#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee on 18th December 2016

Thanks for joining me for this Weekend Coffee Share, created by Diana at Part Time Monster.

If we were having coffee today I’m afraid it would be for a quick chat as I’m utterly exhausted after so much travelling! Would you like a cup of festive coffee? I have gingerbread or cinnamon. How has your week been? I’m full of Christmas spirit at the moment, having just spent a week at the Christkindlesmarkt in Nürnberg.

My sister and I had a great time during our trip to Germany, despite the freezing cold and the rain… the beautiful buildings and amazing markets more than made up for the weather! We visited the Spielzeugmuseum (Toy Museum) and Kaiserburg (The Imperial Castle), made a wish at the Schöner Brunnen (beautiful fountain), watched the Männleinlaufen (a mechanical clock) at the Frauenkirche and bought gorgeous trinkets from the stalls at the Handwerkerhof, Kinderweihnacht, Markt der Partnerstädte and main market… I can’t wait to tell you all about it properly once I’ve unpacked everything and sorted through my all of pictures!

Thank you for joining for this Coffee Share, sorry it’s been so short but I desperately need to sleep! I hope you have a great week and don’t forget to visit my fellow bloggers for a cuppa and a catch up!

#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee on 4th December 2016

Thanks for joining me for this Weekend Coffee Share, created by Diana at Part Time Monster!

If we were having coffee today you would be joining me at Edinburgh’s European Christmas Market… would you care for a cup of Glühwein? I’ve been looking forward to enjoying one since last December!

My husband had to work in Scotland this weekend, so we went to Perth yesterday and are spending the rest of today in Edinburgh. I definitely want to visit again, but for a few days so that so we can see the castle and take in the sights. It’s a beautiful country and I’d love to see more of it.

How has your week been? Have you started getting into the festive spirit yet? Since buying all of our presents last week, I’ve spent the majority of this week wrapping presents, filling in cards and putting our decorations up. Do you theme your decorations? Aside from a gingerbread village (of sorts) in our hallway, we don’t really have one. Our tree is decorated with various ornaments I’ve collected over the years… This is our first Christmas as “Mr & Mrs” so this years ornament is extra special!

Thank you for joining for this Coffee Share, we have a rather long list of things we need to buy at the market (more on that later) and a five and a half hour journey ahead of us, so we best be getting on. I hope you have a great week and don’t forget to visit my fellow bloggers for a cuppa and a catch up!

#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee on 27th November 2016

Thanks for joining me for this Weekend Coffee Share, created by Diana at Part Time Monster!

If we were having coffee today you would join me at the MadHatters Tea Pot, their hot chocolate is the perfect thing to warm you up in this awfully cold weather we’re having at the moment.

How have things been for you since we last spoke? We got to meet our niece Jessica on Saturday and she is just SO adorable! I had a stern word with myself I wouldn’t get broody but the second I held her, my heart decided it didn’t want to listen to my brain haha.

My husband and I have been “glamping” this week in Ullswater at The Quiet Site. We stayed in a camping pod which comes with a small heater, desk lamp and charging socket. You basically bring everything you need for camping apart from a tent, but it’s warmer and you can lock the door. Due to the snow and hail we decided to go home a day early as we didn’t want to get stranded but whilst we were there we had a lot of fun! We had lovely food and a great evening at The Quiet Bar which has to be one of the BEST pubs I’ve ever been to.

The rest of my week was spent doing Christmas shopping in Manchester, Liverpool and Southport… My bank account hates me and my feet feel like they need a month to recover but I’m so relived I’ve got all but one present sorted before the holiday madness starts. There’s nothing I hate more than trying to squeeze past hundreds of people just to try to glimpse at a product or queueing for hours when you only want to buy one item! I try to order as much as I can online but sometimes that’s just not suitable if you need to see how it looks IRL. Which do you prefer? The hussle and bustle of the shops or doing it all from your laptop?

