Category Archives: seasons

Two Eden Valley Houses in Autumn.

Once you have scaled the heights of Wainwright’s fells and completed The Ullswater Way, there are gentler pursuits to enjoy in Cumbria’s ‘Eden Valley’.  Only minutes drive from the historic market town of Penrith stands a 15th century fortified manor , with an unusual sanctuary door knocker  and a  fine stately home famed for its annual Marmalade Festival.

Last Sunday I took a few photographs of both Brougham Hall and Dalemain House. It was a perfect sunny Autumn day, and though our visits to both were brief, I hope my pictures inspire you to look them up when you are next in the area.

Brougham Hall 

The historic remains of the home of the Brougham family date back to Tudor times . The Hall and several other buildings lie inside the thick fortified walls in the small parish of Brougham. Sir Winston Churchill commandeered the site for secret military research during WWII.   Renovations here are a work in progress, so do not expect a grand old house. Instead delight in the area’s history, enjoy a stroll round the grounds and browse the array of arts and crafts workshops in the courtyard. There is a small friendly cafe too. Entry to the Hall is free though donations are of course welcome. As are anyone who cares to visit, including four legged guests. 🙂  www.broughamhall.co.uk

 

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Free car parking on this side of the Hall.
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The Brougham Door Knocker is actually a replica of the original, but impressive all the same.
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The 1520 door and gatehouse entrance.

 

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Behind the black doors are artist’s studios and craft workshops.
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Plenty of room outdoors for the kids to run around.

 

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Gwen Bainbridge Ceramics are unusual and beautiful.
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Wil and I just had to share a scone in Bettyann’s Tea Parlour. 🙂
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View from the cobbled ramp under the Gatehouse.
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Brougham Hall and Durham Cathedral both have replica’s of these ‘Beastly Bronze Door Knockers’. They are called Sanctuary Door Knockers and by tradition, anyone  who was running from the law and dared to grip the handle and knock, could claim sanctuary within the walls.

Dalemain House  

Unlike Brougham Hall, Dalemain is an impressive Country House that is still resided in by the Hasell family, who have been in residence since the 1600’s.  The imposing Georgian facade certainly makes the visitor curious, as to what the rooms are like inside. Of course we rocked up here an hour before the house and gardens closed for the day!  So we chose to venture round the gardens. We did not have Hugo with us but that is probably a good thing, as dogs are sadly not allowed at Dalemain.  Car parking is free and there is a Tea Room in the Medieval Hall. Because we only had an hour to explore, we were charged a discounted price of £3 each to view the gardens. www.dalemain.com

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The impressive rose tinted Georgian Facade.

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Lady Marmalade Rose.

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We came across a giant topiary Dragon!
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Relax and enjoy the view.
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Even at the end of October there was a wide array of flowers at Dalemain.
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Above the house there is a Deer Park.
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And to our delight, a large herd of Fallow Deer. 🙂

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We didn’t even have time for a brew in the Medieval Hall. 😦
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Dalemain holds The World’s Original Marmalade Awards every year in March, along with a festival of all things Marmalade. Next years Festival will take place 17th & 18th March 2018. Will Paddington Bear be there, that’s what I want to know!

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I hope you enjoyed my super quick tours of two Eden Valley delights.  I am determined to visit both of them again in the future. I especially need to frequent the Marmalade Festival. 🙂

If you are thinking of exploring this beautiful area of the Lake District, you might also want to read my blogs about  Lowther Castle  and  Ullswater & Aira Force.  

Which historic houses do you like to visit in Cumbria?

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Photo An Hour ~ Saturday 28th October. 

On Saturday I joined in with Janey and Louisa’s Photo An Hour on Instagram, posting a photo every hour, on the hour , all through the day.  It happened that I was staying with family in the little village of Askham near Penrith, so my piccies are all taken in Cumbria, instead of where I live in Lancashire.

8am. Woke up to  a view of a rather murky day .

9am.  Coffee and Toast for breakfast.

10am. Heading down the village  of Askham past one of the  Greens to the Village shop. The shop has a great community feeling and serves coffee too, so we sat in and enjoyed another brew. 🙂

11am. We had been told about a local photography art exhibition in the Village Hall so walked there for a nosy. I bought a few cards and will no doubt frame them, when I get round to it. 

