Category Archives: Films

May ~ Round-Up. 🧡

My goodness these months are whizzing by are they not. May seems to have come and gone in a flash! I am currently off work as it’s the Spring Bank Half Term Holiday ( advantage of being a school cleaner) so it’s a good time for me to do my May Round-Up Post.

Reading ~ not that much to be honest. After recently extending my hours at school with five earlies a week, I find myself frankly too knackered to pick up a book. Wrong I know! I have bought The Lake District In 101 Maps & Infographics to take to the caravan. And I shall learn all about Haunted Cumbria, Cumbrian Film locations and quirky Cumbrian place names, amongst other things. Should keep me going for a while!

Everyman Cinema trip to See Top Gun Maverick. As soon as I heard the original soundtrack music I was hooked!

Watching ~ it’s all about good old nostalgia for me at the moment. I’ve been to the movies! We Clitheronians are very fortunate in that we have a fabulous Everyman Cinema in town and May has not disappointed on the film front. I have enjoyed both Downton Abbey A New Era and Top Gun Maverick , they are both appearing on the big screen right now.

On the box my go to show is Grace & Frankie. I am as usual a bit late to the party with this one. Not sure how a witty comedy series starring Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin escaped my attention until now but I am loving the pairing of uptight Grace and Kooky Frankie. 🙂 Other shows I have returned to in May include Ozark , Bosch Legacy and of course Stranger Things.

A lovely meal at Roundthorn Country House near Penrith.

Eating ~ It is rare that Wil and I spend time up at the caravan without our Black Labrador Mr Hugo, but we did have one weekend in May when we were there without him. It seemed a good time to book a meal out somewhere where you wouldn’t usually take a dog. Roundthorn Country House on the outskirts of Penrith is one such place, there wasn’t a four legged friend in sight. Which was strange for us, though also kind of liberating not eating in front of a drooling hound, eyes transfixed on our dinner. The food was yummy but I couldn’t help missing my boy.

Lowther Castle.
A walk through Cow Parsley.

Exercise ~ Our pet free weekend was all because we actually won a prize! We won half a days E-Biking at Lowther Castle In the Lakes , it was great fun. However I still felt like I had done some proper exercise even if it was power assisted cycling. 🙂 There haven’t really been many notable walks this month, just my normal dog walking routes. I have loved seeing the wild flower displays, the lacey blooms of Cow Parsley have been beautiful lately.

Relaxing at the van.
Lilac Time. 🙂

Enjoying ~ Relaxing at the caravan ~ My favourite area at the van is probably the front bit of decking, which is a real sun trap and perfect for lounging about on a deck chair with a brew. I especially like to look up and watch all the Swift’s whizzing about the sky, now they have returned from Africa. The scent of a lovely lilac bush in the garden there was a real treat too.

~ Friends Reunited ~ On the last day of May it was great to meet up with some friends I haven’t seen for two years. I love how normality has returned at last, I’m not taking it for granted.

Catching up in Holmes Mill.

Thanks for dropping by. Hope your May has been a good one. 🧡

Looking Back ~ Cannes Film Festival & The Monaco Grand Prix.

So the 75th Cannes Film Festival will soon be under way. All the glitz, the glamour, the Red Carpet, the film stars dressed in their finery…

This year Tom Cruise will take the centre stage with his eagerly anticipated new Top Gun Film. I am definitely up for watching it. 🙂

62nd Festival De Cannes.

Well quite a few years ago I was actually in Canne on a festival day. So I thought I would try and reblog my post again. I already have once in 2014! Not sure that reblogging is a thing now though but WordPress has let me share it below.

Please excuse my original post for spelling mistakes and lay-out ~ WordPress is not for letting me Edit it! I will hide my embarrassment behind a film poster of Inglourious Basterds, a film contender for the year I attended, 2009. 😚

During the same holiday we were also in Monte Carlo whilst the Grand Prix was on. My claim to fame ( according to Wil and our friend Andy, I never even noticed ! ) was almost being run over by Lewis Hamilton on a scooter, whilst trying to take a photo!

