All posts by shazza

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

Wildlife Moments in 2017. 

I thought I would post a few of my favourite wildlife photos that I have taken whilst out and about this year. There have been a few special moments! I finally managed to photograph a kingfisher  ( not once, but twice! ) and I was thrilled to spy a Green Woodpecker by the river Wharfe in Yorkshire.  A holiday on the Norfolk Coast proved an amazing experience for wildlife spotting and even a few days away in London gave me some photographic opportunities. 🙂 Hope you enjoy my pictures.

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Small Blue Butterfly  , Old Hunstanton sand dunes.
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Pied Wagtail eating lunch , Brotherswater.
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Kingfisher perched above a rowing boat on the River Nidd in November.
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Foxgloves in Sandringham Country Park.
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Comeront , River Esk, Cumbria.
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Tawny Owl, Muncaster Castle.
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Sea Holly, Rossall Beach, Fleetwood.
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Nesting Fulmar  in the stripey cliffs of Hunstanton.
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Fallow Deer, Dalemain Estate, Cumbria.
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Grey Heron in Hyde Park, London in April.

 

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Moorhen in Hyde Park.
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Green Parakeet ( another London Park regular).
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Vallarean flowers amongst the beech huts, Old Hunstanton.
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Wild flowers on the banks of Ullswater.
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Kingfisher on the river Nidd.
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Sea Asters, Cromer.
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Six spotted burnet moth, Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve.
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Common and Grey Seals, Blakeney Point, Norfolk.
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Green Woodpecker next to the river Wharfe in the Dales.
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Pheasant in the Dales.

What wildlife have you enjoyed viewing in 2017?

 

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Harrogate. 

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A few weeks ago we spent a couple of nights in the Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate. This charming town is the ideal mini break destination , boasting elegant architecture, beautiful parks, art & theatre, olde worldy pubs, over 130 restaurants and shopping galore. Whats not to love!

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From the cobbled streets and boutique stores of the historic Montpelier Quarter to the chilled 70’s vibe of Major Tom’s Social, we discovered some fab places, yet there is still so much left to explore.  Which of course can only mean, we shall have to return. 😁

Wil had booked us into one of these lovely apartments , quite centrally located,  off  Cold Bath Road.  Because we had planned a morning at the Turkish Baths Hugo did not accompany us on this trip. But just in case your wondering, our accomodation did turn out to be pet friendly, so he could  definitely come with  us in the future.

I’ve made a little list of some of my personal favourite places that we came accross in Harrogate.  😁

 

 

Major Tom’s Social.   Describing itself as a ‘ Youth Club for grown ups’ this laid back hangout above a retro vintage shop specializes in selling craft beer and real ales. Also on the menu are fantastic stone baked pizzas made freshly on site. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours here one evening chilling out on a comfy sofa and soaking in the 1970’s flavour of the place. Dotted around Major Toms are allsorts of retro memorabilia and like it’s name suggests it’s a very sociable bar, welcoming everyone including families with children and dogs too.  www.majortomssocial.co.uk

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Covet.   A few doors down from  Major Tom’s Social is an eclectic gift and interiors emporium called Covet  which has a sister store in Ilkley.  Packed full of unique pieces this quirky independent is a treasure trove of the unusual. I wish I had gotten a photograph of the ground floor as some of the more unusual items for sale included wire moose heads and taxidermy butterflies. Well worth a browse for a thoughtful gift or interesting pieces for the home.

 

 

 

 

Baltzersen’s.   Sometimes it’s good to try something a little different and Harrogate certainly caters for all tastes. Balterzen’s on Oxford Road uses Yorkshire sourced produce in its  Scandinavian inspired menus.  This place was buzzing when we arrived on a Saturday lunch time so it’s probably best to roll up early to miss the queues. I tried a delicious open sandwich with maple and mustard roasted root veg , houmous and pickled baby carrots. Was soooo good!  Other goodies on the menu include Lentil and root veg Lapskaus ( Norwegian Stew) , Gravlaks on potato cake with poached duck egg & sweet dill dressing and Mackerel Pate with rye toast, gooseberry chutney and feta salad. www.baltzersens.co.uk

 

 

Betty’s Tea Rooms.  No visit to Harrogate is complete without a trip to Betty’s.  This Yorkshire institution blends the county’s friendly  hospitality with elegant surroundings and a distinctly Swiss flavour. It’s founder Frederick Belmont was born and raised in Switzerland almost 100 years ago. Bettys is renowned for its delectable cakes and chocolates and of course Afternoon Tea ,which has been enjoyed here for nearly a century. One way to avoid the crowds ( Bettys is extremely popular) is to treat yourself to a Betty’s breakfast early in the morning. My Swiss Rosti set me up the day. Make sure you check out the gift shop too with it’s dazzling array of baked goods and confectionary.  www.bettys.co.uk