 

 

12pm.  Pie & peas for an early lunch.

1pm. Off to Keswick in the car so a pretty boring shot of the road. Still murky out there, which I guess is appropriate for the time of year. 🎃

2pm.  In Keswick Wil finds a new jacket…..and some walking pants. I prefer to admire pumpkin ornaments! 

3pm.  Enjoying a blood orange tea and a slice of Cherry Chocolate cake in Merienda , a fave tea room in Keswick. 🙂

4pm.  Back in Askham and find Biscuit the family cat relaxing on the bed. He is  a gorgeous boy but is petrified of dogs. So we couldn’t bring Hugo !  I spend most of the weekend seeking out random dogs to stroke. 

5pm.  Admiring the flowers in Mum’s garden. 🙂

6pm.  I bought a Lake District & Cumbria magazine in Keswick so I’m having a glance through. Lots of walks and useful info in here! 

7pm. Tea over, Wil and I head to one of the two pubs in Askham , The Queen’s Head. There is a tempting cocktail menu. Later I do have  an Expresso Martini ! 

8pm.  I wish I had taken a better photo of Floyd the Cocker Spaniel. Here he is at the bar with his owner,  after hoovering up the entire pub. His owner said he was at the village Halloween party, the night before too. Floyd is a party animal! 

9pm. Just  a short of Wils glass. Spooky! 

So there you have it, some random shots of a day in my life. Hope you are having a spooktacular Halloween, and I’ll be back in a few days with more  Autumnal pics of a couple of places we visited on Sunday. 🎃

Hawthorn’s October Scavenger Hunt.

So my Photo Scavenger hunt for October is not going to be very inspired, as I haven’t been out and about very much. It’s been a quick scramble to find some suitable pictures. Here goes !

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1. Making.   I have been Making progress with my Christmas shopping!  I know, a bit to organized. But when having a mooch in Oxfam the other day , I saw some really cute recycled  paper bird houses and couldn’t resist buying them. Oxfam have a really fun gift selection this year, including some lovely books and… Beer Bread. Nice stocking fillers. I also found a couple of bits in ‘ The Keep’ , a really fab gift shop in Clitheroe. I’m on a roll ! 

2. Empty.   It’s always good to walk Hugo in the early morning, when the woods and fields are Empty, save for us and nature. 

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3. It Starts with an F.   A favourite  Flower  of mine at this time of year is the Chinese Lantern.  It appears in a front garden of one of my neighbors every Autumn and I always stop to admire the papery orange flowers. A few years ago Wil even bought me a Chinese Lantern necklace, and it’s my favourite piece of jewellery.  🙂

4. Paper.  I have recently picked up this spooky looking paperback. Thought it may be a good Halloween read. Anyone read it yet? 

5. Neat.  Hurrah that my other half is so neat at wallpapering and tiling! Living room coming on now. Will post some more pics when completed! 

6. Street.  A photo of a Clitheroe Street taken from inside the Castle grounds, on a walk with Hugo.

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7. Kettle.  So here’s a very boring picture of my kettle.  It lives on top of the microwave , as space is at a premium in our kitchen.

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8. Unexpected.    It was  Unexpected  to see a singer sewing machine on a wall in Boot !  This photo was  actually taken last month, on our holiday in The Western Lakes.

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9. Vase.   I love my seahorse Vase in my bedroom window, but I’m not sure a bunch of flowers would suit it.  What do you think ? 

10. My Own Choice.  This shrub in the Castle park bares purple berries every Autumn. I always wonder what it is? Any ideas? 

Thanks to  Kate / Hawthorn  for arranging the Scavenger Hunt once again. 

 

 


Links & Likes March. ♡

Starlings and Hares by Rob Barnes.

Hey and welcome to March Links& Likes. I thought I would include some pretty pictures of mad March hares frolicking around with not a care in the world.  If only our lives could be as carefree as these beautiful illustrations.  Anyway without further ado….

Gina put   The Kelpies

 

 in Falkirk on her visit list. I would love to see these Giant horse sculptures for myself. 

Fancy a walk that meanders through a pub and ends with a Waterfall?  Let Jo  show you the way.  

Naomi tells us about  The Joy of Gorse and how the shrub’s sunshine yellow flowers  can be made into a fresh and delicious cordial. 🙂

Illustration by Lucy Grossmith.

