Birthday surprise

As this is the first time I’ve written in 2016 I’d better say a very belated Happy New Year to you!

Friday was my birthday and I had a really wonderful day. My partner and I went to Betty’s in Ilkley for lunch. Rhys had some delicious sausages and I had a fish gratin. Both came with rostii – my Betty’s favourite! Then we picked up some goodies to take with us to my mum’s house to share with Mum and Dad over a cuppa. Sadly they had run out of vanilla slices which are Mum and my favourites but we enjoyed our treats very much.

Finally it was time for the main event. Rhys had bought my tickets to go and see the Strictly Come Dancing tour which was in Leeds on my actual birthday no less! What a fantastic show they put on. I saw the tour two years ago and this year it was even better! How I would love to be famous – just for the chance to get on that show!

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To top it off Anita Rani and Gleb won the show on the night which was fab as she’s a local girl. In fact she was about 5 years above me at my school! Her dances were very dramatic and it was fab to see her win as she was knocked out of the show in the semi final. Another highlight was getting to see That Jive! Jay and Aliona’s Pulp Fiction – inspired Jive from the series. It was one of the best dances ever on the show in my opinion.

Oh dear I sound like such a Strictly geek. Well hey ho, I guess I am just that!

Rhys also bought me a beautiful necklace and Kate Davies’ latest knitting book Buachaille. Her books are so much more than just knitting patterns and this time she has included some of her husband’s traditional Highlands recipes. I can’t wait to try the cranachan! The beautiful book even matches on of my crochet WIPs (not from Kate’s book!). It’s a short cowl I’m making from left over sock wool.

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Finally, yesterday afternoon we went out to a local town called Batley to visit the mill shops there. There are two – one is a mixture of all different shops including outdoorsy things and cookware. The other is the amazing Redbrick Mill which is full of top homeware and furniture brands. I was after a walking jacket (spending my birthday money from Mum and Dad straight away!) and Rhys wanted a pizza stone. We were able to pick up both items and bumped into some friends along the way. But the best bit of the trip was as we were leaving the house I spotted this:

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The first daffodil and iris of the year flowering in one of my pots in the garden! It’s so strange that they are out before the snowdrops though but how it made me giddy! During the week I’m still leaving the house in the morning and getting home in the dark and so I haven’t noticed these delights happening in the garden. It looks as though there are plenty more nearly ready to come out and some crocuses too. Roll on spring time!

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Lovely Northumberland

A couple of weekends ago we went to Northumberland to attend a wedding and decided to make a weekend of it. It was wonderful to have a relaxing break in such beautiful surroundings so I thought I’d share a few pictures with you.

We stayed at Ash Cottage in Craster which was just lovely and perfect for what we needed. We went to the local pub for tea on the Friday night and enjoyed the last of the evening sunshine.

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The next morning we had a big self catered breakfast, and then went out for a short stroll before getting ready for the wedding.

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The wedding was at Newton Hall which was beautiful. If you ever have a chance to go I’m sure you’ll love it. The food, setting, atmosphere, decor… all amazing!

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The flowers were beautiful and reflected the groom's Scottish roots

The day after the wedding, there was a barbecue at Dunstan Hall where some of the other guests had stayed. Afterwards everyone started to head home but we were staying for one more night so decided to have a wander down to Craster.

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Can you see the crabs & lobsters?
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I can see the sea!

It’s a lovely little village. I’d love to show you a picture but the only one I took has a great big thumb over the lens! The sun was so bright I couldn’t really see what I was doing! We bought an ice cream then had a stroll along the coast in the direction of Dunstanburgh Castle.

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Afterwards we went for a cheeky pint (maybe two!) but then it started to get chilly so we went back to the cottage for a quiet night in.

The following day we had planned to go to Alnwick Garden on our way home and fortunately the weather stayed just nice enough to enjoy it. First we thought we’d check out another local beach which was lovely and quiet. Just us and a few dog walkers. Bliss! (Windy as hell but bliss!). You can see Dunstanburgh Castle from the other side here.

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We had a little stroll down to that rocky part you can see above and then set off to the garden.

We had a great time at Almwick Garden. It filled me with inspiration for my own (slightly neglected) garden. After wandering around half of it we were ready for lunch and had some of the best fish & chips I’d ever had! We then walked around the other parts of the garden.

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I blooming love aliums!
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My lupins haven't flowered yet

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I loved the water features and sculptures. They had lots of my favourite flowers too although we were too early in the year to see the rose garden in bloom. I suspect it is quite beautiful when it’s they’re all out.

Before we left we bought ice creams again – it was a weekend away, them’s the rules! It was a fantastic and much needed weekend away. I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into it.

S x

Sunday shortie

Hello! If you read my last post you’ll know how much my flowers are making me really cheerful at the moment. Well yesterday I finally got around to planting some spring flowers in containers in the garden. I’ve had them ready to go for a week or two but I have to be in the mood to do gardening and the weather has to be ok too! Needless to say I’m really chuffed with myself for finally getting them planted. Here are my results…

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I bought the chimney pot on ebay a couple of weeks ago. I love it as it brings height and interest to the display next to our purple shed! And look – my pretty pink hyasinths are now fully out too!

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I’m very much a novice, fair weather gardener. As we rent the house we try to stick to containers too rather than to spend loads of money on things we can’t move.
However this little bit of work and not much money has provided lots of lovely colour in the house and the garden to make me feel like spring is around the corner!