Tag Archives: travel

A Bucket List Progress Report and Links & Likes ~ January.

Last year I started my  25 Before 45 Bucket List and although progress is quite slow, I have at least achieved a few things on it !   Whilst I have not yet learned to crochet, swum in a Lido or watched a Film Outdoors, I have managed to Trek With Llamas in the Lake District, Picnic on a Village Green with my old-fashioned Picnic Hamper ( Not very successfully, Hugo ate the cake ! ),  do a Rail Ale Trail Tour  on the East Lancs Railway  and  take part in  The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk  led by the Queen’s Official Guide, Cedric Robinson. I have just under 2 years to complete the list, so hopefully in 2017 I will make a sizeable chunk in it. Wish me Luck!

 

And now for a bit of  Blog love. Here are some links to posts I have enjoyed reading in January. X

Lisa knows where to get warm in the winter. Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens of course!

Leah shares a wonderful Insiders Guide To Malta. 🙂

Snow Day and an Excited Pup on Loving Life In Wellies. So cute!

Em has a delicious recipe for an Amaretto & Apple Juice Cocktail. Looks and sounds heavenly. 🙂

Polly has only gone and had a baby. Congrats Polly. 🙂

Christine has been accidentally  bagging Wainwrights in the Lake District.

Fancy making Memory Jam ? Head on over to Cultivating Time.

Laura has wrote a lovely post about her  Favourite travel companion. 🙂

Gregson the dog has found out that Margate is a very pet-friendly town. ^^

Thanks for Visiting!


My 2016 ~In Photos.

As is now tradition, I am posting a quick photo round-up of my year. All in all it’s been a pretty good one! I have been slightly more organized than normal and included some post links. Yay!

January.  Woh this seems such a long time ago now. January gave us the only snow of the year. Hugo loved it of course but it only lasted one snow day. 😦 It was still frosty and cold however on our visit to Formby Point where we saw Red squirrels 🙂  And yep thats me with a naked man at Another Place , the Anthony Gormley Art Installation on Crosby Beach.

February.  It was a pretty quiet month in February. We did manage a day out in Manchester however and I had a fun time photographing the Street Art in the Northern Quarter. I also attended my God daughter Mady’s sons christening. I’m not one for holding babies but baby Jason was very chilled. 🙂

March.  Wil and I had a weekend away in Coventry and stopped at the lovely Coombe Abbey Hotel & Country Park. We also visited Coventry itself which had lots of surprises. And later in the month I was in Manchester again , this time for a friends birthday. You can read my post about it here.

April.  Spring arrived at last ( hurrah! ) and I  couldn’t wait to get out and about with my camera and my Ladybird Book Guide To spring. 🙂  A day out at Bolton Abbey in the Easter Holidays was great fun and I treated Wil to a trip on a steam train ( with lots of Real Ale involved 😉  ) on the East Lancs Railway.

May.  The weather was great in May and included a day out in Kirkby Lonsdale with my sister and her family. We even managed a paddle in the river. 🙂 A walk along the banks of Derwent Water in the Lake District was made all the more interesting , when Wil, Hugo and I came across a giant hand sculpture!  Our Holiday Season started in May.:) A camping trip in the Yorkshire Dales , not too far from Fountain Abbey. And a stay in a hotel looking over Haweswater. 🙂

June.  I loved our day out in Malham where we walked up to the Cove and paddled in Janet’s Foss. Think that was Hugo’s favourite part.:) We also went camping in Silverdale and Hugo enjoyed his second ever boat trip, on Lake Windermere.

July.  Clitheroe has had lots of great new eating and drinking venues open in 2016 and the biggest surprise is probably Bowland Beer Hall at Holmes Mill. It’s an amazing space in an old textile mill, host to a listed steam engine and what appears to be England’s longest continuous bar. I attended the opening evening with Wil and some friends in July. I also crossed Llama Trekking off my  Bucket List when myself and some of my family enjoyed a half day with these adorable animals here. Oh and Hugo found himself inside the July edition of The Simple Things Magazine. 🙂

August.  In August there was a holiday at Spring Park  in Cornwall. We stayed in ‘The Duke’ , a beautifully restored Showman’s wagon. On the way down to Cornwall we stopped one night in the spa town of Bath.I would love to return to both places. 🙂 Hugo has been busy bagging lakes all year. Here he is in Grasmere, over the bank holiday.