Louise  follows in the footsteps of  Peakland writer Roger Redfern and finds that things haven’t changed all that much ,since he published his own rambles in the 1960s.

One of my favourite travel boggers ‘Mary’ from Travels with the Blonde Coyote hasn’t posted in a while, but hopefully that will all change now she’s introduced her gorgeous new dog pal ‘ Vida’. What a beauty! 🙂 

Erin has visited the vibrant and colourful city of Lisbon. Me too please. 🙂 

Illustration by Louise Scott.

This fab post by Baked by Mummy Iris explores London’s Covent Garden. It looks like foodie heaven and certainly makes my tummy rumble. 🙂

 Hey did you know that there is a A Cat ~^^~ who actually works in B & M Bargains???  Check out this cute Kitty ! 

And if your planning a trip to Iceland this year , here is a very useful blog to consult I ♡ Reykjavik.

Wendy Andrews ~ Dreaming of Spring.

Thanks so much for dropping by. If you have any blog recommendations, that you think I will like, please let me know. ♡

 

 

Hygge and enjoying the Winter months. 

The tree is down and the decorations have been put away. Yet the happy times don’t have to end. Winter is so often dark and cold but maybe we should embrace our longest season. Maybe we should do as the Danish do and bring on the Hygge!!  Hygge ( pronounced hoogah) is a Danish word that describes a feeling of cosiness and joy. It embodies the pleasures we take in simple things such as enjoying a mug of hot tea whilst the rain beats at the window, reading a favourite book by candlelight, getting together with friends in a cosy pub or snuggling on the sofa with a pile of blankets and cushions and a good film. It seems that people in Denmark cannot wait for Winter to arrive and their contentment with this time of year surely contributes to their nation being ‘the happiest’ in Europe. 🙂

 

Snuggly Socks. Image via Pinterest.

With this in mind I have consulted ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ by Meik Wiking of The Happiness Institute in Copenhagen ( yes there is such a place! ) and written a list of ideas to help us get through the rest of January and February. No two months need the concept of Hygge more, I feel.:)
Indoors. 

Light candles. The home always feels so much cosier by candlelight.

Feel toasty. Snuggly socks, slipper boots, cozy cushions & throws all add to that super cozy feeling.

Hot drinks. Your favourite coffee, tea or hot chocolate in a lovely new mug. Why not try an unusual  tea , add a flavoured syrup to your coffee or some ginger to hot chocolate.

Bring Nature Indoors. Treat yourself to a few plants or flowers. Or when your out and about look for fir cones, greenery, berries etc and arange them inside.

Take up a creative hobby. I’m always saying I will learn to crochet! Or how about rag rugging, knitting or cross stitch.

Bring out the boardgames. Invite friends or family round for boardgame fun. Remember Scrabble, Monopoly, Connect 4, Kerplunk?

A good book. Hunt out your library card and take out some stories by  your fave authors to read over Winter.

Old Movies. Oldies are the best I think. Some of my faves include Rebecca, The Ghost & Mrs Muir, To Catch A Thief and Roman Holiday. Snuggle down with some of your fave films.

Slow Cook. Make Winter warming stews and fill the home with amazing aromas. Oh and invite  friends round for a hearty supper. They can always bring pudding. 😉
Discover a New Boxset. There are so many! Currently enjoying Orphan Black and just caught up with Black sails. Any recommendations?

Dig out old photos. Or print out some of your favourites  and put in a photo album to enjoy flipping through on a cold Janury evening.

 

Snuggle down in your own Hyggekrog. Image via Pinterest.

Create a Hyggekrog. This is cozy nook in the home where you can snuggle  in a blanket with a good book and a brew.

Build a Hygge Emergency kit. For those times you just want to curl up with all favourite things. Add candles, a book you love, notebook & pen, chocolate, your fave film, some snuggly socks, pjs, a face mask, a pretty teacup and your tea of choice. Or whatever makes you  happy. 🙂

Daylights at a premium in January and February so  I will try and make the most of it. 🙂 Here are  a few ideas.

Out & About.

Blustery Beach Walk.  The UK is full of almost deserted beaches in the Winter , so why not wrap up warm and blow those cobwebs away with an invigorating walk along the coast. Look out for wintering water birds and big skies.

