Category Archives: Christmas

Weekend Away ~ South Cumbria.

When people think of the Southern Lake District, perhaps they think of Windermere, Amblesde and Grasmere. I love those places but it’s nice to escape to a less touristy part of Lakeland too. I did just that a couple of weeks ago , when Wil booked us a weekend away in Grange-Over-Sands.

Grange – Over – Sands is a peaceful town, somewhere to stay if you really just want to relax and take life slowly. Without Mr Hugo ( our bouncy black Labrador was on his own little holiday) ,we planned a quiet time. Grange is on the coast , but I don’t think I’ve ever seen much sand. Salt Marsh stretches out towards Morecambe Bay , far into the distance.

Grange~over~sands.
Twinkly lights of Grange.
Grange Plant Centre is a handy little place for plants, pots and gifts. Grange Plant Centre.
Salt Marsh.
The promenade.

Whilst in Grange we had bracing walks along the promenade ( Winter Woolies were needed) , looked for Christmas presents, ate out once in a bay view bistro, once in a little Indian restaurant ( take your own booze) and we also had a couple of drinks in the towns two pubs.

The Estuary Bistro is a nice place to dine on Main Street.
Chocolate Heaven in Choco – Lori on Main Street. This Chocolate Shop is also a Chocolate Bar and Chocolate Cafe!
Chocolate Martini.
A toasty fire in The Keg & Kitchen Sports Bar.

Our accomodation for the weekend was in a lovely B&B on the outskirts of town. Wil had found us a room at Corner Beech House , which was such a relaxing and homely place to stay. The interiors were bright and fresh, the owners were friendly and helpful and the breakfasts were delicious. Not bad considering the couple who run it had only been doing so for 3 weeks!

Corner Beech House.
Loved our sea view.
Bright and fresh room.
Breakfast Room.

On our way to Grange-Over-Sands , we had dropped into RSPB Leighton Moss Nature Reserve at Silverdale. I had dragged Wil around looking for a Winter Visitor, Bearded Tits. These darling little birds can be seen amongst the reeds or pecking at grit ( it aids their digestion) from the specially provided trays. Unfortunately they were a no show for us, though we did see a Marsh Harrier hunting over the water.

Reeds provide a home for Bearded Tits.
An obliging comerant.

The inland village of Cartmel is not to far from Grange, so we bobbed there on the Saturday morning for a little look around. Cartmel is famous for its race course, it’s priory, it’s rather nice restaurants and it’s Sticky Toffee Pudding.

The Village Store is the home of Cartmels famous Sticky Toffee Pudding and other good stuff.
Bridge over the river Eea.
A 17th century pub.
Norman Priory.
Another lovely pub.
Delicious Apple & Parsnip Soup in The Square.
I loved this gifts and interiors shop.
Cartmel is home to The Friesian Experience , you can actually pay to have a sleepover with these gorgeous black horses.

On Sunday we said our goodbyes to South Cumbria, though not before calling at Levens Hall Deer Park for a Riverside walk, sadly the hall and grounds themselves are closed over Winter. We caught a glimpse of the parks herd of Dark Fallow Deer , though missed out on seeing the local Bagot Goats.

Gnarly trees.
Dark Fallow Deer females.

All in all we had a very relaxed weekend , though we were certainly happy to be reunited with a certain black Labrador. 😁

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A Festive Venue Opens In Clitheroe for Christmas. πŸŽ„β„οΈ

A Christmas Styled Cafe Bar has opened in Clitheroe for Christmas!

Miracle On Shawbridge Street is located in the former Smug Fox interiors shop on Shawbridge Street, just a little further down from and opposite the Dog & Partridge Pub.

The Cafe Bar is family friendly and festive themed, perfect for snapping snuggly selfies with Santa’s reindeer and a giant Nutcracker Soldier.

On the menu are various winter warming drinks such as mulled cider, mulled wine and fancy pants hot chocolates, , coffees, cocktails and milkshakes.

Image via Facebook.

Local delicatessen Georgonzola provides tempting cheese and charcuterie boards and Finch Bakery cakes are always a delicious treat.

