My name is Shazza and I live in a small town in North west England with my boyfriend and our black lab Hugo and black cat Slinky. I work in a supermarket full time and in my spare time i enjoy reading,film,food( mostly eating it,I am a terrible cook!),taking photos,travel,camping,wildlife,spending time with my mates and hunting in car boots and charity shops for vintage teacups.This blog is hopefully going to be a collection of my fave things and musings on life,the universe and everything.Xx
Hi I’m mixing up my Links & Likes with a few piccies I took on walks at the weekend. April brings sunshine, showers ….and lots of flowers. That certainly rings true here in the Ribble Valley. Enjoy the photos and check out the blog links for some of the posts that I have particularly liked this month. 🙂
Yesterday I joined in with Photo An Hour on Instagram so I thought I would put the pictures on my blog too. It was quite a sunny warmish Saturday and I went for a walk with my camera in the morning. Later though the day turned into hours at the pub, so I didn’t post as many photos as I intended . Oooops!
8am. Wil went out with Hugo and I am lounging about in bed reading this great book called Tiny Islands. Its about all the relatively small islands off our coast. I never realised that there is a tidal island called Hilbre off West Kirby in The Wirral. Might be worth a visit sometime. Slinky thinks so. 🙂
9am. Shower time.
10am. I’m up and about. Have gone for a walk and am noticing the abundance of bluebells in flower.
11am. Cuckoo flowers and Dandelions are everywhere in this meadow. Lots of butterflies too.Spend a good while chasing them with the camera.
Noon. Heading home now. These wellies are about the only ones that have not split on me in my history of adult wellie wearing..
1pm. Wil has been a star and made lunch. 🙂
2pm. And he has hung the mirror in the spare room.Which means it is officially finished ! Further decorating this year includes the kitchen and the living room. But lets make the most of Summer first!
3pm. A brew and a read of my Wildlife Trust Magazine. Despite being in The Wildlife Trust, I don’t really make the most of my membership. But I am glad just being a member helps a bit.
4pm. Sat outside a Cafe Bar with Wil and Hugo. This is where my photo taking goes a bit pear shaped as we meet friends and I forget to take any pics.
8pm. Yep still out and the pack of Chilli Nuts is in danger of becoming tea !
10pm. Luckilly we are now home and the planned chicken fajitas are happening. 🙂
Whilst in London, there are so many ways to discover the city, to get your bearings and enjoy the view. Why not aim high and book a slot at Sky Garden in what locals affectionately call the Walkie -Talkie. 20 Fenchurch Street is the fifth tallest building in the capital, so as you can imagine the views over London are stunning.
Sky Garden is as it’s name suggests, a garden 38 stories up ! Three tiers of lush geenery and tropical pants make up this heavenly space , with its incredible panorama. I decided it would be the perfect venue to admire the city-scape , whilst we were down in London celebrating my sister’s Birthday. It was a fantastic post by Laura from Tales of Adventures Big and Small that inspired me to look it into it. Not long after , my facebook feed started buzzing with folks enjoying a cocktail here, so its definitely gaining in popularity. 🙂
Of course another incentive to visit, is that Sky Garden is a public garden , therefore absolutely free! You do however need to book an hour slot and tickets become available online up to three weeks before your chosen date.
Our overall experience of Sky Garden was great. We had a short wait on the ground floor before being ushered to the elevator that zipped us up into the clouds with ease. 🙂 On arrival we were drawn out onto the open terrace to enjoy the views and the fresh air.
It was a lovely sunny spring afternoon so the views towards the Shard and down the Thames were suitably impressive. After drinking in our surroundings we enjoyed cocktails at the bar. You are not obliged to buy any food or beverages, but this was a birthday treat after all. 🙂
There was ample time to explore the gardens and admire the many vistas before our hour time slot expired. Not that anyone asked us to leave, I think the staff are fairly relaxed about it.
It is possible to visit Sky Garden as a walk-in early mornings ( fancy breakfast with a view? ) and in the evenings. But make sure you do book tickets for daytime trips. Nearby tube stations include Monument and Tower.
Have you ever been to Sky Garden? I really recommend it as a great and Free thing to do in London. 🙂
Sunday Sevens this week seems to include lots of pub walks! Last weekend we picked up Hugo from the kennels after our London adventures. It was good to be reunited! Happily he seems very chilled in kennels and when we picked him up he was lounging around in his bed as usual ! We took him to Burnsall in The Yorkshire Dales and walked along the river to nearby Appletreewick, where we had a pub lunch. We certainly enjoyed the sunshine and Hugo had a good dip.
