#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!

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#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!

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 🙂

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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A Brief Encounter

Booking.com is fast becoming one of my favourite sites to book a holiday in the UK (sorry Expedia, I still love you, but I think you will have to be a foreign affair from now on). Each time we’ve used it, we’ve found a good deal and delightful places to stay (such as Brantholme) and our latest mini-break was no exception.

This time we stayed at the lovely Pine Lake Resort in Carnforth. We had a lodge with a lakeside view and it was right across from the swimming pool, sauna and spa (which we took full advantage of every day).

Whilst we were waiting for the keys to our lodge, we visited the Carnforth Station Heritage Centre, which is where they filmed Brief Encounter. I’d completely forgotten about the parody Victoria Wood made until it popped into my head whilst watching a clip of the original film.

I woke up at 2:30am to watch the Supermoon Eclipse, which was fascinating to watch! After catching up on sleep, we spent the morning at Sizergh Castle, where I tried the most AMAZING fudge (which I am obsessed with at the best of times, but seriously this was delicious) and I absolutely must get my hands on some more! We then drove to Bowness-on-Windermere for lunch at Vinegar Jones and an ice cream by the lake.

The next day we went to Malham and walked on the limestone pavement (well, once we’d gotten past the sheep-shaped traffic jam we did). You might recognise it if you’re a fan of BBC’s “The Trip” or Harry Potter, which is where they filmed the camping scene in “The Deathly Hallows“. Finally we had lunch at the lovely The Old Barn Café before heading home.

So much to do, so little time to do it…

Hello again! It looks like this will be yet another summary post as I’ve been rushed off my feet again and my free time is now spent volunteering for the British Heart Foundation which is a very important charity to me, and I really enjoy helping out in our local store.

♥ I’m sad to see yet another chapter in the Harry Potter world come to an end, as Pottermore announced they are going to “move beyond the gates of Hogwarts” and change the site as we know it. I have loved exploring every single moment/chapter of Harry’s story and Hogwarts, and I shall miss it terribly. If you’re a member, don’t forget to download your personalised certificate by the 16th September!

♥ David and I visited the National Media Museum in Bradford, and I definitely recommend a visit if you’re ever in the area. There are loads of things to see and plenty of interactive sections (including a floor of old arcade and console games, which you can play) and best of all entry is free!

♥ We have also been to the Bradford Classic Car Show, Passion for Power Classic Motor Show, Ormskirk MotorFest and The Oulton Park Gold Cup, all of which were entirely different styles of car show, but all equally entertaining (although I will always have a soft spot for the MotorFest because it’s my hometown).

♥ It was Bailey’s first birthday on the 21st August and I can’t believe how much he’s grown already! Naturally he was spoilt rotten by us and had a lovely mini birthday cake and his favourite food for dinner.

♥ I’ve put my Lilac Fairy on hold for now, as I just don’t have enough to time to sit down and concentrate on it at the moment. Instead I’ve been working on smaller projects, such as this monogram pendant and chocolate cupcakes:

♥ Wedding planning is picking up speed now, even though we’ve done a lot, there’s still SO much more to sort out! I would be completely lost if it wasn’t for Weddingspot, which has been fantastically helpful so far. I’m also very excited for my next dress fitting with Kirsty at the end of the month!

♥ I’m loving the latest products from Lush at the moment, especially The Experimenter (which is an explosion of rainbow colours) and Pink Flamingo, which smells divine. Skydancer is also gorgeous, and it’s for a good cause too!

♥ Finally, we went to see The Man from U.N.C.L.E. the other week, which was pure brilliance:

Update ALL The Things!

My apologies for not posting in quite a while, things have been incredibly busy for me! I won’t go into the details because I would be here for hours and you would be asleep by the end of it, so instead I will give a brief summary of the past few months.

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♥ David and I stayed in Ambleside at the lovely Brantholme Bed & Breakfast. We took the Windermere Lake Cruise to the Lakes Aquarium and Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway. We also enjoyed a lovely meal at Tarantella Restaurant and visited Bridge House, Wray Castle and Tarn Hows. We also joined the National Trust whilst we were there.

♥ My sister and I went to London to see the new addition to the Harry Potter Studio Tour… Platform 9 ¾ and The Hogwarts Express! It was my fifth visit to the studios (having previously been for events such as Hogwarts in the Snow and Dark Arts) and it was the most magical one yet. Nothing can describe the feeling of stepping on to the platform and seeing the train for the first time! Whilst we were in London, we also paid a visit to Buckingham Palace and managed to see the Changing of the Guard and The Queen!

♥ David and I went to the National Railway Museum and got lost in the York Maze, which this year was Thunderbirds themed… F.A.B! We also spent a day in Keswick and did some fell-walking to the top of Walla Crag and visited the Ormskirk Medieval Weekend.

♥ Mum and I saw Take That on their latest tour in Manchester. It was visually stunning as always, if not a little confusing! My favourite section had to be ‘The Garden’ which was set under the sea. We also watched the tour again at the cinema a few weeks later.

♥ David and I moved in together and we have been busy planning and booking things for our wedding in-between sorting out the house and garden. My wedding dress is being made by the wonderful Kirsty Doyle and in a week or so I will be trying it on… I’m very excited!

♥ We celebrated my mum’s birthday by staying at The Last Drop Village and visiting the fantastic Turton Tower, which I cannot recommend enough if you like to visit historical places. I’ve seen many properties, but Turton Tower has to be one of the best I’ve seen.

♥ We also celebrated my sister’s graduation from Edge Hill University, which is currently University of the Year. We had the honour of listening to a speech by Dame Janet Suzman, who is a truly inspirational woman.

♥ David and I spent our anniversary in the gorgeous seaside town of Whitby. Highlights for me included Whitby Abbey, Moutreys Restaurant, Whitby Museum and sailing on the Bark Endeavour. We also went crabbing (very successfully) and played mini golf as well as visiting The Old Coastguard Station at Robin Hood’s Bay and Oliver’s Mount in Scarborough. On the way home we went to Scarborough SEA LIFE Sanctuary and Sherwood Forest, which had a fantastic visitors centre and was getting ready for the Robin Hood Festival when we arrived.

♥ My sister and I went to the cinema to see Inside Out, which we both loved. I think it’s really a really clever concept and in true Disney Pixar fashion is sad, funny and thought-provoking.

AND FINALLY… David and I went to the following classic car events:

Prestatyn Classic Car Show
Classic & Performance Car Spectacular
Classic Ford Show
Hundred End Festival of Transport
Pageant of Power
Stars and Stripes Classic American Car Show
Transatlantic 175 Classic Car Cavalcade
Classics at the Castle
Classic Vehicles Weekend

If you’d like to know more about anything mentioned above, feel free to ask! You can also see the rest of my holiday snaps on Instagram.

Ready… Set… Go!

I’ve had little time for any cross-stitch recently, as I’ve been so busy with one thing and another… including Go-karting!

I had previously mentioned to my fiancé that I’d never been before, so he booked a session for us and some friends at Elite Karting in Wigan. The track is inside a converted mill, which is on two levels and includes chicanes, ramps and long straights.

Once we were suited up it was time for our session, which was a 10/30 Sprint. That means we had a 10 minute qualifier to determine our grid positions and then a 30 minute race.

At the end of the race, you get your lap times and the winner receives a medal, which I thought was a nice touch. It was ridiculously good fun and I can’t wait to do it again!