Well I suppose I should get on with wrapping all of these presents and filling in the cards whilst I’m motivated to do them! Thanks joining for this Coffee Share, have a lovely week and don’t forget to visit my fellow bloggers for a cuppa and a catch up!

#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee on 16th October 2016

Thanks for joining me for this Weekend Coffee Share, created by Diana at Part Time Monster!

If we were having coffee today, we would meet at one of my favourite places in my home town of Ormskirk, Bramley’s Coffee House. I’ve been coming here for years and always visit at every opportunity I get. I’ll have my usual Hazelnut Mocha, how about you?

It’s been an emotional week for me, what with catching up with my friends who I’ve not seen since my wedding, mum having surgery (the reason behind my week long visit) and my husband being promoted! I’m also rather tired at the moment as I finally got around to having the Flu vaccine which I’ve never done before as I hate needles, but I was so ill last year that I decided a sore arm and some mild side effects would be worth the discomfort.

I saw some stunning rainbows whilst on a walk on Sunday, the most intense I’ve ever seen. They really had a positive impact on the rest of my day, I just love it when simple things can do that. Have you spotted anything that made you smile recently?

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you about some of the shops I love to visit. I love places that sell unique items and Southport has plenty of those! I bought some beautiful sycamore candle holders made by Crafty Badger Ceramics who sell their handmade items at Vintage Home. I also picked up some gorgeous fabric from Sew Tilly Mint which I can’t wait to use! Which shops do you love the most?

I helped mum make the Christmas cake on Monday, which I’m so glad I was there for as I’ve not missed a single year yet. Hopefully I’ll be visiting when it’s time to ice it… I’m looking forward to seeing (and tasting) the final result!

Last night my husband and I went to Blackpool to see the illuminations with some friends in the best way possible, in a convertible! Yes, it’s freezing having the roof down but the views are worth it!

If we were having coffee, it would be time for us to say our goodbyes as I have a family Christening to attend this afternoon, it’s been lovely chatting to you… see you the same time next week?

Don’t forget to visit my fellow bloggers for a cuppa and a catch up!

Wonderful Wensleydale

David and I (along with my mum, sister and Bailey) have recently returned from a lovely mini-break in and around Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria. We stayed at the absolutely wonderful Court House in grounds of Leck Hall which was the perfect place to switch off for a few days, with its beautifully decorated rooms, log fire, enclosed garden, two bathrooms and library.

Our first stop on our adventure was lunch at the Tan Hill Inn, which is the highest in Britain standing at 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level. It’s a very animal friendly pub (including sheep and ducks) so Bailey was more than welcome to join us inside, which always gets bonus points from us.

After lunch we went to the Wensleydale Creamery (Bailey had to sit this one out) and had a wander around the museum before trying some of the many different samples of cheese. All of them were absolutely delicious and we had a hard time not buying the entire range. In the end we chose Mature Cheddar Black Sheep Riggwelter Ale, Naturally Smoked Cheddar, Red Leicester and Premium Fountains Gold Cheddar. For me it was a tie between the smoked and ale cheeses, I’ll just have to buy some more to come up with a definitive answer… what a shame!

On our way to the Court House we stopped to take Bailey for a walk by the Ribblehead Viaduct, which he enjoyed despite being a bit hesitant due to meeting some strange woolly creatures called sheep for the first time. Finally after navigating through gates, over draining gulleys and around cows we arrived at the former Georgian coach house and settled in for the evening.

The next day we went to the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway to catch the steam train to Lake Windermere. My sister and I spotted some beautiful owls on the platform which had come from the Owl Sanctuary, so before boarding the train we were able to hold them for a while and pet them (very gently of course). Once we’d arrived at Lakeside, we boarded one of the Windermere Lake Cruises and headed to Ambleside. Bailey has never been on a boat before, so we were apprehensive about how he would react, but he wasn’t bothered in the slightest… he was too busy loving the attention from our fellow passengers!