Miracle is open Thursday to Sunday 11am to 11pm and well behaved dogs are welcome during the day.

I did wonder what might happen to the venue once Christmas is over? Well the owners are hoping to style the space to coincide with the different seasons. Beach bar in the Summer maybe??

But for now, why not head on down to Miracle On Shawbridge Street πŸŽ„ for festive tunes and cheer.

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Tockholes Walk. πŸ₯Ύ

Hi there, hope everyone has had a good Christmas break. On Boxing Day, despite it being a bit drizzly and damp, we were up for a good walk to blow away the cobwebs. Out came the Guide To Lancashire Pub Walks by Nick Burton. We decided to try the last route in this handy little pocket size book, taking in moorland and woodland near the West Pennines village of Tockholes. I am sure parts of this trek have been covered by other bloggers I follow, but it is an area myself and Wil definitely need to explore more.

We parked near The Royal Arms pub, which looks to be a popular ramblers Inn with toasty fires , serves food and is dog friendly. In no time we were walking up Darwen Moor, heading into the mist.

Darwen Moor and a sign for its popular landmark, not a rocket πŸš€ but Darwen Tower.
Moorland horse.
On the move.
And so are we, in the opposite direction.
Back onto moorland by Stepback Brook.
We didn’t head for the tower, which at the moment is obscured by scaffolding anyway, but followed the signs across the fell and back down toward woodland.
Zig Zagging across the Moors, we heard Grouse calling to one another.
Once in Roddlesworth Woods saw lots of Winter Fungi.
Witches Butter Fungi aka Yellow Brain.
Turkey Tail Fungi in the Moss.
In the Woods, the rather spooky remains of Hollinshead Hall, including this old Well House, where pilgrims stopped on the way to Whalley Abbey.
This lovely Pack Horse Bridge was perfect for a pit stop.
A view from the bridge over Rocky Brook.
Tockholes Tourists.
Some kind person had spread bird seed along the opposite bridge wall. Coal Tits, Nuthatch and even Grey Wagtail ( above) were enjoying their Christmas feast.
Nuthatch.
Hugo found an Orange ball which he decided to roll down every little hill he came across.
He also had fun in Rocky Brook.
Pixie Cup Lichen.
We followed the woodland path as far as Roddlesworth Reservoir.
And then turned back on ourselves and found a wooded path back up to The Royal Arms.

This was a good 4 -5 mile walk and I’m hopeful we will make it back to the area soon. Loved all the wildlife seen and the rugged Lancashire landscape.

Ten Places To Enjoy A Hot Chocolate In Clitheroe.

The recent colder weather has made me crave toasty fires, cosy sofas….and hot chocolate! In the interests of this blog I thought I had better go ahead and sample some of the delicious and heavenly hot chocolates that Clitheroe has to offer. 🀩

The Unicorn. Photo Credit ~ Lesley Turner.

Escape Coffee & Cocktails ~ Oh my goodness, have you ever seen anything so crazily colourful as The πŸ¦„ Unicorn. It’s just bound to bring a smile to your face. Escape are renowned for their eye-catching creations and presently feature a Christmas Hot Chocolate and their ever popular Classic Indulgent Hot Chocolate. So why not relax in lovely surroundings and Escape to chocolate heaven.

The Beer Shack ~ If you haven’t realised yet that Craft Ale Bar ‘ The Beer Shack ‘ on King Street opens daily and in the mornings, you probably haven’t sampled one of their cute frothy Hot Chocolates, served with squirty cream and marshmallows. I love the cosy alpine feel of the place and if your lucky you might bagsy the comfy sofa or arm chair in the front room. There’s a home baked cake selection too. Yummy πŸ˜‹.

Maxwells ~ Which festive delight will you partake in before you board the train bound for the twinkling lights of Manchesters Christmas Markets?? Situated near the train station Maxwells Cafe Wine Bar has a Christmas Hot Drinks Menu that includes a fabulous Ferrer Roche Hot Chocolate ( above) and a madly morish Cadburys Chocolate Orange. Both come with a mouthwatering chocolate treat.

