The One Planet Shop.

A few days ago my craft fair friend Lisa and I dropped by at the  OnePlanet shop in the lancashire town of Accrington. Managed by one of our fellow lovely craft fair folk Kerry, the shop is a cornacopia of ethical, fairtrade,handmade and locally sourced gifts and goodies. The vibrantly coloured shop frontage on Abbey street entices you in. There is lots to see inside!

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From tasty wholesome fairtrade food to locally produced arts and crafts to enviromentally friendly pampering products the One Planet Shop has plenty for everyone. Lisa’s lovely ceramic tags and buttons are stocked in the shop too as are a small selection of my teacup candles.
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So if your ever in Accrington be sure to drop in 54 Abbey street for a nosy. 🙂

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Chilled Camping Trip in the Yorkshire Dales.

We thought we would make the most of this glorious sunshine and have a short weekend break away in our tent. We certainly hit the jackpot with the weather hey ! The campsite we chose is one we have been to previously, Howgill Lodge near the pretty village of Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales. Howgill Lodgeis a family run campsite which takes caravans,camper vans and tents. We camped in the bottom field without electric, two adults,one tent and one dog ~ £20 per night.

Howgill Lodge Campsite.
Howgill Lodge Campsite.

Because it was so hot we decided to mostly chill outside the tent. 🙂 On Friday eve we had a barbecue, using our Cobb Barbecue which by the way is a brilliant totally portable little barbie, extremely handy for taking camping. We loved that every pitch at Howgill Lodge has its own picnic bench. How good is that when the weather is so perfect! So all meals and any cooking we did was all prepared and eaten outside. Lots of relaxing and reading too. My reading rut , I think has ended. I started and finished The Great Gatsby ( hurrah ) and settled down with some good magazines.

Settling down with The Simple Things.
Settling down with The Simple Things.
An extra guest for dinner.
An extra guest for dinner.

On Saturday we ventured away from our tent and drove the short drive to the lovely Priory ruins of Bolton Abbey. That may sound super lazy but our old labrador Jake can no longer walk very far. In the past we have enjoyed leisurely ambles along the river to the Bolton Abbey estate. This time we parked in one of the three designated car parks . There is a £7 charge for the day. Jake enjoyed messing about in the river as did we ! Its a brill place to go for a picnic and there is lots of wildlife. I spotted a dipper,goosander and a heron. 🙂

The Priory ruins.
The Priory ruins.
Messing about in the river.
Messing about in the river.

Saturday evening we took the car into Appletreewick and ate out at one of the two pubs. Again, the village is within short walking distance. We only drove because Jake cannot manage the journey anymore. The Craven arms was our chosen destination. If you love yummy pub grub and real ales and a touch of quirky decor you will adore the Craven. Check out the wise words of the weather stone hanging outside the front door. And look for the bar stool which the posterior of actress Linda Grey ( Su Ellen in Dallas ) has apparently graced. Who Knew !

The Weather Stone.
The Weather Stone.
Fish and Chips at the Craven.
Fish and Chips at the Craven.

All in all we had a really relaxed weekend and it was great just to chill, enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. How did you spend the scorcher of a weekend? We were absolutely back home to watch the nail biting Wimbledon final. A huge Well Done to Andy Murray ! 🙂

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A Picnic Afternoon Tea.

My friend Jo hit on a lovely idea to celebrate her birthday. She had heard about a new tearooms that have opened at Holden Clough Nurseries near Bolton By Bowland. And they prepare an Afternoon Tea with a twist !

A Picnic Bench Afternoon Tea. Yummy !
A Picnic Bench Afternoon Tea. Yummy !

The Garden Kitchen is a newly built tea rooms that serves delicious locally sourced produce in the heart of the Ribble Valley. As it was a sunny day ( hurrah ! ) we decided to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and pleasing views of pretty flowering plants and shrubs.

The Birthday Girl ready to  tuck in.
The Birthday Girl ready to tuck in.

The Afternoon Tea is served on a mini Picnic bench which really blends in with the charming ambiance of dining out at the nurseries. There are a selection of dainty finger sandwiches,heavenly homemade quiches and of course some truly decadent and divine cakes and desserts, including cute little cupcakes served in plant pots,ravishing rocky road,exquisite eclairs and strawberry milkshake that you sip from a straw out of a dinky pot wellington boot.

Of course as it was a celebration we opted for glasses of something bubbly too as well as pots of tea. 🙂

Ladies that Lunch.
Ladies that Lunch.

After our leisurely lunch we thought we had all better pretend to be gardeners and peruse the plant section ! To Jo’s delight she found an Azalea shrub with her name on it. A Johanna Azalea ! Unfortunately I did not spy any of my namesake ,the Rose of Sharon. I opted for a Sea Holly instead.

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Sea Holly.

