Category Archives: Pretty things

Easter Staycation.

It’s not often that Wil and I have a week off work together and don’t book at least a few days away. . So recently it’s actually been quite nice for us to spend some time at home pottering, doing a few jobs and erm ….eating cheese!

We started our week with a ginormous order of cheese from Tipsy Cows in Great Harwood. Their amazing cheese bags are Β£35 and include a pie, pate, smoked sausage,Β  crackers, bread, a bottle of wine, chutney, grapes and of course a shed load of cheese. Still getting through it now..

From Monday we were allowed to meet up with friends & family for outdoor walks again. We met up with my sister and the kids and walked further into the Dunsop Valley. A truelly beautiful place.

On Wednesday we decided to go up to our caravan in Cumbria, mostly to check that it was still in one piece. Luckily it was! And everywhere we went there were daffodillions of daffodils. On the way we stopped in Kirkby Lonsdale for a walk.

Daffs at St Mary’s in Kirkby Lonsdale.

The caravan ~ still standing.

Daffodillions of daffodils on Melmerby village green.

Gallivanting Geese.

Hugo amongst the daffs.

Easter display.

A pew with a view.

We turned the water back on at the caravan and gave it a quick spring clean. The weather was really warm.


Back in Clitheroe, the new Nature Reserve has opened at last. As we live nearby it has definitely become our go to place for a stroll with Hugo. One morning we bought breakfast from Marks Artisan Bakery on Whalley road after our walk. Sooo good! I am making a note of the wildlife I have spotted at the reserve, which includes Little Egret, Mallards, Teal, Grey Heron and Canada Geese. I will get working on a post soon.

Worsaw Hill.

Looking towards Pendle.

Hugo and Jo having a moment. Or maybe Hugo is watching a ham sandwich, out of shot.Β 

On Good Friday we met some friends for a walk from Worston to Downham and back. We are so lucky to live in the lovely Ribble Valley and have definitely discovered lots of new local walks and rediscovered old favourites during the numerous lock downs.

There have also been less energetic pursuits. On Saturday I met some friends for a Hip flask walk. We didn’t get very far. From one bench to another in the local park..πŸ˜€

Park Bench Crawl.

We had planned to stay home on Easter Sunday and enjoy our new fire pit. πŸ”₯

Wil bought a fire pit. πŸ”₯

But after checking the weather forecast we realised we would have to head back up to the caravan again and drain it down. Forcasted minus 7 temperatures meant we had obviously been too previous in opening the van up for Spring. So here are some more lovely Easter views from Melmerby where the van is based.





We also called in at my Mum’s in Askham and had a brew in the garden. Got introduced to these cuties. ❀️

Cute calves.


Farm kitty’s.

Today ( Easter Monday) the sky outside is deceptively blue. It is freezing out there! There was even a smattering of snow this morning.

Happy Easter. πŸ‡πŸ£β€οΈ

Januarying.

I am treating January as I usually do. It’s my month of keeping snug and cosy inside, with a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise. I also like to plan holidays and weekends away at this time of year, so have been researching our little holiday in North Norfolk during May and weekend walks in the Eden Valley, for when we can get back up to the caravan.

Continuing Winter cheer with my window display. The Robins mimic my real life robin visitor. The hyacinth plant I found in Sainsbury’s for a bargain 65p is now flowering and giving off a delicious scent, resembling woods of bluebells.

Winter Walks.

I’ve been looking for more walks from home. Although I thought we had been just about everywhere on our doorstep, I was proved wrong last weekend, when we discovered new to us footpaths. I’m sure there are more to explore!

There will be another place to wander when Clitheroe’s new Nature Reserve opens. It is very local indeed. I have nosed over the fence a couple of times and I spied several Teal on the water. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait for a proper look.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is all set for the last weekend of January. I have signed up as usual and am looking forward to seeing which feathered visitors turn up in the hour.

Primrose Nature Reserve. πŸ¦‰πŸ¦‰ Photo from their Facebook page.
Bridgerton. It’s a bodice ripper.

