would love to drape the delectable Eva Green in velvets and ruffles, especially as she is currently starring in the new Tim Burton movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children..  I do love a Tim Burton movie and this one I am especially excited about, as I am currently reading Ransom Rigg’s kooky and strange tale. 🙂

Who is going to Yarndale this weekend?  The Yorkshire Dales town of Skipton brings together over 180 exhibitors over the next two days, all keen to share their passion for wool. Expect to be Yarn bombed on arrival. 🙂

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Joanna Lumley sees dancing cranes, cherry blossom,geisha and snow monkeys in Japan.

If you have ITV Catchup it’s worth watching the Fabulous Joanna Lumley in Japan. She is a wonderful tour guide to this most mysterious of countries.

I was yappy to discover Man About A Dog Blog  and am following adorable hound Grenson on his amazing pet-friendly glamping trips , with some envy I admit.

Bev has put her own unique twist on Toad In The Hole.

And here’s a lovely post about The Art of Letter Writing  on Vintage Flicker.

However I’m tempted to join www.postcrossing.com , just so I can send and recieve random postcards from all over the world. Sounds like fun to me!

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Snow dogs by the Sea. 🙂

 

The Snow Dogs By The Sea Art Trail in Brighton & Hove has been inspired by characters from the beloved animated tale ‘The Snowman and the Snowdog’ by Raymond Briggs.  The colourful Snow Dogs Sculptures will be scattered around the area from 24th September and  eventually auctioned off to raise money for Martlets Hospice.

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!

 

 

Sunday Sevens September 18th.

Although there was a nip in the air early yesterday morning, it still feels like Summer here in North West England. Even though I have recently written a Twenty Things To Do This Autumn. 🙂 blog post, the warm rays of Summer hang on. 🙂

Last Sunday we traveled home from Grange-Over-Sands as we had stayed the night there after doing the The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk. It’s well worth doing by the way! On our meander home to Clitheroe we stopped off in both Cartmel and Bolton Le Sands.

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A cute cafe cat relaxes outside The Mallard in Cartmel.

Cartmel is a pretty medieval village specially famed for it’s Sticky Toffee Pudding, ancient priory, busy race course and a variety of foodie shops. We had a little walk in the nearby woodland and enjoyed a hot chocolate in the village centre.

We stopped later in Bolton le sands near Morecambe for lunch. I wish I had taken some photos of the sea, however I did manage to take the following cute animal pictures. 🙂

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Lapwing. One of my favourite birds.
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Ponies at Bolton le sands.

Giant rabbits at Red Bank Farm campsite which has a cafe and a pets corner, open to non residents too.

The giant rabbits reminded me of the book I have just finished reading. It’s called When God was A Rabbit. Has anyone ever read it?  I loved the first half but the second half wasn’t as good.

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Yesterday I made some cookies. Why do they never look as good as in the recipe book? Ha ha.! 🙂

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Dark Chocolate & Pistachio Cookies.

They are pretty tasty though ….and the recipe can be found in Sabrina Ghayour’s Cook Book ‘Sirocco’ ~ Fabulous flavours from the East.

This post is for Sunday Sevens which is devised by Natalie at the blog Threads and Bobbins. where she asks folks to share seven ( or more) photos of their personal week.

 

 

 

Twenty Things To Do This Autumn. :)

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Autumn Leaves. Image via Pinterest.

 

I thought I would get in the mood for Autumn, and the best way for me to do that, is to make a list of course! Enjoy. 🙂

 

 

1. Go for a woodland walk and admire the changing colours.

2. Refill your hanging baskets with Autumn favourites such as pansies, cyclamen and Ivy.

3. Fill your home with the scents of Autumn. Add cinnamon sticks,orange rind,whole cloves and bay leaves to water and simmer on the stove.

4. Go Blackberry picking and make a lovely crumble.

5. Autumn is the perfect time to get cosy on an Autumn Glamping Break. How about staying in a colourful Shepherd’s Hut  in the Lakes, a luxurious Safari Tent in the Trough of Bowland or a beautiful Showman’s Wagon in Cornwall.

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Poetry. Image joana-duarte-23198-tumblr.com

6. Curl up with some Autumnal Poetry , such as Emily Bronte’s Fall, Leaves Fall.

7. Dust off the Slow Cooker and make some simple hearty stews.

8. Grab the girls and head out to the movies to see Bridget Jones Baby or A street Cat Named Bob. 🙂

9. Bring Nature indoors and decorate your Mantel Piece with leaves and fruits.

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Autumn Fireplace Display by Rosalilium blog.

10. Rent a good gothic movie. How about Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak or Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow.

11. Jump in a big pile of leaves. 🙂

12. Fill a vase with colourful orange and gold blooms such as dahlias, crysanthemums and chinese lanterns.

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Toasty.Image ~ The Londoner.

13. Grab cosy blankets, a camping stove, and toast marshmallows with friends.

14. Learn to crochet. I really need to do this!

15. Join in the fun at your local Apple Pressing Day.

16. Explore your local town on a spooky Ghost Walk.

17. Look out for an Autumn Themed Afternoon Tea to try out, or create your own..

18. Collect sloes and make boozy Sloe Gin.

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Afternoon Tea. Image via Pinterest.