Click on the link to see my post of the 62nd Canne Film Festival.

https://sunshineandcelandines.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/looking-back-cannes-film-festival-and-monaco-grand-prix/

April ~ Round-Up. 💚

It’s a wrap! April is over and here’s what I’ve got up to….

Chasing Lions.

READING. Again I have turned into a real slow coach on the reading front. I downloaded Amanda Marks memoir of her time driving around Africa in a truck for an adventure holiday company. Tiny Amanda worked in finance and after a mugging by a gang of school kids, she decides things have got to change! I am dipping in and out of this book and enjoying finding out about Amanda’s travels and whether she does indeed, find her inner lion 🦁.

Hacks.

WATCHING. Lots! Here are some shows I’ve enjoyed watching in April.

Derry Girls ~ Ongoing on Channel 4 and All 4. Hilarious comedy about five teens attending a Catholic school for girls during the troubles in nineties Northern Ireland. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hacks ~ Amazon Prime. An old pro Comedienne and a disgraced young comedy writer team up in this clever slow burner comedy drama. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Thief, His Wife And The Canoe. ITV Hub. The bizarre true story of a man who faked his own death to claim the insurance money, whilst continuing to live in the house next door. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Killing Eve ~ BBC I Player. It’s officially finished! The serial killing shenanigans of Villianelle take a backseat as the characters get their emotive…. and explosive endings. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Anatomy Of A Scandal ~ Netflix. Timely courtroom drama about a seemingly happily married politician put on trial for scandalous behaviour. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Life After Life ~ BBC I Player. Be prepared with your hankies if you watch this incredibly emotional war time drama. Ursula, a girl with an incredible sense of deja vu navigates the pitfalls of her life, again and again and again. Don’t think I will ever be able to look at silently falling snowflakes in the same way. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Life After Life After Life After Life …….

What have you been watching recently? Any recommendations?

Toms Table.

EATING. Finally went out for a meal to a popular little bistro in Clitheroe, and my, the food was delicious! See above.

Greatest Days Movie ~ being filmed down that road!

FILMING. Ok I have not actually been filming anything, but Clitheroe was taken over by a film crew for two weeks in April. Along with London and Athens, Clitheroe is one of the locations for new Rom Com Greatest Days ! The movie is about a group of Take That Fans navigating their lives, through the nineties until now. To a Take That Soundtrack. The town was rife with rumours that Gary, Mark and co would actually make an appearance. They will no doubt show up on location in Athens 😉 instead.

It was raining and blowing a hoolie when this scene was filmed. And it took 28 takes. Photo from The Sun Online.

So what’s it like when your home town becomes a film set? At first I sought out the action, accidentally on purpose walking Hugo where I thought the filming might be taking place. But soon I couldn’t avoid it. Bursts of Never Forget and Could it Be Magic greeted us wherever we went. Oneday I popped to the market, only to find that nothing was for sale, the stalls had been paid to open as film props. Wil was surprised when a new hardware shop appeared , then disappeared a couple of days later. I bet all the Nineties shop signage did confuse a few people. 😀

Greatest Days will be out in 2023 !

Dodd Fell.

WALKS & Wainwrights. A favourite walk of mine that I did in April was a circuit of Derwent Water near Keswick with my sister & family. I also huffed up a couple of hills. Dodd Fell above ( see exciting exploring collage) and my favourately named fell Binsey, which really should become the moniker of my next pet. What a cute name. 😘

Pink Cherry Blossom.
Lilac.
Laburnum.

ENJOYING. Spring Blossom ~ My local town is adundant with beautiful blossom at the moment. Gorgeous! Which is your favourite ?

Around Alston.

Discovering New To Us Places ~ Alston is only 20 minutes drive from the caravan ,but we haven’t spent as much time there as another nearby town, Penrith. We’ve been trying to remedy that recently! Surrounded by wild moorland, Alston is known as the highest Market town in England.With cobbles and a market cross, I love this description I found online via Sally’s Cottages Guide To Alston ~ Alston is Steep, Unique and chock-full of charm ! Here’s my mini guide to my own personal favourite bits of Alston so far…….