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Turkish Baths.  Harrogate is  home to Britain’s most fully restored Turkish Baths, dating back to the 19th Century. I have long wanted to discover them for myself, so I booked us both in for a Saturday morning session. 🙂  The Turkish Baths experience begins in the elegant Frigidarium above, where you gradually become acclimatized to the warmth. Next it’s a case of braving The Steam Room, The Tepidarium ( warm room), Calidarium ( hot room) and Laconium ( hottest room) with showering and immersions in the invigorating plunge pool in between. And then…. simply…repeat!  What I treasured most about my visit was admiring the stunning moorish architecture. The Baths are so beautiful and definitely worth a visit. Make sure you book, take some flip flops ( the terrazzo flooring gets quite hot) and drink plenty of the free water that is provided.  www.turkishbathsharrogate.co.uk

 

The Little Ale House.  A very happy discovery , the Little Ale House on Cheltenham Crescent is Harrogate’s first Micropub. Cosy and friendly with a great selection of real ales and gins, this bar is run by a young husband and wife team , often accompanied by their gorgeous collie cross rescue dog. 🙂 A tiny pub but well worth a visit if you can squeeze in. Oh and the pork pies are to die for!

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Weetons Food Hall.  My browse round Weetons was all to brief ,but if you are a foodie you will definitely enjoy perusing the many goodies on offer in this attractive Food Hall. Overlooking the Stray ( one of the town’s many green spaces) Weetons also has a restaurant , an award winning butchers and lots of mouthwatering displays. www.weetons.com

 Have you ever been to Harrogate?  Where would you recommend me to visit on a future trip? I am sure I will return. 🙂

A waterfall walk in the Dales.

Last Sunday we decided to take Hugo on a proper long walk ie somewhere different to the usual trudge down the fields and back. After checking the weather forcast we grabbed our walking boots and headed for the Dales, where it was meant to stay dry until at least after lunch. 😉

I had found an 8km ( 5 mile) walk starting from the village of Stainforth near Settle in a Northern Eye book called Top 10 walks to WATERFALLS. The route takes in two waterfalls Catrigg Force and Stainforth Force as well as moorland and riverside. We parked at the pay and display car park in the village and followed the ‘Pennine Bridleway’ up the fellside.

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The view as we headed out of the village.
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Belted Galloways on the hillside.

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Sign for Catrigg Force or Foss.

It wasn’t long before we came upon Catrigg Force, tumbling 50ft down into Stainforth Beck. The falls and surrounding area were explored often by composer Sir Edward Elgar,  who would stay in nearby Settle when visiting his friend and fellow musician Dr Charles Buck. Maybe the peaceful Yorkshire Dales inspired his compositions…

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Catrigg Force.

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You may be wandering why I am dangling a pink and green toy dog over a waterfall?? This is Sybil and these cute stuffed dogs are made by a group on facebook called Hounds4Huntingtons in exchange for donations to the Huntington’s Disease Association. Sybils love adventures so I shall take her on a few of mine. If you like , check out their facebook page or Sybil_On_Tour  on Instagram. 😁

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A lonely old barn.

After admiring the waterfall we continued on until Higher Winskill Farm where we had to walk through a field of these magnificent beasts! They seemed quite interested in us but pretty friendly.

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I think we took a wrong turn at Higher Winskill and we ended up on the moorland road that leads into the village of Langcliffe , instead of taking a footpath there. Luckilly the road was quiet and the scenery lovely. The rain was moving in however and by the time we got to Langcliffe it was pouring down.

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St John the Evangelist Church, Langcliffe.

Langcliffe looked a nice village but disappointingly there was nowhere to shelter from the bad weather. No pub, no cafe and no shop. 😦 We persevered on , crossing a railway and a weir over the river Ribble.

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The weir at Langcliffe.
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One of the less muddy parts of the riverside.
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Hugo negotiates a stone style.

The rest of the walk followed the Ribble, a river that flows through my hometown of Clitheroe as well. We continued on past a caravan site and eventually we were rewarded with the cascading Stainforth Force and an old pack horse bridge. Happilly by this time the rain stopped long enough to pose for a few photos. 😁

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Stainforth Force.

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The old packhorse bridge dated 1675.

After crossing the old packhorse bridge we followed the short road back to Stainforth itself to complete our waterfall walk.

Have you any waterfalls near you?  What is your favourite waterfall walk? 

The Chocolate Works ~ Clitheroe. 

