Category Archives: Pretty things

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™‚

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt~ March.

Hi, it’s been a while, fellow Photo Scavenger Hunters. Today ( Thursday) I was trying to find inspiration to interpret Kate’s prompts, whilst out and about with Hugo the Labrador. I did! For three photos anyway. πŸ™‚

Flat. So I took this picture whilst flat on my back on a dirt track. I’m surprised Hugo’s snout didn’t get in shot. A different perspective of the woodland above me.

Wheel. There are wheels galore at the Lakeland Motor Museum near Windermere. This is one of several penny-farthings. There was even old film footage of penny-farthings racing. It was a thing!

Swing. You wouldn’t believe it but I was actually thinking how I would photograph Swing, then I saw one right in front of me. Can you see it ?

Ragged. The not particularly attractive Butterbur came to my rescue here. It’s raggedy tight-knit flowers are popular with bees in early spring and you can find them close to streams from March to May. The Butterbur’s name comes from the fact that it’s large green leaves were once used to pack butter apparently. Other names for this Spring flower include Devils Hat, Bog Rhubarb and Pestilence Wort. The mind boggles!

Pot. A typical pot of Mint tea from my fave cafe in Clitheroe ` Escape’. πŸ™‚

My Own Choice. Last weekend we went for a walk in Gisburn Forest and came across this old church. Dalehead Chapel was rebuilt after the flooding of nearby land to build Stocks Reservoir in the 1930s. The original church was demolished and this is it’s replacement. I seem to remember that in my youth this pretty building had fallen into disrepair and had a reputation as a haunted church! Happily today it is in use again and there are information boards inside detailing the history of the area.

Thanks kate/Hawthorn for organising the Scavenger Hunt.

Street Art In Blackburn.

Finding myself with an hour to kill in Blackburn on Friday, I decided to check out some of the stunning street art that adorns the Lancashire town. Blackburn Open Walls features both local and international artists , bringing creativity and colour to the lesser known streets of Blackburn. The initiative began in 2016 and new murals have been popping up every year since. I didn’t manage to find all of them, but here is a small selection I discovered before catching my train home.

Colourful Kingfishers and Girl by Mexican Artist Goya Torres ~ above archway by The Mall.
Connect 4 by Boo_Who_Up_North.
Couldn’t find any info on this one. Possibly The BFG ?
Bird Art by Curtis Hylton.
Probably my favourite of the street art that I saw. A giant duck by Curtis Hylton on the side of Bar Ibiza, Mincing Lane.
Not really part of Blackburn Open Walls, but seen on a cafe window ~ Exchange Coffee Company in Flemming Square.
Artwork by Blackburn based Alphahol.
A nod to Blackburns industrial heritage. A fantastical creature on a Loom by Sheffield based artist Phlegm.
Bees by Jerome Davenport ~ Australia.
Mural by London based Dale Grimshaw.
Found some more beautiful birds on a carpark wall, mostly obscured by vehicles though. Artist ~ Alexandra Gallagher.

I find myself wanting to hunt out the rest now. And definitely hoping more artists will add to these incredible street murals in 2019.

Do you have any street art near you?

Sunday Sevens 27th January.

Sunday Sevens is a collection of seven or more photos from the last seven days.

Last Sunday Wil and I were still in Edinburgh, where we had spent the weekend for Wil’s birthday. Sunday morning was spent exploring the monuments on Calton Hill. Well worth a visit! I will have to get round to writing a proper post.

Calton Hill.

Our favourite meal in Edinburgh and a tick off my bucket list, was this lamb Wellington at The Witchery by the Castle. Talk about melt in the mouth dining , in a sumptuous setting.

Lamb Wellington at The Witchery

Back home to a foggy England. I have actually had the week off work, due to having some holidays to get in before the end of March. Wil took Monday off and we went for a misty wander round the Pendle Sculpture Trail.

Tree Nymph on the trail.
Swans on the Riverside path. πŸ˜‚

Clitheroe had one gorgeous bright cold frosty day which Hugo and I made the most of , with a long walk by the Ribble. I was amused when these two swans emerged from the river and promptly plonked themselves on the path in front of us.

Cranachan.

Even though I have been in Scotland this week, I didn’t try Haggis or the traditional Scottish dessert Cranachan. Made from double cream, honey, oats, whisky & raspberries, cranachan is a simple pudding to make….even for me. πŸ™‚ Delicious not only on Burns Night.

Noticed a few clumps of snowdrops whilst out and about this week. And discovered some hiding in my flower beds, once I tidied them up a bit. If your interested, here are a few links to snowdrop walks & weekends. Not sure I will get to go to one myself this year, as were on with decorating the bedroom.

Lytham Hall, Lancs.

Hornby Castle, Lancs.

National Trust Snowdrop walks.

Goldsborough Hall, Harrogate.

Hopton Hall, Derbyshire.

National Garden Schemes snowdrop days.

Ruby red Amaryllis.

I will leave you with this cheery amaryllis, a Christmas present that is now blooming beautifully. πŸ™‚

Thanks to Natalie at Threads and Bobbins for devising Sunday Sevens.