Alston Wholefoods ~ Ethical Grocers and Delicatessen, famous for their large stock of cheeses.

Mellow Yellow ~ Aladdins Cave of clothes, accessories and gifts.

Hi Pennine Outdoor Shop ~ Outdoor clothing, equipment, maps and giftware.

Once Upon A Time ~ Eclectic Second hand book shop situated in The Alston Emporium.

Saddlers Bakery Bistro ~ Contemporary cafe and craft bakery.

Turks Head Pub ~ Cosy traditional drinkers pub with open fires, Real Ales and dog friendly.

The High Plaice ~ Popular Fish & Chips.

South Tynedale Railway ~ Charming Narrow Gauge Railway to nearby Slaggyford. Run by friendly volunteers. Lovely newly renovated cafe on the platform too.

Thanks for dropping by. 😘

Book Shops And Book Clubs In Films. 📖

If your missing meeting up and discussing all things bookish ( and sharing a few bottles of wine! ) with your book group right now or browsing in your local book shop, maybe you can live vicariously through these films.

You’ve Got Mail ( 1998). In this romantic comedy the owner of a chain bookstore falls in love by email with the owner of a small independent bookshop around the corner. Neither realises that their online pen pals are actually their real life business rivals. Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Watch on Netflix.

The Book Shop ( 2017). In a village in the 1950s a young widow ( Emily Mortimer) dares to open a book shop and faces opposition from disapproving locals. This slow burner is a study of how hard it can be for an outsider to conquer suspicion. Available on Netflix.

The Jane Austin Book Club ( 2007). The novels of Jane Austen are discussed each month by six Californians in their book club. Life imitates art as their situations mirror those of the characters in Emma, Pride and Prejudice etc. An ensemble cast includes Emily Blunt, Maria Bello and Hugh Dancy. Rent on Amazon.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society ( 2018). The second world war has ended and writer ( Lily James) strikes up a pen pal friendship with a Guernsey islander who writes about the German occupation and the ingenious ways the islanders hoodwink the invaders, including the introduction of a literary and potato peel pie society. Intrigued she visits Guernsey to put their story to paper and falls in love. Available with Amazon Prime and on BBC I Player.

Notting Hill ( 1999). In real life could a movie star walk into a bookshop unnoticed, buy a book and then fall for the foppish owner. Well probably not, but this romantic comedy put the real Notting Hill on the map and Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant make a charming couple. Rent on Amazon.

Funny Face ( 1957). Funny Face begins in a bookshop, the shy owner is played by the beguiling Audrey Hepburn. Fred Astaire is a photographer who needing a bookstore as a backdrop in a shoot, ends up whisking a reluctant Audrey to Paris instead for a modeling assignment. A romantic musical comedy. Rent on Amazon.

Dan In Real Life ( 2007). Romantic comedy drama starring Steve Carrol as a lonely widow and single father who makes a connection in a bookshop ( Juliette Binoche), only to later discover she is his brothers girlfriend. Rent on Amazon.

Book Club ( 2018 ). In this fun film four life long friends tackle The Fifty Shades trilogy at their book club meet ups. The racy novel soon inspires them to not only spice up their sex lives, but give love another chance too. Nice to see Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen together in one film. Watch on Netflix.

What are your favourite movie Bookshops?

Are you in a Book Club?

Books Read In April 2020.

It is the last day of April and I have read seven books in one month, a record for me! Four are from my library pile, two I downloaded onto my Kindle and one I borrowed from my other half. Have you read any of these?

A still from the film.

