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
You may remember that at the start of 2018 I decided to join in with the #walk1000miles challenge. There’s a great group on facebook, full of inspirational people who are doing/have done, just that! My hope was to walk 1000 miles by the end of the year. And amazingly I hit that milestone, this weekend. 🙂
My Brother In Law found a great little walk for us to do, starting and finishing at The Inn at Whitewell in the Forest of Bowland AONB. It took in a 19th century cheese press, river stepping-stones, about a thousand pheasants ( no exaggeration!) and of course a good dog- friendly country Inn.
Don’t worry though, I intend to keep on walking and am now aiming to walk another 500 miles by the end of December. Although I have always enjoyed a good walk ( and you kind of have to , as a dog’s human) , I have definitely shyed away from longer routes and hills. The #walk1000miles challenge has absolutely made me more enthusiastic about grabbing my walking boots and getting out there!
Also its a really fun thing to do with friends and family. You never know what you may come accross. 🙂
And every walk should end with a drink at the pub, or cake, or both….😁
So I have a 25 Before 45 Bucket List , which I have been neglecting recently. Still lots to do on there and not very much time left to do it ! Oh well C’est la Vie. Something I listed was ‘ Watch a film outdoors’ and the other weekend I did manage to cross this off my Bucket list, when I dragged Wil up to Lowther Castle in Cumbria, for an open-air cinema event.
Picnic Cinema specialises in bringing ‘cinema parties’ to some of the most scenic and iconic locations in the North, including castles, forests and in the case of cult classic ‘Withnail & I’ , a remote farmhouse that was used as a location in the movie.
It turned out that a favourite film of both mine and Wils ‘ Sightseers’ was showing at Lowther Castle, a once grand residence now in ruins, but still majestic all the same. Even though Lowther is only a couple of miles from where my Mum lives, I decided to book us camping tickets, as the lovely weather was perfect for an evening under canvas.
The weekend before,the Lowther estate had played host to the ‘Kendal Calling’ music festival, but this was the first time anyone had been allowed to camp so close to the castle , so we felt quite privileged. The fairy tale turrets certainly made for a magical backdrop.
It also happened that a Crafty Vintage fair was underway in the castle courtyard, so there was plenty to keep us entertained after we had pitched the tent.
Being the rubbish picnickers that we were, we actually forgot to pack a picnic! Couldn’t get enough of this delicious pizza though. 😁
The Picnic Cinema entertainment commenced at around 8pm. We wrapped up warm and took camping chairs, blankets, wine, snacks, and a torch up to where the film screen was situated.
We were each given a cute goodie bag containing love-heart sweets, a sherbert dib dab, a pencil, a badge and a jigsaw puzzle piece! While we were waiting for the sun to go down, the Picnic Cinema team entertained us with a sightseeing themed quiz, filmed interviews with some obliging campers and various fun and games.
At around 10.15pm it was dark enough for the movie to begin!
If you have never seen Sightseers, then you have missed a treat. Its a British Black Horror Comedy about a couple who go on a touring caravan holiday, visiting various tourist attractions on the way….and leaving a few dead bodies in their wake….. Filmed in the North ( Derbyshire, Yorkshire & The Lake District) , Sightseers is pretty macabre and totally bonkers! It was great to see it on The Big Screen. 😁
I think I would definitely go again to a Picnic Cinema event. I love that the films are screened in such gorgeous settings, the staff were enthusiastic, helpful and friendly and the movies shown are usually quirky and different.
Still to show this Summer.
Saturday 11th August ~ The Big Lebowski at Muncaster Castle, Cumbria.
Saturday 18th August ~ 24 Hour Party People at Kirklinton Hall, Carlisle.
Saturday 22nd September ~ Moulin Rouge at The Festival of Thrift, Redcar.
Whilst in the Lowther area we decided to do our own spot of sightseeing. ‘Long Meg and Her Daughters’ at Hunsonby is a druid stone circle that was used as one of the locations in the film.
Have you ever watched a film outdoors? Are you tempted?