Toms Table ~ I must admit I haven’t tried the heavenly Hot Chocolat from French Bistro Toms Table at the time of writing, but I think it may very well find its way onto my Festive Treat List. Ooh la la. 🀩

Take Away Hot Chocolate & Croissants ~ Photo Credit M Fenner.

Fenners Bakes ~ What better way to warm up whilst shopping in the market town of Clitheroe, than a decadent Hot Chocolate from the bustling market itself. Fenners Bakes not only make their own delicious Chocolate Brownies, their continental Hot Chocolate is made from the finest Belgium Dark Chocolate. A real treat , it’s thick and velvety and goes excellently with a warm fluffy croissant. Scrumptious!

Chocolate Works Creations ~ Photo Credit ~ Nicola Gornall.

The Chocolate Works ~ Of all the establishments in Clitheroe that serve sensational Hot Chocolate , its The Chocolate Works that inevitably is always the first on everybody’s lips. This lovely cafe always makes me feel like I have been enfolded in the wrapper of a sublime bar of the finest freshest home made chocolate. Indeed the folks here make their very own chocolate and turn it into waffles, marvellous milkshakes, fondues and winter warming beverages. Heavenly.

Moor ~ Once you’ve tried one of Moor’s marvellous marshmallow loaded mugs of Hot Chocolate, I guarantee you will go back for more. Situated on Moor Lane ( of course ! ), this homely cafe with its unique Clitheroe floor map and pretty decor is also very reasonably priced. I am tempted to return. πŸ€—

Bowland Food Hall at Holmes Mill ~ I always find wandering round the Food Hall at Holmes Mill a treat ,especially at this time of year. There are plenty of mouth watering produce on display, much of it from local suppliers in Lancashire. A friend and I enjoyed a warming Hot Chocolate recently, accompanied by a dainty Portuguese Custard Tart. A delightful combination.

The Secret Garden Cafe ~ Tucked away above Clitheroe Market, this Vegetarian/Vegan Cafe is a hidden gem, a welcoming stop off after perusing the stalls. Serving fresh and tasty food including home baked cakes, their menu features both regular and vegan Hot Chocolate.This one was made using Oat Milk and was super delicious. And if your wondering, the cafe includes an adjacent Health Food Shop and Wool Shop.

Exchange Coffee Company ~ Their Three Storey Coffee House , Roastery and Shop on Wellgate has been a Clitheroe staple for many years. And the well established Coffee Company always knows how to jazz up their Winter warming beverages! I relaxed in the lovely William Morris wallpapered dining room on the second floor with a toasted teacake and a delicious white chocacino topped with half a Tunnocks Snowball. Bliss.

Hope you enjoyed my Ten Places Post. I’m thinking of doing a few others for Clitheroe in the future!

One Night In Settle.

My Other Half treated me to the best early Christmas Present this year. A night away in the lovely Yorkshire Dales town of Settle and a gig in its popular Victoria Hall. It was a Sunday and quite a few shops in town were closed but there was still a festive atmosphere about the place. Here are a few photos from our trip.

The gig venue ~ Victoria Hall.
View from the Market Place.
A beautiful Christmas Tree in the centre.
Inside my favourite Settle gift shop ‘ Car & Kitchen ‘.
Talbot Arms pub.
Mulled Wine moment.

We stayed at The Golden Lion on Duke Street which is one of those welcoming Yorkshire hostelries with a cosy wood burner and a good Full English breakfast. πŸ™‚

The Golden Lion.
Golden Lion Room.
Toasty fire.

In the evening we went to Sydney’s Tapas Bar & Restaurant for a meal, followed by Peat & Diesel at Settle Victoria Hall which amazingly is the World’s oldest surviving Music Hall.

Lit up Shop.
Fish & Chips at Sydney’s.
Support act singer ~ Cody Feechan.
Stornoway band Peat & Diesel rocked on the last day of their UK tour.

The next morning we had a leisurely lie in ( for us!) followed by breakfast at the pub. Then there was a small detour on the way home……

Dining room and tree.
Love the Highland Coos.
Golden Lion Breakfast. No egg on mine as I’m not a fan.