Fast forward to Good Friday and our friend’s traditional Good Friday Walk dawned wet and grey. Despite this it was apparently the Best turn out ever. Yay ! We had a good amble over to the village of Mitton , where we tried to get all the dogs together for a picture and had an easter egg hunt in ‘The Aspinall Arms’ beer garden. That was for the kids, not the dogs! 😉
Yesterday morning did a few jobs in town and enjoyed a delicious Red Berry and Hibiscus Tea and a chocolate dipped granola bar in Escape Coffee Bar. Was soo yummy.
We also went for a pub walk ( surprise! ) to Pendleton and found that the village pub ‘ The Swan with two Necks’ was all decorated up for Easter.
Sunday Sevens is a collection of 7 or more photos from the past week and was devised by the lovely Natalie at Threads And Bobbins .
Ha the title of this post sadly doesn’t refer to my knowledge of The London Underground! I am still hopelessly confused by the city’s magnificent transport system. This post simply documents a stroll from A to B, through three beautiful Royal Parks.
After hungrily devouring these gorgeous and expensive cakes in Harrods, with our eyes, we bought a few less expensive items for a picnic in nearby Hyde Park. Hyde Park covers 350 acres and it was just so nice to get out of the hustle and bustle , and into a lovely green space.
Now I’m afraid I didn’t do any research about the Royal Parks. Looking up Hyde Park now, I can see it is full of beautiful sculptures and statues, which we of course completely missed ! I did however see plenty of wildlife and lots of Spring Blossom. 🙂
Boy and Dolphin Fountain.
The Huntress Fountain.
We did spot two sculptures in Hyde Park. The marble Boy and Dolphin Fountain was made in 1862 by Alexander Munro, a friend of Alice In Wonderlands creator , Lewis Carroll. Not far from him is The Huntress Fountain, located in The Rose Garden. Look closely and see that she has made the ideal perch for Mr Magpie.
Our stroll had taken us as far as Wellington Arch which opens into the smallest of London’s Royal Parks, Green Park. Happily we decided to carry on and enjoy the open space. 🙂
The Parks are all the more pretty at this time of year , due to the gorgeous Spring Blossom. If you are in London right now be sure to head to the Royal Parks. 🙂 And look out for the city’s population of bright green parakeets! Popular legend has it that the Ring Tailed Parakeet population was given a helping hand by rock star Jimi Hendrix , who released two on Carnaby Street in the Sixties….
We walked through Green Park towards Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the Queen. A carpet of stunning colours greeted us as we crossed over the road into the oldest of the Royal Parks, St James’s Park.
St James’s Park is a delightful place to stop for an ice cream and admire the water fowl that frequent the lake. There are also wonderful views from the Blue Bridge towards Westminster and the London Eye.
We even managed to spot St James’s most famous residents ! Pelicans have lived in the park since 1664, when the Russian Ambassador gifted some to Charles II. They are cared for by a Wildlife Officer who feeds them fish every day and makes sure they are in tip top condition. The exotic birds also snack on fish in the lake and their usual hangout is Pelican Rock below.
Our walk had taken us through three Royal Parks and the hotel was mere minutes away. Who needs the Underground. 🙂
This past week I have been fortunate enough to have spent some time in my nation’s Capital London. And what a wonderful week ! Our trip was all in aid of celebrating my baby sister’s upcoming 40th Birthday. We managed to pack quite a bit in. Here are a few photos of what we got up to in this beautiful city. 🙂
Far the best way to travel to London ( unless you have your own private plane 😉 ) is by train. You can often find relatively cheap First Class Tickets, so your journey is speedy and comfortable with plenty of food and drink included. We booked with Virgin £80 each return from Preston and had use of Virgin’s complimentary First Class Lounge at Euston. ;0).
is well worth visiting, if only for the Dinosaurs ! Like many of London’s museums it’s free and is so vast you could easily spend the whole day here. I especially liked the moving Deinonychus above. One of the best ways of getting around the city is via The LondonUnderground and the nearest tube stops are Gloucester Road and South Kensington. Underground travel has gotten simpler with the use of contactless payment. Remember though , the money doesn’t go out of your account until a couple of days later.
Spring Blossom In Green Park.
Typically I hunted for Green Spaces in the city, and there are plenty. One day Wil, my brother and I bought a picnic from Harrods ( like you do)and sat down to eat it in Hyde Park. We then walked through Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park , back to our hotel near Trafalgar Square. It was a nice way of seeing London and the various wildlife that makes the park its home. Look out for the Parakeets!
Harrods food hall.
London Eye from St james’s Park.
My sister wanted to see a show whilst we were away and which better to experience than The Lion King which plays at The Lyceum and has since 1999. Its an amazing piece of musical theatre and we loved it. Highly recommended.
The Lion King.