Haweswater is a reservoir in the valley of Mardale in the North East of the Lake District. In the 1930’s this four mile stretch of water was created from the original smaller lake and the flooding of the picturesque Mardale Valley. Two villages, various farms and ‘ The Dun Bull Inn’ were destroyed, so that Manchester and other urban areas could benefit from a decent water supply. The reservoir still provides a good percentage of the North West’s water.
At the moment Haweswater’s water levels are much lower than usual, so it is possible to see the remains of the sunken village of Mardale Green, at the top end of the lake. However after parking at the Haweswater Hotel ( the only residence on the lakeside) and enjoying a spot of lunch, time restricted our planned walk to the ruins. Instead we ambled a couple of miles along the road to a heather strewn viewing point, the purple blooms are just coming into flower, and make for a beautiful backdrop. 😊
The Haweswater Hotel was built in 1937 by the Manchester Corporation, after the flooding of the valley. Inside it is decorated in an impressive Art Deco style, harking back to it’s 1930’s beginnings. We actually stopped there in 2016 for a couple of nights…and it was almost empty of guests. Happily this Summer’s beautiful weather and the ‘reappearance of the village in the reservoir’ have peeked tourists curiosity, concerning this lesser known (though still idyllic) area of The Lake District….
Have you seen any heather blooming yet? Its still quite early, so it was lovely to see this pretty plant already flowering on the banks of the lake.
A compilation of my week…..in the form of a Sunday sevens, 7 photos from the last 7 days, as devised by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins .
Seaside. My week started with a mini trip to the seaside. Just look at the gorgeous colour on the Heysham coast. Plus I managed not to lose my sandals in sinking sand on this excursion. So that’s a relief!
In Hiding. It was my nieces 8th Birthday recently and as she is a mini David Attenborough in the making, her Mum & Dad gave her camouflage gear and a Hide. As she lives in the countryside its not unusual for Roe Deer, Hare and even Stoats to pass through this meadow next to the house. Yesterday we just got blown around in the wind..but it was a good giggle. 🙂
Bee In The City. If you find yourselves in Manchester over the Summer, the colourful Bee In The City Art Trail has flown in. 100 Big Bees are dotted round the city, as well as 130 Little Bees. I captured a couple on camera whilst out in Manc with the girls. As ours was a shopping/drinking type of trip we didn’t really get involved in the trail, but there’s plenty of time to return. They will bee in the city until 23rd September 2018.
13 Years. Wil and I celebrated 13 years of being together this weekend. Here we are yesterday evening at my nieces Birthday Meal. XXX
Happy Blogversary. And this one crept up on me ~ hence the not terribly original photo of a piece of Rocky Road with a candle stuck in it ( Very nice Rocky Road btw, from Betty May’s Kitchen in Clitheroe) ~ its actually 6 years since I started this blog. Wow! I am still loving my little space here on WordPress, and would like to thank everyone who stops by occasionally. Thank you!!!!!
On Sunday we found ourselves on the Lancashire coast, sipping Nettle Beer and surrounded by vikings!
We drove to the sea, passing through the brackened moorland of the Trough Of Bowland.
Then on through Lancaster and toward Heysham, an ancient fishing port, now more widely known for it’s ferry terminal and power station.
We had decided upon Heysham as a dog-friendly beach destination. One that hopefully would not be too busy with daytrippers. Fellow blogger Christine had mentioned that the area has a Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve, so we used it’s small free carpark and went for a wander.
Heysham Nature Reserve covers 17.00 Hectares of various habitats, leading down to a rocky beach, lorded over by a whopping big power station. Beauty can be found in industry. Numerous butterflies fluttered busily around the reserve, the shore was a sea of pretty purple, and snowy white egrets pecked for tasty morsels on the strandline.
Popular with dog walkers ,the nature reserve has walking trails, plenty of dog waste bins and even provides drinking water for thirsty hounds. There is a dog-free portion to explore too, for those of you who prefer to wildlife watch in relative peace. 😉 After our walk we ate a packed lunch at the small picnic area by the car park.
