It’s a cold and wuthering January week and here I am joining in with Sunday Sevens devised by the lovely new Mom, Natalie at Threads & Bobbins.
Last Sunday morning I woke up quite hungover after my works Christmas do. Does anyone else have their work’s Xmas party in January! Anyway Wil made English Breakfast Shatshuka from a recipe found on adventuresofcumbrianblondie.co.uk. Was just what I needed. 🙂
I have signed up to do the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch which takes place on the weekend of the 27-29th January. It’s basically a small way ( only takes up an hour of your time)of helping the RSPB find out about how our garden bird population is doing. This cheeky robin has been a regular visitor recently. 🙂
On Tuesday eve I met up with some ‘old friends’ for tea. We did lots of reminiscing ( turns out Jo, Fi and I have known our pal Suranjan for 17 years. What!) and even though he has moved down south and is married with kids now, the years just melted away. Plus we got to sit at a table with a wooden duck. 😁
The rest of my photos are from where I am currently staying. Yes I am in The Lake District once again! Instead of buying each other Xmas presents last year, Wil and I treated ourselves to 3 nights in Keswick. Its a bit of a tradition ,as we were here this time last year too.
On Friday we saw Snow. Hugo loved it! Although he is now three and half ,he has only experienced the White Stuff a couple of times before. We parked up near Thirlmere and followed the Red Squirrel Trail. Fun times!
Yesterday we decided to walk round Derwentwater ( the lake in Keswick) and above are our supplies. 😁
It was a beautiful day, the perfect sort of weather to circumnavigate a lake. I will definitely be blogging about Derwentwater in more detail soon…..
And here is last night’s supper! Dined at the lovely Merienda in Keswick. Totally spoilt for choice here. 😊
So there you have it. Thanks for bobbing by. How has your week been?
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. 🙂
As my other half and I are ‘owned’ by a bouncy black labrador, our days out and holidays are often planned round walks and pet friendly places. With this in mind, here are a few of Hugo’s ( and our) favourite haunts, over the last 3 years.
Allan Bank , Grasmere, Cumbria. There are not many National Trust properties that allow dogs inside. A charming exception, a short walk from Grasmere, is a former home of poet William Wordsworth. Not every room is decorated however, so this Georgian Manor has a relaxed carefree vibe. The grounds are worth an explore too and include a woodland walk and gardens. Sadly there is no cafe on site at present, though you are welcome to make yourself a brew. Open this year from the 10th February. You can read about our visit here.
St Annes Beach Huts, St Annes, Lancashire. What better base for a day at the seaside than a beautiful beach hut! We spent a memorable day with Hugo in St Annes a couple of summers ago…. and we do need to repeat the experience. The huts are fully equipped with a fridge, microwave and radio. The sands in front of them are dog-friendly all year round. stannesbeachhuts.co.uk
Another Place, Crosby Beach, Merseyside. An atmospheric and thought-provoking art installation. 100 iron figures grace Crosby Beach, all identical , all modelled on their creator Antony Gormley, all stand staring out to sea. A stunning spectacle and a great place for a bracing beach walk. Pay and display parking but there is also free parking at nearby Crosby leisure centre.
Castle Kennedy Gardens, Dumfries & Galloway. If you find yourself in Scotland’s much underrated Dumfries & Galloway , these 75 acre gardens surround two lochs and the ruins of a 14th century castle. Great for exploring, you can stay on the estate too, as we did here. 🙂
Conishead Priory, Ulverston, Cumbria. Although this Gothic Priory is now a Buddhist Retreat , the grounds, gift shop and cafe are all open to the public. We have visited maybe three times now with Hugo, for lovely woodland walks that lead down to the beach. A January trip saw the woods abundant with snowdrops. Look out for the Buddhist temple and a giant golden buddha! Parking is free and you can eat with your dog in a comfy lounge, next to the cafe.
East Lancashire Panopticans. Have you heard of The Singing Ringing Tree, The Atom or The Haslingden Halo? All three of these unusual structures are found locally in East Lancashire, and can be incorporated into interesting walks. For more information check out midpenninearts.org.uk
Formby Point Red Squirrel Reserve, Formby, Merseyside. Formby has a great dog-friendly beach with sand dunes and coastal pine forests which are home to Lancashire’s only native red squirrel population. 🙂 The Squirrel Walk is a must if you wish to see these cute tufty creatures. Parking at The National Trust Car park. Dogs on leads in the reserve. You can read about my visit Sea Air ~ Squirrels and Naked Men on the Sefton Coast. .
Ingleborough Show Cave, Clapham, Yorkshire. We had no intention of touring this grand Victorian Show Cave but having stumbled upon it whilst walking along Clapham Nature Trail, we found that dogs are admitted. 🙂 The tunnels are well lit, though low in places. The tours are interesting and the shop at the entrance sells snacks and souvenirs. Find out more here .