19. Practice your Apple Bobbin skills. 🙂

20. Get your mitts around a warming Pumpkin Spiced Latte.

What would you add to the list? X

The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk.

At the Weekend I got to tick something off my Bucket List and raise a bit of money for charity. Can’t be bad!  For a while now I have wanted to do ‘The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk’ which is a guided walk across the shifting sands between Arnside and Grange-Over-Sands in Cumbria. The walks are led by Cedric Robinson MBE ( the Queen’s Official Guide), who has been escorting thousands of charity fundraisers safely  over the bay since 1963. That makes him pretty darn experienced , wouldn’t you agree !

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The walk starts on the front at pretty Arnside. No Hugo is not seeing us off. He will be joining us for this 8 mile trek over the bay. 🙂

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There are about 200 people joining us too, dressed mostly in shorts and trainers or walking sandals. Some brought the kids and others bring four legged friends. We were soon met by Cedric in his trusty tractor.

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Cedric is a bit of a celebrity so he poses for a few photos with fans before we set off.

The sands are so beautiful and stretch out for miles in front of us. They are also very dangerous so it’s important never to cross without a respected guide.

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Even in such an impressive turnout, it is possible to enjoy the serenity of the seascape.

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Eventually we cross our first channel !  The River Kent creates the channels and we are soon paddling…….

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Even these little fellas are doing the doggy paddle. 🙂  One Jack Russell Terrier called Cato still kept paddling with his front paws in mid air,even after his owner picked him up. Aww!

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The water comes up to my mid thigh. Yep I’m a short arse!  Hugo does swimmingly well. 🙂

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I resigned myself to the fact that I would get pretty wet. So did Hugo ! Luckily the weather is kind to us and amazingly we don’t feel cold at all.

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We cross several channels in this way. The route is marked by Laurel Branches, chosen because their leaves do not drop.

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Cedric keeps an eye out for us all. I ask him if , as the Queen’s Official Guide, he has ever taken Her Majesty across Morecambe Bay. He hasn’t ( yet! ) but he has had the pleasure of accompanying Prince Phillip in the 1980s. He had to tell The Duke off for  driving his horse and carriage to fast over the sands!

Our walk takes a little over four hours and ends at Kent Bank station ,just outside Grange-Over-Sands. We amble back to our little B&B muddy, with aching legs and a great sense of achievement. 🙂

If you would like to donate to my  Just Giving  page please do. We are raising money for ‘East Lancs Hospice’.

And here is some more information about The Morecambe Bay Walk.

Can you Glamp in Lancashire? Yes Of Course!

I  sometimes feel that Lancashire gets a raw deal in the holiday guides. As beautiful  as my home  county is ,with its rolling hills, pretty villages,miles of stunning coastline and it’s fascinating industrial heritage, lovely Lancs is often overshadowed by it’s more touristy cousins, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. However Lancashire can compete in the glamping stakes! I did some research and found the following options. 🙂

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Stanley Villa Farm Glamping.  A lot less fuss than putting up a tent are these cute camping pods at Fylde Trout Fishery near Blackpool. There are 24 on site , with views over the fishing lake. All have 2 single beds with mattresses and enough room for a double airbed too, so ideal for couples,groups of friends or families. No electricity but the main lodge on site has communal cooking facilities and free teas,coffees and hot chocolates!  Each pod has it’s own fire pit and bbq facilities and a separate mini pod contains children’s toys,games and sports equipment. Pet friendly too. Prices from £47 per pod,per night. www.campingbugs.co.uk

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Shepherd’s Huts at Samlesbury Hall. Brightly coloured family friendly Shepherd Huts in the grounds of a historic 14th century Hall. There are 3 in the prettily arranged ‘Hut Hamlet’ , each with two double beds with memory foam mattresses, low-wattage electricity and cosy ensuites. Kids will love the Mayflower playground and the mini menagerie. The Hall itself ( check on opening times) is free entry and the guided tours are free too. The restaurant in Samlesbury Hall does cooked breakfasts….and there is a Wafflery called  ‘ Dotties’. One pet-friendly hut. Prices from £25 per person, per night.  www.samlesburyhall.co.uk

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Lanterns & Larks in the Forest Of Bowland.  Hidden on the Bleasdale Estate in an ‘ Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, these luxury Glamping Tents have the most stunning of backdrops, the Bowland Fells. Each lodge has 3 bedrooms, shower and WC  and an  open plan living area with a cosy wood burning stove at it’s heart. A decked terrace , fire pit and barbecue complete these rural canvas cabins. Perfect for families, groups, wildlife lovers, walkers & cyclists…..and dogs are welcome too. Prices start from £365. www.lanternsandlarks.co.uk .

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Feather Down at Dolphinholme Farm.  Also on the edge of the beautiful Forest of Bowland, Dolphinholme Farm is only 20 minutes from the coast and very near the river Wyre. The 1920’s style Safari tents with wooden flooring and cosy wood burning stoves are the perfect getaways for families and groups of friends. Kids have plenty to keep them occupied here. There is a child orienteering course , a treasure hunt and a big play barn!  The farm has an Honesty shop selling it’s own cheese.  Oh and dogs are welcome . Prices for short breaks begin at £189. www.featherdown.co.uk .