September. The poor pooch wasn’t quite sure what to think of The The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk. as it involved a lot of doggy paddling. I got pretty soaked too!  The new Bridget Jones film turned into a bit of an event for us ladies.:) And if you like cake ( doesn’t everyone) you will like my post about my friend Nicolas Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.. She certainly didn’t scrimp on her baking. 🙂

October. We had an unseasonably dry October so this month’s posts are full of Autumn colours. 🙂 I joined in with #30dayswild, and enjoyed fun days out at Lowther Castle & Gardens   and The Forbidden Corner with family.

November. November is my Birthday month so it was great to get away with Wil and Hugo to a holiday cottage in Scotland . The Afternoon Tea in Portpatrick was a Birthday treat courtesy of Wil and it was also nice to get together with friends. 🙂

December.  This month has been all about meeting up with family. 🙂  I’ve included a piccie of my cat Slinky as she does tend to get overshadowed by a certain Black Labrador. And I took part in Janet’s ‘Thrifty Christmas Gift Swap’ which I will post about separately I’m sure. 

Despite the radical changes in this country and abroad in 2016, I guess the best thing to do is just carry on and LIVE. Life is just to short to get depressed about it. So all the best for 2017 guys ….. and see you soon. X

 

 

 

‘The Duke’ at Spring Park ~ Our stay in a Showman’s Wagon.

Deep in the Cornish countryside , not far from the secluded hamlet of Rezare, Spring Park is a holiday hideaway, a gorgeous getaway and a haven of peace and tranquility. Located ‘ somewhere’ amongst a myriad of narrow country lanes and lush green meadows in the pretty Tamar Valley , this eclectic collection of vintage vans and cabins, is as hidden away and remote as you can get.

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The Duke is a classic 1940’s Showman’s Wagon, set in its own private meadow.

All the  wagons and cabins at Spring park are set apart from each other in their own private areas. We had booked to stay in ‘The Duke’ which is a beautifully restored Showman’s Wagon dating back to the 1940s. It stands in it’s own lovely wild flower meadow, buzzing with bees and butterflies. There is a fire pit, a wood fueled hot tub and a lovely modern bathroom in a timber hut, all reserved especially for the occupants of the Duke. 🙂 But anyway I’m going to let the pictures do the talking. I couldn’t help but take a few. ;).

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Fresh flowers, a bottle of wine ( chilling in the fridge) and two portions of tasty chocolate cake , greeted us on arrival. 🙂

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The Duke has a French Enamel Wood Burner , which sadly we never got to use. The gorgeous weather meant it never got lit. I can just imagine it making the wagon , even more cosy.

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Lots of wildlife shared the meadow with us, including rabbits, goldfinches and butterflies.

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The wood fuelled Hot Tub was amazing and got really hot. Perfect to relax in with a glass of wine. Paddy who owns Spring Park , with his wife Kitty, recommended the woodland near Rezare for great off lead walks with Hugo. The Duke’s bathroom with it’s lovely hot shower is nearly as big as The Duke. 🙂

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Hugo met the owner’s dogs and Brooke can be seen above, wondering what on earth Hugo is playing at, racing round the meadow like a mad thing. And also above, is a sneak peek of another of the vintage vans at Spring Park, ‘The Duchess’.

I cannot recommend Spring Park enough, as the most relaxing , wonderfully thought out getaway from it all, kind of break. We wouldn’t hesitate to go back.

 

25 Before 45 ~ A Bucket List.

I quite forgot that at the beginning of the year I wrote myself a Bucket List !  It’s been sat in my bedside drawer for nearly six months now. Now I’ve rediscovered it, I thought I would put it up on the blog. This might help me get a wiggle on. 🙂

1.Learn to crochet. Discovered this isn’t my bag. :/

2.Find a keep Fit Regime I like.  I have enjoyed the #walk1000miles challenge and am still continuing. Hopefully 1500 miles this year and maybe 2000 in 2019.