The staff were very friendly and attentive and boxed up our leftovers to take home. We had a lovely afternoon. It was a tremendous treat.:)

Farewell my little friend. ^^

Its been a sad few days in our household. We have lost our sweet diminutive very vocal little cat  Tibbs to old age. For such a minute moggie ( everyone always thought she was a kitten because of her small stature) she had a big character.Always a noisy girl she had the loudest meow and a purr that resembled a motorbike. When she wasn’t scaling high walls and house roofs like a cat burglar keeping an eye out for other kittys food to snaffle , she was making herself comfy in my lap and gazing up at me with those huge adorable Puss In Boots eyes. She was so sprightly, constantly under our feet, and quite often recieving black looks from the dog when she successfully dodged his failed attempts to herd her out of the kitchen. No place was considered out of bounds for Tibbs.She loved burrowing herself deep under the duvet in the bedroom or any box or bag hanging around was of course a ready made bed put there just for her………

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Hope you are in Moggie heaven now Mrs Tibbs. I still can’t quite believe your gone. Miss you so much my little friend. Xx

A Gift and Goulash.

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A few weeks ago my lovely friend Sarah gifted us a set of Recipes Around The World cook books ( a small selection of them are pictured above). I was delighted as they have a little bit of sentimental value for the boyfriend and I.   Going back a couple of years, we found ourselves having to live apart  due to unforseen circumstances.  We stayed seperately with folks and friends and I guess in a way it was like being teenagers again. There wasn’t much opportunity to spend any alone time together. When Sarah asked us to house sit for a week ( and let us bring our dog too 🙂 ) we jumped at the chance. The small things we really took  for granted as a couple such as cuddling up on the sofa with a dvd or cooking tea together were ours again to appreciate. Every evening we made something from the interesting Around the World recipe books in Sarah’s bookshelf, a tasty tagine from Morocco, a delicous creamy curry from Thailand, a steaming Russian stew. It was good to be a family again. 🙂

Time has passed and we are once more settled in our own place. Our friend has gotten married and two households have merged into one. Hence a big clear out of her and her hubbys belongings. The books have found a new home with us 😀

Last week we dipped into one of the books  again and found a recipe for Hungarian Goulash. This was good timing actually as I had recently bought a tube of real Hungarian Paprika Puree from The Paprika Lady Company.

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Ingredients ( serves 4 )

900g/2lb stewing beef
2 red peppers
50g/2oz butter
300ml/half pint beef stock
2 Onions
3 cloves garlic
4tbsp mild paprika
4tbsp olive oil
2tsp mild chilli powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
half tsp dried marjoram
3 bay leaves
1tsp cumin seeds

We substituted the paprika and chilli powder  with 1 tablespoon puree which was hot hot hot.:-)

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/ Gas 2. Cut the beef into large cubes. Core, de-seed and chop the peppers.Melt the butter.

2) Blend the peppers until smooth. Poor in the stock and blend for 1min until combined.

3) Peel and chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole dish and cook the beef and onion for 5-10 mins until meat is browned and onions are softened. Add the garlic,paprika,chilli powder and pureed pepper. Bring to the boil.

4) Stir in seasoning, marjoram, bay leaves and cumin and bring back to the boil. Cover and bake for 1and a half/-2 hours, stirring twice during cooking, until the beef is tender. Remove bay leaves before serving.

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Enjoy!

Fabulous Finds from the Craft Fair.:)

At the weekend I took my teacup candle stall to the  Lets Get Crafty craft fair in Whalley.  This is the main fair I do and happily I had a great day sales and fun wise. I was able to spend some of/ well ok, most of my earnings on a few  lovely purchases at the fair. 🙂

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View of the fair.

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Some of my teacup candles.

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My fave stall today , Sew To Soul
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Polly The Vintage Caravan.

There were as usual some gorgeous stalls. And  Polly The Vintage Caravan was there serving tea, coffee and scrumptious cakes in pretty vintage crockery.

Here are a few treats and gifts I was tempted by :

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This colourful cat cushion from Sew To Soul makes a purrfect addition to our bedroom.

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I bought some Hot Paprika Puree from The Paprika Lady to add to chilli’s and stews. Looking forward to making some tasty Goulash.
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These socks and beads are from the ethical and lovely One Planet stall and are a birthday gift for a friend.

In fact Kerry who does the One Planet stall took some of my candles to sell at the One Planet shop in Accrington. 🙂

Here is my favourite and biggest purchase from the fair. I really treated myself !
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Its a beautiful duck egg blue lovingly upholstered chair.Looks wonderful in my blue and white bedroom.Very Shabby Chic. Another treat from Sew To Soul

I’ve said before that craft fairs and independant shops are ideal places for buying unique and gorgeous gifts. I also discovered a newly opened shop in my home town at the weekend called Urban Sheep where I bought a pretty blue bunny pattened summer bag as a present for a friend. I am truly tempted to indulge in one for myself!

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Thanks for admiring my pretty purchases. Check out your local craft fairs and independant shops. Who knows what treasures you may find. 🙂

Camping Ullswater ~ Places to visit.