We then decided to drive round to Half Moon Bay on the other side of the ferry terminal. The car park here was very busy. It soon became apparent we were visiting Heysham on it’s annual Viking Festival Weekend! The cliff top walk into the village was teaming with tourists, admiring the far reaching views over Morecambe Bay. You can’t tell from my pictures how busy ( or warm! ) it actually was..
Heysham’s Viking history dates back 1000 years , with the grounds of St Peter’s Church in the village containing both Saxon and Viking remains. I wrote more about the area on a previous visit ~ Heysham and Half Moon Bay.
Once in the Village it was obvious that everyone had embraced the Viking connection!
Feeling rather thirsty at this point, I decided to try a glass of the local delicacy ‘Granny’s Home Brewed Nettle Drink’. After Wil and I visited Heysham last year, I was telling my Mum all about our day there, and it turns out Heysham holds many happy childhood seaside memories for her. One of those was drinking a non-alcoholic tonic called Nettle Beer. It turns out a well known local personality called Granny Hutchinson used to brew the drink in her cottage, using nettles found round and about. Today the old recipe has been passed down through the generations and is still on sale in Heysham’s cafes. Keen to sample this traditional fare, I bought a £1 glass of the unassuming brown liquid. It definitely has the Famous Five ‘lashings of ginger beer’ factor!
Below are a few photos from the Viking Festival.
We did not stop to long at the festival as it was incredibly warm, especially for Hugo. I’m not sure how the people in Viking costumes fared in the heat!
Having had a whole week off ( oh yes! ) , I thought I would share some of what I have been up to, in the form of a Sunday Sevens. Sunday Sevens is 7 ( or more) pictures from your week and was originally devised by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins
Fun With Family. Last Sunday my brother stopped over, so we headed to our sisters and had an afternoon out at Beacon Fell Country Park, looking for all the sculptures on the trail. Woodpeckers, Owls, Hare and Dragonflies…to name but a few. You can read about a previous visit to the park here.
Sinking Sandals. Also this week my lovely friend Lou visited us on route to her graduation in Liverpool. Before dropping her off at Crosby Station ,we paid a visit to the Art installation Another Place at Crosby Beach. 100 Iron Men stand looking out to sea, over 3 miles of coastline.
We were very stupid and decided to head out over the wet sand to examine one barnacled specimen. Don’t try this at home folks! Lou was fine, but I ended up losing my sandals to the squelchy Mersey mud. 😦 I know it could have been a lot worse. After that we stayed close to the promenade!
Big Butterfly Count. Heres something I was excited to join in with! Every Summer the Big Butterfly Count asks that you take 15 minutes of your time to sit and watch butterflies. 🦋 I decided to count the butterflies we saw whilst relaxing by the dunes at Crosby Beach. It was a great location as I spotted Peacocks, Tortoishells, Whites, Six-spotted Burnets, a Painted Lady and a Common Blue. Why not give the count a go and submit your results here.
#walk1000miles. A riverside walk to a nearby village yesterday, brought my miles walked total for this year so far to 909 miles! Think my swan friend here was impressed! Hopefully I should hit 1000 miles in August and then my aim is to walk 1500 miles by the end of the year. That would be pretty awesome!
How are you? Any good plans for today ( Sunday) ? Hoping to head to the coast again. Will try not to lose my sandals this time……
To ease my England V Sweden viewing angst, I thought I would write this post at the same time. Ha! I am a very nervy audience…
This morning I had a wander round one of my local town’s two Nature Reserves. Salthill Quarry has appeared on my blog a couple times, but as I haven’t visited for over twelve months, I thought I would drop by for a nosy. The Quarry is a designated SSSI because of its geological formations…but I was there for the flowers…and the butterflies. 🙂
The 7.00 hectare Nature Reserve has grassland and woodland habitats. I was certainly glad of a little shade. The sun beat down as I looked for betony, orchids and scabious. Some of the land was dry and parched. Still no sign of approaching rain here in the North West.