Ingleton Falls Trail, Ingleton, Yorkshire Dales. This 7km walk from Ingleton village is £6 per adult, including car parking. The trail takes in several stunning waterfalls and there are a couple of refreshment kiosks along the route. Walking boots are best worn and dogs may need to be on lead in some areas. www.ingletonwaterfallstrailco.uk
Janet’s Foss & Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales. The Yorkshire Dales is renowned for its beautiful waterfalls and Janet’s Foss is no exception. There is a stunning woodland walk from Malham village ( start at the Smithy) leading to the falls ( home to a fairy) and Gordale Scar. Another walk from the village takes you to the impressive Malham Cove , with its unusual limestone rock formations. I blogged about Malham here .
Lake District Boat Trips, Cumbria. Did you know that four-legged friends are welcome on the pleasure boats that cruise four lakes in the Lake District? Hugo has taken trips with us on Windermere, Ullswater , and Coniston. I am sure Derwent Water will be on our itinerary for 2018. 🙂
Lowther Castle & Gardens, Penrith, Cumbria. The imposing ruins and gardens within gardens of this nineteenth century castle are a joy to explore. Lots of events all year round and an amazing castle themed adventure playground for the kids. Dogs are also welcome in the cafe and the gift shop. lowthercastle.org
Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk, Arnside, Cumbria. In 2016 we walked across the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay between Arnside and Grange-Over-Sands. As you can see walking actually means wading…partly. And some swimming for Hugo! Bay walks are organized group walks and should not be attempted otherwise. You can read about our attempt here.
Pendle Sculpture Trail, Barley, Lancashire. The natural world and the Pendle Witches have inspired this informative ( and stunning ) trail through woodland near Barley. Park at the village car park ( pay via an Honesty Box) and walk for one mile, passing a reservoir, to Aitken Wood. I blogged about a pre Hugo visit here.
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, Ravenglass, Cumbria. Traveling 7 miles through gorgeous Lake District Countryside on a miniature steam train is something you can happily do, in the company of a four-legged friend. 🙂 There are hop on and off stops with many opportunities for lovely lakeland walks.Parking and Refreshments available at Ravenglass and Boot. ravenglass-railway.co.uk
Temple Seal Trips, Morston, Norfolk. Dogs are welcome on these popular boat trips, where you can see seals basking on Blakeney point. Colonies of Grey and Common Seals as well as rare arctic terns. Definitely a must do. The red and white boats even have a part canine crew! We loved our experience and here’s my blog to prove it. 🙂
I can only apologise that most of our days out have been in the North of England. But maybe that will be an incentive to holiday here with your hound. 🙂 If you have any recommendations for dog-friendly places to visit ( anywhere) please comment below.
The first few days of 2018 have been a bit of a wash-out. Its rained alot here in Clitheroe, plus I started the year with a stinker of a cold. 😦 Happily I felt much better by the weekend ,so I have decided to start the New Year with a New Challenge! Inspired by fellow blogger Christine
, I signed up to the #walk1000miles challenge organised by Country Walking Magazine. Walking 1000 miles in twelve months seems like a HUGE thing, but actually it’s pretty do-able, if you split it into sections. Walking 3 miles a day, every day would mean that I’d complete the challenge easily. I have joined the #walk1000miles facebook group for tips and friendly advice. Should be fun!
Weekends are definitely the best time for a good yomp around the countryside. On Saturday Wil, Hugo and I walked from Clitheroe to Mitton and back via Standen Hey. We stopped for a coffee at The Aspinall Arms, and because it was morning, we were the only customers, and got to sit next to a roaring fire. 🙂
Yesterday dawned one of those gorgeous clear frosty days. Ideal walking weather! In the afternoon we visited my sister and her family in Cowark and walked the 3 miles to nearby Whitewell. Another Country Inn beckoned before we headed back through the beautiful Forest of Bowland countryside.
I’m proud to say those two walks, plus shorter weekday dog walks as well as walking to work and back everyday, added up to 26.5 miles. So I am well on target! I am using the Samsung Health App on my phone to record the distance, thanks to Christine’s suggestion. 🙂
Another challenge for 2018 is to cross off a few more entries on my 25 Before 45 Bucket List which I wrote a couple of years ago. I don’t think I will manage to cross everything off, as I will be 45 this year. Big eeeek! I’m not sure where time goes. The photo above captures a few things I have done since starting the List ~ Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk, Photograph a Kingfisher, Harrogate Turkish Baths, Hugo in a dog show, Llama Trekking and East Lancs Rail Ale Trail.
Still to do include ~ Swim in a Lido, stay in a bothie, see the Northern Lights, Learn to crochet, Make an Honesty Box Meal and have Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23 in Manchester. Wish me luck!