3.Eat a Dutch Pancake in Amsterdam.

4. Photograph a Kingfisher. Got my photo on the river Nidd in Knaresborough. 🙂

5.Make an Honesty Box Meal.

6.Read To Kill A Mocking Bird. Bought the book in Fargo village in Coventry and loved both the book and the film.

7.Watch a Film outdoors. Saw Sightseers at Lowther Castle under the stars. Sightseers at Lowther Castle~ with Picnic Cinema.

8.See the Northern Lights.

9.Have a Vintage Make over.

10.Swim in a Lido.

11. Go on a proper picnic with a picnic hamper. Bought a hamper from a charity shop and enjoyed a picnic in Dunsop Bridge. Unfortunately Hugo took a chomp out of the cake!

12. Be Nine Stone!

13.Stay in a Bothy.

14. Photograph a Barn Owl in the wild.

15. Do a Rail Ale Trail.  The East Lancs Rail Ale Trail from Bury to Rawtenstall. All Aboard for a Rail Ale Trail Tour.

16. Take Part in a sponsored  Charity Event. Raised money for the East Lancs Hospice, whilst walking across Morecambe Bay.  The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk.

17. Have Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23.

18.  Enter Hugo in a Doggy Competition.  Done! 

19. Get Engaged!

20. Bathe  in  a Turkish  Baths.  The Turkish Baths in Harrogate, what a relaxing and fun experience. 🙂

21. Go trekking with llamas in the lakes.  Yes, loved this with family ~ Llama Trekking in the Lakes. 🙂

22. Experience a night out down Canal Street.  The rainbow village in Manchester, a top night out!

23. Do the Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk With the Queen’s Official  Guide.  Done! See number 15. 

24. Visit the new Cat Cafe in Manchester.  My friend Lisa and I spent some quality time eating cake and stroking cute kitties.


25. Cook a proper Sunday Roast Lunch ( I almost never cook!).

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Come trekking with us.  Don’t forget the Picnic!!

So there you have it. I’ve actually managed three already this year, which is a good start. I’ve read  To Kill a Mockingbird and it was as good as everyone said, I went on a night out down Canal Street with some work mates ( Interesting!) and Wil and I thoroughly enjoyed  The East Lancs Rail Ale Trail Tour  from Bury to Rawtenstall. This gives me two and a half years to attempt the rest.Maybe I should book that Llama trek. 🙂

What’s on your Bucket list??

Sea Air ~ The Yorkshire Coast.

Goodness I’ve only been away for a couple of weeks and the whole posting format has changed! Anyway where was I? After a few days of non blogging and becoming gripped by season one of Ray Donovan , we headed for a cottage in the seaside town of Whitby. Famed for its smokey kippers, semi precious ‘Jet’ gemstones and its connections with ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’, Whitby really is the perfect place to take in some rather bracing November Sea Air.

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The Steps up to the Abbey, there are 199 of them.

Mostly we just spent our week eating yummy food , drinking lots of booze and discovering many a beautiful beach. Luckily from November until the end of April most of the beaches in the area are dog friendly so our labrador Hugo was in his element. Happily he seems to have gotten out of the habit of surreptitiously sipping sea water when he thinks we’re not looking. 🙂

I will leave you with a few pictures from my trip and blog in a little more detail soon……

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Hugo on the beach at Whitby.
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The ancient Abbey.
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Dracula’s bride perhaps…..

 

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Fortune’s smoked kippers.
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Wild Ocean.
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Beautiful Staithes.
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Rock Lobster ~ staithes.
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Unusual kit car, Robin Hoods bay.

 

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On the beach, Robin Hoods bay.

 

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Fishing boats.

