Category Archives: travel

30 Before 50 Bucket List ~ Update.

Watch a film in an old vintage cinema.

Climb ten more Wainwrights. ( Two down).

Eat out at the Witchery in Edinburgh.

Wildlife walk in the Slaidburn fells. We saw Ring Ouzels and Green Hairstreaks.

Go on a guided Wildlife Walk.

Swim in a lido.

Walk The Dales Way.

Latrigg Fell over Christmas. Another Wainwright ticked off.

See the Northern Lights.

Try a Dutch Pancake in Amsterdam.

Collect sea glass on Seaham beach.

Stop in four quirky holiday lets. ( One down).

Go wild camping.

Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23 in Manchester.

Dutch Pancakes in Amsterdam.

Explore more of the Outer Hebrides.

Spend a few days in the Peak District.

Go to the No 6 Festival in Portmeirion.

Photograph a Barn Owl in the wild.

The Witchery in Edinburgh.

Ride a street car in Lisbon.

Watch a starling murmuration.

Go Ice skating outdoors.

Make an honesty box meal.

Be Nine Stone!

A stay in a quirky holiday let ~ Tree Dome in Shropshire.

Visit Dungeness in Kent.

Eat ice cream in a vintage ice cream parlour.

Cycle round the isle of Cumbrae

Have coffee at Central Perk in the Manchester Primark.

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Meet Felix the Huddersfield Railway Cat.

An evening with The Yorkshire Shepherdess.

Go for a cream tea at the home of the Yorkshire Shepherdess. ( Did go to a very interesting talk by her).

So this is how I’m doing with my 30 Before 50 Bucket List. But don’t worry I still have a few years to go before I complete it! In 2019 I crossed five items off the list and made progress with a couple more. And I still have a few gaps, incase I think of a few more things I’d like to do. What’s on your Bucket List? x

Glamping In A Tree Dome ~ South Shropshire. 🌳🌿🦋

Before we bought our static caravan, I had long ago ( back in early Spring I believe) booked four nights away in a Tree Dome near Ludlow in Shropshire. A Tree Dome you ask? It’s a luxury glamping experience with all mod cons. Under canvas you might be, but there’s still the most comfiest bed I have ever slept in, a plush sofa, a delightful dining table and a toasty wood burner. Not that we needed to light a roaring fire in July, but still….

Tree Dome is situated in the heart of Bowkets Wood near Clee Hill, right on the Shropshire/ Herefordshire border. It is also very near Worcestershire. I am not very good with my counties! We particularly loved the decking area , where I must admit , we spent most of our time. The weather was warm so lounging about on the outdoor furniture with a good book and a glass of wine under the cool woodland canopy was perfection after a day out exploring.

Our woodland hideaway also featured a wood fueled hot tub ( available at extra charge), gas BBQ, fire pit, pizza oven ( added extra), and separate kitchenette & shower. A perfect base for getting to know so many English ( and Welsh too!) Counties. That is if you can ever bring yourself to leave. That hot tub was so enticing!

Sunday Sevens ~ May 12th 2019.

Hi folks , time for another Sunday Sevens, a collection of seven or more pics from my week. It’s been a strange old week that’s for sure. I am now officially unemployed/between jobs/made redundant. It’s all a bit surreal!

The bank holiday weekend included a night away in Manchester with Wil to see singer Newton Faulkner at The Albert Hall. Wow what a fantastic performer and what a wonderful venue too. Cathedral high ceilings and long stained glass windows. Another highlight was breakfast! I booked us into the Alpine style Albert Schloss right next door to the hall on Peter Street. Wil had a huge cooked breakfast ( look at that sausage! 😉 ) and I indulged in an Apple & Blueberry Cruffin. For the uninitiated a cruffin is a cross between a croissant and a muffin. It was delicious. 😁

Is it a muffin? Er nope , it’s a cruffin.
Man versus Food. 😁
Pretty!

It was also fab exploring a bit of the city I had genuinely never been to before. The olde worldy pubs, the contrasts in architecture and a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst standing on a chair in St Peters Square, all stood out for me.

Beetham Tower.
Emmeline Pankhurst.
Old tiled pub ~ Peveril of the peaks. Named after the Walter Scott novel of the same name apparently.
Newton Faulkner at the Albert Hall.
Dusky Cranesbill.

I found a wildflower/plant I D ap called plantsnap recently, which is a good one to put on your smartphone if your a bit like me and constantly stumble upon flowers and wonder what the heck they are. It helped me identify the above Cranesbill I spied on the river bank as a Dusky Cranesbill.

Thursday was my last day at work with this merry lot. We have all ( plus two more peeps) now officially left our jobs on the counters at Tesco , having taken redundancy. Here we are downing some prosecco…in tiny shot glasses I may add. 😉

And my last three minutes as a deli assistant ~ my two bonkers friends Jo and Fi dressed up as those supermarket staples ‘ bottle of sauce ‘ & ‘ fried egg’ and escorted me off the premises!