I am in big trouble! A Chocolate Cafe has opened in my home town…and you know, I cannot resist chocolate.  😁  The Chocolate Works on Castle Street serves up heavenly Hot Chocolate, Union Hand Roasted Coffee and has an amazing cake selection too.

But of course if you are a Chocolate Cafe you have to pull out all the stops. To tantalise a chocoholics sweet tooth, the Chocolate Works menu includes freshly made Bubble Waffles,  in a variety of fun flavours.

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Delicious Cakes and do I spy a Chocolate Fountain??
I won’t waffle on but these waffles are scrumdiddlyumptious!

On a visit with  friends at the weekend we seriously indulged and ordered off the Bubble Waffle Menu. I opted for the Oreo Madness  , recommended by my 6 year old god daughter. 🙂 But what are Bubble Waffles, I hear you ask?

I must admit I had never even heard of Bubble Waffles until my trip here. The dessert originates from Hong Kong and has instagrammed its way to our shores over the summer. Served in tall  knickerbocker glory type glasses the light bubbly waffles fold round an indulgent bundle of fillings. My Oreo Madness contained vanilla ice-cream, crushed Oreos and Nuttella. Nope I don’t think theres a low fat version. 😉

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The shop also sells a variety of chocolates, sweets and popcorn.
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Chocolate themed decor.

Also on the menu are chocolate dippers ; marshmallows dipped in chocolate. I knew there was a use for that chocolate fountain!  

The Chocolate Works is a lovely venue to meet up with friends. And as you can imagine kids will love it here too. My god daughter already calls this her favourite place in Clitheroe. 😁

The staff are welcoming and friendly and the owner is very passionate about chocolate. He’s even started making his own on the premises. 

Go on…….indulge. 😉

 So bob in, take a seat, your in for a treat. 😃

Chocoholics will not be disappointed! 

Hawthorn’s November Scavenger Hunt. 

November brings another Scavenger Hunt from the lovely Katie/ Hawthorn at I live, I craft, I Love, I am me….

So here is what I have come up with for the prompts this month. Most of these pictures are from last weekend. Wil booked us a couple of nights in Harrogate for my birthday and on the way home on Sunday we visited the nearby town of Knaresborough. 

Blue.  I was delighted to actually manage to take a photo of a Kingfisher recently, on the river Nidd in Knaresborough.  I saw a gleam of Blue fly up into a tree and used my camera to investigate. I was thrilled especially as photographing this iconic bird is on my 25 Before 45 ~ A Bucket List.

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Me.  And here’s another bird I found in Knaresborough. This is Me with Hedwig the Owl and Harry potter on the other side of the window. There is lots of street art like this in the town.

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Starts with W.  And more  Street Art at Blind Jack’s Public House. Look who is leaning out of the Windows.  

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Rainbow.  Rather lucky that I came accross this gift shop called Rainbow’s End. Those colourful glass rainbows are rather effective. 

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Arch. Knaresborough is famous for it’s impressive Victorian viaduct and it’s splendid Arches are widely photographed.  Four 78ft high arches span the river Nidd and carry trains across to this day.

Toy. Well if you know me by now you will probably see why I was drawn to this room ,  absolutely devoted to Dogs! It’s in the Orvis Countrywear store in Harrogate and is chocca full of dog toys, dog beds and everything a discerning pooch could need. A visit with Mr Hugo is on the cards. 🐕

Swirl. A trip to Harrogate is not complete without a visit to Betty’s Tea Rooms. If you want to avoid the daytime queues get there early for breakfast or why not bob by  for dessert in the evening. A decadent Icecream Sundae with a swirl of whipped cream and a blueberry on top does the trick. 😃

Brush. I hunted in the archives for this one and found brush to be broomsticks! This was taken 3 years ago on The Pendle Sculpture Trail in Barley, which tells the story of the Lancashire Witches.  

Nail.  Found this prompt quite difficult, but you can see my toe nails in this picture I took whilst relaxing in the Frigidarium in Harrogate’s wonderfully ornate Turkish Baths. 

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My Own Choice. Back to Knaresborough again where we met Isabella the Raven!  She is one of several gorgeous ravens who are brought to Knaresborough Castle every day by their keeper to charm visitors. The Castle is actually a royal castle and ravens were brought here to celebrate the Millennium, their popularity meant that they have stayed here ever since. Isabella though,  has to be kept on a jessie due to having an Asbo!  Her mischievous nature has got her into trouble for stealing mobile phones and taking selfies. She also swears like a trooper! 

The royal ruins of Knaresborough Castle, part of the Duchy of Lancaster Estate..

 Thanks for joining me on my hunt. 😁

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! 

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?