Thanks for dropping by. More posts coming soon.X

 

 

 

Five destinations I would love to return to…

I’ve seen this post idea on various blogs, most recently on the excellent Darwin On The Rocks and around the World. and I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the places I would love to revisit. It was hard narrowing it down so I have decided to choose from holidays abroad and all are destinations I would hop on a plane and fly to right this minute if I could.:)

Blue fishing boats in Essaouira.
Blue fishing boats in Essaouira.

Essaouira ~ Morocco.. I have visited Morocco twice and loved the vibrant bustling souks of Marrakech and the long sandy beaches of Agadir. I must admit my favourite place though is less than three hours drive from both of these more better known resorts. The beautiful and windswept coastal town of Essaouira is an ancient fishing port with fortified walls and whitewashed buildings. It has a laid back vibe and I remember the fresh sea breeze ( which is present at all times!) was a welcome respite from the stifling heat inland. The same breeziness means it is a popular base for beach sports such as wind surfing and kite surfing. Its an aspiring photographers dream too of course. Look at those gorgeous blue fishing boats! Seafood, Souks, Sun, Sea and Sand. When we stayed in Essaouira we made our own way from Marrakech on a packed locals bus complete with whole families, chickens and paper fans.;) Easyjet have just started flying twice weekly from Luton Airport. Fancy it?

Moroccan Moggies.
Moroccan Moggies.

Cannes and the French Riviera. The recent Cannes Film Festival made me hanker for that touch of class that is the French Riviera. Quite a few years ago now we found ourselves in the crowds waiting for a certain ‘Brad & Angelina’ to grace the red carpet for the world premier of the film ‘Inglorious’. To cut a long story short we never got to see them. Sob! If only we had waited around that little bit longer. I think Angelina must have been busy getting airbrushed or something. That aside I would love to return to this part of France again. Just wandering round at Festival time was so amazing and glamourous but the area has so much more to offer. Other memorable moments of our holiday included a crossing with two nuns in a little boat from Cannes to the picturesque island of Ile Saint-Honorat and a wander round the ancient mountain village of Eze and its exotic cactus gardens with exceptional views. Can I go back now!

Here we are early morning at the 62nd festival!
Here we are early morning at the 62nd festival!
Cactus garden in Eze.
Cactus garden in Eze.
Inside the Reichstaag.
Inside the Reichstaag.

Berlin. There is never a more fascinating city than Germanys capital. Nine years ago now, Wil and I experienced a city break in Berlin. Its history is so powerful and engulfing that you can’t help but be moved by it. Remnants of the Berlin Wall still exist. Bullet holes in old elegant buildings date back to the second world war. We visited the topography of terror, the holocaust memorial and the Checkpoint Charlie museum for an insight into the lives of everyday people caught up in gigantic events. And we ate out lots……sourkraut with everything. Think thats the national dish! Despite this I would love to go back one day. 😉

A part of the Berlin Wall.
A part of the Berlin Wall.

British Columbia ~ Canada. I have been fortunate enough to visit BC in Canada twice. Luckily for me one of my old school friends lives in the scenic ski resort town of Fernie in the Canadian Rockies. Vast amounts of snow are dumped on the mountains every winter making it a powdery paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. But I would love to relive our fantastic road trip to Vancouver Island if thats possible please? Or get stuck in a bear jam. Or spy a mountain lion ambling into the forest. Or watch whales in the Pacific rim national park….. 🙂

Kayaking, Island lake lodge resort, Fernie.
Kayaking, Island lake lodge resort, Fernie.
Larking about Crystal Cove, Tofino, Vancouver Island.
Larking about Crystal Cove, Tofino, Vancouver Island.

Iceland. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to go to Iceland. And in October last year I finally got to realise my dream when Wil and I stayed for three nights in Reykjavik. Highlights of our trip included the Golden Circle tour where we got to visit the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall and the gushing Strokkur Geysir. We also had a memorable dip in the iconic Blue Lagoon. 🙂

Bathing in the Blue Lagoon.
Bathing in the Blue Lagoon.
Reykjavik Rooftops.
Reykjavik Rooftops.