Currently I’m spending a few days with family before a friend’s wedding, four nights in Ravenglass and then a camping trip at the end of the month. Those are my immediate plans.

Thanks as always to Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for thinking up Sunday Sevens.

Weekend in Bristol.

Bristol does I suppose seem an odd choice of city break for three Lancashire lasses. But decamping to this historic South West maritime port on the banks of the River Avon definitely proved a hit with my friends Anne, Marian and I. Of course it certainly helped that Anne used to work in Bristol and knew of a few good spots to hang out. 😁

Colourful Riverside terraces.

One such place was a restaurant with a view in elegant Clifton Village, a lovely suburb of the city , famous for a feat of Victorian engineering. Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and finally completed in 1864 , five years after his death. Anne had booked a table at Avon Gorge by Hotel Du Vin overlooking the iconic structure which straddles the Avon Gorge. We made the most of a few photo opportunities on the outdoor terrace before enjoying a really delicious three course meal , a delightful ambience created by Brunel’s bridge all lit up as darkness fell.

On the terrace.
Cheers!
Marian’s Lemon tart. Photo by Marian too. 🙂

After the meal we had a couple of drinks in Clifton Village. Well it would be rude not to try out some local Somerset Cider. 😉

Somerset Cider.

On Saturday morning we headed into the city centre. Anne had booked us tickets for the Bristol Street Art Tour. Arriving early we had a little time to potter round Bristol Cathedral before meeting up for the tour on College Green. The cathedral is an impressive example of a medieval ‘hall church’ with vaulted ceilings and elegant arches. As we admired the beautiful architecture we heard serene choir music wafting from the Bristol Choir School nextdoor.

Bristol Cathedral.
Elegant arches.

The city’s Street Art is prolific and booking the walking tour is a great way of getting to know and view some of the colourful graffiti, murals and wall art that Bristol has embraced. Big names in the Street Art world ( most famously Banksy) have illegally made their mark here, whilst other art is commissioned. The scene is transient by nature, some stunning pieces can be here today but gone tomorrow.

The above piece is a Banksy called ‘Well Hung Lover’. It was stencilled on the wall of a sexual health clinic some years ago , apparently in the early hours of the morning. It has been targeted by paint bombs but remains one of Banksy’s iconic art works.

Above are a small selection of commissioned pieces from a 2011 art project called ‘See No Evil’ based around Nelson Street in the city centre. Their sizes alone are impressive.

I loved the geisha and the kingfisher , a beautiful and recent mural by Kin Dose. I hope it remains a while.

And I’m quite taken by ‘ Break Dancing Jesus’ by Cosmo Sarsen , situated in Stokes Croft….

Just opposite Jesus is Banksy’s famous ‘The Mild Mild West’ which due to its age and type of paint used is definitely under threat of simply waring away. Do you think measures should be taken to protect the work of our most famed graffiti artist?

I’m inclined towards loving the freedom of expression in Bristol. The colourful murals and evocative works just add to its vibrancy and charm. I took lots more photos on the two hour tour and would definitely recommend to anyone staying in the city. 🙂

Colourful houses in Stokes Croft.

After two hours tramping the streets we were ready for some tasty food! Cafe Cuba , a small family run Caribbean cafe in Stokes Croft really hit the spot. I think this is the first time I have ever tried plantain.

Lunch over we headed to King Street, a colourful area of old pubs and hostelries, for a couple more ciders. And then down to the harbor side. This is when the heavens decided to open , so we whiled a way an hour or so in the free museum of Bristol life M – Shed.

King Street ~ great for pubs.
More instagramable houses.
Inside M Shed.

Although our Saturday night plans did involve going out for a meal etc near our Airbnb in the suburb of Shirehampton, we all admitted we were actually pretty knackered and all that we really wanted to do was order in pizza, watch Britain’s Got talent and talk about Game of Thrones. So that’s exactly what we did Saturday night ! Honesty is the best policy. 😉

The next morning we were up bright and early so Anne suggested going for a stroll round nearby Portishead Quays Marina before heading home. This clean ,modern and rather picturesque marina is popular with runners, family’s and dog walkers , and it’s definitely somewhere to go and admire the boats and wonder if buying a water side apartment or even a small vessel is in your pay bracket. Well nope! But it’s fun to dream. 😁

Ship to Shore sculpture.

Badger Bar exterior.

Old pier.
RNLI lifeboat, off out to sea.
When shall we meet again sculpture.
Apartments design, modelled on an Ocean liner perhaps.

The loop round the Marina takes in several pieces of public art ( in fact there are twenty in total) , also a few restaurants and bars, a convenience store or two and the RNLI shop near the old pier. All in all a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

So where to next ladies? X

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?