We had lunch at the Wateredge Inn once we reached Ambleside and the food was absolutely superb! They’re another very dog friendly pub and will let you sit inside with them, which was ideal as the weather started to turn rather chilly. Afterwards we had a wander around the shops including one of my favourite sweet shops, Friars, for some chocolaty goodness before heading back to the boat.

The morning of our final day was spent at Aira Force which is a lovely waterfall surrounded by woodland. Unfortunately due to a combination of pouring rain, a stubborn dog who refuses to get wet and my bad ankle the only person who got to enjoy the view was David, whilst the rest of us enjoyed the tearoom. Before heading home we had lunch at the Pooley Bridge Inn, which ended up as an adventure in itself as mum’s food was still cooking as it arrived which managed to set the smoke alarm off, twice, and resulted in a coughing fit that had the entire pub staring at us… oops!

We had a fantastic break with plenty of good food, amazing views and lovely people. It’s so nice to be able to visit a place that is so dog friendly, it makes life so much easier. I wish more places were accessible to dog owners like the Lakes are, but until that happens it’s a great excuse to keep going back!

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, Thank You!

My apologies for the lack of updates these past few months, life has been pretty hectic recently so thank you to those who have stuck around, I really appreciate it!

The main reason for my absence all comes down to one thing… getting married! Now that everything has settled down and the last card has been posted (as of this morning) all that remains is for me to write this final thank you, to everyone who helped make our day so special.

David and I decided early on that we wanted our wedding to be seaside themed (including peep boards, inflatable seagulls, postcard invitations and fish & chips!) and fun for all of our guests, which we couldn’t have done without the following people. If anyone would like further information or a more detailed review of who I’ve mentioned below, feel free to ask!

Southport Theatre & Convention Centre
We chose the beautiful Lakeside Suite for both our ceremony and reception, which had a fantastic view of the Marine Lake. The staff were incredibly helpful and made sure everything ran smoothly. They even arranged for us all to ride on the nearby Victorian Carousel!

La De Da Occasions
Katharine did a wonderful job of decorating the rooms for our ceremony and reception. The tables and chairs looked beautiful and went really well with the fantastic decorations (bunting, beach huts, deckchairs, seating plans, post boxes, table cards etc) my Aunty, her partner, my mum and myself had worked so hard to make!

Kevin Brown Photography
Kevin is a fantastic photographer, with a great eye for detail. We had a lovely pre-wedding shoot with him a few months before the wedding, so we knew what to expect on the big day. Kevin stayed with us from getting ready right through to our first dance and we couldn’t be happier with our album!

The Lemon Tree Bakery
Niki did an amazing job making our sandcastle cake, we were given a box of free samples to try before choosing which flavours we wanted our layers to be. It turned out exactly how we imagined and tasted wonderful!

Kirsty Doyle
My stunning dress was created by Kirsty Doyle, who turned our ideas into reality over the course of several consultations. It was so much fun to see the transformation of my dress from the very beginning to the very end!

Jeanette Flynn Makeup Artist & Hairby Kathleen
Kathy and Jeanette are lovely ladies who put us all at ease and did a fabulous job doing the hair and makeup for myself, the bridesmaids and my mother. It stayed perfect throughout the day, despite tears and plenty of dancing!

Refine Beauty Clinic
I went here with my bridesmaids to get our nails done the day before my wedding. The girls did a fantastic job and gave us the exact look we wanted. My manicure lasted for several weeks until I reluctantly had to remove it!

Kevin Linden Mobile Disco & DJ Service & All Steps First Dance
Speaking of dancing, Kevin did a great job entertaining the guests at our reception. We had a very specific play list as the evening was 1980’s themed and he stuck to it the entire evening, which we were thrilled with. To avoid any awkward shuffling during our first dance, we had a beautiful routine choreographed for us by Kim Land who was very patient and fully understanding of my limitations.