Brooklyn – Colm Toibin ( 2009). Young twenty something Eilis Lacey lives in 1950s Ireland, where employment opportunities are few. When her older sister persuades an Irish/American priest to sponsor her in Brooklyn, Eilis embarks for a new life across the Ocean. As an immigrant on her own in a strange country, Eilis eventually settles and encounters love, but a tragedy at home threatens to overturn her new life. A quietly told yet very human tale that stayed with me after reading. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mr Scarletti’s Ghost – Linda Stratmann ( 2015). The protagonist in this Victorian seaside mystery is quite unconventional. Mina Scarletti has scoliosis. Her twisted frame provokes pity and even distaste in some, yet also gives her freedom from the expectation of marriage and the restrictions that could bring. Brighton has become a fashionable resort for unscrupulous mediums and Mina is concerned when a certain Miss Eustace becomes aquainted with her recently widowed mother. Quite a slow paced book, but with a satisfying conclusion. I will look out for more Mina Scarletti mysteries. ⭐⭐⭐

Nights At The Circus ~ Angela Carter (1984). Fevvers is a six foot two cockney trapeze artist rumored to be half swan, those giant wings of hers have always helped make her fortune. And here she is performing dates in London, St Petersburg & Siberia with Colonel Kearney’s traveling circus. When handsome reporter Jack Walser decides to pursue Fevvers to write her story, he finds himself joining the eccentric troupe. A bawdy magical delight. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Through His Eyes – Emma Dibdin ( 2018). Billed as a thriller set in Hollywood, I kept waiting for something sinister or exciting to happen, but nothing did. The characters are shallow and unlikeable. My imagination had me convinced that something was going on in the background that wasn’t. All in all quite a disappointing read ,the story follows a young reporters quest for her big break in LA and her obsession with a movie star. ⭐⭐

Prudence ~ Jilly Cooper( 1978). If ever there was a guilty pleasure author, it would be Jilly Cooper. After suddenly remembering how much I loved Jilly Cooper books in the nineties, I quickly uploaded one of her oldies onto my Kindle. And now I remember what a witty writer she is. Her heroine here is very much a seventies Bridget Jones type called Pru. She meets a handsome young lawyer called Pendle ( apparently named after a mountain near his childhood home, Pendle is not a mountain and is in fact a hill very near me in Lancashire, I forgive you Jilly) and he takes her away for the wknd to his ancestral pile, a crumbling old mansion in the Lake District. Prudence soon realises that Pendle’s family are a dotty cast of characters ,who are all completely in love with the wrong people. Jolly and witty. Made me smile. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Face It ~ Debbie Harry ( 2019). The iconic lead singer of Blondie has at last written her memoir. Interlaced with various fan art and photographs that she has kept through the years, this autobiography though fascinating, is curiously detached when it comes to personal and even traumatic events in the stars life. What does translate is a vivid picture of a seedy sixties & seventies New York, I think readers would have preferred more emotion and personal detail. I liked the photographs and fan art, the fact that Debbie has kept fans drawings and paintings, conveys a warmth she doesn’t share that much in her writing. ⭐⭐⭐

The Secret Garden ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett ( 1911). I am not sure how I missed reading this as a youngster, the enchanting tale set in Yorkshire. Little Mary Lennox ( a disagreeable child) is sent to live in her Uncles sprawling mansion on the Moors after her parents die in India. Used to a lethargic life( and always getting her own way) Mary’s attitude changes for the better after discovering a secret garden in the grounds. Lonely at first ( her Uncle is never at home) , she finds friendship in an old crotchety gardener, a boy who charms animals and a sweet musical robin. And there’s mystery too, whose is the voice that Mary hears sobbing in the night? I love how the story heartily recommends fresh air , growing things and being in nature, very relevent right now. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I suspect the lockdown has given me more time and inclination to read. Though I know for some people , it has been the other way. Are you reading more or less at the moment?

xx

Sunday Sevens 12th April 2020.

How has your week been? Mine hasn’t been too bad considering. Along with a few volunteer shops ( I have a couple of regulars now which is nice) ,I’ve been trying to vary my local walks with Hugo as much as possible. We are lucky to live in a town surrounded by countryside. The ever expanding house building seems to have stopped for now, so plenty of places to explore within walking distance. Anyway here are a few pics from the last 7 days.

