Tag Archives: cafes

Manchester  ~  Hanging out in The Northern Quarter.

I thought I would share with you a few of the quirky shops and cafes that my friend Lisa and I visited in the vibrant Northern Quarter area of Manchester last week. This plethora of independent bars, eateries and emporiums is situated not far from the city centre and can easily be reached from both The Arndale and Piccadilly Gardens. 

Oklahoma. A must if you are after a quirky gift or something unique for the house, this colourful gift and homewares shop on High Street is a delight to mooch around. Ideal for cute stocking fillers and novelty items too. Has a super Christmas decoration section with lots of kitsch baubles and festive fun. I bought a couple of little fun presents from here. 🎄okla.co.uk 

Craft & Design Centre.  Housed in a Victorian Fishmarket building , the Manchester Craft & Design Centre is home to several talented artists and maker’s workshops over two levels plus a wonderful little cafe. After admiring some of the crafters work we had lunch here. I can recommend the tasty frittata and salad. 😁 craftanddesign.com 

Lisa and I find a Manchester Bee.

Northern Flower.  I was dazzled by the array of plants and flowers in this bijou florists on Tib Street. Describing itself as a Potting – shed boutique, Northern Flower has an impressive selection of cacti and succulents as well as beautiful pots and hangers. I couldn’t help but purchase a tiny cactus for my collection. 🌵 www.northernflower.com 

Image from Pinterest.

Chapter One Books. A great place to relax with a coffee and cake this spacious and comfy coffee shop is also a book shop. We bobbed in for a brew and a chat and made the most of the comfy sofas. Its quite alright to settle down with a book and if you buy one you get a free drink. Oh and the cakes are good too! 🍰 chapteronebooks.co.uk

Afflecks. No visit to the Northern Quarter is complete without a mooch round the institution that is Affleck’s on Church Street. Over 70 independent shops and businesses trade under one roof and any spare wall space is adorned with colourful street art. Fancy dress, vintage clothing, tattoo studios, music, art and quirky cafes can all be found here. Well worth a look. 🃏 afflecks.com 

Bonbon Chocolate. Just as we were thinking about heading home Lisa and I stumbled into … a chocolate cafe! 

Bonbon Chocolate Boutique on John Street is an artisan chocolate makers that also serves amazing Hot Chocolate. Lisa tried a chocolate orange flavour and I had the chilli hot chocolate. The cafe area is tiny with only room for 3 or 4 small tables and chairs. But if you happen upon it in a quiet moment , why not enjoy the decadence.  🍮 bonbonchocolate.co.uk 

Of course I have only touched upon the huge amount of shops and cafes in the Northern Quarter, not to mention the many bars in the neighbourhood. Hopefully I have inspired you to visit! 

Bluebells and Benedicts.

I’ve seen some lovely Bluebell walk posts recently, both on WordPress and on Facebook, so I just had to find my nearest Bluebell Wood and go for a wander, whilst these gorgeous Spring flowers are still in bloom.  The nearest such place happens to be just outside the nearby village of  Whalley. Spring Wood  was once owned by the monks of Whalley Abbey and is classed as a semi ancient woodland. There is ample parking, toilets, picnic benches and quite often an ice cream van parked at the site entrance.  We took Hugo for a short walk , as he is on restricted exercise at the moment.

bluebells 009

bluebells 003

bluebells 011
Speckled Wood Butterfly.

bluebells 008

bluebells 013

bluebells 015

bluebells 017

bluebells 018
Wild Garlic or Ramsons.

bluebells 020

bluebells 023

bluebells 007

Spring Wood proved to be the perfect place to admire the many bluebells and other wild flowers that frequent the woodland at this time of year. A friend even saw a deer last week ,so it’s well worth taking a camera. 🙂

After our wander we drove into Whalley and went for lunch at  Benedict’s  which is a lovely Cafe Bar in the Village ,that happens to be dog friendly.

bluebells 028

There is a varied menu that includes a good selection of free from foods.  Wil chose the Farmers Board ( a tasty combo of cheese, meats & pate ) and I had the Chicken & Smashed Avocado Salad.  My drink of choice was a bottle of sparkling Rhubarb Mimosa and Wil enjoyed an Americano Coffee. Hugo was given some treats from Millie & Ruby’s Dog Bakery.  🙂

bluebells 024

I loved my salad but it was a bit to healthy for me. 🙂  So I had to sample the Lemon & Poppy Seed cake!  And I tried a piece of Wil’s Rocky Road too. Both were delicious.

bluebells 027

Have you been on any Bluebell walks ?