It was absolutely pouring it down as we set off back. Still time for a quick visit to award winning Cheese Monger The Courtyard Dairy to finish off our trip. Cheese was tasted and cheese was bought. 😁

Merry Christmas Cow.
Indeed!
Cheese Grommit!
Too cold for ice cream today.
Quite random but , Ski Lifts. 😁

Hope you are enjoying your December so far. β™₯️

Our Last Wknd At The Caravan Until Spring.

It’s that time of year when we sadly close our caravan for the Winter. The site it is on doesn’t actually shut down over the colder months, but being two hours away from home in a village that is prone to getting heavy snow, we figure it’s for the best really.

On Friday Eve we made sure we got stuck into the last couple of bottles of wine in the wine rack. πŸ™‚

On Saturday the weather was grey, but the drizzle didn’t dampen our spirits. I had booked us lunch over at Bassenthwaite Lake Station , in a French Steam Engine no less. The disused train station was bought in 2019 by Simon and Diana Parums, who have been busy renovating the buildings. A permanent fixture on the track is the beautiful Steam Train , which is in fact not a real train at all…. . It is actually a replica made especially for the 2017 film version of Murder On The Orient Express , starring Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer,Dame Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. These days the film set is a lovely cafe/restaurant and being slightly wider than a ‘ real train ‘ lends itself to its new life perfectly.

We chose the Brunch Bowls for lunch, followed by cake of course! Delicious. 😁 There’s lots of choice on the menu and a good selection of drinks too. Food is a little more expensive than most cafes in the area. However the setting and the friendly service justifies the price.

It was great that Hugo was made very welcome on the train, even though he did have a habit of lying across the aisle. The staff brought him dog treats and made a real fuss of him. Perhaps the Station dog, a pretty black Labrador called Poppy , had something to do with that. πŸ€—

After lunch we had a quick look around the rest of the train. Our dining car had been bustling and busy , though a posher salon at the back was empty. Perhaps this is used for special occasions. For a finer day there is also outside seating and the Station building itself with Waiting Room is also part of the cafe.

I really love what the new owners are doing here. Breathing life into what only a couple of years ago, was an abandoned unused space. Hopefully we will visit again next year. I would also like to explore Dubwath Silver Meadows Nature Reserve opposite and of course go for a wander by the lake. 😁

Later in the afternoon we visited my Mum and Brother who live on a farm in The Eden Valley. The farm cats Tibby and Sooty have been used to spending time in the house recently, but weren’t too impressed that a certain Labrador was in residence.

Back at the caravan and Sunday dawned cold and bright, a lovely day for our last one there this year. We enjoyed a walk up the old bridleway from Melmerby to Unthank, I will miss those uninterrupted views toward the Lakeland fells.

After tidying and closing down the van we headed to the nearby village of Langwathby for a sausage butty lunch on the green.

Here’s to a few local adventures closer to home over Winter. Hope you can join me. X

Snowy Scenes.

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. ❀️

A truelly enjoyable day. ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

A Bird And A Poem ~ Robin.

When walking my dog it is most unusual not toΒ  be accompanied by the chirpy song of a robin. These red breasted beauties seem to be our most friendliest little birdΒ here in the UK.Β  Indeed they are our national bird andΒ  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.

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading.

Festive Friday Photo ~ Tree.

Yes it’s Friday! And a good one for me as I break up for 2 weeks holiday off work. It’s literally like being back at school again πŸ˜‰

I’m joining in with Kate’s Photo Scavenger Hunt which is every Friday before Christmas day.

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 – any festive tree πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

Meanwhile, look it’s not just trees that get decorated….

Enjoy your weekend. X

Festive Friday Photo ~ Clementine Biscuits. 🍊🌲

Photo courtesy of Erol Ahmed on Unsplash.

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 πŸ™‚

Well I am not a good baker. As you can see below my Clementine Biscuits look nothing like they should !

My biscuits.

What they should have looked like…….

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?

🍊