Even a smattering of snow completely changes the look and feel of a place. Clitheroe Castle this morning ,before the betwixmas crowds landed ,had a magical quality about it. I took these photos with my phone on an early walk with Hugo. ❤️
Later today a friend asked me if fancied going for a Pendle Hill walk. I did not hesitate. I wanted to experience some more of the white stuff. 😁 Once parked , we headed to the Wellsprings at the Nick ,where we bought take away sausage butties & hot chocs before stepping into a winter wonderland. My friend took most of these lovely pictures. ❤️
When walking my dog it is most unusual not to be accompanied by the chirpy song of a robin. These red breasted beauties seem to be our most friendliest little bird here in the UK. Indeed they are our national bird and have lots of links to the festive season too.
In Victorian times postmen wore red jackets, earning them the nickname ‘Robin Redbreasts’ . Christmas cards would feature feathered robins delivering cards , they soon became synonymous with Yuletide.
It is also said that when Mary was giving birth to baby Jesus , a fire that had been lit was so in danger of going out ,that a small brown bird flew close to fan the flame. A stray ember landed on the kindly birds breast causing the robin to gain it’s orangey red colouring.
Robins have appeared in many poems including the first verse of a childs nursery rhyme below.
The North Wind Doth Blow
The north wind doth blow, And we shall have snow, And what will poor robin do then? Poor thing.
He’ll sit in a barn, And keep himself warm, And hide his head under his wing, Poor thing!
Robins are actually very plucky little birds, more so than the poem suggests. In Edith Holden’s Country Diary of 1906 she recounted ‘ great battles among the Tits over the cocoa-nut, and once a Robin got right into it and refused to let the Tit approach, until he had all he wanted’ .
I note that the winter of 1906 woke to a snowy Christmas day morning. It looks like Edith’s garden visitors were well looked after though.
I am fortunate that my own feathered visitors include a robin too.
18th December : Tree– a snap shot of your tree, this year’s, last year’s, the black and white one of you as a tiny tot helping to decorate, the one on the village square, that shiny white one in the shop, a native tree bedecked with lights and bird feeders –anyfestive tree 🙂
This is the second year in a row that I’ve put up the tiny twiggy tree instead of getting down our bigger one from the loft. Pure laziness I think. And maybe a hankering for a real tree. I think we will look for a real one next year. 🙂
Meanwhile, look it’s not just trees that get decorated….
Instead of posting photos on the last Friday of the month, Kate is asking us to post one or more each Friday for her popular Scavenger Hunt. Today’s prompt is ….
Baking– festive or otherwise and may be share the recipe so we can all have a taste 🙂
Well I am not a good baker. As you can see below my Clementine Biscuits look nothing like they should !
The only change I made to the recipe was to use grated Clementine zest instead of orange zest because I had bought a couple of Clementines from the market . Although they tasted nice , asphetically pleasing they were not. The recipe can be found here. 🍊
The Christmas tradition of putting an orange ,clementine or satsuma in a stocking possibly dates back to the 4th century. A prosperous Greek bishop known as St Nicholas tipped gold coins down the chimney of a man who had been unable to raise the money for his daughters dowries. The coins fell into the girls stockings that were hanging by the fire. Oranges became representative of the coins and stockings continue to be hung by the fireplace on Christmas Eve.
Have you ever received an orange in your Christmas stocking?
Decorations– a favourite one – was it inherited, did your kids make it or was it one you bought on a whim and lovedearly.
That is the prompt from Hawthorns December Photo Hunt , she has asked us to share a photo every Friday in December. A lovely way to spread the cheer.
I have decided to show you my Snow Globe which I bought last Christmas in Keswick. Wil, Hugo and I spent the festive period in one of our favourite towns. This pretty souvineer will forever remind me of our happy holiday.
A fox 🦊 amongst swirling snowflakes. And if you look closely, 2 tiny robins in the branches of the tree.
Confession ~ I leave it out all through the year, as I love it so much. ❤️
There was a time when going out for Afternoon Tea was quite the norm for me. I think one year, I managed to devour ten. I know! But in 2018 I had not participated in this delightful institution until Sunday, when I joined some work colleagues for a Festive themed afternoon tea at Mitton Hall.
Mitton Hall near Whalley in Lancashire is a charming country house hotel. It’s the kind of olde worlde pile where a medieval banquet would not look out of place in its traditional oak panelled Great Hall. At this time of year a mahusive Christmas Tree welcomes you on arrival. 🙂 We immediately felt full of festive cheer.