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Yurts at the Red Pump Inn.  The Red Pump  is a picturesque Country Inn situated in the tiny village of Bashall Eaves near Clitheroe. As well as the usual accommodation inside the Inn, guests can ‘glamp’ in stylish Yurts, with lovely views of Pendle Hill and Longridge Fell. All feature king size beds with fur throws, a cosy wood burning stove and ensuite bathrooms. Breakfast is included next door in the pub and guests can dine at the Red Pump’s Steak House Restaurant. Nearby attractions include historic Clitheroe Castle and Bowland Wild Boar Park. Dog friendly. Prices from £250 B &B  for a two night stay.

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Lynx Helicopter stay.  For something completely different , how about stopping in a converted 1982 Westland Lynx XZ676 helicopter!  X-ray Zulu 676 sleeps up to four people and includes a custom made low down double ‘bunk’ in the tail of the helicopter, twin pull out bunk for additional sleeping space, LED flat screen TV and kitchen area with mini fridge and microwave. He stands proudly on a campsite 4 miles from Blackpool in the pretty Fylde countryside. Blackpool Wakepark is adjacent to the site and a ‘Learn to Wakeboard’ package is available for the adventurous. 🙂 Prices from £100 per night. www.reamhills.co.uk .

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Feather Down at Wyresdale Park.  Feather Down Farms already have a glamping site at lovely Dolphinholme Farm but it’s not their only one in Lancashire. Wyresdale Park near Preston hosts more cosy canvas lodges on their beautiful country estate.  All lodges sleep six, have their own private bathroom facilities, wood burning cooking stove, veranda with outdoor furniture and a wood fuelled hot tub. Kids will love the games and rope swing, nearby play barn and petting zoo at Old Holly Farm.  There’s a lake to enjoy messing about on boats and a glass house tea room at the Hall. Pets are very welcome. Prices from £429 for a short break. www.featherdown.co.uk.

Star Campers.  So why stay in one place?  When you have the whole of Lancashire on your doorstep, why not explore it in one of Star Camper’s stunningly restored VW Camper Vans !  Star Campers are based in the Ribble Valley near Clitheroe and Sunny above is one of two vans currently available ( 2 more, Buster and Terry should be ready for 2017) for hire. Such lovingly done restorations set apart the camping from the glamping.   Sunny is an original 1972 Tin top Westfalia campmobile and Starline is a 2009 VW T5 TDI. I can certainly vouch for Starline as Wil, Hugo the dog and I took him away for a night last year. 🙂  Dog friendly. Prices from £100 per day. www.starcampers.co.uk.

Glamping Pods at The Golden Ball Pub.  With elevated views over the River Lune near Morecambe these camping pods are affordable luxury. Each of the three pods has a double bed, sofa bed, ensuite shower and wc, flat screen tv and tea and coffee making facilities. With a food serving pub on your doorstep plus all the attractions of the seaside town of Morecambe nearby , these mini cabins are definitely a tempting option. Prices from £50per pod, per night. www.snatchems.co.uk.

whoooo all his research has definitely given me the Lancashire Glamping bug!

Are you tempted?

 

Bassenthwaite and Grasmere.

 

Last weekend was a Bank Holiday and also Hugo’s 2nd Birthday! We had planned to take him to the Lake District for the day on Sunday and bag another lake or two. Sad dog-parents that we are, we have a map of the Lakes on the kitchen wall with photos of Hugo pinned to it ,splashing around in various lakes and tarns. Wil surprised me by booking us into a hotel in Keswick on the Sunday night! So we got to spend 2 days there instead of one. 🙂

On the Sunday we visited a lake that I had never been to before. Bassenthwaite is the most northerly of the lakes in The Lake District and one of the largest at 4 miles long. We did a short circular walk from Scarness Bay and Hugo enjoyed some doggy paddles. We didn’t see many people except for a few canoeists and a dog walker or two. I loved that the shore was abundant with wildflowers and bees.

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We stopped in The Skiddaw Hotel in Keswick which had a great location right in the centre of town. Wil had paid for an evening meal too ( the boy did good 🙂 ) and I chose the veggie option of ‘Stilton & Mushroom Tart’ which was really tasty. Afterwards we had a wander round the pubs and bars. Keswick is a very dog-friendly place and we were spoilt for choice for places to go with Hugo.

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The next day ( Bank Holiday Monday) we headed to Grasmere village and had a walk on the banks of Grasmere itself. This lake is one of the smallest at 1 mile long and half a mile wide. William Wordsworth described this area as ‘the most loveliest spot that man hath found’.  It was indeed lovely. We even found a quirky tea garden called Faerieland.

The almost hidden tea garden on the lake shore also hires out rowing boats with whimsical names such as Romany and Theodosia. There are friendly ducks and quite friendly swans ~ I don’t think they are labrador fans! I enjoyed a hot mulled apple drink and wished I could take a look inside the gipsy wagon. No fairies in sight but still an enchanting place all the same.