As you may have read we have recently returned from a few days camping near Pooley Bridge in the Ullswater area of the Lakes. The we in question are myself, my boyfriend Wil and our elderly labrador Jake. We stayed at the Quiet Site and I reviewed it in my previous post.

Holidaying with the hound can prove quite a challenge but luckily the Lake District is quite geared up for accepting your four legged friend at various attractions. If you are into walking the countryside here includes some of the most awe inspiring terrain in England. Now that our Jakey is an old boy to much hiking around is no longer an option for us. But here are a few of the places we visited.

Whinlatter Forest
Whinlatter is a mountain forest park packed full of walking trails, mountain bike trails, and wildlife including Osprey, deer and red squirrels. There is also a kids adventure trail and a Go Ape for the more adventurous. Wil comes here alot mountain biking ( you can hire bikes here too) but it is also a great place to bring the dog.After checking out the trails we enjoyed a brew and homemade cake at Siskins cafe with its wooden veranda looking out onto the forest.Friendly birds darted from the many hanging bird feeders to feast on our crumbs.

High Cup Winery

Did you know Cumbria has its very own Winery? High Cup Winery is based at Townhead Farm at the foot of High Cup Gill in the Eden Valley. We discovered them whilst in the area last year but to our disappointment they were shut at the time. Luckily this trip they were open and busy constructing a fence round their fruit bushes to keep out the rabbits! The wines they produce come from their home grown raspberries,damsons,elderberries,rhubarb,gooseberries and even beetroot. We were able to sample them before we chose which ones to purchase. I was very keen on the spiced beetroot which is best served warm. We came away with bottles of ravishing rhubarb, raspberry rose and exquisite elderflower and apple. Perfect for sipping on a summers evening camping. 🙂

High Cup Winery.
High Cup Winery.

2011 was a good year!
2011 was a good year!

Llama Karma Kafe

A rather kooky coffee break stop off on the A66 Penrith, we had our lunch here oneday on the way to my nephews school sports day. Lovely food, a quirky peruvian interior,lots of animal inspired cuddly toys and gifts , a cozy woodburner.And Llamas in the back yard! Kids will love the Animal magic garden, the real live llamas and the wooden lifesize llamas.:)
Having the hound with us, we sat out front on one of the picnic benches. I had to go and have a sneeky peek at the Llamas though.Apparently the Llama Karma Cafe organizes Llama trek experiences in Lakeland too. Now that would be something to try!

Llamas at the Llama Karma Cafe.
Llamas at the Llama Karma Cafe.

Birdoswald Roman Fort

We have always wanted to see Hadrians Wall so decided on driving to Birdoswald Roman Fort near Brampton.Still in Cumbria, just, the longest intact expanse of Hadrians Wall can be found here. Not exactly ` Game of Thrones’ height but still impressive none the less! The weather was sunny but rather blustery and wild and I imagine the beautiful but harsh northern landscape must have seemed bleak to the Roman soldiers who lived along the wall. There’s a small museum at Birdoswald and information about the remains of the fort ( would have been better if there had been more artefacts on display from the site) , an English heritage gift shop and tearooms. You are welcome to bring your own picnic as there are benches in the courtyard. The attraction is dog friendly and there are extensive walking and cycling routes along the wall.

Hadrians Wall.
Hadrians Wall.

Jake on Hadrians Wall.
Jake on Hadrians Wall.

Birdoswald.
Birdoswald.

Ullswater Steamers

Ullswater is the second longest lake in the Lake District and I think, the most beautiful. A good way of enjoying the breathtaking scenery is to take a boat trip on one of the old Ullswater Steamersthat depart from the villages of Glenridding,Pooley bridge and Howtown and you can get hop on and off tickets which will allow you to explore the lake countryside partly by boat and partly on foot if you wish. We simply got a return ticket from Glenridding at one side of the lake, stopped off at Pooley bridge for lunch and a cream tea in the pretty riverside tea gardens at Granny Dowbekins Cafe and then headed back to Glenridding. It takes about an hour to get from one end of the lake to the other.

Waiting to board the steamer at Glenridding.
Waiting to board the steamer at Glenridding.

Jake's first boat trip age 13. Think he enjoyed it!
Jake’s first boat trip age 13. Think he enjoyed it!

Steamer on the lake.
Steamer on the lake.

Enjoying the trip.
Enjoying the trip.

Cream Tea in Pooley bridge.
Cream Tea in Pooley bridge.

We learn’t quite a bit about Ullswater on our trip. I didn’t realize but Donald Campbell broke the world speed record here in 1955 in the jet powered Bluebird K7. William Wordsworth was inspired to write his famous poem ‘The Daffodils’,when walking along the banks here with his sister Dorothy. And Ullswater is linked to Arthurian Legend where it is often referred to as “The Dark Lake”. I highly recommend visiting this less touristy area.:)

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