Hire a Beach Hut for the day. Why not rent a base for your day out at the seaside. Be sure to take essentials such as warm blankets, hot water bottles, flasks of hot chocolate and your fave board games. Heres a Beach Hut day rental site in St Annes.


Hunt out Street Art. Fill a flask with your favourite hot beverage and explore your neighbourhood on foot.

Find a Cozy Cafe. There’s nothing more comforting than finding a cozy cafe to relax in when the weather is miserable outside. You can even get that Hygge feeling in one of the many Scandinavian cafes that are popping up around Britain such as Baltzersens in Harrogate and Nordic Bakery in London.
 

 

Snowdrops. Image via Pinterest.

Snowdrop Walks.  January & February bring out carpets of snowdrops. A sure sign that Spring is tentatively on its way. The National Trust has information on Snowdrop walks near you. 🙂


Book A Weekend Away. The great thing about booking a few days away out of season is the price! Look for somewhere with a wood burning stove or open fire for that extra Hygge feeling. I used Sally’s Cottages to find a cozy cottage for a weekend in January.

Borrow a Dog.  If you don’t have a four legged friend, borrow a pooch from a friend or family member and take them out for a long country walk. Fresh air is honestly one of the best cures for the Winter Blues and your new companion will be very appreciative.There’s even a website Borrowmydoggy.com that you can sign up to.

Spa days. Look out for pamper package offers at local spas and treat yourself.

Iceskating. Find your inner child and get out onto the Ice. Some outdoor rinks are open throughout January.www.cntraveller.com.

January & February Celebrations. Take note of winter celebrations such as Burn’s Night at the end of January, Chinese New Year, Shrove Tuesday or ‘Pancake Day’ , Candlemas/Imbolc and Valentine’s Day. Or make that Galentine’s Day to celebrate the girl pals in your life!


 

The Little Book of Hygge.

Hope this post gives you a few ideas of how to combat those Winter Blues. Oh and if it does actually snow, make sure you dig out that sledge!! 🙂

 

 

Our stay in the grounds of a Scottish Castle.

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Icehouse Cottage.

I can hardly believe that only last week, we were staying in a beautiful cottage in Scotland. A cottage in the grounds of a Castle no less. Two castles in fact !  Lochinch Castle in Dumfries and Galloway is  home to the Count and Countess of Stair. The castle was built in the mid 19th Century some years after their original residence ‘ Castle Kennedy’ was burned to the ground. The ruins of Castle Kennedy can also be found on the Lochinch Estate and the Castle Kennedy Gardens are open to the public. Seventy Five acres of sculptured gardens and woodland to wander in. In November we more or less had it all to ourselves!

Our home for the week was the cosy single story Icehouse Cottage situated close to the original remains of a Victorian Icehouse. With it’s pretty furnishings, toasty wood burner and idyllic location, we couldn’t have wanted for more. Hugo was especially happy led in front of the fire after long walks around the grounds. 🙂

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The ruins of Castle Kennedy.

On our very first walk we came across three deer just wandering through the forest. 🙂  In fact every walk, thereafter, we would spot roe deer, red squirrels , woodpecker, pheasants, buzzards and other wildlife amongst the canopy of the trees. They became such common sights that it wasn’t even a surprise when we spied deer along the treeline of the woodland  behind the back of the cottage. I’m sure if we had erected a trampoline, the John lewis advert would have come to life there and then!

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Lochinch Castle.

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There are two Lochs on the Lochinch estate poetically named The Black Loch and The White Loch. Both hold lots of wildlife and the White Loch is a site of Special Scientific Interest due to its winter waterfowl and rare invertebrate  fauna and flora. I’m not quite sure why my dog has two tails in the above photograph….

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I think my favourite part of the Castle Kennedy Gardens is The Walled Garden, which somehow reminded me of a Secret Garden. Autumnal colours were out in force and flowering shrubs still bloomed. So beautiful.

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We loved our time in South west Scotland and Lochinch Cottages  ( there are two more in the castle grounds) provided an ideal base to explore Dumfries & Galloway. And a Winter Break there?  Well why not! Being out of the tourist season means you can (almost) imagine your lording over your own estate. 🙂

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As we left we saw a deer wading through the Black loch. 🙂