Thanks for dropping by. 🙂


Ten Tea Room Treasures ( Lancashire & Yorkshire).

In two and a bit years of blogging I have posted about several lovely tea rooms.And I do love a good tea room !  From the Kisch to the Quirky, the Classy to the Creative, I’ve frequented many a tearoom treasure in my time. I have chosen ten to give a mouthwatering mention here. All of them…and a few more….. can be found in my Category Cloud under Tea Room Treasures. 🙂

Homity Pie at the Blitz Tea Room.
Homity Pie at the Blitz Tea Room.

The Blitz Cafe. ~ Hebden Bridge. This is a 1940s style tea room with dishes and decor inspired by the second World War. Menus are printed as ration books and the waiting on staff wear fashions from the era. On the menu are old fashioned favourites such as Corned beef hash and rabbit pie and jolly puddings like Jam Roly Poly and Spotted dick. Downstairs an apothecary and gift emporium brims with lotions and potions and other goodies.

Betty’s Tea rooms ~ Ilkley.The first Betty’s tea room was established in 1919 in Harrogate by young swiss baker and confectioner Frederick Belmont who fell in love with the scenic Yorkshire countryside.These were eventually followed by others in York, Northallerton and Ilkley. Betty’s are a delightful combination of switzerland and Yorkshire. The tea rooms in Ilkley have an elegant interior with mirrored walls,art deco lamps and the waitresses wear clean crisp aprons,buttoned up blouses and vintage brooches. We did have to queue twenty minutes for a table but the delicious tea and cakes we ordered were well worth the wait.:) Bettys are a popular Yorkshire institution and a national treasure to boot.

Bettys in Ilkley.
Bettys in Ilkley.

The Garden Kitchen ~ Holden Clough, near Clitheroe. If you fancy experiencing a delicious afternoon tea served on a fun miniature picnic bench , then you will adore this countryside tea room alongside Holden Clough nurseries. The afternoon tea menu changes seasonally and I have visited both in the summer and the winter. Always a treat to drink milkshake or indeed mulled wine from a dinky glass welly boot. 🙂

Diminutive Desserts at the Garden Kitchen. :)
Diminutive Desserts at the Garden Kitchen. 🙂

Luby’s Charming Tea Room ~ Cross Hills, nr Keighley. As the name suggests Luby’s is the very definition of Charming. Bijou and cozy and packed full of retro nik naks and vintage loveliness!

Time for a doll's Tea Party !
Time for a doll’s Tea Party !

Luby’s serve their tea, cake and sandwiches on beautiful vintage crockery.Always a plus! On my visit I didn’t have chance to try any food but I had the most momentous milkshake. It was almost a pudding in a glass. 🙂

Propertea ~ Manchester. Tucked away in the grounds of Manchester Cathedral and only a stones throw from Victoria station, Propertea is a relaxing and contemporary haven for a ‘proper cuppa and slice of cake’.

Ravishing Rainbow Cake at Propertea.
Ravishing Rainbow Cake at Propertea.

I liked how the tea is served in glass teapots and how you are given a tea timer to time how long to stew your brew. The cakes are rather good too. 🙂

Richmond Tea Rooms ~ Manchester. Also in the city are the Wonderland inspired ‘Richmond Tea Rooms’ located just off Canal Street. Once inside you do kind of feel like Alice when she fell down the rabbit hole. The tea rooms are brimming with pictures and curio’s inspired by Lewis Carroll’s beloved tale. Eat Me and Drink me are written above the counter. There is an amazing selection of cakes and puddings and don’t be surprised if you spy a Mad Hatters Tea Party going on 🙂

Richmond Tea Rooms.
Richmond Tea Rooms.
Lunch at Liz n Lils.
Lunch at Liz n Lils.

Liz N Lils ~ Blackburn. This quirky and homely cafe bar is located in what used to be ‘The Grapes Pub’ in Blackburn town centre. Spacious yet cozy ‘Liz N Lils’ is packed full of vintage touches and is the ideal place to relax after a spot of retail therapy. A popular choice on the menu is the Blackburn Bake made from sausages,bacon and black pudding in a mustard sauce! I opted for a delicious home cooked ham sandwich with salad and a refreshing berry smoothie.

The Glass House.....its in a Glass House. :)
The Glass House…..its in a Glass House. 🙂

The Glass House at Stydd Gardens ~ Ribchester. An elegant and eye catching restaurant and tea room, housed in a tropical glass house. I came here with family recently for my birthday. What a treat it was ! Glorious food in stunning surroundings ~ I loved my portabella mushroom burger, naughtily followed by an Eton mess sundae. The Glass House and its gardens are full of fabulous features such as fountains, ornamental ponds and statues. And there are several pretty shops to browse on site too.