Incase you are looking for some on screen escapism, here is a list of what I’ve enjoyed watching recently. Most are series and there’s one film. But let me say this, my list is one of mostly guilty pleasures. πŸ˜„

  • Bridgerton. Netflix. Regency romance with lots of drama, comedy, gossip & scandal.
  • Derry Girls. All 4 / Netflix. Coming of age comedy set during ‘ the troubles’ in nineties Northern Ireland.
  • Ghosts. BBC I Player. Spirited comedy about the ghostly inhabitants of a haunted house, from the creators of Horrible Histories
  • Winter Walks. BBC I Player. Join well known faces as they film their favourite walks in Yorkshire. I miss Yorkshire. ❀️
  • Eurovision Song Contest : The Story Of Fire Saga. Netflix. Very cheesy but enjoyable musical comedy film set in Iceland and Edinburgh.
  • The Masked Singer. ITV/ ITV Hub. Addictive crazy singing competition.
  • Home For Christmas. Netflix. Norwegian rom com series.
  • Sneaky Pete. Amazon Prime. Crime drama about a con man who assumes the identity of his cellmate to escape from a vengeful mobster.
  • The Queen’s Gambit. Netflix. An orphans rise against the odds to become the Worlds number one chess player.
  • All Creatures Great And Small. My 5. Heart warming 1940s comedy drama about a young vet who accepts a job in a Yorkshire Dales Vetinary practice. This is a remake of the original series, and just as good. ❀️
Winter Reading.

It’s nice to find a nice cosy read and I did in Winter Holiday from the Swallows and Amazon’s children’s book series by Arthur Ransome. I am immersed in a world of frozen lakes, snowy igloos and secret signals. Thanks to the What is it about books ? blog for the recommendation. ❀️

So this is my first foray into using the new WordPress editor. I hope it turns out okay.

Do leave me your own thoughts on how you are spending January?

Festive Friday Photo. πŸŒ²β„οΈβ›„

Decorations – a favourite one – was it inherited, did your kids make it or was it one you bought on a whim and love dearly.

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. ❀️

❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

Lockdown Birthday.

A lockdown birthday was never going to be the same. Celebration ideas were changed as Lancashire tiers upped levels and then a national lockdown was announced. Finally what I was left with ,still a happy time I think….a few doorstep visits from family & friends, an online party, a walk, yummy food cooked by my other half and a delicious take-away hot chocolate. The new normal isn’t so bad.

Zoom party itinerary and friends portraits of me. More flattering than photos!

A viaduct Sunday morning walk.

Hot chocolate from The Chocolate Works.

Such a lovely book.

A book to dip into everyday of Autumn. Today’s poem probably more appropriate for a frosty November day.

Heres a few verses from The Duke Of Fire and The Duchess Of Ice by Carol Ann Duffy.

Passionate love for the Duke of fire

the Duchess of Ice felt.

One kiss was her heart’s desire,

but with one kiss she would melt.

She dreamed of him in his red pantaloons,

In his orange satin blouse,

In his crimson cravat,

In his tangerine hat,

In his vermilion dancing shoes.

One kiss, one kiss,

Lips of flame on frost,

One kiss, pure bliss,

and never count the cost.

As you can probably imagine, there’s a puddle at the end of this poem….

Thanks for dropping by. ❀️

A Garden Of Eden ~ Flora & Fauna In The Eden Valley, Cumbria.

I thought I would share some of the wild treasures I saw recently on my week off in the lovely Eden Valley of Cumbria.

A Wildflower Meadow On The Lowther Estate. Situated between Askham and Whale after the bridge, the estate has put on a colourful display.

Vipers Bugloss.

Daisies & Campions.

Corncockle.

More from Melmerby Village. The village green and surrounding meadows are blessed with colour.

Red Admiral.

Travellers horses. Not particularly wild , but a lovely pair with very big hooves. Saw them clip clopping past pulling a Romany wagon, the occupant took the reins with a crow chattering away on his shoulder.

Bitter Vetch.

Skipper on Betony.

Honeysuckle.

Ringlets on Yarrow.

Langwathby & Edenhall. A perfect place for finding riverside and cornfield flowers.

Mallows.

Chamomile, maybe……

Common Furmitory.

Field Pansy, maybe…..

Giant Bellflower.

Cow Green Reservoir. A haven for moorland birds.

Juvenile wheatear.

Golden Plover.

Eycott Hill Nature Reserve. Definitely a go to if you love your upland wildflowers.

Ruby Tiger Moth.

Common Spotted Orchid.

Marsh Cinqfoil.

Bog Asphodel.

Mountain Pansy, maybe…..

Cotton Grass.

Dalemain Estate, Dacre. Always a pleasure to see the resident deer.

Fallow Deer.

Buzzard.

Fallows.

Hope all the colour and cuteness brightened your day. X

Photo An Hour ~ February 2020.

Hello, I haven’t done much blogging recently due to the weather and a persistent cold ( now happily on the way out) , so I thought I would join in with Janey and Louisa’s #photoanhour challenge on Instagram. Here is a photo taken every hour on a rainy Saturday in February.

8am ~ A bed full of pets. Hugo snuck up to wake us up this morning. Slinky sleeps upstairs anyway.