Here I am back again with the last Sunday Sevens of the year. Cannot quite believe how incredibly quickly 2017 has gone. Here are 7 photos from the last 7 days of December. 🌲
1. Christmas Morning ( beween present opening and lunch! ) a walk with friends and hounds, with a couple of kids thrown in for good measure. Our friend Fi organizes this every year, so it has fast become tradition for anyone who is available to meet up. The location is always Brungerly Park which is home to the ‘ Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail’ and we always have a standard photo taken by the festively decorated Sikka Deer sculptures. I think Hugo is in there somewhere, hiding behind Sophie the deer hound. 🐕
2. Another yearly Xmas Tradition found me joining in with Janet’s Thrifty Christmas Gift Swap. I always love hunting for gifts from craft fairs and charity shops to send to my recipient, usually another blogger or instagrammer ( is that a word? ) that Janet matches me up with. This year I had to send to Janet herself and I found a few bits and bobs that I hope she likes. These included a Virginia Wolf book, a snowflake tree decoration, a small bottle of toffee vodka and a bundle of pretty fabrics , as I know she is a dab hand with a sewing machine. Sadly I forgot to take any pics but below is the lovely gift stash I got from Hanna , who lives in Washington DC. 🎁 I especially like the frosted fir scented candle and the plush pink mushroom tree decoration. Thanks Hanna. X
3. Hugo loved opening his presents. If he didn’t have his own, he would definitely be trying to open ours. 😁
4. Yet another Christmas Tradition! When visiting Mum over the festive period ,the whole family gets together for a photo. My brother sets up the camera, then we have 10 seconds to scrabble into position. We basically have the same photo every year, with slight variations. In 2017 Mum is looking startled, Brother in law’s head is almost obscured by a light bulb, my Step Dad has his trouser buttons undone and Hugo is showing us his butt. Ho Ho Ho. 😁
5. My most favourite Christmas Tipple this year has been rhubarb & ginger liqueur from the Edinburgh Gin Distillery served with ice and ginger ale. Bottoms up! 🍸
6. Well we have booked a holiday! Can you guess where we are going next Summer? Clue ~ rather remote and hopefully we shall see Sea Eagles and Corncrakes, white sandy beaches and crofters cottages. 😊 In fact we shall be staying in the crofters cottage above!
7. I shall end this post and this year with a piccie of Miss Slinky enjoying her latest comfy spot on the sofa. 🙂
See you in 2018. Enjoy whatever celebrating you do tonight. X
As it is now a yearly tradition of mine to post a quick photo round-up of the year, I thought I had better get cracking with this 2017 post. I definitely have no regrets about 2017. It has been pretty fantastic with lots of short trips away, days out and fun times with family and friends. 🙂
January. We celebrated Wil’s Birthday with a weekend break in his favourite Lake District town Keswick.
Mostly this consisted of walks by beautiful Derwent Water and of course frequenting Keswick’s many watering holes. 🙂
April. It was my little sister’s 40th Birthday this month and we celebrated with a mini break in the Big City ( London) with our younger brother and other halves. Our trip included The Natural History Museum, Afternoon Tea at Claridges and watching The Lion King. You can read all about it here.
June. This month I participated in The Wildlife Trust’s #30dayswild challenge , where I attempted ( though that’s no hardship!) to appreciate the beauty in nature every day in June, whether that meant noticing the different wildlife I would see on my daily walks with Hugo, or using natural ingredients in recipes such as Rose Petal Jelly. The challenge also coincided with my first ever visit to Norfolk, which I shall always remember for it’s many many beach huts, beautiful wildflowers and those yummy Dutch Pancakes in Wells-Next-The-Sea. 🙂
Beach Huts Galore in Norfolk.
Dutch Pancake on The Albatross.
July. Already well into Summer now. We spent a couple of nights camping in the Dales and walked this tiny stretch of The Dales Way and we took Hugo on his first ever trip on The Ullswater Steamer . I think this is my fave ever photo of my two boys. 🙂
August. Anyone for Afternoon Tea? I can certainly recommend a fun, quirky and delicious one at The Cake ‘Ole in Skipton. And August is a great time to go camping with the kids, as we found out when we accompanied friends to Meadow Falls near Ingleton.
September. We had a bit of an Indian Summer this month, which made up for a damp squibby August. Luckily we got to make the most of the sunshine on a day out with my niece and nephew in Morecambe and we spent a week in the The Lake District , bagging my first wainwright fell and enjoying the incredible views over Wastwater.
October. Days out in October included A family friendly bike ride on the Lancashire Cycleway from Lancaster to Morecambe and back. It was my first time on a bicycle for many a year, so I was pretty happy that I made it!
November. My Birthday month was made so special when Wil booked us two nights in the Yorkshire Spa town of Harrogate.
I have always wanted to visit the Turkish Baths there so I checked us in for a morning, which was really enjoyable. We also visited nearby Knaresborough with its ancient castle and railway viaduct.
December. And its nearing the end of 2017 now after a fairly quiet but lovely December. Highlights included Hugo opening his Christmas presents ( he is very good at unwrapping, just need to train him to wrap up 😉 ), The traditional Christmas Morning Walk, Willow Angel Weaving and a Festive Afternoon Tea at Alexanders in Skipton.
I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who drops in on my little blog every now and again. It really has made my year. 😁
All the best for 2018. I hope its a great one for everyone. Xx
Hello my festive followers! I thought I would post my last post before Christmas today and spread some Yuletide Blog Love. ♡ Here is a Christmas Combo of some of my favourite posts through December , so do grab a Mince Pie with your brew and enjoy browsing through these winter warmers. 😁
Because I am a traveller I can look down on the birds and up at the fishes. I collect moments and can venture back in time to lost worlds. I seize life and simultaneously escape it at will. Because I am a traveller I envy no man at home.