Newspaper Club
With David being a journalist we just had to make our Order of Service into a newspaper! Newspaper Club do a great range of styles and the end result is a high quality paper that’s totally unique. They provided a great keepsake for our guests and kept them entertained whilst waiting for the ceremony to begin.

The Rock Sweet Company
In keeping with the seaside theme, our favours were personalised sticks of rock which matched our overall colour scheme. You can get them a wide range of colours and flavours, but if you both have long names you may have to shorten them!

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Bloomin Crafty & Permabloom
Our buttonholes were supplied by the Ainsdale branch of Bloomin Crafty and were beautiful. The flowers stayed fresh all day and were presented in a lovely way. The bouquets were ordered from Permabloom and matched our colour scheme perfectly and were nice and light to carry around! They’re also a wonderful keepsake.

Paul Jackson & Bryan Glazier
Two incredibly generous guys who very kindly offered their beautiful cars and gave up their free time to provide chauffeuring services to us and the wedding party. Readers of Classic Car Weekly (31st August 2016) will have spotted David’s article about the lovely Rolls-Royce and MG!

Ramada Plaza Southport
We spent our wedding night in one of the stunning Marine Lake Executive Rooms, which had a balcony stretching the entire length of the room that looked out over the Marine Lake. It was the perfect place for our sunset photographs.

Hotel Asnigo di Cernobbio
During our Honeymoon, we stayed in a fabulous two story suite with a balcony that looked out over Lake Como. The views were breathtaking, the food was delicious and the staff were lovely.

Weddingspot.co.uk
I am SO glad that I found this website very early on in our wedding planning, it was a lifesaver! You can manage all of you guests, seating plans, budget, menu choices, suppliers… pretty much everything, all from the one website. You also get a free wedding website that you can share with your guests, which is always handy!

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Finally, our biggest thank you goes to our parents Ursula, Cathy and David S, our Maid of Honour Alexa, Bridesmaid Sarah, Flower Girls Michelle and Mollie, Best Man Gareth, Ushers Daniel and Stephen (who was also our wonderful Videographer), Witnesses François and Iain, David H for giving me away and to all of our wonderful friends and family, for all of their love and support throughout our relationship and during the big day. We’re so grateful for each and every one of you!

THANK YOU XXX

Stunning Shropshire

My fiancé David and I both turned 30 last week, so to celebrate we went on a mini break to the beautiful Church Stretton in Shropshire. We stayed at the Victoria House B&B which has won the Visit England Breakfast Award and quite rightly so, their French toast with cinnamon, crème fraîche and toasted banana tasted amazing!

We arrived Friday afternoon and spent our time walking around the town to familiarise ourselves with the shops and places to eat. I particularly loved wandering around Kaboodle, Rainbow’s End and Chocolate Haven. If you’re an antique collector or a foodie, there are plenty of gems to be found in the unique and specialised shops.

In the evening we went to The Bucks Head and had a delicious three course meal in the restaurant. The staff were friendly and made us feel very welcome, as did everyone else we met during the course of the weekend, it really is a lovely part of the world.

With only a few months to go until our wedding, we headed to Powis Castle the next day to re-visit the exact place where we got engaged back in 2014. Despite the flowers not being in bloom yet, the garden was still wonderful to look at and the Castle itself was as impressive as ever. Afterwards we headed to Carding Mill Valley to take in the stunning views from the top of the Long Mynd.

Before checking out of the B&B on Sunday, we walked around the Allen Coppice Woodland. You will spot all kinds of animal sculptures such as bears, otters and even a crocodile as you make your way through the trees.

Once we’d found our way out of the woods and packed up our things, we went to the 18th-century mansion Attingham Park. I was delighted to find that we were allowed to take as many photographs as we liked (providing we didn’t use flash). I really enjoyed our visit there and I’m very pleased they will be continuing their wonderful restoration work on the remaining rooms.

We could have gone home after that, but we didn’t want to leave such a beautiful place so soon. Instead we decided to go back to Carding Mill Valley for lunch and then climb to the top of the waterfall. It was getting late by that point so we reluctantly headed back, but hopefully it won’t be too long until we return!