The Cake ‘Ole ~ Skipton. Having walked past this colourful looking cafe a few times with a look of longing, I was excited to finally take a look inside. Vibrant colours and quirky decor ( a zebra sticking out of the wall, I ask you 🙂 ) greeted us. The whole place is a feast for the eyes ! Situated inside The Craven Arcade it s half vintage tea room/half Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory ~ the Cake’Ole has that kind of feeling about it. I would not have been surprised if Mr Wonka himself had poured the tea. 🙂

Cakes galore at The Cake 'Ole.
Cakes galore at The Cake ‘Ole.

Callooh! Callay! ~ Clitheroe. A vintage tea room in my home town , with more than a touch of Alice In Wonderland about it. A fine selection of Alice inspired teas such as ‘Were all Mad Here!’ and ‘ Off with her Head!’, Pink flamingos and pretty china. The afternoon teas are heavenly …… and there is a gift emporium and a vintage shop ‘ Tum Tum tree Vintage’ upstairs.

Afternoon tea at Callooh.

Which of these gorgeous tea rooms would you like to visit?

Downham delights.

A place I love to visit is the nearby village of Downham. Situated at the foot of Pendle Hill it has a picture postcard feel and holds many happy memories for me. 😀

My old primary school.

Downham was where myself and my sister and two of our cousins went to school. Its tiny village primary was where I listened in awe to our teacher Mrs Hall reading us ‘The Lion, the witch & the wardrobe’ , enjoyed  countless games of rounders & cricket on the school field and became tangled up in the brightly coloured ribbons of the maypole .I to this day have no coordination !

Typical village cottages.
Typical village cottages.

Downham today still has that unspoilt olde world charm. Although my old school is now a nursery and the village shop has sadly closed , visitors still flock here to admire the quaint cottages & picnic by the stream. There is a lovely pub, ‘The Assheton Arms’ and a friend of mine has recently opened the ice cream shop/cafe on the green.

Michelle in the door way of the cafe with a selection of home made cakes. :)
Michelle in the door way of the cafe with a selection of home made cakes. 🙂

Yummy cakes & desserts.
Yummy cakes & desserts.

Michelle and her hubby Dave took on the shops leese at the beginning of summer and added their own charming little touches to the decor. They sell hot & cold drinks, sandwiches, delicious home made cakes ( baked by Dave’s sister) and a multitude of flavours of ice cream. Wil and I tried the pistachio and orange & chocolate chip flavours, which we found to be truly divine. 🙂 Also proving popular with ice cream loving visitors is the ‘Downham Delight‘ , three scoops of whatever flavours of ice cream you desire , smothered with every conceivable tempting topping you can imagine. I will try it one day!

Ice cream!
Ice cream!

The village brook. Popular  for paddling and picnicking.
The village brook. Popular for paddling and picnicking.
Taking a dip. :)
Taking a dip. 🙂

Our time in Downham was spent wandering round the village and of course eating our delicious ice creams. Then we went for a drive over Pendle which was covered in vibrant purple heather bloom. A perfect afternoon. 🙂

St Leonards Church.
St Leonards Church.
Pendle Hill from the church yard.
Pendle Hill from the church yard.
The village green cafe opens every day except Monday and Thursday ~ 10-5pm.
The village green cafe opens every day except Monday and Thursday ~ 10-5pm.

Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

Cats and Curiosities in the Marais. ^^

2014-07-26 15.02.46

When we decided to go to Paris I must admit I found myself hoping that we would stumble upon the Cat Cafe there. Le Cafe des Chats is an unassuming building on Rue Michel le Comte in the Marais district. It is a cafe and home to several furry felines.:) They are all rescue cats who have been chosen for their sociable and laid back natures. In the end I decided to take no chances ( the cafe recommends that you make a reservation) and I booked us a table online. We found ourselves in the 3rd arrondissement a little earlier than planned …..but spotted an interesting museum nearby to have a nosy around first.

2014-07-26 14.02.37

The Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature ( Museum of Hunting & Nature) at 62 Rue des Archives is well worth a visit if your in the area. Its packed full of interesting exhibits. Antiques, art,taxidermy and cabinets of curios. I am certainly not a fan of hunting….but the collection here is certainly eye catching and thought provoking. Relics of times past, the museum examines our relationships with animals and nature. There is much to see over three floors and on our visit there was also an unusual Danish Art exhibition mingled with the museums resident bears and wild boar2014-07-26 13.57.24.