30 Before 50 Bucket List.

I’ve wrote my new Bucket List, though I can’t say I’m loving the title! But yes I am now 45 years old and having written a 25 Before 45 Bucket List when I was a mere age 42, I thought I would continue with the bucket listing lark, through the rest of my forties. 🙂

There were a few items on my previous list that I never got round to ticking off, so I have included some of them on here. I would still like to swim in a lido, see the Northern Lights and try a Dutch pancake in Amsterdam. And there are plenty of new ideas too, such as watching a starling murmuration, collecting sea glass from the beach at Seaham in County Durham and eating ice cream in a vintage ice cream parlour. I’m excited to get cracking!

And I’ve already crossed two things off my new Bucket List. I managed to take a photo of a Barn Owl that was hunting in the field next to my sisters house ( wow, they are such beautiful birds) , plus I went to watch a movie in an old vintage cinema , which has definitely made me want to do more of the same in the future. 🙂

My Bucket List.

Watch a film in an old vintage cinema.

Climb ten more Wainwrights.

Eat out at The Witchery in Edinburgh.

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I’ve only done two Wainwrights ever, so hopefully having them on my bucket list will encourage me to do more!

Go on a guided wildlife walk.

Swim in a lido.

Walk The Dales Way.

See the Northern Lights.

Try a Dutch Pancake in Amsterdam.

Collect sea glass on Seaham beach.

Dutch Pancakes in Amsterdam. Image from Pinterest.

Stop in four quirky holiday lets.

Go wild camping.

Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23 in Manchester.

Explore more of the Outer Hebrides.

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Barn Owl in my sisters croft.

Stay a few days in the Peak District.

Go to the No 6 Festival in Portmeirion.

Photograph a Barn Owl in the wild.

Ride a street car in Lisbon.

Watch a starling murmuration.

Go Ice skating outdoors.

Make an honesty box meal.

Yellow Street Car in Lisbon. Image from Pinterest.

Be Nine stone.

Visit Dungeness in Kent.

Eat ice cream in a vintage ice cream parlour.

Cycle round the isle of Cumbrae.

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Meet Felix the Huddersfield Railway Cat.

Go for a cream tea at the home of the Yorkshire Shepherdess.

As you can see, I have left a few gaps in my list, in case I think of a few more things I would like to do.

Do you have your own list?

Have you seen or done anything that I have mentioned here? x

January ♥️

The month of January can be a wee bit meh. The sparkle and celebrations of Christmas are over and done with, so what is to be done ? Possibly go back to the gym, join weight watchers ( my depressing January thing once upon a time) or go into full on hibernation? I say do none of those things. Embrace the winter months. Get out and explore. Snuggle up with a good book or two. Engross yourself in a riveting boxset. Make hearty stews. Drink winter warming brews. This month sounds so much better already. 🙂

Watching ~ The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.

I’m presently loving The Marvelous Mrs Maisel on Amazon Prime. I can really get lost in the retro fifties glamor, the whimsical storylines and the laugh out loud moments.

Midge Maisel is a well to do Jewish New York house wife whose life falls apart when her husband leaves her for his secretary. Reeling, Midge accidentally finds therapy in stand-up comedy, almost unheard of for women in those days. This show is a visual treat with fabulous characters and is written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of Gilmore Girls. I definitely recommend. ❤️

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One of my birdie visitors.

I’ve signed up to do the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch , which I had fun participating in last year. If you have any feathered visitors in your yard or garden or even in your local park, it is definitely a great help to take an hour out of your time to just sit and observe who turns up. The Big Birdwatch is on over the last weekend of January. Make sure you fill up the feeders beforehand. Then put the kettle on, relax and watch. You can sign up here.

The best January days are bright and cold.

I’ve also signed up to do the #walk1000miles challenge again. There’s a fantastic Facebook page with a wonderful community of experienced and inexperienced walkers. Lots of walks ideas on there and motivational stories too. Just think, by the end of January there will be an extra hour of daylight, so more time to enjoy the outdoors. I’m certainly looking forward to that!

Hubs by Premier Inn ~ Royal Mile, Edinburgh.

I always think January is a good time to organize a mini break. Though that might be partly because it’s my other halves birthday. 🙂 Seriously though, what better way to combat the winter blues than a couple of nights away. Out of season breaks are usually less expensive and I was beyond pleased when I found Hubs By Premier Inn in Edinburgh. I’ll tell you if staying in such a bijou room is a good experience, later in the month!

Head for the warmth ~ Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.

If it’s cold outside, and it often is in January , head for the warmth. A great article in this month’s the Simple things magazine has some toasty suggestions including….

Winter Swim in one of the heated open air pools or lido’s that are open out of season. outdoorswimmingsociety.com

Admire tropical growing palms, ferns and flowers in the warmth of an ornate Glass House.

Book a break at Sherwood Center Parcs and experience a treetop sauna.

After a brisk walk on the beach, grab a blanket, buy some fish n chips and eat them on the prom in a wind shelter.

Google pubs near you with a roaring fire. Nothing beats a tipple of your choice in front of a crackling open fire.

My own suggestions ~ wrap up warm in a beach hut, relax in a Turkish baths, head to an independent cinema that serves hot drinks whilst you watch a movie and/or drink coffee with cats in your local cat cafe.

What are your January plans?