Love this little bridge. Though had to get Hugo in the brook here after he started rolling in something suspect. Luckily some doggy paddles in the deep parts got rid of whatever it was!

This was a hot afternoon walk. See Pendle Hill in the distance.

I’ve actually baked more in the last week than in the last year! Your wondering how I got hold of flour….Well I found a stash in the back of the cupboard that I must have bought yonks ago. Now that I’m actually baking, I’m going at it like the clappers. With varying results…..

Rock cakes turned out well. My friend Lisa sent me the recipe. ❤️

Brownie was like a flat splat. Not great. 🤣

Choc chip Banana Bread a success! Very yummy. 😘

Wil has this weekend off work so that’s been nice. We’ve watched quite a few films recently, my favourites being the fabulous Daniel Craig Who Done It Knives Out and the quirky independent film The Peanut Butter Falcon.

Knives Out Fan Art off Pinterest.

We had bought some paint to paint the shed up at the caravan. But as we won’t be visiting there for a while, Wil is on a roll with sprucing up our back yard. Voila our new looking blue yard shed.

Eating out by the shed.

Easter Bunny visited. ❤️

The Easter Bunny still visited! He must be classed as a key worker. 😘

Thanks for dropping by. Stay safe. X

Life Lately.

How are you doing? How are you coping with this new kind of lifestyle? At the moment everything feels all kinds of surreal, though I suspect at some point it is going to feel like the norm…

Currently I am not working ,though my other half is as he is classed as a Key worker. So we are not getting under each others feet and still getting on fine. 🙂 I have signed up as a community volunteer to buy essentials for the elderly, vulnerable and those in self isolation. Should keep me busy!

Sunshine on Celandines. 🙂

I am so glad we are still able go on local walks. Luckily I live a walkable distance from fields and flowers. Spring is certainly just getting on with it. New blooms appear almost every day.

Wood Anemones.

Hugo cooling off.

Having a pet means exercise is still very much on the agenda. I am so glad that touchwood, I am in good health. I don’t want to think about self isolation when we have an energetic pooch to walk.

One of the nice things about our walks is that everyone always says hello these days,though from a distance of course… 🙂

Books! Books! Books!

Last weekend before the libraries shut, I was able to take out this big pile of reading material. Overdue fees do not apply, as who knows how long it will be before they reopen. I was actually allowed to pick out up to thirty books, but I couldn’t carry that many. 😁

Here are a few things I’ve watched recently.

Le Man’s 66 ~ Rented off BT TV. True story about how Ford pitted itself against Ferrari in the Le Man’s 24 Hour Car Race. Set in 1966 , Christian Bale stars as unpredictable racing driver Ken Miles. ⭐⭐⭐

The Favourite ~ Dvd from Charity shop. Lavish debauchery in Queen Anne’s court as Rachel Wiez and Emma Stones coniving cousins battle it out to be the Queens favourite. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Malory Towers ~ Free on BBC I Player. Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers novels have been turned into a delightful BBC adaptation. Get lost in lacrosse matches, midnight feasts, sea bathing and ghostly apparitions. Pure nostalgia. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Extra Ordinary ~ Free on Netflix. Zainy Irish horror comedy about a driving instructor with supernatural abilities. ⭐⭐⭐

ZombieLand Double Tap ~ Rented off BT TV. Not quite as good (but still fun!)Sequel to Zombieland. Thankfully we don’t have to shoot zombies when we go outside, just avoid humans. 😅 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

So there you have it. Let me know how your getting on and how your keeping occupied/cheerful.

Stay well. x

Everyman Cinema ~Holmes Mill, Clitheroe.