Our Afternoon tea was booked for 5pm, so it was already dark when we arrived. After a quick refreshment in one of the cosy bars, we were lead to our table in the Brasserie.
It wasn’t long before our Afternoon Teas arrived, served on three tiers and piled high with goodies. We had all chosen the standard option which includes any hot drink of your choice and cost £17-50 each.
The bottom tier contained festive finger sandwiches, smoked salmon canopes and pigs in blankets. I always think it’s a shame that afternoon tea is more geared up for the sweet tooth. We would have loved a few more savoury items to feast upon.
However the cakes were to die for. And I am definitely a fan of cake! My personal favourite was the Lemon Drizzle..
Other sweet treats included a mince pie, a chocolate mousse ( unusually flavoured with mango, a hit with me but not for everyone) , a mini macaroon, a stollen bite and of course, plain and fruit scones, served with jam and clotted cream.
And after all that we just had to have a photo in front of the resplendent tree. 🙂
Will you be indulging in a Christmassy afternoon tea this year?
Sunday mornings unpromising weather predictions didn’t put us off our intended trip to Haworth. Our plan was to take a walk from the town, over the surrounding moorland to Top Withens . The wild location of the ruined farmhouse is thought to be where Emily Bronte pictured ‘ Wuthering Heights ‘ in her novel.
We put Hugo in the back of the car, picked up my sister and niece and made our way to Yorkshire, wind screen wipers on the go. Amazingly the rain seemed to clear up once we arrived in Haworth. A walk over Haworth Moor was still on the cards.
Raincoats on, we set off from the Brontë Village Car Park, and would you know it within five minutes, the weather could definitely be described as wuthering! We were blown past the ‘Literary Landscape Sculptures’ two sets of five stone books peering up from the heath. The sweeping rain prevented me from getting any photos. At this point we decided to only walk as far as the Brontë waterfalls, and save Top Withens for another day.
The Brontë Waterfalls lie some 2•5 miles over the moor. A well trodden path leads all the way there and is clearly signposted too, surprisingly in Japanese as well as English. Described by Charlotte Brontë as ‘ a perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful’ the falls on Sunday were definitely more of a trickle than a torrent. However the setting is lovely, even on a dreich December day. As yet,shades of copper bracken add colour to the rugged scenery and a babbling beck gives drama to the landscape. You can see why the Brontë siblings enjoyed walking here.
Below the falls a stone footbridge known as the Brontë Bridge crosses the stream and the path continues onwards towards Top Withens. We posed in the rain for a quick selfie and were soon joined by a group of hardy ramblers who chose this glorious spot for a lunch break. It was amazing how many other walkers we had seen along the way, despite the dreary weather. Our tummy’s rumbling and feeling rather like drowned rats, we decided to retrace our steps back to Haworth, where the promise of a hot meal somewhere warm and dry beckoned.
Haworth is definitely somewhere that feels incredibly festive at this time of year. After warming up in a welcoming ( and dog friendly) cafe on Main Street called The Cook House, we went for a wander along the cobbles, listened to Christmas carols, visited some lovely independent shops and found a bustling Christmas market in Central Park.
I’m sure we will return in the Spring, for another stride over the Moors, in the footsteps of the Bronte’s.