Although I never got to see the Northern Lights ( it was too cloudy) this is not the reason I would like to return to this beautiful country. I would also like to explore more of the island and as I’m a bit of a nature lover Summer seems the perfect season for a revisit. Well one summer, one day eh!

What would be your favourite destinations to return to? I would love to know! X

London Trip.

I very recently returned from a fab trip to london with my friend B. Lots to blog about but I thought I would start with a picture post of what we got up to, and I’ll go into more detail later.

As you can see from the above photo I’m posing ( terribly) with one of the many Shaun the Sheep who are gracing the capital until the 31st of May. Artists, celebs and designers have created the sculptures which will be auctioned off for various charities at the end of the year. If you miss the London lambies don’t worry , a further flock can be spotted in Bristol from the 6th July. Check out this Shaun in the city link. 🙂

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My friend’s  brother lives in Fulham and he was kind enough to let us stop with him. We got to wake up to this great view of the Thames every morning. I spied lots of different water fowl ( I wish I had brought the better camera) as it turned out the London Wetland Centre was just over the river.

Savage Beauty at the V&A (image off Pinterest).
Savage Beauty at the V&A (image off Pinterest).

Speaking of birds, I never realised that the late ‘Alexander McQueen’ was interested in ornatholigy. I learn’t this at the stunning Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A. A spectacular theatrical homage to the talented fashion designer, this is a must see….even if your not interested in fashion. An immersion of the senses, a feast for the eyes, I cannot describe how fantastic the exhibition is. McQueens designs took inspiration from nature, from the tortured history of his native Scotland, from Victorian Jack the Ripper England, from the lost city of Atlanta & more. His collections are put on show to the most astounding effect. Highlights for me included the room entitled ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ and a ghostly floaty hologram of Kate Moss.

Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Pot.
Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Pot.

Of course no trip to London would be complete without an afternoon Tea or two. Yep B and I just had to sample two. And I’m sure I will be blogging about them in the next few weeks. There was an elegant and very English afternoon tea at the Bentley Hotel in Knightsbridge and a curiously quirky ‘Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea’ at the Sanderson Hotel near Soho. They were both fun in different ways. 🙂

Afternoon Tea at the Bentley.
Afternoon Tea at the Bentley.
Big Ben in the London rain.
Big Ben in the London rain.
On the London Eye in the rain.
On the London Eye in the rain.

The British weather had to rain on our parade at some point and of course it chose Thursday to absolutely puddle it down because we had booked a ride on a giant ferris wheel. The London Eye is a great way of seeing the city’s famous landmarks….even on a rainy day. My pics are pretty terrible though and my not very waterproof pumps meant I felt like I had been roaming around on wet sponges all afternoon. I looked like a cross between a not very happy bunny and a drowned rat…

Food Hall in Harrods.
Food Hall in Harrods.

One of the places you can hang out when its raining is of course the iconic department store Harrods and we spent a lot of time here. Its easy to get lost in! Since I last visited five years ago a Chocolate cafe and an Ice cream parlour have opened inside. I shall put them on my bucket list for the next time I visit! There are also lots of free museums. We made sure to visit the Natural History museum to see the famous giant diplodocus in the beautiful entrance hall. Apparently its going to be dismantled next year so now is the time to pay your respects to this particular dinosaur.

Dippy at the Natural History Museum.
Dippy at the Natural History Museum.
Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium at Bethnal Green.
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium at Bethnal Green.

B and I being crazy cat ladies, just had to visit London’s only cat cafe Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium near Brick Lane. Its a cute little cafe which is also home to 12 gorgeous cats. I shall certainly blog about our time here in more detail soon. Let me just say we spent a purrfect couple of hours enjoying the company of Carbonelle, Wookie & co. And the food wasn’t bad either. ~^^~

There's a cat face in my brew.
There’s a cat face in my brew.

And I will end this post with a couple of pics of some surprising ( to me !) visitors to a park B and I were relaxing in one afternoon. I nearly jumped out of my skin when four bright green parakeets flew above us. For Londoners though this is simply an everyday occurrence. 😉

Hello there!
Hello there!

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Catch you soon. X