2014-07-26 13.52.48

2014-07-26 13.50.55
2014-07-26 13.56.152014-07-26 14.10.372014-07-26 14.13.052014-07-26 13.56.01

2014-07-26 13.44.16

2014-07-26 13.57.10

Soon it was time to head for our table at Le Cafe des Chats and I pushed a rather reluctant Wil in the direction of said cafe. He is much more of a dog person ( though I have seen him playing with/tormenting our cat Slinky on occasion) but he agreed to go…..as the next day I would be devoting my time to watching ‘ The Tour de France’ with him. 🙂

We entered the cafe and showed the girl at the desk our reservation. She told us to wash our hands with the hand disinfectant provided and went through the rules which are : a) no feeding the cats , b) no disturbing any sleeping cats & c) no flash photography. We then could choose where to sit. There are two levels ~ so we headed down the stairs as there was no room on the ground floor. Downstairs is cozy and cavernous with sofas dotted around and a piano. There was no natural light so my photos turned out quite dark.

2014-07-26 15.52.47

The cats all seemed very content ~ some were asleep , curled up on cushions or in bookshelves. Some were being fussed over by the delighted clientele. One mischievous moggy took over a customers armchair ~ so she perched on the arm with her coffee, so not to disturb. Cats take precedence here. 🙂

The idea for ‘Cat Cafes’ started in the far East apparently. People in large cities who cannot keep pets due to their busy work lives , can find solace and relaxation in the company of these placid and affectionate kittys, dropping in after work for a coffee and purr therapy.

2014-07-26 15.08.56

2014-07-26 15.51.07

We both decided on the trio of petite desserts on our visit and a coffee or chocolate. The selection consisted of strawberries with cream, a macaroon and a chocolate cake. They were rather good! Because our reservation was quite late in the afternoon , only cakes and sweet things were available , so bear that in mind when booking.

2014-07-26 15.26.31

2014-07-26 15.11.05

2014-07-26 15.10.02

I think if I ever return to Paris ( I hope I do 🙂 ), I would love to visit the cafe again ~ perhaps booking an earlier time and finding a table on the more light and airy ground floor. It was lovely to see some of the residents snoozing in the window. 🙂

2014-07-26 15.55.05-1

2014-07-26 15.50.56

2014-07-26 15.03.30

Do not despair though, a cat cafe has opened in London too, so if you cannot get to Paris Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium may be an option for other crazy cat ladies like me. 😉

Thanks for dropping by.X

Curious about……. Cat Cafes. ~^^~

Purrfectly positioned in the fashionable Marais district of Paris is a cafe which doesn’t only serves coffee and croissants. The Cafe des Chats is home to 12 furry feline residents, that offer ‘Purr therapy’ to its curious clientele. 🙂

Le cafe des chats ( Photo www.oh-I-see.com/blog/ )
Le cafe des chats ( Photo http://www.oh-I-see.com/blog/ )

The cats are all adopted rescues , chosen for their happy and affectionate natures. From the pictures I have seen and the reviews I have read , the kittys appear to be content and at home. Their contentment transfers to the customers, who have been flocking to the cafe for a cafe-noir and the chance to pet a puss-cat. Stroking cats has been proven to reduce stress and have a calming effect so ‘Cat Cafes’ have hit upon a great idea. Of course there are sensible rules to adhere by and at Le Cafe des chats ,customers must not disturb sleeping cats, feed the cats or use flash photography.

Chats in Le Cafe des Chats ( photo ~ The Local ~ France's news in English).
Chats in Le Cafe des Chats ( photo ~ The Local ~ France’s news in English).

Cat Cafes have also padded their way over to London. Originally a Japanese invention , the cafes proved popular , especially with people who loved cats but had restricted space to keep one at home. With this in mind, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium opened in Shoreditch, East london in March. Named after Alice’s kitten Dinah in ‘Alice’s Adventures Through The Looking Glass’ this is a tea room that serves tea and cake in vintage china and is home to eleven lovable moggies. The cats like their Parisienne counterparts are rescues. chosen for their amiable natures.

Wookie the cat makes himself at home ( photo~ www.ladydinahs.com )
Wookie the cat makes himself at home ( photo~ http://www.ladydinahs.com )

The cafe has proved so popular it is essential to book and there is a £5 entry charge for a 2 hour time-slot. Strict rules concerning the animals welfare apply and Dinahs is closed every afternoon for a short cat nap.

Have you ever been to a cat cafe? I must admit I find myself very curious. As an animal lover I would love to visit and see how the cats react around people. Cute cats and cake. Hopefully there is everything to love. 🙂