Here I am back again with the last Sunday Sevens of the year. Cannot quite believe how incredibly quickly 2017 has gone. Here are 7 photos from the last 7 days of December. 🌲
1. Christmas Morning ( beween present opening and lunch! ) a walk with friends and hounds, with a couple of kids thrown in for good measure. Our friend Fi organizes this every year, so it has fast become tradition for anyone who is available to meet up. The location is always Brungerly Park which is home to the ‘ Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail’ and we always have a standard photo taken by the festively decorated Sikka Deer sculptures. I think Hugo is in there somewhere, hiding behind Sophie the deer hound. 🐕
2. Another yearly Xmas Tradition found me joining in with Janet’s Thrifty Christmas Gift Swap. I always love hunting for gifts from craft fairs and charity shops to send to my recipient, usually another blogger or instagrammer ( is that a word? ) that Janet matches me up with. This year I had to send to Janet herself and I found a few bits and bobs that I hope she likes. These included a Virginia Wolf book, a snowflake tree decoration, a small bottle of toffee vodka and a bundle of pretty fabrics , as I know she is a dab hand with a sewing machine. Sadly I forgot to take any pics but below is the lovely gift stash I got from Hanna , who lives in Washington DC. 🎁 I especially like the frosted fir scented candle and the plush pink mushroom tree decoration. Thanks Hanna. X
3. Hugo loved opening his presents. If he didn’t have his own, he would definitely be trying to open ours. 😁
4. Yet another Christmas Tradition! When visiting Mum over the festive period ,the whole family gets together for a photo. My brother sets up the camera, then we have 10 seconds to scrabble into position. We basically have the same photo every year, with slight variations. In 2017 Mum is looking startled, Brother in law’s head is almost obscured by a light bulb, my Step Dad has his trouser buttons undone and Hugo is showing us his butt. Ho Ho Ho. 😁
5. My most favourite Christmas Tipple this year has been rhubarb & ginger liqueur from the Edinburgh Gin Distillery served with ice and ginger ale. Bottoms up! 🍸
6. Well we have booked a holiday! Can you guess where we are going next Summer? Clue ~ rather remote and hopefully we shall see Sea Eagles and Corncrakes, white sandy beaches and crofters cottages. 😊 In fact we shall be staying in the crofters cottage above!
7. I shall end this post and this year with a piccie of Miss Slinky enjoying her latest comfy spot on the sofa. 🙂
See you in 2018. Enjoy whatever celebrating you do tonight. X
As it is now a yearly tradition of mine to post a quick photo round-up of the year, I thought I had better get cracking with this 2017 post. I definitely have no regrets about 2017. It has been pretty fantastic with lots of short trips away, days out and fun times with family and friends. 🙂
January. We celebrated Wil’s Birthday with a weekend break in his favourite Lake District town Keswick.
Mostly this consisted of walks by beautiful Derwent Water and of course frequenting Keswick’s many watering holes. 🙂
April. It was my little sister’s 40th Birthday this month and we celebrated with a mini break in the Big City ( London) with our younger brother and other halves. Our trip included The Natural History Museum, Afternoon Tea at Claridges and watching The Lion King. You can read all about it here.
June. This month I participated in The Wildlife Trust’s #30dayswild challenge , where I attempted ( though that’s no hardship!) to appreciate the beauty in nature every day in June, whether that meant noticing the different wildlife I would see on my daily walks with Hugo, or using natural ingredients in recipes such as Rose Petal Jelly. The challenge also coincided with my first ever visit to Norfolk, which I shall always remember for it’s many many beach huts, beautiful wildflowers and those yummy Dutch Pancakes in Wells-Next-The-Sea. 🙂
Beach Huts Galore in Norfolk.
Dutch Pancake on The Albatross.
July. Already well into Summer now. We spent a couple of nights camping in the Dales and walked this tiny stretch of The Dales Way and we took Hugo on his first ever trip on The Ullswater Steamer . I think this is my fave ever photo of my two boys. 🙂
August. Anyone for Afternoon Tea? I can certainly recommend a fun, quirky and delicious one at The Cake ‘Ole in Skipton. And August is a great time to go camping with the kids, as we found out when we accompanied friends to Meadow Falls near Ingleton.
September. We had a bit of an Indian Summer this month, which made up for a damp squibby August. Luckily we got to make the most of the sunshine on a day out with my niece and nephew in Morecambe and we spent a week in the The Lake District , bagging my first wainwright fell and enjoying the incredible views over Wastwater.
October. Days out in October included A family friendly bike ride on the Lancashire Cycleway from Lancaster to Morecambe and back. It was my first time on a bicycle for many a year, so I was pretty happy that I made it!
November. My Birthday month was made so special when Wil booked us two nights in the Yorkshire Spa town of Harrogate.
I have always wanted to visit the Turkish Baths there so I checked us in for a morning, which was really enjoyable. We also visited nearby Knaresborough with its ancient castle and railway viaduct.
December. And its nearing the end of 2017 now after a fairly quiet but lovely December. Highlights included Hugo opening his Christmas presents ( he is very good at unwrapping, just need to train him to wrap up 😉 ), The traditional Christmas Morning Walk, Willow Angel Weaving and a Festive Afternoon Tea at Alexanders in Skipton.
I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who drops in on my little blog every now and again. It really has made my year. 😁
All the best for 2018. I hope its a great one for everyone. Xx