Although my heart belongs to small independent cinemas ( see my post about The Palace in Longridge) ,it has been hard for me to resist the twinkly lights of a shiny new Picture House , recently opened in my home town. The Everyman Cinema chain prides itself on its lifestyle choice ethos ~ watch a film from a comfy sofa with food & drink orders delivered straight to your seat. All this comes at a price of course. Including an online booking fee , a movie ticket will knock you back £12-85. A friend and I decided to take in a midweek Downton Abbey matinée, a guilty pleasure in itself. 😁

The new Everyman Cinema is situated at Holmes Mill , just a stone’s throw from my house. Already home to a beer hall, food hall, bistro & boutique hotel ,the sympathetically converted mill is quite the perfect location for a quirky three screen cinema.

My friend and I were a little early for the showing, so we sat and relaxed with a drink in the spacious lounge area. The decor here is retro chic. Having just watched The Shining on TV the night before, I giggled as I gazed at the funky floors and furniture, they really did remind me of the interior of the Overlook Hotel. 😁

We didn’t opt for food brought over to our seats, but if you do fancy eating, the menu includes pizzas, sharing plates and Spielburgers as well as sweet treats such as popcorn & ice-cream. You can even come to the restaurant just to eat, or enjoy a cocktail maybe, without seeing a movie.

And what of the comfy sofa seating? It is indeed very roomy and relaxing with cosy cushions, plenty of leg room and there are wide arms & small tables to place your food and drink on.

Unlike your typical Vue Cinema no adds were shown before the feature, just trailers. I do love trailers, almost as much as the film. 😁. Downton Abbey by the way was great, just like a double Sunday night episode with lots of Maggie Smith’s wit.

I was quite prepared not to love Clitheroe’s new cinema, but actually it is good that the town has one again. Save me a seat for an occasional treat, I might just turn up on the day though, and hopefully waver that expensive booking fee!

Shap Abbey & Wet Sleddale Reservoir.

So on Saturday we decided to see what the Eden valley village of Shap has to offer. To be completely honest I have never been the biggest fan of Shap. Partly because it’s one of those places that you mostly just pass through, a road of grey houses on the way North…  and partly because I actually stopped there for a night once with an ex in the deathrows of our relationship. These reasons and the fact that it usually rains in Shap ( in my experience!) haven’t exactly endeared the area to me. But I am being unfair. A little bright sunshine and some friendly hospitality has happily changed my mind.
We arrived mid morning with a destination in mind, Shap Abbey. Little is left of this twelfth century abbey except the imposing tower which looks striking against both stormy and sunny skies. Information boards scattered around the site give a you a good idea of what was where. The building was one of several used by the Premonstratensian Order of Canons before the disolvation of the monestries by King Henry VIII.
The canons were known as ‘The White Canons’ because of their unusual white woollen habits. They were apparently given good pensions when their home was destroyed , some of the abbeys stones were used to build the adjoining farm house. I can’t help but wonder if those canons still walk the grounds of a moonlit night…..

Wandering round the abbey gave us a good appetite. Shap is home to an award winning Fish & Chip shop. We headed there for lunch. Situated in the heart of the village, Shap Chippy is incredibly fresh and clean looking inside & out. The decor has a homely nautical vibe and we recieved a cheery welcome. You can eat in too, and we were pleasantly surprised that dogs are very welcome. Most importantly the fish & chips are excellent. Well recommended!



After that tasty treat we needed a good route to walk off those calories. Nearby Wet Sleddale Reservoir has a 4 mile public footpath & quiet road that circles the water. Set in the Shap Fells this triangular reservoir was built in the sixties, the water like many Lakeland reservoirs is used to supply Manchester. For this walk I recommend wearing wellies! I guess the clue is in the name. Wet Sleddale is indeed quite wet & boggy, even on a dry September day. We parked on the car park near the dam.



The countryside is lovely here and so peaceful. We only saw a couple of other walkers, so its definitely away from the Lake District crowds. Ling Heather, Scabious and Bog Asphodel grow in abundance and buzzards soar in the sky. The area also has connections with the cult ( and rather batty!) movie Withnail and I. Film locations include the stone bridge where Withnail attempts to shoot fish in the brook below and Sleddale Hall where him and his friend try holidaying in the Lake District. I took a sneak peek at the remote Hall, where outdoor screenings of Withnail and I are shown annually in the yard.