9am ~ After trying to sleep in we are up and Wil oven baked the Tesco frozen almond croissants from the freezer. A yummy breakfast.

10am ~ Out and about with Hugo in blustery wet conditions.

11am ~ That was a battle of a walk! Discovered my waterproof pants have given up and I’m sodden. We are back home and these are the snowdrops in the back yard.

Noon ~ Changed the bedding and no sooner had I done it……..

1pm ~ Tomato and 3 bean soup for lunch.

2pm ~ A few errands in town.

3pm ~ Half hearted attempt to tidy some drawers.

4pm ~ Just a chillin type of day really. Closed the curtains and shut the world out.

5pm ~ Hugo is also chilling.

6pm ~ Made Tuna pasta bake for tea.

7pm ~ Watching the film Dunkirk for the first time. Enjoyed it. My favourite characters must have been the father and son team who went out in their little boat to rescue allied troops, and of course Tom Hardy’s brave pilot.

8.15pm ~ But watching Dunkirk made me completely forget about my Saturday Night Guilty Pleasure! At least I caught the last 15 minutes of ‘The Masked Singer Final’ and saw Hedgehog & Queen Bee revealed…..

9pm ~ Bought this lovely candle earlier in town. Watched a bit more telly before bed.

Hope you are keeping safe in the stormy weather.

❀️

Afternoon Tea at the Ivy, Leeds.

Hey I’ve been ever so decadent recently and indulged in my second afternoon tea in just eight days. I really can’t resist an afternoon tea invite though, plus it was epic to meet up with friends in lovely Leeds. πŸ™‚

Cocktails in the City ~ The Alchemist , Trinity Centre.

After shopping and cocktails in the city we headed for our reservation at The Ivy. Nowadays The Ivy collection of gorgeous art deco restaurants has spread North from London and countrywide , three having opened in Yorkshire at York, Harrogate & Leeds. The Leeds Ivy is situated in the ornate Victoria Quarter on Vicar Lane.

Victoria Arcade

I have to say I immediately fell in love with the stunning interiors in the Victoria Quarter restaurant. Theres definitely a wow moment as you enter and the upstairs area where Gill had booked us a table is just as stunning. Eye-catching images wherever you look!

Afternoon Tea at The Ivy comes served on a three tier cake stand. This and the crockery and napkins are embellished with a single green ivy leaf, a lovely attention to detail. A choice of hot drinks are included and I chose Peppermint tea.

And what of the tasty treats? We were definitely all impressed with the sweet selection , though maybe an extra sandwich would have been nice. There are three savouries included in this Afternoon Tea. My favourite was the chicken and truffle in a brioche roll.

The cakes were plentiful ( with two scones each, served with jam, strawberries and clotted cream) and I especially enjoyed the chocolate dessert in a plant pot. πŸ™‚

I would definitely recommend The Ivy in Leeds as an afternoon tea destination. And Leeds itself as a great day out with the girls. πŸ™‚ πŸ₯‚πŸ°

Thanks to Arwen and Gill for their photo contributions.

Afternoon Tea at King Street Town House ~ Manchester.

Manchester’s trees decorated for Halloween.

Can there be no more decadent birthday celebration than Afternoon Tea? We were spoilt for choice in Manchester recently when exploring options in the city. Eight friends enjoyed a little shopping and cocktails followed by afternoon tea at King Street Town House on Booth Street.

King Street Town House is housed in an impressive Italian Renaissance building, originally the Manchester Salford Trustees Bank. Today it is a rather posh city centre hotel, famed for its seventh floor infinity pool and private wine cellar dining.

King Street Town House.

Our own private dining room.

Afternoon Tea was served on a three tier silver cake stand.

On arrival we were escorted to our own private dining room, one of the resident wine cellars I believe. The ambience was candle lit and cosy , it was certainly a nice touch to inhabit a dining area exclusive to ourselves. Although at times we did feel a little forgotten about by the otherwise attentive staff.

We all opted for the Traditional Afternoon Tea which consists of a sumptuous selection of finger sandwiches, dainty cakes and desserts, and of course the obligitary home baked scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. I loved how the goodies were decorated with edible flowers and cute Cape gooseberries.

There was a choice of teas and coffees to drink with free refills and out came the mismatched vintage China. Although I don’t make teacup candles anymore, I still love the ritual of drinking tea from a proper teacup. πŸ™‚

Mismatched crockery.

Mouth watering.

A veggie afternoon tea for one.

Look at those goodies!

