Books I Read In September & October.

I’ve now read 25 of the 40 books I set myself the challenge of reading in 2019. Not exactly on track. But importantly I’m still enjoying most of the books I’ve dipped into. I came by these via Wil, A Book Swap where a cash machine used to be, Wils Mum and a local supermarket. πŸ“š

Wolf By Wolf ~ Ryan Graudin ( 2015). What if the Nazis had won the Second World War? This is a reimagining of just that, a world where Adolph Hitler has extended his tyranny beyond Europe, beyond 1945. Prisoners in death camps are experimented on in order to create a race of blue eyed blonds. And an arduous motorcycle race across the continents is created to celebrate Hitler’s Youth and bond with Japan, with whom they tentatively share power. Former death camp inmate Yael ( now a member of the resistance) is charged with winning the race and assassinating Hitler at the Victors ball, a seemingly impossible task. But Yael is a skin shifter , a result of the experiments she endured as a child. Just maybe , the impossible can be achieved. ⭐⭐⭐

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves ~ Karen Joy Fowler (2013). Rosemary doesn’t really speak about her siblings. Once she had a brother ( who ran away) and a sister ( who seemingly disappeared too) and it is not until some way into the book that we learn just what exactly has happened in this rather disfunctional family. Shocking, sad, moving and with witty moments too, this is definitely a thought provoking read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Librarian Of Auschwitz ~ Antonio Iturbe ( 2019). Fourteen year old Dita is an inmate in the family camp at Auschwitz and here amongst the bleakest horrors, she takes charge of eight smuggled books, protecting and distributing them to her fellow prisoners. The books offer a tiny ray of hope in this desolate place, and Dita is risking all by doing what she does . What is most inspiring about this tale is that it is based on real characters. Dita Kraus is still alive today and educates the young about life in the concentration camps, determined that such attrocoties will never happen again. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Family ~ Louise Jensen ( 2019). If your in the mood for an absorbing psychological thriller with lots of twists and turns, this is definitely the book for you. When Laura and her daughter Tilly suffer an unimaginable loss, the only place they can turn to in the end is a local commune deep in the woods. Warmly welcomed by charismatic Alex and his band of followers , Laura and Tilly find sanctuary from their growing mountain of problems , at first. But here everyone has their own secrets, including Tilly and Laura. And secrets can really tear everything apart. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Any book recommendations?

A Ghostly Galleon on Ullswater and The Penrith Winter Droving.

It’s that spoooooky time of year when ghosties and goblins come out to play. I joined in with some Halloween fun at the weekend. Ullswater Steamers put on a Ghostly Galleon and myself , Wil, our friend Jo and God daughter Lydia enjoyed a cruise on the lake with a marvelous magic show and dressing up masks . Definitely aimed at children , but we adults had fun too. πŸŽƒπŸ¦‡


After our spooky boat trip we spent an hour or so at the Rheghed centre near Penrith, where Lydia found a Halloween treasure hunt and an outdoor adventure playground, before heading into town for the annual Winter Drovers Festival.

The Penrith Winter Droving started eight years ago and is a celebration of all things rural. There’s a Drovers Cup with team events such as Hay Bale Racing, Egg Throwing, Tug O War and Sausage eating. Throughout the day various musicians and street performers entertain  the crowds and a huge Cumbrian Food Market fills the streets. As dusk descends a fantastic torch lit procesion takes place around the town. The animal lanterns look so effective , all lit up against the darkening sky. Later back at the caravan, out came the monopoly. It had been a long but enjoyable day. πŸ™‚

Afternoon Tea at the Ivy, Leeds.

Hey I’ve been ever so decadent recently and indulged in my second afternoon tea in just eight days. I really can’t resist an afternoon tea invite though, plus it was epic to meet up with friends in lovely Leeds. πŸ™‚

Cocktails in the City ~ The Alchemist , Trinity Centre.

After shopping and cocktails in the city we headed for our reservation at The Ivy. Nowadays The Ivy collection of gorgeous art deco restaurants has spread North from London and countrywide , three having opened in Yorkshire at York, Harrogate & Leeds. The Leeds Ivy is situated in the ornate Victoria Quarter on Vicar Lane.

Victoria Arcade

I have to say I immediately fell in love with the stunning interiors in the Victoria Quarter restaurant. Theres definitely a wow moment as you enter and the upstairs area where Gill had booked us a table is just as stunning. Eye-catching images wherever you look!

Afternoon Tea at The Ivy comes served on a three tier cake stand. This and the crockery and napkins are embellished with a single green ivy leaf, a lovely attention to detail. A choice of hot drinks are included and I chose Peppermint tea.

And what of the tasty treats? We were definitely all impressed with the sweet selection , though maybe an extra sandwich would have been nice. There are three savouries included in this Afternoon Tea. My favourite was the chicken and truffle in a brioche roll.

The cakes were plentiful ( with two scones each, served with jam, strawberries and clotted cream) and I especially enjoyed the chocolate dessert in a plant pot. πŸ™‚

I would definitely recommend The Ivy in Leeds as an afternoon tea destination. And Leeds itself as a great day out with the girls. πŸ™‚ πŸ₯‚πŸ°

Thanks to Arwen and Gill for their photo contributions.

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™‚

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¦‡