At the end of our wander round Wet Sleddale we sat and admired the gushing dam which is 21 metres high.

Have you ever visited Shap or the surrounding area?

Edinburgh.

When Wil and I visited Edinburgh recently ,we decided to leave be the usual touristy venues such as the Castle, the Camera Obscura, Mary Kings Close and the Scottish National Gallery. All these wonderful attractions are definitely worth visiting ( and we will again, I am sure), but we wanted to explore some other parts of this beautiful city.

The Scottish Capital has extensive parks, extinct volcanos, hidden bars, Harry Potter inspired locations and the most listed buildings in the world. Here are a few images from our trip.

View of Arthur’s Seat from Edinburgh Castle. The peak is an ancient volcano, sitting 251m above sea level.

A William Wallace performs on the Royal Mile.

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A fairy on the Royal Mile.

The colourful curving Victoria Terrace is full of quirky independent shops, and happens to be the main inspiration for Diagon Alley, apparently. J. K. Rowling lived and wrote in the city, so could indeed be true.

Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden is just one mile from the city centre, and well worth the walk, if your feeling active. I must admit I was dying to visit the ornate glass houses, of which there are ten. The Victorian Temperate Palm house below is one of the tallest traditional Palm houses ever built. Because it was quite nippy, it was nice to keep warm inside for a while, so I recommend a Winter trip. Look out for the Gardens cat, a handsome black Tom, called Milo. I didn’t manage to get a picture, but he’ll be the one being fussed over by the tourists. 🙂

You can enter the Palm House for free, and there is a charge to explore the other glass houses.

I think we are in the Cacti Glass House here.

There are lots of quite tame grey squirrels in the park.

From the Botanic Gardens it is a pleasant walk alongside the Water of Leith into Stockbridge, an area of Edinburgh with lots of green spaces and a friendly village atmosphere. It’s plethora of independent shops and cafes makes Stockbridge a great place to linger.

Entrance to Stockbridge Market, a popular Sunday Market.

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Little Free Library.,

A lovely independent bookshop we found called Golden Hare Books on St Stephen Street.

Golden Hare Books.

Cheese and wine in Smith & Gertrude.

Edinburgh is a walkers city! We followed the Dean Path along the waterside to the Dean Village, a beautiful Edinburgh suburb. An Instagrammer’s delight , the Dean Village is incredibly picturesque, but bring a picnic if your planning to eat here. There are no shops or cafes, though plenty in nearby Stockbridge.

St Bernard’s Mineral Well. A statue of Hygeia ` Greek Goddess of Health’ resides here.

Dean Village.

Well Court, Dean Village.

One place we reserved a table for dinner was ‘ The Witchery By The Castle‘ near the castle gates. Fine dining in a gothic setting, this restaurant may set you back a few quid, but it is in a very atmospheric setting and the food is mouth watering.

The Witchery By The Castle.

Dessert at the Witchery. Yummy!

We also discovered some almost hidden bars on our explorations round Edinburgh. Venture down any ginnel off the Royal Mile, and you will find a traditional real ale pub such as The Jolly Judge ( look out for the nearby Writers Museum) and The Jinglin’ Geordie. If your preference is cocktails, The Devil’s Advocate in the Old Town and Brambles in the New Town are both quite hidden from the hustle and bustle, but can get busy even so.

On the Sunday before catching our train home, we took a stroll up Calton Hill which is home to several skyline monuments. From here there are far reaching views over the city and some quite interesting structures, including a building that was once called ‘Scotland’s Disgrace’. It is in fact a half finished replica of the Athens Parthenon , a tribute to the fallen of the Napoleonic Wars. The money ran out and building of the National Monument was never completed. I quite like it though! Other iconic buildings include The Nelson Monument, The Royal Observatory and Rock House, which you can actually rent as a holiday let.

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Nelson Monument.

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Dugald Stewart Monument.

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Royal Observatory.

National Monument.

So there you have it, a weekend in Edinburgh.

Where do you like to visit in the city?