You can see more photos on my Instagram page 🙂

The Emerald Isle

It’s taken us just over 11 years, but David and I finally took our holiday to Ireland a few days ago and despite the fact I wasn’t very well for most of it, the journey from Dublin to Galway was worth the wait!

We flew from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to Dublin Airport, collected our hire car (which I have a feeling Life On Cars may mention at some point in the near future) and set off towards our beautiful hotel in Galway – The Salthill Hotel.

I was amazed at how little traffic there was on the Irish roads, the only time we came to a stop was when we reached a red light… not at all like the weekly nightmare we have navigating the A1 back up North.

When we arrived our room wasn’t quite ready, so we had a little wander around and lunch at the lovely Galleon Restaurant. David checked out the hotel pool whilst I finally gave into the need to sleep thanks to some extra-strength cough syrup. Later on we had a drink in the hotel bar and then headed to Eyre Square for something to eat.

The next day we drove to the stunning Cliffs of Moher, which I was really looking forward to for two reasons 1) they filmed scenes from ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ there and 2) PUFFINS! Sadly we didn’t see any puffins, but we did bring a cuddly one back with us, which has been named Liam. Later on we had a very nice meal at Venice Ristorante and enjoyed a few drinks at the The King’s Head and Taaffes Bar.

Our final day in Galway was spent enjoying Glühwein at Galway Christmas Market, having lunch at Mc Donagh’s, visiting St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church (which is the largest medieval parish church in Ireland) and looking around the beautiful local shops. In the evening we had yet another gorgeous meal at Trattoria Magnetti and went back to The King’s Head for drinks.

We got up at 5am the next day, so we could arrive in Dublin in time for breakfast. We had time to see some of the sights before our flight back to Liverpool, so we walked over the Ha’penny Bridge to the General Post Office and had a quick drink in the Arlington Hotel before heading back to our car via Temple Bar and set off towards Dublin airport.

Beannacht Éire, hopefully it won’t be such a long wait until we visit you again!

Over the Hills and (somewhat) Far Away

I’ve already decided on one of my New Year’s resolutions, which is to make a posting schedule for this blog and stick to it! All too often I find myself thinking “I’ll write about that when I get a chance” but before I can sit down long enough to form a sentence I find myself busy doing something else.

It would also mean I can attempt to do some justice to the wonderful places I’ve visited and the shows I’ve seen, rather than a hurried paragraph in a long catch-up post. I have a few ideas I’d like to try next year so hopefully I will have the time to do them.

In the meantime, the catch-up posts will have to continue as I have been busy wedding planning (designing the decorations, sorting the guest list, choosing the flowers and attending the all important Wedding Dress fittings) among other things! In my last entry, I mentioned I was going on a 007 adventure in London… Specifically Madame Tussauds with my mum to see the six James Bond wax figures.

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David and I went on a day trip to Norwich, which I would love to visit again and stay for longer as there was a lot to see but we only had time to do a little bit of Christmas shopping and see the Castle before most places closed due to it being a Sunday. Norwich Cathedral will be first on my list! We’ve also been to Keswick, Carlisle, Newcastle and the Metrocentre on our travels.

Another weekend was spent at the Honister Slate Mine to watch the VSCC Lakeland Trial, which has to be one of my favourite car events. It’s a fantastic sight to see vintage cars clambering up the side of a fell and guessing which ones will make it to the top. This year it was rather foggy, which made for some very dramatic scenery.

Speaking of cars, we have visited Brooklands Museum, Bicester Heritage and of course the The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show at the NEC. I’m particularly pleased with the latter event as Classic Car Weekly used some of my photography from the show.

Finally, we we went to see Spectre which I was 99% happy with aside from the ending… I can’t put my finger on it but I just don’t like it, even after a second viewing. It’s not as good as Skyfall, but I am thrilled that the gun barrel is back where it ought to be!

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