The Birthday Girl. 🍰

The King Street Townhouse Afternoon Tea is perfect for celebrations. A delectable tea time treat. 😁

Thanks to Ailyn, Louise and Sarah for their photo contributions. πŸ™‚

Wild October. πŸπŸ„

The season is turning to Autumn and the natural world is abundant with colour. A quick glance at Pinterest and I was engulfed in Autumn inspired poetry and quotes.

I can smell Autumn dancing in the breeze, the sweet chill of pumpkin and crisp sunburnt leaves. ( Unknown).

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall. ( E. Scott Fitzgerald).

Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the Autumn tree. ( Emily Bronte).

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are October’s. ( Anne of Green Gables).

To celebrate the beauty of the natural world in October I’m joining in with the hashtag #wildoctober2019 on Instagram & Twitter. Why not bob over and post your own Wild October finds too. Here are some of the photos I’ve taken so far…

Horse Chestnut, Clitheroe Castle.

Cuckoo Pint Berries, Ladies Walk, Edenhall & Langwathby.

These look like tiny green flowers but I was informed on Twitter they are actually whorls of leaves on Hedge Bedstraw. Found in Melmerby.

Purple Callicarpa Berries, Clitheroe Castle.

Autumn leaves, Ladies Walk, Edenhall to Langwathby.

A collection of conkers in the pub. πŸ™‚

This weekend I’ve been at the caravan with Wil and Hugo. It’s the first weekend we’ve visited in cooler weather, so it was important to stay snug and warm. My tips for keeping cosy in Autumn are…..

Always have throws and cushions nearby.

I like to light a scented candle.

Cook something hearty and tasty like this yummy Veggie Curry .

Keep a favourite book or magazine to hand.

Or watch some well loved old movies. For an Autumn vibe try Hocus Pocus, When Harry Met Sally, Practical Magic, Beetlejuice or The Craft.

Indoors I live in my slipper boots. πŸ™‚

Outdoors I live in my Wellies! Head for a pub with a roaring fire after a woodland walk.

Keep Cosy.

Enjoy your Wild October. πŸπŸ„πŸ•ΈοΈπŸ¦‡

Lovely Ludlow and some places to visit nearby.

When we could tear ourselves away from our cosy Tree Dome accommodation in South Shropshire, we took ourselves off to the nearby market town of Ludlow. A charming mixture of Georgian and Medieval architecture, Ludlow was described by poet John Betjemen as ‘ Probably the loveliest town in England with its hill of Georgian houses ascending from the river Teme to the great tower of the cross-shaped church,rising behind a classic market building.’

We wandered round Ludlow’s lovely streets, the buildings really are a colourful feast for the eyes. I wish I had taken more photos, my pictures don’t really do it justice. The town has lots of fascinating independent shops and olde worldy public houses. We returned later that day for a delicious evening meal at The Unicorn Inn on Corve Street.

Ludlow Castle. Ludlow has imposing castle ruins with Norman, Medieval and Tudor architecture. Constructed in the 11th century as a border stronghold of a Marcher Lord Roger De Lacy, the building was enlarged in the 14th century and was involved in the War of the Roses. Later it became a Royal Palace , used as a honeymoon destination by Prince Arthur ( brother of Henry VIII) and his bride Catherine of Aragon and then by Mary Tudor whose court spent three winters at Ludlow from 1525 to 1528. And in 1689 the Royal Welsh Fusiliers were founded at the castle by Lord Herbert of Chirbury.

Admission to Ludlow Castle is Β£7 for adults, Β£3-50 for children and dogs are welcome on a lead.

Berrington Hall. Just over the border in Herefordshire is National Trust Berrington Hall, a handsome Georgian manor with 250 acres of landscaped grounds, gardens and a small lake, on our visit buzzing with dragonflies. We decided to use our NT membership as even though we couldn’t go inside the house with our dog Hugo, there was plenty to see outside.

The parkland and gardens were designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown , his final commission before his death in 1783. My favourite part of our wander round ( apart from that small lake and dragonflies) was a wonderful pink pineapple-esque sculpture called Look! Look! Look! This striking sculptural pavillion has been designed to sit inside and imagine Browns curved walled garden as it would have looked two hundred years earlier.

Croft Castle. Another nearby National Trust property with grounds and gardens that we were able to bring Hugo to was Croft Castle. There are several way marked walks round the parkland and as in a lot of NT houses these days, deck chairs are dotted round the gardens, so you can really make yourself at home. On a walk past the natural play area, I was delighted to catch a glimpse of scarlet pimpernel in the wild. And the gardens in July are vibrantly colourful.

Helpful Websites.

Berrington Hall.

Croft Castle.

Ludlow Castle.

Thanks for dropping by. πŸ™‚