Happy times. 🙂
Even in London it is possible to stumble upon almost secret places. Colourful Neals Yard in Covent Garden is an Instagrammers delight with its multi – coloured buildings. Its also a lovely spot for a coffee or a bite to eat. The perfect place to sit and watch the world go by.
If you are going to celebrate a special Birthday in the Capital then you might as well go the whole hog and book a luxurious Afternoon Tea in one of London’s high class hotels. 🙂 Claridges in Mayfair offers a delicious array of finger sandwiches, warm scones with Marco Polo jelly & Cornish clotted cream, a varied selection of teas and a tray of delectable cakes and desserts from £60 per person. The setting in the grand art-deco inspired foyer and the attentiveness of the friendly staff add to this sublime experience.
A must for everyone’s London trip is a river cruise down the Thames, taking in all the cities famed landmarks, old and new. We used City Cruises to plan a return jaunt to Greenwich which is definitely worth a visit.
Helter Skelter in Greenwich.
On the Boat.
Another way of enjoying stunning views of London is to go some place high. Very high ! Like The Shard The Sky Garden commands a spectacular vista of the city. Unlike The Shard, it is absolutely free ! You still need to book online and tickets are usually available from three weeks before you go. We enjoyed cocktails ,amazing views and an unusual garden setting from 155 metres above. 🙂
Sky Garden goodies.
Sky garden’s view.
So there you have it, just a small selection of what we got up to in London town. It was a fabulously memorable holiday and a fun way to spend time with family too. Hopefully I will try and blog about some of our adventures in more detail soon.
Thanks for reading and a Very Happy Birthday to my sister Yvonne. 🙂
Can you think of a more unusual way to spend a few pennies ( Tee Hee ) than booking a walking tour round the old toilets of Manchester?? My friend Fi decided to do just that for her Birthday recently…..and it proved to be a very interesting way to while away a couple of hours. 🙂 Billed as the cities ‘ most convenient tour’ this guided walk explores the history of Manchester’s use of toilets, from the Industrial Revolution onwards.
We met up with our tour guide and the rest of the group ( which included a band of poo enthusiasts ! ) at The Lass O Gowrie Public House on Charles street , just off Oxford Road. This old tiled Real Ales pub is situated on the site of the oldest ‘Pissotiere’ in Manchester. A pissotiere is a much pleasanter sounding word for public urinal. It was a public toilet ( with no privacy ) , where gents could relieve themselves into the river below. As you can imagine the river Medlock soon became a very smelly cesspit.
The Lass O Gowrie and nearby The Sailisbury are situated in a part of Manchester known as Little Ireland, a former slum area in the city. Anne ( our guide ) told us that Irish immigrants moved here in the 1820s to work in the factories and mills. Conditions were dyre with inhabitants living in crowded squaller in back to back terraces with
whole streets sharing just one toilet. And that toilet was little more than a big bucket that was emptied once a week. 😦 With the smog and pollution and insanitary filth , it must have been one hell of a miserable life here. 😦
On a more cheery note our next stop on The Toilets of Manchester Tour, was a former public toilet which is now a subterranean bar ! The Temple Of Convenience on Bridgewater Street was one of the Victorian-era lavatories originally built for businessmen and gentlemen visitors to the city. I don’t think ladies went to the toilet in those days, not public ones anyway! It would have been fun to bob inside the Temple for a quick half, but alas a drink in a former loo was not part of the tour. ; (
Anne regaled us with more tales and information about Manchester’s toilet history as we walked round the city in the wind and rain. It was therefore a nice surprise when she led us into an impressive Neo Gothic building that looked like a church, but is actually John Rylands Library.
John Rylands Library was completed in 1900 and was founded by Enriquita Rylands in tribute to her late husband, a Manchester textile mill owner and millionaire. Enriquita wanted the best of everything in the library , including the latest in modern flushing lavatories. 🙂
The original Victorian toilets ( the oldest working loos in Manchester! ) can be found in the library basement. Fortunately by 1900 Ladies could use public conveniences too, so Fi , Jo and I trundled off to spend a penny. 🙂
Our last stop on the tour was ‘ The jamie Oliver’ Restaurant ! It resides in an imposing 1930’s Art Decor building , formerly the Midland Bank at 100 King Street , known as The King Of King Street.
On the Crapper. 😉
Whilst the top floors house a swish boutique hotel called Hotel Gotham , the former bank vault ( which can be hired out for parties) is adjacent to the rest rooms, which contain reproduction Thomas Crapper lavatories .
Thomas Crapper was a renowned Victorian plumber and inventor whose flush toilets had the Royal Seal of Approval! His name lives on in potty mouths everywhere. 🙂